Thursday, May 17, 2018

Scenes From Bid the Lindens Bald

By Bixyl Shuftan

Besides being the scene of the Relaystock from Friday May 4 to Sunday May 6, the Relaystock sim was the scene of another fundraising event: Bid the Lindens Bald. Organized by the Relay Rockers with the help of Linden Lab, nineteen of the Lindens were putting their hair on the line for the purpose of raising money for the Relay for Life in Second Life. The RFL in SL is one of the larger chapters of the Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society's largest fundraiser.

Last year, the first "Bid the Lindens Bald" event raised almost a million and a half Linden dollars, a huge success. Like last time, the Lindens volunteering were in three teams. The Product Ops team had Alexa Linden, Ekim, Grumpity, Oz, and Patch. The Support Leaders team had Ami, Garry, Keira, and Tommy. The largest team was Support Agents, which had Corky, Evie, Ginger, izzy, Kristin, Madori, Sparky, TJ, Vix, and Vanessa. At the Relaystock sim entrance, there was a kiosk for each of the three teams. And at the end, the team in third place would go bald for one day for each 5,000 Lindens the two other teams combined raised.

On Wednesday May 9 at 4PM SL time, the kiosks were frozen and the totals added up. The Support Leaders team got the most, a total of 180795 Linden dollars donated. Second place went to Support Agents, whom had gotten 99467 Lindens in their kiosk. And third place went to Product Ops, which got 28,287 Lindens. The three teams combined had made 308,549 Linden dollars. It would be Alexa, Ekim, Grumpity, Oz, and Patch Linden whom would be without their hair for over a month.

Thanks to some computer trouble, I didn't make it in time to see most of the Lindens get their haircuts. "Looking good," Trader Whiplash, who was playing "Almost Cut My Hair" by Crosby Stills Nash and Young when I arrived, would say, "So far still 10 ears!" But I did arrive in time to get some pictures, such as Oz Linden dancing away, "Oz is looking pretty good here, and no blood." Oz himself asked, "Send recommendations for cool scalp tattoos!"

Alexa Linden, whom with a shaved scalp was covering it with flowers.

Grumpity Linden was apparently just getting her haircut.

Later on, I would see her sans hair.

Ekim Linden looked like he didn't have much hair to begin with. But who's going to argue with a dragon? As for Patch Linden, I never did see him, "Patch is soo in hiding," OldeSoul Eldemar remarked.

Governor Linden was halfway sunken into the ground when I saw him. As he had scissors in his hand, apparently he had been doing at least some of the haircuts, and the tiny skunk in the place was staying clear of him while he had them. Someone upon seeing him remarked, "I KNEW IT! I KNEW the Lindens have overworked underpaid hamsters running the servers." Vanessa Linden told him, "Shhhh don't tell our rodent secret!"

Madori Linden dancing away with her long green hair.

Keira Linden was on the winning team, and didn't have to go bald. But the pixie Linden did so anyway.

Kristin, Garry, Evie, Caleb, and Tommy Linden. We don't know however if Caleb was the right shark or the Left Shark.

A better picture of Kristin Linden, whom was a skeleton avatar with a refrigerator in her hair. I asked her what the kitchen appliance was doing there. Madonna Daehlie commented, "What? No, Bixyl.. You got it backwards.  Kristin's fridge has grown a skeleton." Kristen herself replied, "It's where I store my leftover souls I eat." Another remarked, "Kristins fridge head reminds me of that meme: 'I don't know whats going on in this picture, so heres an image of a skeleton with a refrigerator on its head.'" That got the bony Linden's attention, "Oh if that's an actual thing please do send it to me. Hahaha!" Late in the party, one would remark, "Looking at Kristin, I'm wondering if the company pays a living wage?"

Oldesoul in a tiny avie, and Tazzie "Tazz" Tuque in a "Pawlice" uniform.

Corky Linden in a velociraptor avatar, with wig. I joked, "Corky, when my friends see you, they're going to think Second Life has an 'Ark Survival Evolved' sim" Corky responded with a "Haha Bixyl." I turned out Tommy Linden was the Ark player, "Oh my God! Bixyl, I love Ark! ,,,Corky watches me play a few times. ... She likes the dinos, she does not like me shooting them (laughter)."

I saw this little guy with a piece of scissors. Was he trying to do a haircut?

This pony was with the Relay for Christ team.

Looking outside the dance area were some vans from the Relaystock a few days earlier.

While there were a few jokes at the Lindens' expense, there were also some complements. Corky Linden responded to them, "Awwww (smile) It wouldn't be nearly as fun to work with everyone if it wasn't for you guys." "You guys are fantastic too, don't believe for a minute that I don't know the work you all put into making SL go."

Eventually, the event started to wind down. Tommy Linden spoke as he left, "Alright folks, its been a lot of fun, thanks for coming out and hanging out with us and donating! You all enjoy the rest of your evening!" Alexa Linden told those still there, "Thank you all for making this event such a success." Evie Linden would say, "Thank you everyone for your donations! This has been a spectacular event! My hair also thanks you (smile)."

And so, another Relay event had a successful end, raising over a thousand US dollars for cancer research.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Relay for Life Season Kickoff

At 10AM on April 7, 2018, the official Relay for Life in Second Life fundraising season officially began with it's "Kickoff" event. The event had been anxiously awaited by it's volunteers since the end of the last season in August. But this year was different in that the Kickoff was in April when for the past several previous seasons it was in March. This shorter than usual season was part of "Project Relay Refresh," aimed at revitalizing the Relay after the past few years shown high but declining fundraiser totals. The Relay Refresh aims to change that.

"Welcome to Relay for Life Two Thousand Eighteen," Stingray Raymaker greeted the crowd, "It is a completely refreshed relay ... I love the attitude that we've had for the last few months coming into this Relay. I would have to say this is a completely refreshed Relay with a fresh heartbeat. I will say also that last summer I spoke at the wrap-up ceremony, committed to you that we need to refresh our Relay in order to position us for what's yet to come. We had to simplify. We must shut the door on old traditions. It's hard to do sometimes. But some traditions fade, and we pave the way for new traditions. Open our minds to new ideas. We must embrace people, and their willingness to help, in order for 2018 to be the bridge between the past and the future. This is a bridge year. We have to change our mindset from being an event filled with individuals or teams who are competing for a prize to a mindset of being one team: Relay for Life of Second Life. One team working together with one common goal, which is a world where cancer is no longer relevant. It's touched too many of our lives for that not to be our real goal. And the only way we're gonna do it is to work together. The entire Refresh mindset starts with our core values and every decision that we have made from the summer of last year and into the future is guided by and aligned to those core values."

Stingray would speak further, as did Nuala Maracas, Random Padar Darrow, Nikki Mathieson, and MamaP Beerbaum. Frolic Mills would also say a few words about his recent recover from cancer, "My therapy was we are going to give you chemo to make you very very weak and then burn your throat. I am in remission but that is a savage way to become a survivor. They destroyed my cancer, they did not cure my cancer. The fight is far from over. I had the most modern treatments anywhere in the world, but its still not advanced enough."

There were also some performances on stage before and in the middle of when the Committee and Frolic spoke.

 The stage was designed by Royal Shippe.

MamaP concluded the opening ceremony, "Let’s hand it to our teams.. Our ONE team, UNITED, called Relay For Life of Second life by playing loud and proud the Parade of Teams. GO RELAY!"

(Click here to view the video of the opening ceremony)

Yours truly couldn't get in the two sims where the Kickoff was taking place, RFL Kickoff 1 and RFL Kickoff 2, the former having over eighty residents. So I listened over the stream with a few others while Gemma Cleanslate took a few pictures (seen earlier in this article). They told one another survivor stories, "My Dad has been gone 22 years this year . The night before I got married his hair started falling out and he went and got it shacved off.. My groom, brother and groomsmen all went that morning and went bald with him."

Some would give stories over the main volunteer group. Bain Finch stated, "Like all of you, I joined Relay For Life to find support for the things I was struggling with, but what I found was totally unprepared for. I did find what I was looking for, but also found something I never expected. Trough all the tears of laughter and hardship expressed, found a group of people that defeat and failure is not in our vocabulary. I found a group of people, that no matter how harsh their lives are, will in a heart beat, lend a hand of support to another, even when their basket of needs are near exhaustion. I found a group of people willing sacrifice everything to help another. I found the possibility that things can be better than they are now. To keep fighting, to keep working, to keep striving to make things better, even if our efforts seem futile, even when they seem futile for a long time yet to come, and keep pushing, that all will be well, even when we know for a fact, it will not be so. I found the true essence of HOPE."

But eventually I did get on, though the ceremony was over.

The stage area was very well done.

I would then take a look at the various camps of most of the teams.

I did hear that several teams were not represented in the track. Among which were my own, the Sunbeamers. They were mentioned in the ceremony, though.

There were established teams, such as the Second Life Cheerleading Squad.

There were some new teams, such as Relay Music Fest.

Just south of the ceremony stage was a central dance area, where people could dance.

Team "Buck Cancer" had a mechanical bull. Even with several tries, I couldn't get much longer than five seconds.

It was quite an exciting first day for the 2018 Relay season

Image Credit: Gemma Cleanslate, RFL in SL

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, April 6, 2018

Announcements: 14th Annual RFL of SL Kick Off Celebration

The following is from announcements from the Relay for Life in Second Life yesterday

*  *  *  *  *

Come ONE, Come ALL!! to the 14th annual RFL of SL Kick Off Celebration!!  We're geared up, fired up, teamed up, UNITED up and ready to get to Relaying!  Thank you to those who volunteered for the task of kick off planning,  Jesie Janick and Trader Whiplash.  Thank you to the Kick Off regions designer, Eclair Martinek.

            !!!  CHEERS TO OUR SPONSOR!!!
Much appreciation goes to this year's Kick Off Sponsor: Relay Refresh!

What... Who is Relay Refresh?  They are just a couple of seasoned Second Life souls taking on a fun project telling stories about Relay For Life and spotlighting the people who make it happen.

In Second Life, even the newest avatar quickly discovers that Relay for Life is a big deal. Hundreds and hundreds of avatars volunteering their time year after year and raising well over 3 million real life dollars during the last ten years.

And behind every one of those amazing avatars is an equally amazing real life person with a story that motivates them

to give their time to Relay for Life.  Read their stories at Relay Refresh!

Check it out  on the website: and on Facebook!


                    !!! KICK OFF DETAILS !!!


Beginning at 7am SLT on Friday, Apr 6th, registered teams will be able to enter the regions and rez kiosk, vendor and any memorabilia that fits within the land impact limit of 30 per team (30 prims).  All registered teams will be represented on this Parade of Teams Trail! 


Parade of Team Trail 1

Parade of Team Trail 2

Parade of Team Trail 3

Parade of Team Trail  4

Kickoff Seating

Kickoff Entertainment Stage

Note:  All times SLT

Saturday, Apr 7

9am: Kick-Off Pre-Show with Zander Greene

10am: Kick Off Ceremony
Featuring the Event Leadership Team, Guest Speaker: Frolic Mills, Music from SL Live Performer: Djembe Dragonfire with Dance from the Monarchs Dance Troupe and Choreography by Diiar Vader Shippe.  Set/Stage Design by Royal Shippe.

Listening Stream:  (inworld) or  (on your regular internet browser)


T1 Radio is also streaming the Ceremony Live at:  or


Some of SL's great venues have decided to bring their own Entertainment Line-Up to the Kick-Off!  Thank you to:
The Club, MacLintons Neighborhood Pub, Key West, The River Rock Club and LEGENDS Classic Rock

Friday, Apr 6
Sponsored by: The Club
4-6pm: DJ Heath
6-7pm: Satin and Erin
7-8pm: Porter Pacquot
8-9pm: DJ Harry

Saturday, Apr 7
Sponsored by: MacLintons Pub
6-7pm: EffinJay
7-8pm: Max Kleene

Sunday, Apr 8
Sponsored by: Key West
noon: Lisa Brune
1pm: Phil Setner

Sunday, Apr 8
Sponsored by: The River Rock Club
2pm - 3pm   DJ Sin & DJ Selene
3pm - 4pm    DJ Legacy
4pm - 5pm   DJ Kevin
5pm - 6pm  DJ Lonewolf

Sunday, Apr 8
Sponsored by: LEGENDS Classic Rock
6-8pm:  DJ Trader Whiplash

                     !!! VIEWING PARTIES !!!

If you would rather watch the Kick Off Ceremony from your own venue or home, why not host a Live Viewing Party?!

YouTube Viewing Screens will be sent out before the ceremony begins via the Volunteers and Info Only groups.  There will also be a box in the Relay Center on ACS Island. The box will include a viewing screen and instructions on how to show them from your own location, LIVE!

Thank you to Luke Flywalker for providing LIVE youtube coverage for the Viewing Parties!


Landmarks will be sent out in the very near future.  Remember to get there early, we do expect the region to fill up.  You will be able to hear and cam over from ACS Island so if the main Kick Off region is full, you can go there.  Also, please consider wearing low lag items..  meaning clothing and hair with few or no scripts in them.

Since there is a performance/animations part to the ceremony here is a bit of information on how you can tweak your viewer for optimal viewing.

That's it!  This is the official end to your Relay Kick Off Weekend Celebration Invitation. ..  for now

We're excited to see you ALL at Kick Off.  We're about to get this Party Started!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Scenes From the VWBPE

By Bixyl Shuftan

From Thursday March 15 5o Saturday March 17, the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education event took place. It was a three day conference taking place in six sims with in their words, "an amazing line-up of speakers, workshops, sim demonstrations, poster presentations, open discussions, and more."

Before the event, there was a Press Day on Sunday March 11. Beth Ghosrraven, iSkye Silverweb, and others showed me and other inworld journalists and bloggers about the event and grounds. They were giving out fedoras to those showing up. But I already had one.

There was a special underground area, which I was told most likely won't be around next year. There was a quest down here people could undertake for a prize.

One could rezz a seahorse and ride around in the water. When you got off, it would say, "Thank you for riding Under the Sea Seahorse Lines." Some people did have a little trouble, "?!?! Where is this Sea Horse Taking Me?!?!?!"

There was a skycar that could take us to a few spots around.

Or one could use teleport boards to get around.

Thursday March 15 at 8AM came the opening ceremony for the VWBPE.

Eventually, the ribbon was cut, officially opening the VWBPE grounds.

Ari (arisia.vita) provided some music for a while.

At 9:30AM was the first of the discussions: "Identity, literacy, immersion and presence; joining together the building blocks of virtual world learning"

Gann McGamm, Mark Childs in real life, spoke to the audience in Voice while Marcia Kjeller typed what he was saying. Letty Luckstone introduced him, "Dr. Mark Childs has worked in the field of Technology-Enhanced Learning in the UK for 20 years and is now a TEL Designer at the Open University, his tenth university," Letty told the crowd, "His PhD was awarded in 2010 for his thesis, Learners’ Experience of Presence in Virtual Worlds. Mark was the manager of the Theatron3 project from 2007 to 2009, which developed 20 ancient theatres in Second Life for performance and learning and has co-written and co-edited four books on learning in virtual worlds."

For a recording of the event, Click Here.

Next at 10:30 was "The Minecraft VRevolution: Collaborative Learning." The event had several presenters: Katherine Hewett/TwelfthNight (Avatar), Mary O’Brien/Serena Offcourse, Beth S. O’Connell/Beth Ghostraven, Kim Harrison/Thunder Insippo.

Following that event was an underwater party in the "Octopus's Garden."

There were a number of merfolk and other underwater avies. Me, I just reached for my scuba tank.

 At 1PM SL time was when Ebbe Linden spoke.

As the Newser noted earlier, Ebbe wasn't there, but was giving his talk from elsewhere. But there were two Lindens there: Madori and Bianca. Madori would message me, thanking me for covering the event.

There would be a number of discussions and panels over the next few days. Finally on Saturday March 17 at 6PM was the closing ceremony. On stage were LoriVonne Lustre, Pooky Amsterdam, Phelan Corrimal, Letty Luckstone, Elli Pinion, iSkye Silverweb,  Beth Ghostraven, and Serena Offcourse.

Pooky was the host of the event, received with much applause, "It’s great to be here at the VWBPE 2018 entering our second decade.  It’s been an incredible success, appreciation to everyone who participated on all levels, especially our volunteers! Over 2,000 educational professional  come to VWBPE each year, in what represents an important pillar in immersive education. A global grassroots community, using technology to find, learn and maximize our effectiveness in the world around, and in front of us. We are utilizing gateways through to gravitational educational superhighways such as this conference provides.

"As I began this introduction, I wanted to honor an Irish educator, for today is St. Patrick’s Day. In the seeming Zeligness of my life, I happened to be at Stuyvesant High School when Frank McCourt taught there, and much impressed with this quote of his, now read it ~ 'He says, you have to study and learn so that you can make up your own mind about history and everything else but you can’t make up an empty mind. Stock your mind, stock your mind. You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.' ”

"And it hit me, an empty space in the mind is like an empty sim! Fitting into the multitude of our virtual environments think of it,  we can visit palaces or make our own, further creating backdrops upon which to visualize our thoughts and ideas, as well as those of our students. That sim, does not remain empty long, because here much translates from 'If I think it I can do it' or even better, 'if we can think it, it can get done.' Talk about MindStock!

"We even manifest beyond paper and time, and have richly achieved rewards actualized in both our 3D and 4D lives, on and behind the screen due to these platforms, and the VWBPE. And thank you to someone who makes this possible and encouraged our growth and that of Virtual Learning. Who continues to lead us, I am so pleased to introduce the person behind Rockcliffe’s motto - 'Nam et ipsa scientia potestas es' (Knowledge is power) our very own Phelan Corrimal, also known as Kevin Feenan, good Irish names both!

"Each year the conference programs amaze, and this year is no different - we took a cue from the great futurist Alvin Toffler who said >   'The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.' What impresses me most is the focus here on developing 21st century skills for learning, and if we are all too human 1.0 in our physical selves, then becoming an avatar helps make that leap forward to our electronic destinies  where we realize ourselves as actual links to the future. We had more than a few highlights from Bryan Alexander, Mark Childs, Tom Boellstorff and Ebbe Linden/Altberg - what incredible insights from people who are living lives with both feet in the grid and two hands on the keyboards. The revolution will be livestreamed!

"The Social Virtual Reality session was great, props to Lyr Lobo, Gentle Heron and the rest of the panel. Examples of how far we are getting include the METAGAME: Ready Player One Meets Snowcrash - blending of two major literary influences within our virtual reality - how cool is that and Chemistry Experiments in Virtual Worlds! I am smiling just saying that. And I’d like Quadrivium more if I could pronounce it more easily, but the ability to have this kind of high level discussion in real time on STEAM subjects and instructional innovation is a knockout, and gives us tremendous hope for a future we all need to be part of.

"More and more we need one another, and while that is not new, the way we bridge distance with thought leadership is impressive - thank you again to everyone!"

Pooky would then introduce the others on stage, who would speak briefly. Beth Ghostraven would thank several newsletters, magazines, and blogs for covering the WVBPE, including the Second Life Newser.

They would also announce the winner of the 2018 Thinkerer Award: Valibrarian Greg.

To see the recording of the closing, go here. You can also go to the VWBPE page on Youtube Gaming for a list of their recordings.

The VWBPE sims are still up, presumably until the end of the month. So stop by and see the exhibits and places before they fade away.

Bixyl Shuftan