Friday, July 21, 2017

Interview with Gem Sunkiller

By Deaflegacy

Gem Sunkiller and I met at the Relay for Life sims making up the track for this year's Relay Weekend.  My first question was about Gem being a part of the Relay. "Oh...that is a very long story," she answered, "I'll try to condense it.  In 2011 I lost my mother to metastatic colon cancer.  I found myself on the RFL track that Relay weekend in the wee hours of the morning.  The Event Chair at the time, MamaP Beerbaum walked with me for a bit, she both comforted and invited me to be a part of Relay For Life." said Gem.  "Jumped in with both feet in 2012, forming Team Shadow with SL Family and Friends."

Gem had been the captain of Team Shadow and had served in a variety of positions on the committee.  Gem helped with Outreach this year. She chuckled, "You might call me an unofficial cheerleader for Relay in SL." Her Relay team, Team Shadow, has around 30 people from a variety of communities on second Life.  They have recently added several new members.

When I asked Gem what her hope and goal are, she has this to say.  "My hope for Team Shadow, beyond the prayer that we are not needed next year because a cure has been found, I hope we Relay the right way, for the right reasons.  It's our desire to help other Relayers reach their goals.  As far as goals. Relay Goal is to finish the fight."

The biggest event of the year for Team Shadow varied year to year.  This year, they hosted a 12 hour "Country for a Cure" event that featured DJ's from five teams.  It was successful beyond their expectation, raising over 140,000 Linden dollars.  They hope to replicate that success for Making Strides and again next Relay season. "Outreach is one of my favorite things." said Gem.

I asked Gem if someone asks about RFL as well as Team Shadow, what would Gem say. "So when someone asks about RFL, I am always happy to give information about the movement here in SL.  I also try to steer them to forming a team, or participating in any way they find appropriate." said Gem. "When someone asks about Team Shadow, well, I tell them we are an open minded and accepting group of people who are insanely passionate about finding a cure, and funding the mission.  And invite them to come join the fun."


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Back to Normal: A Look Back At The "Bid Me Human" and "Platinum Challenge"

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Monday June 19 started a period of a little more than two weeks when I wasn't quite myself. For the latest round of "Bid Me" events of my community's Relay for Life team, the Sunbeamers, I had volunteered for a "Bid Me Human." Although I had changed briefly to a human avatar for short periods of time over the years, I hadn't volunteered to be one for a "Bid Me" event since the days of the Passionate Redheads in May 2011. The result of that was me being stuck in the look for a month. This time, the Sunbeamer chief ruled it was for two weeks, although it would turn out to be nine days, with a catch.

Besides the shorter time involved, it didn't affect me so much this time as the slightly awkward feeling I had at the clubs at the start of last time. I was still being asked to dance. I was still able to dress in theme much of the time, such for the "Video Game" party in which I went as a "Rust" player (picture to the left). And the reaction I got from others, furry and human alike, was mostly positive. There were a couple exceptions. One was one girl who felt, "That avatar is not you." The other was an incident when a friend invited me over to a country music club whose attendance was all human except possibly a couple neko avatars. Someone there, seeing my avatar's black appearance, made some remark about an "interracial sim."

Considering in real life, my appearance is white, I once had a black boss, and one church in the area has it's sign in both English and Korean, if that was some kind of joke, I missed the point entirely. I only spent a short time in the place before events called me elsewhere, so I didn't see any immediate response. I was later told by the person who invited me that the guy who made the remark had been told by the club owner not to do that again if he wanted to be able to keep coming over.

Then on Sunday June 25 came another development, the Sunbeamers reaching Platinum Rank in their fundraiseing total. Earlier, the team's chances of hitting the next level after Gold were iffy, so I had told team leader Rita Mariner, and others, that if the team made Platinum, I'd go female for a week. That got a chuckle of of Rita, and made it part of her next announcement to the group.

Males going about as girls in Second Life can be a touchy subject, especially with occasional stories of "catfishing." So I almost never changed to one, or rather deliberately as the jokes about glitches and "ruthing" go, and never went about in public as one, doing so only rarely  to show a girl in private what a certain avatar would look like, or a couple certain pictures for articles. I even wrote about the subject once in response to Becky Shamen's article , saying the "dos" and "don'ts" about it could be a little complicated with gray areas that appear different hues to different people. But an enormous amount of money going to charity from it, to me that seemed like a good enough reason.

I had thought the Sunnies had a fair chance of reaching the goal, so an idea came to me: go as Rita's double. I saw this as a playful poke in the ribs, though as some who prefer furry avatars take their unique appearance seriously and react badly to perceived "copying," I talked to a few people first to make sure Rita wouldn't freak. It turned out planning ahead was a good idea as Cynthia Farshore and Shockwave Yareach's steampunk land and air racing event was the most successful event the Sunbeamers ever had. So yours truly had to own up, Rita saying she was expecting to see my new look at the Cutlass party Wednesday June 28. So I got a white kani female, found a white hairpiece for it (ironically the style was also called a "Rita"), found a couple smaller bunny feet that resembled the catlike ones Rita had, though mine had bigger claws. As for the dress, fortunately finding that wasn't hard as Rita had once told me and others during a party what brand it was. One friend helped by giving me a title in her group, "Bunny Chieftess." So on Wednesday night, I dropped in and while everyone else was still rezzing, and presumably I was to them, I walked right up to Rita. After the usual "Hey Bixyl," there was silence followed by "whoah" and laughter. Rita was among those laughing, telling me I did a great job, "Good going Bixyl, you got me," and we both posed for a picture for a group announcement for the community.

So after that, the reaction was almost entirely positive. One friend pretended to be upset I wasn't trying to do a tribute to her appearance. As she was busty, I joked that I'd get a backache just looking at my avatar (contrary to the opinion of some, not all males go ga-ga at the sight of large breasts, and some can find sympathy for the back pain and other challenges of well-endowed women). But another reason was I wasn't as good a designer and fashionista as she was. Someone thought I could have done a slightly more realistic job on the feet, but considering I was trying to get as close to Rita's look as possible it was pretty good. To those who don't know Rita, she has something of an act of being an aggressive alpha doe bunny with an attraction for other girls' "booty," though she's always careful only to tease those she knows. I'd occasionally imitate her in chat as a joke, which got a few chuckles. Going about at events outside the Sunweaver and Angel areas, there were a few "Ms. Shuftan" comments, but no one gave me a hard time. At the Second Life Birthday, almost no one spoke a word about it.

Someone did joke that I'd be enjoying the "look from behind." In short, I didn't get the same feeling from looking at the avie as other female avatars, maybe because it was supposed to be "me." I had wondered a little if some guys would make a pass at me, but that never happened. What did happen was there were several girls who suggested I could stay in that form, probably as a joke ... probably. I did still end up getting dances from a few girls. I guess they knew this was all in the name of fun. And I was openly saying this was no big deal, "I can go without peeing standing up for a week." For the Independence Day party at the Happy Vixen, I even got her a dress from a Relay shopping event for a one time use. The following day would be the last for the "Rita clone," at least for a long, long time.

So now, back to my normal foxy self. Though I would still occasionally change looks, such as the skunkboy for the "Black and White" event at Cutlass a couple days later, I was sticking with being furry and male. But already, I have people asking what will I do for next Relay season when the Sunnies hit Platinum again. In short, I don't know yet. But there's a year to think about it. And in any event, it was, different, going about in the other form. But I won't be doing it again, at least not without another enormous amount of money going to charity.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, July 10, 2017

Interview With Wesley Regenbogen

By Deaflegacy

Wesley Regenbogen is one of the four reporters currently writing for the Second Life Newser. I got a chance to ask Wesley to tell me all about his writing career. He and I met at the Cobras Motorcycle Club's area. "I started my virtual journalism career in a virtual world called 'Cybertown'," said Wesley.  "I saw that they were looking for writers, so I applied for a job as a virtual journalist at the CVN ( Cybertown Virtual News ). The editor asked me to send in a sample article and first I thought 'here goes nothing.'  But eventually the editor replied back to me that the article was good enough for publication, so he asked me if I was interested in joining his team of writers for CVN.  I agreed to join them, and then I wrote more and more articles about what was happening in Cybertown. My articles became better and better and the editor promoted me to CVN Deputy and assigned me with other tasks within CVN."

But then the ownership of Cybertown went to new owners and they decided to become a paid membership site only, so Wesley decided to leave the virtual world of Cybertown and also the virtual newspaper Wesley was writing for.  Wesley wandered around the web and found a few other virtual worlds that were somewhat similar, but they didn't have the same "feeling" as Wesley had in

Finally, Wesley's luck changed, "In November 2006, I joined Second Life after I saw a video about it on the web. I decided to join in and after looking around for virtual newspapers around Second Life, I came across SL Newspaper and contacted the owner ( James T Juno ). He asked me to come for an interview and he decided that I could write for them and so I did for a while."

But Wesley would soon take a break, "I took a hiatus from Second Life, because I lost interest in Second Life at the time.  A few years later, I returned, but found out that SL Newspaper didn't exist anymore, so I tried to find similar virtual newspapers in Second Life, but I found none at the time."

Wesley would look again later, "In July 2014 I came back to Second Life and found out about SL Newser and I send in a sample article and to my surprise it was accepted and I could join in the team of writers. Ever since, I'm writing for SL Newser and hope I can write for them as long as I can."

And what was Wesley doing in a motorcycle club?  He explained, "Well, let me start at the beginning. I wanted to start a awareness campaign for 'Be The Match' and I was contacted by Mightbe Shelter here in Second Life and we talked about 'Be The Match' and stuff. Then she told me about the Cobras MC and that they have done the campaign for Be The Match in the past. So, she was very helpful in trying to explain it and gave me advice and stuff that they made before." said Wesley. "Then she told me about Cobras MC and that they wanted to help me and support me for Be The Match.  So that's how I got to know about Cobras MC."

Wesley went on to say that he just joined the rides and their events, "Yes, it's a friendly bunch of people and I like the rides and events they are holding here." After a while, he started as a  Prospect with them.  After a month, Wesley was "patched in" on Sunday, June 4, 2017.

I asked him if he would continue his work with Be The Match while being with Cobras.  "Yes, I hope to start the Be The Match campaign soon, just need to figure out how to do it and stuff. I hope to launch the campaign soon. I have been trying to get someone from the organization into Second Life, but it seems not to be easy." said Wesley.

I asked Wesley if he is planning on staying in the club for a long time.  "Yes, I'm planning on staying forever, I guess," said Wesley. He went on to say that people can join them at the rides if they want as well as to participate in the events of Cobras MC.

I asked Wesley if he consider his decision to join Cobras MC to be the best move.  Wesley  said, "Of course, as I mentioned earlier, they are a friendly bunch of people and I haven't regretted joining the Cobras MC."

Indeed, I hope that Wesley Regenbogen would write for the SL Newser as long as he can.  Wesley is a remarkable reporter. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

How To Get From Zero to Hero (aka Patched) in the Combras Motorcycle Club

By Wesley Regenbogen

Introduction to Cobras MC

Cobras MC is a Second Life motorcycle club ( MC ) which I wrote about last month (link to article). They have a club and track on the sims of Rock Valley and Appletor. After some time with them, I was invited to join. In this article I will explain which steps you need to take if you are interested in joining the Cobras MC.
First I just “hung around” and later I prospected with them for about a month or so.
On the 4 th of June 2017 I was “patched in”. “Patched in” means you are a full member of the Cobras MC.
In this article I will explain which steps you need to take if you are interested in joining the Cobras MC. Cobras MC is a voice active MC in Second Life, so you will need to have a microphone or a headset ( with a microphone ) to communicate with them. But also typing is allowed, of course.

Step 1 : Become a “hang around”

When people first visit Cobras MC and hang around with the people that are there, they are often referred to as “hang arounds.” Basically, the people need to get to know you and you need to get to know the people. You are encouraged to use voice in Second Life, so people can talk to you, rather then just typing. If people can’t voice, they can type, of course.

Hang around as much as you can and join the rides and events when you are able to. This gives you an opportunity to get to know people and see if you like it or not. You can get a “Venom” title after they send you an invite. A “Venom” is like a supporter title, this means you are a supporter of the Cobras MC.

Step 2 : Become a “Cobras Venom”

Once you “hang around” more frequently, you will be invited to become a “Cobras Venom”.
This is a title given to you when you join in at rides and are present at the events most of the times. Officers can give these titles to people whom want to keep being informed of what the Cobra MC is doing.

To become a prospect you first become a Cobras Venom. If you want to prospect, the main requirement is you must voice.

Step 3: Applying to become a Prospect

When you are ready to start your Prospect career at Cobras MC, you need to contact a recruiter and speak ( by voice ) to them and let them know you are ready to start prospecting. They will ask you to meet up with them and ask you some questions. They also ask that you can do voice. When one of the officers asks you to voice, you need to be able to.

If they think you are suitable, you get a prospect vest and you need to wear it at all times and also your prospect tag when you are at the Cobras MC. Depending on the Prospect it can take a few weeks to about a month to prospect. This is a fun time, enjoy it. They get to know you and you get to know them, remember that.

Occasionally, you will get hazed to see if you fit the MC. Don’t worry, it’s all in the name of fun. Ride with them at the noon rides and participate in the events and you’ll get to know people better and they surely will get to know you better in the process as well.

One piece of advice : be nice and follow the instructions of the officers and you’ll do great, trust me.

Step 4 : Getting “patched in” into Cobras MC

Once your prospect period has almost come to an end, you will be asked for a second interview ( by voice ). This is a normal interview without questions. After this meeting up with the officers or the execs, they will vote for you the next Sunday meeting.

When you get enough votes, will be “patched in” and you are a full member of the Cobras MC. Only full patched members can vote to get prospects “patched in”. So, once you are “patched in” you can vote for prospects as well.

Congrats to those that got “patched in” !!!

Wesley Regenbogen

Monday, July 3, 2017

Interview with Faust Steamer (Walton F. Wainwright), Builder of The SL14B Stage Left

 By Bixyl Shuftan

The Second Life Fourteenth Birthday was known for a number of great builds. Among them was "Stage Left" or "The Guardian," a huge three-headed Chinese-style lion that straddled two sims, carrying the stage where parties were held on it's back. It's size, detail, and moving heads caused numerous onlookers to go "Wow!" and marvel. It's creator was Faust Steamer, also known by his display name of Walton F. Wainwright. Recently, I had a chance to interview him, at the feet of his creation, "so the beast can have a listen in on it too, ha ha!"

"To begin with, how did you first hear about Second Life?" I asked, noting his entry was in February 2009.

Faust thought for a moment, "My memory may be a bit foggy, but I think I found Second Life through an ad online while browsing for comics to read. I saw it once, twice, maybe three times before I gave in to give it a shot. I thought it was some kind of customizable 'freeware' sims game of some sort, but it turned out to be far more complicated than I expected."

"What were you expecting?" I asked.

The builder answered, "I actually just expected some kind of online version of the sims to be honest, and I really wanted to play it, but at the time I couldn't really afford it."

I responded, "So you had no idea every avatar would have a person behind it at first?"
He answered, "At the time, I didn't really think about that. I just thought maybe it was a community game where you build houses with a set of assets, decorate it and show it off to people or something for the sort. I wasn't sure what the system would be like or how it'll happen, but my expectations thought it was a small game, not a creative platform with a vast learning curve."

My next question was, "And how did your view change over the first few days?"

Faust stated, "Yes, quite a bit. I started in Caledon Oxbridge and read over the tutorials and instructions there about how to work the viewer and understand the concept of an open virtual world. The learning curve was intense,and since I had no friends in game  to guide me coupled with a healthy dash of shyness, I isolated myself and eventually understood the idea of 'creating' on Second Life by pulling apart freebies and reading the boards at the place I first rezzed in. Eventually, I just got to building for fun - kind of like being given legos and seeing what I can do with it. I lived in a sandbox with a low return rate and stayed there with little idea on what the community was like."

I then asked, "How long did that last and what got you to change?"

He answered, "A year and a half. It wasn't until late 2010 did I start inviting friends from outside of Second Life to join me in appreciating the very idea that we could put together our roleplay characters and watch them come to life in 3D. One of them was far better at socializing than I will ever be, and discovered that there is a whole wide community out there dedicated to roleplay. My friends dragged me out of the sandbox, kicking and screaming. But we eventually settled in a 'Silent Hill" inspired roleplay sim. From there, I started learning about stores, Second Life shopping, and found a place camping for L$2 an hour so I could buy some neat things. Earning things that aren't freebies, I discovered 'sculpties' and saw how they could be used and looked into how those worked through a store's really detailed tutorial which expanded my interests in content creation. I mainly focused on creating things for my roleplay characters."

"What things did you create for them?" I asked

He told me, "Textured shirts, capes, hats, masks, claws, gloves, armor pieces...accessories, really. I really like plague doctors and at the time, those masks aren't made often so I tried to make my own, for example. When avatars could have alpha layers, I decided to find a way to create big, sharp gnarly teeth that would stretch across the face to work for a character of mine, and it worked out great."

"Plague doctor?" I asked in response, "Isn't that what's on your profile picture?  Or is is something similar?"

" Oh yes," he answered, "that's one of many I've made for myself, though, that one's made in ... 2014? 2015?. I've made sculpted plague doctor masks, beaked bird masks, even prim masks way before that. In general, I just really enjoy making masks and cover my face with them."

"Like the one you're wearing now?" I spoke, referring to his avatar's appearance.

"Yes!" he responded enthusiastically, "This one I made back in ... 2015 for an event, but it's inspired by similar cultures as our dear stage here, so I wore it for the occasion."

"We'll get back to that in a bit," I went on, "When did you start building other things beside masks and other things for you and your roleplay group?"

Faust answered, "I think when I started opening my store in 2011. It took a year's worth of encouragement, but once I got it going I needed to build myself a store building and other assets that would give my shop a certain look and theme I wanted at the time. I liked to make small things for a while, and I dabbled in larger builds, but often canceled or deleted them because they weren't good enough. I played around with furniture and decorations like interactive automatons and music boxes after seeing how far LSL (Linden script language) can get from a few amazing and intuitive stores I admire."

"Sounds interesting," I told him, "What kinds of larger builds were you making?"

The masked man answered, "I tried to find ways to make airships, better store builds, buildings. Especially after mesh came out,however, I couldn't quite wrap my head around the land impact puzzle so I tend to trash them all. When SL12B came around, I think that was when I started to make use of the 'freedom' I was given: to make an art piece within the theme and make it functional for what it needs to do for visitors. With a whole sim, I was able to experiment more. I learned a lot since then, though I still dislike building large things."

I then asked, "What happened between the SL12B and SL13B that got you noticed by the Birthday organizers?"

His answer was, "For Sl12B, I was invited to do the welcome area by someone in the works who was a collector of my musical machines. Between SL12B and SL13B...I have no idea. One day I was invited and was recommended to do stage left, so I took it up and just went to work."

I brought up, "As I understand, that got quite a bit of attention."

"Surprisingly so," Faust responded, "and I'm quite happy that it did. It was the largest piece I've built at the time. I think when I was brainstorming on it, I was just thinking, 'I want to build a really big music box'. I was also testing some new techniques with it as well."

"Yes," I told him, "I kept hearing "Oh my gosh, it moves!" from the people there."

"Ah yes," Faust seemed to smile underneath his mask, "our brand's specialty apart from the accessories are its interactive, moving machines, so we had to at least make the Storyteller stage move as well. Experimental, but turned out quite interesting."

I then asked him, "I take it you had your share of complements during and after the SL13B?"

"I suppose so," the builder answered, "I learned a lot while building the stage during SL13B, and there are a good number of mistakes from that too, which I've considered and brought over for SL14B.

Going back to subject of his current build, "When were you asked to be a part of the SL14B, and what gave you the idea for the Chinese lion?"

He answered, "I was asked to be part of SL14B late January or February -- somewhere around there, I don't remember exactly. I was very interested in southeast Asian culture and Indonesian styled beasts with their wild faces and did a series of illustrations based that for finals in college. I thought back on my research about it when the theme of SL14B was released, and wanted to do something inspired by the style of it. Originally the stage's name was 'Dance of the Demon', but I really didn't think the beast was all that much of a demon itself, so I called it the 'Guardian'."

I brought up the highlighted title over his avatar, "I take it that's what your title 'Guardian's Keeper' refers to?"

"Yes," Faust answered, "the sim's name is called 'The Guardian', and the title is just a cute little theme thing I wanted to keep up. I kind of like making characters or avatars that relate to the setting."

"So this is the Guardian of the SL14B?" I asked.

The builder responded, "I'd say he's the Guardian of the forest who came out from where he came to see the festivities and celebrate SL14B, yes. He's a bit scary, but he's a gentle creature, I assure you!"

I gave a short chuckle, then brought up, "I notice in one hand of his there's a flower, and then there's that the stage itself is on his back."

"Indeed," Faust described, "he's a gentle creature that only wishes to tend to the forest and let flourish. He can be quite frightening when his domain is under fire though, but that is not what he emerged out into SL14B for!"

My next question was, "Does 'The Guardian' have a future of any kind after the SL14B?"

The builder told me, "I've been told numerous times to make a miniature version of The Guardian. Other than that, I don't know if he will be rezzed out in full ever again after SL14B, since he would need two sims to be rezzed down. He will likely be put in a little folder within the depths of my inventory along side with The Station and The Storyteller."

I then asked, "Did you have any plans if you get asked to take part in another SLB?"

Faust answer was, "I won't know until the next theme's released, unfortunately. Whatever theme and what area I handle greatly affects what I end up wanting to do for the event. So that's a bit of a mystery for now, even on my part!"

"Did you have any other plans for the future?" I asked him.

"None that I know of," he answered, "I've been focusing a lot on my real life work as of late. I do wish to expand my store a bit and rework all of its contents, however. Other than that, if time permits perhaps I can try building sims and apply for the LEA."

"Oh?" I asked, "Have an art exhibit idea in mind for there?"

The builder pondered, "If I were to do an art exhibit I'd like to do something spooky, maybe involving the occult, or sim telling a story through visual clues littered throughout the place. I don't stick to plans until I end up needing to sit down and think about it proper when everything's ready to go. I do think it should relate to story telling, as you can tell, I'm quite a fan of that."

We were near the end, and to my last question, "Was there anything else you wanted to mention?"

Faust answered, "I'd like to thank everyone for supporting me throughout my journey as an artist in Second Life and all those who have supported my work and store all these years. I really appreciate all of you for keeping my hobby alive and encouraging me to keep it up. Never forget Second Life's supposed to be fun, because that is what we're all here for."

It was then that the builder of The Guardian and I parted ways.

There's little doubt Faust's creation will be a noted part of the Second Life Birthday history as the years go on, and one wonders what the man will build next.

Faust also has his own Flickr page at .

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Cobras MC Motorcycle Club

By Wesley Regenbogen

Cobras MC is a motorcycle club in Second Life. It was founded in August 2009. They are all friendly people, so don’t be shy and join the fun when you can..

They are located on two sims at Rocky Valley and Appletor, with roads , shops, a fishing beach, sailing, their clubhouse, Memorial Park and Garden of Weeden event area and of course their Cobras Coil tracks, also called the "Cobra Snake." This track doesn't just simply go around the sim, but rises up over the sim, corkscrewing up and around. They also have a skill track and a fantastic swimming pool, a Public Airport, a firepit hang out, bowling alleys and much more.

Six days a week, they hold their "Noon ride" at Noon SLT time, and also have a ride at 6 PM SLT time. So, they have two rides a day. Sometimes the rides are at other people's riding sims as well. There’s no ride on Mondays, normally. Their events at the clubhouse and Garden are held on Wednesdays and Fridays mostly.
If you want to join their MC you need to first “hang around,” which means you can join the rides and attend the events. When you decide you want to join them, you will first need to prospect. Prospecting is a way to get to know everyone in the MC and also allow them to get to know you.
They are a voice active MC, which means they use voice to communicate with each other, but they allow people to type as well too. People who "hang around" to join the club are sometimes called "hang arounds" or "Venom." Those made official members get the club patch for their jackets, and are "patched in."

To people that are going to prospect in Cobras MC, one advice : be nice and ride with the MC (Noon ride SLT ) as often as you can and attend the events.

Their current executive team is :
Prez- Helvis Xue
VP- Bill Hayabusa
Sgt. At Arms- Dana McGeek (Dana Spanton)
Secretary- Katalina Redrose
Treasurer- Steela Wandin

Recruiters to hit up : Steela Wandin, Rhonda Pinion, Susie Q (SUSIE Ocello) and/or Kaiya Clawtooth, when you want to join Cobras MC.

People are encouraged to “hang out” with us as much as possible and ride with them. The more people, the better. Everyone is welcome at Cobras MC ! So, if you want to ride your bike, head over to Cobras MC and join the fun. Don't forget to turn on your microphone and speak with us!

Note: their sim does NOT accept child avatars at this time. Please expect the bikers to use adult language. 
Here’s a YouTube video about Cobras MC :

I got "patched in" (made a full member) at Cobras MC on Sunday June 4th, 2017, after prospecting for about one month. I just got a new bike after being offered it for a "friend's price."

By Wesley Regenbogen

Monday, June 5, 2017

Interview With Bixyl Shuftan

By Deaflegacy

Bixyl Shuftan and I met at the SL Newser building.  He told me he first got started as a virtual journalist when he was coming onto Second Life on a regular basis, instead of just sporadically, in summer 2007.

"That's how I found out about the Second Life Newspaper, owned by JamesT Juno and run by Dana Vanmoer," he described, "They asked for reader submissions, so I sent them pictures and an article." They must have been impressed with what they saw, as they asked Bixyl Shuftan in for an interview, "After a rundown about what being a reporter for them entailed, at least an article a week, I was officially hired."  And he has been writing about Second Life ever since, November 2007.

For how the Second Life Newser was founded, the first part of the story is a little sad.  The Second Life Newspaper ran for two and half years after Bixyl Shuftan joined.  However, around the time of its third anniversary, James had to leave the Second Life for personal reason. Dana kept the paper going, and even found a new sponsor after one of their longtime main business partners went bankrupt.  But soon Dana had her own personal problems.  In April 2010, she told the crew in a meeting that she had made the decision to close.  They were shocked.  Gemma was the most outspoken person, insisting that there had to be another way.  But Dana told them that James had the sole rights to the name, and no transfer of the ownership could be done without his approval.  They went on, continuing to write. Eventually Bixyl began talking with the others about what could be done.  They eventually came up with the idea of doing a new paper.  It would be four of them, Gemma Cleanslate, Shellie Sands, Grey Lupindo, and himself, Bixyl Shuftan.  As he was the office manager of the old Second Life Newspaper, they agreed that he should run it.

I asked Bixyl who came up with the name, "SL Newser" and he told me, "I was the one who came up with the name. I recalled a real life news site calling itself 'Newser' as part of it's name. So I went with that. It was close to the name of the old paper, and readers of Second Life News would make the connection."

June 5, 2010, was the last day Second Life Newspaper would run, going out with a goodbye party and a final entry by Dana, which was later reprinted in the Newser when the old publication was taken down from the Internet a few years later. Bixyl then pointed out the Newser's first story, that of James and Dana's closing party, which appeared later that night and most readers would see the next day.

Bixyl went on to say that it was a sad day for them when the old Second Life Newspapers closed.  Their old bosses, whom they considered close friends, would be leaving the grid for who knows how long, and they were basically out on their own.

"I felt I had some big shoes to fill, and had no idea what lay ahead.  Would the readers keep following us? Could we get new sponsors?  It didn't help that one secondary sponsor from the old SLN was furious at Dana for closing,"  said Bixyl, "But we were also getting support right away. Friends told us they were sorry about the old paper closing, and wishing us well with the new one. So we were a bit scared, but also hopeful."

I asked Bixyl Shuftan what their greatest accomplishments was, and he said, " As for our greatest accomplishment, well, from the start, we set out to report the news, big and small, of the people, places, and events of Second Life.  We've done so to the best of our abilities, with how our real lives on the other side of the computer allow. But we've also been a source of information of Second Life for people who aren't online here, or are curious about joining.  And I'd like to think we've improved the reputation of Second Life journalism." 

The 'arch rival' of the days of the old Second Life Newspaper was "The Alphaville Herald".  While they were occasionally informative, Bixyl Shuftan found them to be mainly peanut gallery material, focusing on drama and trolling, and wondered if they had given inworld journalism a bad name, "In our early days, some people were hesitant to talk with us, knowing SL Journalism only from 'Herald' articles.  Others were thankful we were around, calling us a refreshing change." said Bixyl, "Having said that, the Herald did give the old paper what I felt was a more or less respectable goodbye. I guess whatever else can be spoken of them, they did respect James and Dana in the end. They themselves would update sporadically a few years later, and eventually stop publishing."

Does Second Life Newser have an arch rival? Bixyl doesn't think they do. "There are other newsletters and blogs, we're just the number one of them," he told me with a smile, "We basically more or less cooperate. If we write on a subject they covered and end up using one of their articles as a source, we give credit."  They do have a link exchange with the Second Life Enquirer.  Bixyl stated, the Enquirer's editor doesn't consider SL Newser a rival as they see them as more "hard" Second Life news while they mainly cover entertainment.

There are four writers on SL Newser whom are not considered on hiatus - Gemma Cleanslate, DeafLegacy, MajikVixen (BlueVioletVixen Lorefield) and Bixyl Shuftan himself. "Yes, barring some real life difficulty, financial, health, or otherwise, I plan to keep on running the Newser." said Bixyl.  They have been continuing to go strong with 45,000 readers a month.

SL Newser has given a physically disabled person a chance to make a name for herself as a writer (and in Bixyl Shuftan's opinion she's more than earned her place).

Of the SL Newser's sponsors, the first would be Ranchan Weidman, who runs the sim of HV Community where the Newser is. Ranchan is considered to be their land sponsor., "Ranchan owns this sim, and she told me she would provide an office, and land, rent free, for us." said Bixyl, "Originally it was a grey building." The current office with much larger windows would take its place a couple years later.

Bixyl Shuftan went on to say that Nydia Tungsten has also been a longtime friend and a source of support. She would also join the paper for a couple years and write some articles.

Bixyl Shuftan also mentioned the Sunweaver community.  The other sponsors include Farshore Radio and more recently, the Lorena Chung Estates. "Podex was a longtime, faithful, sponsor," Bixyl told me, "but they were shut down by Linden Lab due to changes in the terms of service.  Steelhead was another longtime sponsor, but they had to stop when the community closed for a year. They're back, so they may sponsor us again soon.

His cat, Chilly, was there.  Bixyl told me he had gotten the Kittycats "firekitty" at a Firestorm Viewer team anniversary party a few years earlier. Rather then keep it in his inventory or alone in his tiny treehouse home, he lets it run loose around the office.

As for Bixyl Shuftan's closing thoughts, he has this to say: "I'd say we've been doing well. We're not always perfect, but on the rare occasions we make a mistake, we own up to it and correct it. We've created a publication that has gone on for seven years with thousands of articles, cartoons, announcements, and other posts, with 45,000 readers a month. Over time, we've had many fine writers on the team. I'm sorry that many couldn't stay, but real life comes first of course.  I've seen the occasional 'Second Life is DOOMED' rant. But people have been predicting it's demise for years, and we're still here.   And it's safe to say it will be going on for some time, and we'll be here to cover it."


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Interview with Gemma Cleanstale

By Deaflegacy

Gemma Cleanslate and I met at her place at Skye Condos. She told me that she does fishing contests and helps the owners there, where she had lived for almost 10 years.  She is a manager at the condos/

"My friend Breezes Babii was a friend of the owner of the Second Life  Newspaper." said Gemma, "She introduced me to the owners." Dana Vanmoer, the editor, hired her after she and James Juno, the owner, interviewed her. "I felt terrible when they closed." said Gemma when asked about how she felt when the SL Newspaper closed.

I asked Gemma  about when she joined SL Newser.  "Bixyl asked me to join him and I said yes along with another reporter not with us now," she told me, "So I feel like a co founder of the paper as reporter and Bixyl as my boss, editor, and have been with the paper since then."

Gemma (gemma.cleanslate)'s greatest accomplishment would be the project with the SL kids. "I had friends who were SL kids and they were so misunderstood," she told me, "I believe that they are kids because of many reasons, wanted a better childhood or had a wonderful childhood. So I got a bunch of them together and they all wrote why they are SL children and we published all their stories."

I asked Gemma if she will continue working at SL Newser. "Oh yes." she answered, "I try to do a article every two weeks tho sometimes they come in bunches (laughter).  I do one and another pops up.  I hope I can continue for a while at least."

Gemma's goal with SL Newser is to improve the readership and make the articles interesting to the Second Life public so the readership grows and is informed.  She went on to say that Bixyl Shuftan follows the news that affects the readership and write the main articles.  She tries to keep  him informed of the press releases and send them to him.  But that's not all.  Gemma looks at places and events that are interesting to the public.

I asked Gemma  if she is happy with the ways things are going with SL Newser.  "So far so good." she told me, "But we need reporters who do more work."

Aside from working at SL Newser, Gemma does fishing contests as a hostess for 7Seas fishing.  She is usually at the Second Life Birthday celebration at this time as an exhibitor assistant but is taking the year off due to a health issue.  She is active in the Relay for Life and helps out at different events for them. She also attends Philosophy class in Second Life under instructor Herman Bergson. She's very frugal in shopping and does all the lists for good bargains.

I asked Gemma if she would say that she had reached her goal, and at the same time, found other goals too."Oh yes always other goals." she answered.

Gemma did have something to say before the interview was over. She says she misses Grey Lupindo. "I miss her.  Real lfie issues took her away from the paper and Second Life," said Gemma, "She was a real contributor to the SLNewser until real life took over. ... She deserves mentioning.  We (and Shelie Sands) were the four starters of the SL Newser."

As the interview wrapped up, I thanked Gemma before leaving.  I wish her all the luck in the coming months.  I can't say about the others, but I believe that Gemma is an awesome reporter.


Editor's note: Here are the SL Kids articles: Marianne McCann, Sage Kostenbaum, Patty Wylie, Everest Pike, Pygar Bu

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Haley Salomon's Memorial Service

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Sunday May 7 at 3PM, there was a memorial service for Haley Salomon. Information about her was hard to come by, a couple articles around 2008, notably one from Second Edition that dubbed her "The Princess of Green" as she had a love of green clothes and lived in a green castle. I was later told she was one of the founding members of the Relay for Life's Relay Wizards for Spunky team, an avid Tiny Empires player, a regular at Lauren Live and a close friend of the comedian, a big Star Trek fan who had a replica of the starship bridge, "In real life she was a casting agent and had a masters degree in theater."

While she had stayed out of the limelight, obviously she continued to make and maintain friendships. There were a number of people present, such as Tiny Empires creator Ultralite Soleil, Any1 Gynoid, Lauren Weyland, Holocluck Henly, Crap Mariner, Explorer Dastardly, and DrFran Babcock, who informed the Newser of the memorial service. There were a few pictures up of the lady in green.

Much of the service was done in Voice, so not all of it could be made into notes. While there was sadness in the air, "There is love, we have for each other," there was still an effort at humor, "First class shopper." "Yeah again someone who isn't mute with noise in their place." "Please turn off cellphones." Lauren was elbowed, "Tell a joke!" Someone responded, "I don't have to tell a joke, I AM a joke."

Someone noticed a "Team Fox" kiosk around, and was told it was for the Creations for Parkinsons group and fundraiser.DrFran Babcock was the first to speak, "Haley met her husband Sam in Boston. She gave up her career for him, although he was older than she. His world got smaller, and she stayed with him, shepherding his career. She had a Master's Degree in theater. She was a private person. "I loved her," says Orchid. I wish there was more we could do. I want to think about Haley."

Magnus Broday was next, "I should like to say something," and made a speech in voice. Someone passed around a Kaddish HUD. There was a poem read. They talked about Haley being a regular at the Lauren Live comedy show, "I would be very mean to anyone who sat in Haley's seat (laughter)," Any1 told the group, "Haley was very shocked at how aggressive I was about her territory." Buttermilk Panacek commented, "She took me to that (laughter)." Any1 went on, "Haley believed she could talk sense to anyone... I was ready to get violent with (laughter)."

White Queen (queen.bluestar) had the following poem:

Second life friendships are an ever changing stream of loves. Love
for your best girl friend….. love for your queendom and for your partner.
love for your relay team ,for your many many best friends.
the . loss…… is like a empty stage with the scenery
still there. …… as friends fall in love …..get married .
in good and bad ways …….
they fade away and my second life is
never the same
I AM happy for them but will miss them always
.this is dedicated to the ones that stay ..they are the jewels in my

Thank you for sharing that Queen," spoke Orchid Jameson. Several other people also complemented her. "Hounoured she asked me to read them on voice," she answered.

RandyAllways commented, "I would like to say something................ Energy can not be created or destroyed as an electronic Avatar, Haley will go on forever. Passing thru distant galaxies, Forever." Holocluck Henly commented, "The Kadish is a reminder of The Lord that he has his greater plan. And to remember and respect. There is no actual mention of death or mourning." Explorer (explorer.dastardly) commented, "It's the renewal of life." Any1 was in tears, "I am crying hard now." She described herself as having a broken heart.

Shmoo Snook commented, "I would just like to say that I'm not the most agreeable person, but the only thing I ever disagreed with Haley about was ABBA." Ivy Lane commented, "We do not have rez rights here so if anyone wants the folder with the heart or any of the frames with all her photos in them feel free to IM Phil or I." Queen responded, "Of course NOW I am still going to send her links to green hair and green skirts and tops...because I always am on the lookout for good one's as I whisk round the store" Ivy continued,

"Haley was always there. It's hard to think of her not there (sad)." DrFran added, "Haley was beloved." Lauren commented, "She traded in her Mesh skin for a Mesh soul." RandyAllways added, "Second Life as an eletronic medium makes all our Avatars immortal."

Phil Metalhead commented, "I don't have a whole lot to say, but I can say that in my 14 years here in Second Life, there has never been anyone like Haley, and I don't think there ever will be. She was a wonderful friend, and always positive and helpful." Lauren responded, "Hey.....all of Haley friends are like 'no one else'." ArminaX Saiman (arminasx.saiman) spoke, "I will certainly miss her a lot. I liked to make her laugh as often as I could, but in the past while that’s been challenging. We always had ridiculous long discussions had about things important and not, but I will always remember the laughs. That’s what I will remember the most, like if ufo's do exist."

Quarlo Quandry spoke of a Tiny Empires moment, "I can only speak for my own self -- but last time I got offered to change to someone else in TE, they offered me 20 million gold -- I turned them down -- as long as there is Green, I am in it and none other." Explorer commented, "tears we shed are golden tears of love, for every tear we shed the loved one feel the love."

Ultralite Soleil told everyone, "When I first met Haley I thought she was Shawna's little sister or something. Always together they were. I always liked to see Haley and I will miss her. Rest assured she will remain in Tiny Empires just as she is now, whether her avatar and land still exists or not."

DrFran agreed to do the Kaddish., speaking the following, "Yitgadal V'yitkadash Sh'mei Rabbah (Amen). [May His great Name grow exalted and sanctified] B'alma De'v'ra Ch'reutei Vayamlich Malchutei. [in the world He created as He willed, May He give reign to His kingship] B'chayeichon Uv'yomeichon Uv'chayei d'Chol Beit Yisrael. [In your lifetimes and in your days, and in the lifetimes of the whole House of Israel] B'agala Uv'zman Kariv V'imru Amen (Amen) [Swiftly and soon, and say Amen] Y'hei Sh'mei Rabbah M'vorach L'olam Ul'olmei Olmaya. [May His great Name be blessed forever and ever] Yitbarach V'yishtabach V'yitpa'ar V'yitnasei. [Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled] V'yit'hadar V'yit'alleh V'yit'hallal Sh'mei D'Kudsha Brich Hu (Amen). [Mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One Blessed be He] L'eileh Min Kol Birchata V'shirata. [Beyond any blessing and song] Tushb'chata V'nechemata D'amiran B'olma V'imru Amen (Amen). [Praise and consolation that are uttered in the world, and say Amen] Y'hei Sh'lama Rabba Min Sh'maya V'chayyim Tovim.  [May there be abundant peace from Heaven and good life] Aleinu V'al Kol Yisrael V'imru Amen (Amen). [Upon us and upon all Israel, and say Amen] Oseh Shalom Be'm'romav, Hu Ya'aseh Shalom. [He Who makes peace in His heavens, may He make peace] Aleinu V'al Kol Yisrael V'imru Amen (Amen). [Upon us and upon all Israel, and say Amen]

Shmoo commented, "As we say in Yiddish, oif simchahs. May we gather for happy occasions." Explorer responded, "To life Haley, forever in my heart. Amen shmoo, only joys." Anh Lycia added, "She was always the fiercest fighter in your corner, no matter what." Hacker Jannings stated, "She was my oldest friend in SL - I will miss her greatly." Xo (xochitl.ninetails) spoke, "Adios amiga Haley." RandyAllways added, "Aloha, Till we meet again."

Holocluck gave the lyrics of a song.

I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream

I have a dream, a fantasy
To help me through reality
And my destination makes it worth the while
Pushing through the darkness still another mile
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream

I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream

Ivy Lane also had this to say, "I had a bad relationship, who hasn't had one of those in SL? Haley listened to me cry, never once did she criticise me but constantly she told me that I was not happy , that life should not be this way that I could find happiness if I learn to seek out things that made me smile and laugh, becuase of her consistant sweet gentle support I left that man, and met the love of my life and every day I laugh and smile at least one time or more and Phil and I share the friendship of Haley. ... Brick and Blue: Family may not like each other. But, they teach us how to love deeply. Haley knew how to teach people to love. She was loved by many, many people - even the ones that did not necessarily like her, they loved her nonetheless."

After this, people began leaving, "Time to crash a Relay event." "Good night everyone - thank you for a beautiful memorial." "Good night everyone. It is wonderful to know that HALEY touched so many lives all over SL." "She touched all of us and more, many are gone and not even in world anymore we contacted some people from the early days that we know in FL." "I have been blessed to meet so many great people from here in FL, I went to the SLCC a few times, I drove to Missouri to meet Bob, I met Phil and Sallyanned in Cali, would have met Haley....... but she said no (sad)." Some asked how to get to her land, then were told her castle would be up a little longer.

And so, the friends of one departed resident had given their goodbyes.

Special thanks to DrFran Babcock

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, May 19, 2017

Interview With Arizona Ballinger-Whiplash At The Relaystock

By Bixyl Shuftan

Last weekend was the Relaystock, one of the more popular of the events in the middle of the Relay for Life season. Although organized by the Relay Rockers, they opened the event to multiple teams where some make thousands of Linden dollars more. I recently talked to the woman who organized the event: Arizona Ballinger-Whiplash (Arizona Ballinger). Although sometimes overshadowed by her noted partner, Trader Whiplash, Arizona can and has gotten much done in her own right.

Asking her how she found out about Second Life, her answer was, "Wow...that was a long time ago.   I happened to see an article in old online publication about virtual worlds, I forget the name of the publication now, but they mentioned Second Life.  I thought I would give it a try."

I then asked Arizona how her first days inworld went. She answered, "Probably like most (laughter). Stumbling around, walking into walls. One shoe on, one off, hair drawn down in my face (cause there was no attached hair then) and thinking I was the best looking avatar!  I shudder at that thought now  .. ha ha!

And how did she find out about the Relay for Life? Her answer was, "I found out about Relay when I wandered into LEGENDS Classic Rock club one day and met Trader.   The Relay Rockers were holding a dance event I think it was.  I have been on the Rockers since and have not looked back. That was ten years ago."

How had the Relay Rockers team and the Relay as a whole changed over the past ten years? Arizona answered, "Both have grown a lot.  Each year Relay has something new and exciting.  Each year there is more news about research findings.   It is so great to know what we do makes a difference."

Arizona had to take a short break to care of something, but was soon back. After I asked when she started helping to plan events for her team, she told me, "I started helping with event planning for the Rockers right away, and I was team captain  in 2008 and 2009, and again this year 2017." Was it a difficult job? Arizona answered, "You know, (laughter), it really isn't.   We work as a well oiled machine.  Our five or six coremembers know what it takes and how to do it. They are dedicated, efficient, and so amazing.  You ask and they say 'Yes.'  They come up with their own events and run with it.  Always something new each year.. When we go to new communities to bring Relay to them, we help them organize, but they run the event. They know their people the best.  And the next year they are more self sufficient in organizing the event for the team."

With this weekend's event being the Relaystock, I asked Arizona how it began.  She answered, "It started in 2014.  The Relay Rockers were still doing their CelebrateRemember Fight Back (CRFB) Top DJ Competition. The previous year we had held our finals at Halfway There event.  In 2014, the Halfway There event was a bit different and we wanted to do the CRFB Finals in a large team atmosphere.   We tossed around ideas and RelayStock was born.  Although the CRFB DJ Competition is no longer active, RelayStock continues to grow each year. We wanted to find a way to thank teams for all their support of Relay Rocker events, so we kept RelayStock going and are now finishing the 4th year."

I then asked her this being a Woodstock tribute, were there baby boomers looking back with fond memories and some younger people getting something of a music history lesson?" Arizona's answer was "Oh most definitely....and some enjoying the tunes they grew up listening to because their parents played it all the time (laughter)."

My next question concerned the clothes the avatars were wearing. Was there a difference between older and younger residents? She told me, "I think the older residents go more for the authentic bo-ho style that wasprevalent at Woodstock, where as younger residents wear the tye-dye.  But everyone has their own style to bring to RelayStock and it all works."

And what did she think stood out of any particular outfits, or impromptu events, at any of the Relaystocks? Airzona had to think on that, "Oh gosh... that is a tough one.  I think Santa dancing in the mud in 2015 was pretty funny.  As always Fuzz and 'The Hair' taking part. Cars and bikes going around before it opens is exciting, always some funthings happening.  I love the opening and am sad at the closing. Otter (Rowena Dubrovna) mud dancing is good for a laugh. He sinks to his little otter waist (laughter)."

After the Relaystock, there was still weeks until the Relay Walk. What events was she looking forward to in the time in between? Her answer was,  "For the Relay Rockers, we have a big Bid Me Bald May 17 with BioBreeds creator, Ozzie Drucker, he does one every year for us. Coming in June we have our HardCore For The Cure at various heavy metal and alternative music clubs, and we have the Twisted Hunts Summer Faire running for the month in support of the Rockers.   The Home and Garden Expo is one event I look forward to every year as well as the Medieval Faire by Unmasking A Cure, and the Inspired Dreamwalkers have a fun grid wide event Destination Hunt coming up that sounds like a lot of fun!   There are many on the Event Boards that I look forward to attending as well."

Getting close to the end, I asked what she foresaw for the future of the Relay for Life in Second Life? Would there will be a Relay for Life in Sansar? Arizona told me, "I think the Relay in Second Life is still going strong and will be around for a few years yet to come.   With Sansar, I can't really answer that.  It is very different than Second Life. Sansar's focus is  on the Creator and the virtual spaces are self contained. But I am sure if the American Cancer Society sees it as a viable platform, then they will have a presence in there."

Arizona concluded the interview, "When communities across Second Life come together for one common cause, something wonderful happens.  That something wonderful is Relay!"

Arizona, and her partner Trader, will continue to be a force in the Relay for Life for quite some time.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Interview with Trader Whiplash At The RelayStock

By Deaflegacy

Trader Whiplash-Ballinger and I met at the Relaystock.  There was an event happening so we went to the back.  I also got a chance to meet with Arizona Ballinger-Whiplash, Trader's partner.

My first question was how Trader got involved with the Relay. He answered, "I am a survivor.. In 2005 I was in Second Life and heard about a new charity event forming in world.  Relay For Life.   Nuala Maracas, this years RFL Event Chair, Alliez Mysterio and I decided we wanted to take part in it.  We formed a small team and fundraised at our club, La Vie En Rose in Rue dAlliez." said Trader.

My second question. one which made Trader laugh, was where the idea of "Bid Me Bald" come from. "I have leukemia," he answered, "In 2007 I went through six months of chemotherapy to treat it.  I would spend my nights here in Second Life with Nuala, Arizona and a group of friends.  Two of them, the late Catt Gable and Madelyn Majestic, said they would go bald if I lost my hair.  I said 'Wait, before you do that let's find a way to make it an event.' We tossed the idea around and came up with the idea of asking volunteers to sacrifice their hair in return for donations.   We decided $20 a day - L$5000 was a good amount.  We started it in the 2008 Season as a team event.  This is the 10th Anniversary of the event."

I asked him how he describes the T-1 Radio and his DJ style. He thought about his answer a little, "Let me start.  When I first came to Second Life, the music scene was primarily Electro Club music.  Everywhere you went.  I was given an opportunity to DJ on Radio dAlliez and decided to do Classic Rock as a fresh sound here. I love music. I grew up when 60s music was brand new.  I play guitar and studied music when I was younger.  I like to blend my sets.  Many DJs just play music.  From a hard rocking acid group, to a ballad, to a slow blues song, to pop.  There is no cohesiveness, no transitions or segues.  I like to find songs that segue from one to the other, even if the tempo or style changes. I want it smooth. If a song ends with a piano in  I look for the next song to compliment it.  Maybe fade in in a complimentary key or similar beat."

"He is a fantastic DJ." said Arizona with a smile.

Trader hates it when the DJ drops them off a cliff between songs.  He spends an hour or more queing songs as he builds a set list.  Trader also like to share facts about the music or artist, saying, "I want T1 to be like a terrestrial station.  I grew up with the legendary DJs from WMCA, WABC ad WNEW-FM and i want our station to live up to that legacy."

Trader has many favorite moments.  But he can remember the anticipation of Relay weekend.  "Every year is special," said Trader, "watching the community get so excited.  My highlights though, I guess 2014 when we relayed in Alliez's memory and took Purple Level, again in 2014 seeing us raise $415,000."

Trader remembers the closing ceremony in 2013 when they broke convio as they passed 2 million dollars. "Of course being inducted into the Relay hall of honor with Nuala and T1Radio was a humbling moment I will never forget," said Trader, "And of course walking the track during the Survivor Lap with Nuala and Arizona."

I asked Trader about the challenges. "We all face challenges.  Teams big and small are faced with challenges. How do we move to the next level? How do we avoid fatiguing our donors?  Trying to keep our teammates and community from burning out.  But its no different than the challenges we all face in life.  As a survivor the challenge of living with leukemia taught me a lot about facing challenges." said Trader. "But when it gets tough I have Nuala, I have Arizona and I have the Relay comnmunity to lean on."

On that note, I took a picture of Trader in the front of RelayStock.  I have a feeling that I have a lot to learn when it comes to Relay.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Interview with Shockwave Yareach

By Deaflegacy

Shockwave Yareach and I met at his area at Sunweaver Space , high above the sim.  Shockwave said we are in space, that's why it is named Sunweaver Space. "One of us has to build in orbit." said Shockwave. He took a moment to say this, "By the way: we are a kilometer up.  So be careful of the edges of the platform.  It's a long drop."

"Thank you for the warning. I was afraid of going over the edge." I said.

He told me this was his development area. I asked him what he had built so far. He started by showing me what he called a prototype for their campfire in the Relay for Life. "Yes.  I've started playing with Neon," he told me when asked if he built it. It had various plasmas and electrical sparks.

He then showed me the meditation tube,"You just stare at it and relax." said Shockwave when asked what the meditation tube could do. When he was asked about the avatar jumping in the chair, he said that it cycles among animations. Shockwave also showed me the plasma curtains. "The plasma curtains are for walking through." he told me, "They are just decorations.  Most of the textures I use are Raytraced using POVRay - a very old and slow graphics program."

"I made this parcel.  But not the whole sim." said Shockwave when we started talking about Sunweaver Space.  "I WISH I had a whole sim - could put out some of my maze games.  They consume land area like you wouldn't believe.  In this parcel, I can only rez my smallest."

We started talking about his role as a builder. "The first thing was Squid on a stick." said Shockwave.  "It was stupid, but silly.  You waved at people and the tentacles slapped them."

"I have a partner, Cynthia.  We build together for Relay For Life and for our store as we can." said Shockwave when he was asked if he had an assistant.  "The past year we've both been busy.  So except for RFL, our production has been slow."

 "I help my team.  But I don't think I'm an advocate.  Others are more eloquent -- I just do what I am able to do." said Shockwave when he was asked about his work with Relay for Life, specifically Team Sunbeamers, the Relay team of his neighbors the Sunweavers. We talked about his role in RFL.  "I love how we can use the special abilities in Second Life to create special events that would be impossible in real life.  It adds a lot to the experience." said Shockwave. His work with the Relay eats about fifty percent of his inworld time, but Second Life is still mostly socialization and relaxation for him.

"Cynthia and I build stuff for steampunk builds and mad science looks." said Shockwave.  He and Cynthia have worked on a number of joint projects over time. When he was asked if he had ever build a store, he said, "Yes, but it is gone now."

Shockwave had been building on Second Life for a long time, as well as real life. "You've seen the Christmas lights dancing to songs?  I do that.  But I don't have the budget others have so I have to make stuff myself and with my own designs." he told me.

Shockwave had been on Second Life for over 10 years.  I asked him when his rezdate is and he said, "Sept 29 2006." Then Shockwave said something about his work in real life. "I used to work at Nasa." he told me,  "15 years. I did a good job."

When Shockwave was asked if he goes to any club, he said, "Cutlass and Xanadu principally.  Now and then I'll find a blues club here or there.  I'm usually in Sunweavers or Caledon territory." Shockwave added that he goes to the Irish club in Caledon. "Heh.  I'll pass your complements to the dance ball builders" said Shockwave when I said that Shockwave and Cynthia are amazing dancers.

I found out that Shockwave write filk songs.  Shockwave gave me the link where he has some songs. "Once in awhile someone at a club will come up with a silly idea.  And if I have the free time, I try to make it real." said Shockwave. "Zorro wanted the song CARS done about Tanks.  So..."  And with that, he gave me the link . "I gave it a more Industrial twist." said Shockwave.

Shockwave used to write furry and Scifi, but he had not done much lately.  There was no time for him to write furry and Scifi. "Would you say that you are still a writer even though you don't do much of that today?" I asked. "I think so.  Out of practice is all." said Shockwave.  When he was asked if he has a blog, he said, "Alas, no."

Shockwave plands to continue coming on Second Life until the end.  Until then, he will continue to build things and maybe sell something.

Before the interview ended, we talked about my house-building.  When I asked him if he had ever built a house, he replied that he had built many houses. "I know you helped others build houses.  You've helped me with building a house.  Thank you." I said. "You are very welcome." said Shockwave with a smile, "Let me know if you need more help with the house building."

Thanks, Shockwave.

What I have learned from my time with Shockwave is that he is an amazing person, who would help people in need, like Relay for Life,  and someone trying to build a house.