Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Art Deco Clock Build-Off

The Virtual Museum of Architecture is having another great Art Deco building contest. Clocks are the featured item this time. The twenty-two entries are on display at Virtual Museums’ Main Campus at Virtual Museums (229, 146, 25).

Djinn Dasmijn, who organized the Build-Off, gave me a sneak preview a few nights ago while he was waiting for the final entries to be delivered. The clocks range in size from a tall grandfather to petite mantle ones. Triangles, circles, arches, and other art deco shapes are featured. Water falls, cats, statutes and more are incorporated into other designs.
Zardoz Morane’s Rockefeller Atlas clock was inspired by real world New York Rockefeller Center, while Thoth Bellic’s clock has an Egyptian flare to it. Undine Collison’s sparkling marble clock is like jewelry for your mantle.

The clocks are not only lovely to look at, they sound wonderful, too. Every 15 minutes a few clocks chime. At the top of the hour there is a symphony of sound.

The smaller building contests are very popular. While some contestants have entered other contests in the past, many of the entrants are new. “Little builds bring in an entirely new set of builders,” Dijinn Dasmijn said. “Opens up the door for more people to try new things.”

The winner of the clock competition will be awarded a $2000L prize. Half of the money is from the entry fees, and Builder’s Brewery donated a match amount. Voting on the best clock is limited to members of the VMA.

The Builders are: Mellisina Parkin, Icarion Artful, Ringenki, Tommie Cobalt, Windrider Taiyang, Sandi Glas, Silania Pastorelli, Todd Socke, Joesf Fitzpatrick, Dierdre Maven, Lissianna Silverweb, Rune Draegonne, Current, Thoth Bellic, Simi Emerald, Zardoz Morane, Atrebor Zenovka, Lea Supermarine, Raphaeli1978, Logan Weder, Gawwain Inglewood, and Undine Collison.

A large yellow arrow that points the way to the “Art Deco Buildoff Display”. Walk on the sidewalk, then up the hill to a circle of buildings. The clocks are in the second building from the left. Inside is an exhibit of Art Deco posters, too.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

*Addition* - The winners have now been announced. They are:

First Place - Sandi Glas

Second Place - Gawwain Inglewood

Third Place - Undine Collinson

The exhibit will be on display through March, 2012.

Grey Lupindo

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Let’s Go on a Hunt

I don't usually have time to devote to all of Second Life’s creative hunts, but I wanted to go on "The Home and Garden Market Hunt," sponsored by Katy Glendevon and Heavenly Villa on Triskelion Shores. It’s all part of a grid-wide hunt that runs through Dec. 2. Hunt items are ten cents.

Heavenly is the owner of L'aize Dayz PG & couples furniture and the Touch of Home group. She's a co-owner of Home and Garden Market Village and a teacher at Builders Brewery. You can follow her at .

Katy started building in SL almost 4 years ago, and after a brief foray into clothing design went back to furniture making. She founded Marmalade Jam one year ago. She is the co-owner of the Home and Garden Market, a real vendor community with the mission of supporting fellow home and garden item creators. Creating items for her store and the wonderful feedback from Home and Garden Market vendors is what inspires her and keeps her motivated. This is the first hunt she organized and she’s proud of the response from shoppers and vendors alike. It’s something she and Heavenly wanted to arrange since the market was first established in June 2011. They have moved around a little, expanded, learned, and now it seemed like the right time to do it. A lot of preparation went into it: finding vendors, finalizing dates, shooting pics, creating landmarks, slurls, blog posts and the advertising.

A click in the destination guide landed me in the "L'aize Days" store, in a room with brown and green furniture, the cozy stuff that would have you falling asleep in your first life. Heavenly created a country coffee table, brown leather and tweed armchairs and a warm brown window seat. The winter green cupboard in the corner is sweet with an antique phone, daisies and books.

When I stepped out of the store, I searched for information leading me to what hunt item I was suppose to look for. A few minutes later, I learned it was an apple from a small poster in the Marmalade Jam store. The first apple I spotted on the Teacher's pet desk was the wrong one. I did find the right one. Here’s a clue: milk & cookies.

In Natas there were cute storybook canopy beds. Next door, Thaino featured shabby chic and vintage home styles. Bold colors pop out at you. At Pinky's Nik Naks, I saw some really cute gnomes. Actually love those in first life, too. They were $50L and about 10 prims. The Ivy Greenhouse was only $100L and about 22 prims.

By this time, I'm noticing the "cuteness level" of the market and all the sculpties. Landscapes medium and dark green are very cozy. The pond areas are adorned with waterfalls and lily pads. Contently, swans swim about.

At Thingies, the Frosty the Snowman song greets me as I cross the welcome mat. Here you'll find nautical products, such as a lighthouse or starfish on stands. The framed beach pictures are nice. I found an apple there. Think roses. You’ll find a Dutch Iris Collection and African Daisies for $300L, all hand painted at Rich Living. There's potted trees, too.

Storaxtree sold old window picture frames, cookies on a plate and some home builds.

At Exquisite Eye Decorations, there was a cute little Dutch windmill, a scarecrow, a round table and chairs, flowers, small tealights and a room divider.

By DeZyne featured a striped umbrella and lounge chairs, quality custom homes and home accessories. The bird cage with the cat ready to pounce is so realistic at Thisnthat. Desiree Davison is the creator here. She also has a lampost with an elf. Grandma’s Chair is just adorable, exactly what you'd see in her house. Check out the summer dock.

Love's Enchantment featured items by Jacob Bearsfoot. I saw yellow finches and blue songbirds and butterflies, too. There were summer mushrooms you could sit on and a Lovers Embrace water sculpture that was pretty nice. I saw a gorgeous grandfather's clock.

I did the entire course and only found 2 apples. I was told there are five out there. Hope you do better. Don't forget to check the stalls.

For more information, log on to:

Netera Landar

Friday, November 18, 2011

Anya Ibor of “Fearless Nation” and the “Fearless Festival”

From November 4rth to the 13th was the Third Annual ”Be Fearless” Post-Tramatic Stress Disorder Awareness event , or the “Fearless Festival,” at Fearless Nation in the Oak Beach sim. There were a number of music DJ events, plus a number of art exhibits on display.

Thanks to a friend, I got in touch with the head of the Fearless Nation group, Anya Ibor. In real life, she is an M.A. in Forensic Psychology. “Fearless Nation PTSD Support has been in SL since June 2009,” she told me. When I asked her what normally happened here between special events like the Fearless Festival, “Well, we have a Remembrance Place where people can go to quietly remember and pay tribute.” The place is normally closed to the public, but open for the Festival, “Remembrance and mourning are an important part of PTSD recovery.”

“And we have group meetings to discuss PTSD matters,” Anya went on, “We were holding 5 a week, now just one. But we'll be back up to 5 per week, maybe more after the event. We also offer addiction recovery meetings--not 12-steps, mind you--but real recovery techniques and peer support. ... The environments here, the events, all based in scientific research in trauma recovery. From the top researchers in the field: VS Ramachandran, Van Der Kolk, etc. We really believe in the individual's own recovery--there is no magic bullet or 'one-size-fits-all' cure. ... Everyone is a different chemistry set. But each must work hard to recover. No one can do it for you.”

Anya did one to make one thing clear about what her treatments were not, “However--we DO NOT have exposure therapy here--it was developed for phobias--not trauma--i.e. ’recreating Iraq war zone and running vets through it.’ No. Not on these sims.” The DJ playing music was nearby listening, and asked what the point of it was. Anya responded, “Yes ... But for some reason it's a huge fad in the psych biz now, using exposure therapy, it merely re-traumatizes the person. Phobias and Trauma are completely different. ... I even question exposure treatment for phobias.” She joked “The only thing that cured me of my fear of spiders was spending 2 years in AZ in a house infested with scorpions. Then I moved back East and I hate spiders again ... strange really.”

I asked Anya what were her most interesting moments here. She answered, “Well, the most interesting experiences have been, from a Psychology standpoint, the amount of information I can gather merely through looking at one's avatar and their texting.” Someone asked her how could she read an avatar. Her answer, “The way people put their avatars together. ... The words they use--and how fast or slow they respond. Tells me quite a bit even if they are ‘anonymous.’ ... it helps me help them. If I understand and watch closely I can determine the responses I make when they speak in group or in private. And I can tell when someone is in IM or if they are simply hesitating.” She was asked if men and women responded differently to treatment. She answered, "No ... The healing process is different for the individual, regardless of gender."

But not all were truly welcome here, “And also--sadly--the handful of people I have had to ban from the sims because they might have PTSD, but they also have some comorbid conditions like shizophrenia or borderline personality disorder. They are much too disruptive to be with the group.” Her idea of a success story, “I would say the people who came into our sims, really worked the program and then returned to real-life: to work, to family, rather than escaping here. It mean that Virtual works for trauma.”

And if someone suspected someone they knew had PTSD, “First, learn about it, and then speak to the one with PTSD. We offer a great deal of consumer protection information, so that family and friends can help the PTSDer. Also try to engage the person with PTSD to learn about it, and get the right diagnostic tests. We provide a list of them. Education first, makes one feel more in control of the condition. Then the work begins. The work includes symptom and affect control, reconnection with others (starting here in SL) remembrance and mourning, bodywork and nutrition. and more.”

It was soon time to depart, Anya reminding me the sims set up for the artists, featuring artists such as Bryn Oh, Scottius Polke, Trill Zapaterro, and others, would be there until th end of the month.

“Please IM me any time, and you are welcome here always.”

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Occupy CNN iReport Island

Occupy Activists gathered at CNN iReport Island in Second Life to meet Nicole iReport (Picture 2), a real life CNN Producer. CNN is covering Occupy Wall Street nationally and globally only through the generous citizen journalism of iReporters. How else could CNN cover 1700 Occupy Cities world round? (you can find your local Occupy group on )

At CNN's regular Second Life (SL) meetings, Thursdays at 2pm US Pacific time, Nicole and Henry iReport meet with citizen journalists to discuss their stories, give encouragement, and explain what people want to read most. This week, Nicole said, "we want to know what motivates people" in the Occupy Wall Street movement and "we want portraits of protesters." In response:

Frederica Lexenstar (with the “Make Jobs Not War” sign) is an Occupy Lexington Kentucky activist in real life (RL). Frederica is a deeply committed activist, she explains, "I spend 4-6 hrs/day at occupation in Lexington KY." She's also involved in Occupy SL, the global activism group in Second Life. Frederica finds, "one interesting thing about the occupation in SL, is you get reports from people who are participating all over in RL.”

Gilles Loring (with the "Money Talks 99% Walks" sign) participates in Occupy SL because she can't attend Occupy in real life, since she is a dedicated caregiver. Occupy SL provides an accessible activist community for people in all time zones, with real life responsibilities, and irregardless of physical abilities.

We invited Nicole to tour one of the Occupy Wall Street sites in Second Life. Occupy LEA (Linden Endowment for the Arts) is an immersive artwork by Miso Susanowa (Picture 3 right). LEA is a self-curated gallery provided free for use by any SL citizen. At Occupy LEA, you are immersed in an Occupy Wall Street encampment, complete with fully functional tents, sleeping bags, and media center.

Famous SL artist, Trill Zapatero (Picture 3 left), stopped by to meet Nicole and answer any questions. Trill is the artist and curator of many immersive artworks, including the Four Bridges Project regions and two Afghanistan Museums in SL.

Later, Trill was joined by her adorable friend Genevieve Silvercloud. All this happened very spontaneously. I sent a group Instant Message (IM) to Occupy SL just before Nicole arrived, we all decided to Teleport to Occupy LEA, then Trill arrived with Genevieve to join us. It was fun. We got to chat at length with CNN about Occupy Wall Street and meet enthusiastic Occupy Activists who have a big impact in SL and real life!

CNN iReport Island

Miso Susanowa's OccupyLEA

Any1 Gynoid
Original article on CNN

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is being celebrated with a week of lectures, music, exhibits, and more at Instituto Espanol (116, 186, 31). When you arrive at the landing point, you will see the sign, a small altar, and a trail of orange flowers. Go west, turn the corner, and descend the steps to find the Exhibit Hall. Along the way you can pick up a festive t-shirt to wear to the exhibit, too.

Traditionally this holiday is celebrated by constructing altars to remember and honor deceased loved ones. Malu Zhao constructed a beautiful altar in the middle of the exhibit. It features candles, food, and photographs of loved ones. On both sides of the altar are paintings and other works of art depicting Dia de los Muertos. The traditional symbols of this holiday are skulls, skeletons, and Catrinas, a female figure made famous by artist José Guadalupe Posada.

Ms. Zhao also explains the history and modern celebrations of this Mexican holiday on notecards that you can find near the altar. She writes, “The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. ... Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts.”

The Instituto Espanol teaches Spanish to SL residents in Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Groups. For Día de los Muertos the three groups are competing to see who can decorate the best altar. Visitors can vote, and the winner will be announced at the closing ceremony. The Basic Group was ahead in the competition when I visited, but that may change.

All of the altars are festive and fun, with lots of dancing skeletons and Mexican food to sample. I lingered a while at the altar of the Intermediate group, who gave out drinks of Bombay Sapphire along with samples of comal con tortillas and pizza margherita.

Eugenia Calderon, one of the Spanish teachers, has prepared a presentation and lecture on the traditions and meanings associated with the holiday. Her presentation, which is also on display at the Exhibit, is in Spanish but includes lots of pictures.

The Celebration will continue through November 2, ending with a fiesta at 8 p.m. SL time. A full schedule is found near the entrance to the exhibit.

Grey Lupindo