Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Sunday Full of Relay for Life Events

Sunday March the 25th was an event-filled day for the Relay for Life. Across the Grid, a number of teams held a variety of events large and small, or helped other teams with a little publicity and Lindens.

One of the events started on Saturday night. The "Blues for a Cure" group was having a sixty-hour long music marathon, announced in the Relay volunteers group.

The Bluesers are still relaying! - Come on down and join us as we boogie-woogie two more hours into our sixty hour marathon of the Blues. Let us put a lil' boogie-woogie in your night. From some of the biggest hearts on the grid. So come join is as we relay with the Blues! We would love to have you join us and meet new friends.

Porting over using the landmark provided to "The Gateway to the Blues" at "The Delta" sim (see main section), a number were dancing the night away to some bluesy tunes, "We started last night at 6 pm and going 60 hours; our first year as a RFL Team!" "Really? Our first year?" "Yesssss!" There were no figures as how much they had raised so far for the event, but the kiosk there alone had 601K Lindens out of a team total of 628,400, "We're at 2,514 US$, since March 10th."

The next morning, the music marathon was joined by other events. At 11 AM SL time, there was the Relay for Life cross-sim Giant Snail race at the Skybeam Estates. Yours truly was a little late getting there, thinking the display screen at the main snail race trace provided live footage of the race. It didn't, and I tried rezzing the SL Newser blimp to cover it from the air. I managed to get a few half-grey pictures of those whom had fallen a little behind the pack. Finally, someone offered a teleport to the finish line. I got there just in time for the sixth place finisher. Tindalia Soothsayer was the winner of the race, at 58 minutes.

Talking with her and other racers, Tindalia felt she didn't have too much trouble holding her back, " just the start and the mega lag, but then everybody (here was) having that problem. … For the most part, things went pretty smoothly, little lag and snap back at times." Racer Alden Cortes told, "I got stuck under the prims on the water near the big falls. … I crashed twice crossing sims, but still a whole lot of fun." "It's always a lot of fun," Tindalia commented, "even with problems." "Yeah,"Alden agreed, "they just make it more interesting."

Spectators included Sheriff Fuzzball Ortega of Steelhead and Aasha Kohime of Aria Clash. Aasha had just found out about the race, commenting one finds the most interesting things in Second Life.

The Skybeam cross-sim snail race can be seen on Treet TV's archives Here.

One Relay for Life event that day was part of another. The WW2 Tribute sim was starting up it's Military Expo, and one of the first events was an Areosmith band music tribute, the event starting at 12 Noon. The band played on for at least a couple hours to a packed crowd, some of them Flying Tiger pilots. And in front of the stage were RFL kiosks.

As the Areosmith event was going on, another event was starting. The Tiki Photography for Life was having a "Jail and Bail" event. People were willing to get themselves locked up in-avatar for a little while for charity, people donating to bail them out.

It's a beautiful day for a Jailbail. Come join us at Tiki Paradise. Throw your friends/enemies in jail for 1K, and you get to choose the bail, up to 5K. All proceeds go to Relay for Life.

Popping over, the tropical setting certainly looked pleasant, with the beach huts and the sand. Even more so with the music and partying. But not everyone was dancing. Some were stuck in the huts under arrest. One couple made the most of it, speeding the time snuggling and kissing. Others just sat their and waited. "We were framed!" one of the jailbirds mock-complained, getting into the role, "Me toooo! I was framed too!"

While there, I saw a new prisoner was brought in: Relay Mentor Panza Elide. Not even the top people among the Relayers were immune, "Hello Panza. It so nice to have a cellmate." Over the Relay for Life volunteer's group chat, word quickly spread about Panza, some joking if there would soon be a "file-flavored cake" delivered. There were also a few "Gilligan's Island" jokes, and calls for "Will someone pitch in for Panza's bail?"

Later on, DJRedRyder Resident would announce the total the jail event raised in group chat, "Thanks For Your support Of Tiki Photography For Life Jail Bail Event Made 46,502 For Relay For Life Second Life."

In the middle of the Jail & Bail, still another event was starting up. The "Rockin' the 60s for Relay," also known as "Reader's Time Machine, " was taking place at the Legends Classic Rock Club & Boardwalk in the Arinultra Cay sim. Heading over there, this is where some of of the more active speakers in the group chat were, such as Fuzzball Ortega and Trader1 Whiplash, the latter being the DJ for the event, "If you are enjoying the music please remember tonight's show is for the benefit of Relay For Life and help with a donation to a Kiosk."

Just after I arrived there, Trader got some news, "Oh geez, there's a warrant out on me!" "Yep, they got you Trader." "Better you than me." Supposedly his bail was set for 5,000 Lindens. No one showed up to arrest him that afternoon, so he continued playing. He would escape arrest until Friday when he was captured by members of the Goreans for Life team.

It was an eventful Sunday for the Relay for Life.

Bixyl Shuftan.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Suddenly, Pirates at Luskwood

On Friday March 16th, the Luskwood community threw a pirate party. It wasn't planned ahead of time. Somehow the furry bunch at the Big Tree came up with the idea and ran with it, giving those in their group elsewhere on the Grid a few minutes notice.

Suddenly, Pirates!
We're having a spontaneous Pirate party here in Lusk starting in a few minutes at 8:00 PM SLT. Come join us and our DJ Haley Maruti! Bring yer swashbucklin'est outfits and join us for plunderin' goodness!

Dropping over a little later, I was surprised to see almost no one on the community platform. Looking around, I was surprised to see a new walkway leading to a floating island, with a bonfire, some supply crates, and a pirate ship, flying instead of a skull and crossbones a cat's head and crossbones.

Two of the Luskwood founders were there. One was Eltee Statosky, the other was Michi Lumnin, whom for a change was in something other than her normal skunkgirl and top hat. She explained she was modeling one of Luskwood's newer avatars. Their squirrelgirl DJ Haley Maruti I didn't recognize, though perhaps she simply hasn't been around the last few times I was here.

The party went on for a while, with it's share of jokes & wisecracks. Then finally the DJ announced it was about time for her to go. Haley's last song, she asked everyone to gather by the bonfire, then came a silly song about a caveman inventing fire and dancing around it. "

Me make fire!
Me dance around fire!
Stomp! Stomp! Ouch!
No touch fire again!

It was a fun little return to Luskwood.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, March 16, 2012

VWBPE Dragon Parade

VWBPE(Virtual World Best Practices in Education) opened Thursday in SL with Conference Orientaion at 21:30.

But then there was a dragon parade that started at 1:00 pm on the social island. That I had to see and participate in.

You will find some great outfits on the social island along with all kinds of fun transportation to try out. You can find the conference schedule at Perhaps you will find something you would like to attend.

The dragon parade was great fun!! Marvelous dragons.

If you don't have one and would like one visit the VWEPE social island and pick up a few free ones. Very cute!

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, March 12, 2012

Relay for Life 2012 Kickoff

On Saturday March 10th, the Relay for Life in Second Life began it's official 2012 fundraising campaign with it's "Kickoff" event. There had been a few fundraising events beforehand, but the planning committee as well as most Relayers preferred to wait until the season had began. By all means, that didn't mean a lack of enthusiasm. In the RFL group, people had eagerly awaited the Kickoff for days.

The Kickoff took place in four sims set up next to the ACS (American Cancer Society) sim, appropriately named Past, Present, Future, and Discovery. People sat in seats in a circle around the meeting point of the four sims, while the speakers and the planning committee stood in the center on a round podium that would regularly switch between several clock faces. MamaP Beerbaum is this year's Chairwoman of RFL in SL. Dwen Dooley and Nikki Mathieson are the co-chairmen.

The event began at 10 AM SL time. Anticipating a packed attendance, even with four sims, people had been gathering early to take their seats. And packed it was, with numbers reaching over 150 at times. For those who couldn't make it, T-1 Radio broadcasted the event over the Internet. And for those who made it, the lag meant it sometimes took a while for everything to focus. Noted Relayer RacerX Gullwing was quickly noticeable in his cartoonish rabbit avatar. Others soon came into focus, such as Fuzzball Ortega whom last year gained publicity for his team the Steelhead Salmons through his massive hairpiece. A number of men from the Ammaretto Horses team were therein a group, noticeable with their bare chests.

"Good morning Relay nation," the audience was greeted, "Welcome to the Relay for Life 2012 Time for a Cure." What followed was a description of how the Relay for Life began in real life in 1985 and how it grew. Then came the start of the Relay in Second Life, which was described as being regarded with skepticism at first, but the doubts soon vanished with the donations coming in. And over time the donations grew, from a total of five thousand US dollars in 2005 to $375,000 in 2011, involving over 2100 avatars in over 140 teams.

"Thank you all for all you do," the Relayers in the audience were thanked, "We aren't just cartoons." There was some talk about recent changes to the sims, then came a recorded message from Pipa Rexxen. She talked about meeting someone, and then the man getting news he was sick. Then came news the cancer was inoperable. Just as the last Relay season was starting up in March 2011, he finally lost the battle. She wrote a poem to honor him, which was put into song and sung at the event, "Until there is a cure, there will be more angels here on Earth than in Heaven."

Following "Until" was a reminder that 1,500 people a day die from cancer. Then came a listing of the Relay for Life in Second Life's sponsors, such as Peace Haven Communities, Avalon Town, Amaretto Breedables, and Houses for You. And then came a list of the teams, such as the Steelhead Salmons and the Passionate Redheads. Then came another song, "One Moment in Time"

The Kickoff soon came to a close, "Well, it's time to Relay." People were reminded that 35 events had been scheduled, and 15 were starting that day. As the people got up, many to leave to look around the four sims or go to events that were already starting or about to, another song played, one from the play Don Quixote, "The impossible Dream." Then singer Tamara Sands continued for those still listening to the radio with a song she had written in honor of her late husband, "If I Could Look Into Your Eyes Again."

Unfortunetly for the reporter covering the event, three of the four sims had crashed and were still the appearance of water just after the Kickoff (Trader1 Whiplash joked "It's Sting's fault, he did say let's crash the sims"). The one left was RFL Past. Still, there were a few exhibits, such as a rideable dinosaur and an Egyptian maze. The four sims were reportedly scheduled to come down within 24 hours, but as of when this article was being written, a glance at the map showed they were still up.

And so, the Relay for Life fundraising season in Second Life begins.

"Thank you all, see you at the Relay."

To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow,
To run where the brave dare not go.

To right the unrightable wrong,
To love pure and chaste from afar,

To try when your arms are too weary,

To reach the unreachable star.

This is my quest,

To follow that star,

No matter how hopeless,

No matter how far,

Links: Relay for Life (Wiki), RFL in SL (SL Wiki), RFL in SL,

*Edit* For a recording of the Kickoff, Go Here.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, March 2, 2012

Storytelling by Otter at Spirit Nations

When I was drawn by one of many notices that I get in Second Life, I saw a notice for a best in uniform contest at AX with Dj Sveta. I had some fun goofing off in a uniform; who wouldn’t?
Then I saw a different notice, “Storytelling by Otter at Spirit Nations.” I wanted to try something new and different, and I was always fascinated by Native Americans and their culture. I told everyone at AX, "bye, I’m going to check this out."

When I arrived at Spirit Nations, located around a campfire were many Native Americans .Some of them greeted them me with their word for hello or maybe greeting which was O’soyo. I greeted them back. I heard a couple people in voice chat. One of the things I overheard was that the story teller Heartspeaker was in silent prayers asking the spirits for blessing to share his stories. He could not speak until his prayers and ceremony was complete. To top it all off the persons attending were in Native American skins and looked very real.

When Heartspeaker finished his prayers and preparation he spoke in voice chat. His voice was grandfatherly, but still filled with vigor. He was happy to see so many people there to tell his stories to. His pacing was perfect to listen too not to fast not to slow.

One of the stories he told was about the creation of the world. The Great Spirit, or another noun he used was the creator, molded the mountains and sky. Later he placed animals and people there which he called movers. The creator tried very hard to think of a perfect world, but he was so tired so he fell asleep. When he woke up animals and people were spread across the earth. He let it be as an imperfect world.

Another story he told was about Sarduk the cold of winter and Neochin the warmth of summer. The two of them fought battle after battle in control of the earth. Eventfully they came to a truce that Sarduk would be in control through the fall and winter. In trade Neochin spread warmth through the land during the summer and spring.

Another story that was neat to listen to was about Thunder and the Raven. Thunder was a powerful man, bullying people, killing them, and taking their eyes. One man was very upset as Thunder stole his wife abusing his power. The warrior vowed to get back his wife. Everyone was scared for this warrior and Thunder was a horrible and terrible man.

Eventfully the warrior ran into Raven, and Raven assisted him by giving him a raven wing and an elkwood bow to fight the horrible Thunder. Raven covered the warrior’s eyes with his wing and then the warrior saw Thunder’s lodge. The warrior came to the lodge and Thunder thought the warrior was crazy. Thunder said, "how could you challenge me! You’re just a man." All within the lodge were eyes of people that Thunder attacked and stole their eyes from. It was a horrible sight.

The warrior brought out the raven wing and Thunder was weakened. Thunder stood up again, but the warrior drew back his elkwood bow and shot an arrow into the stone behind the terrible man. Thunder was weakened more and he begged for mercy. Thunder restored sight to all he took sight from and stopped bullying people. Thunder realized that not even he could challenge the creator. Raven had restored order in the world.

Midway through the event I spoke up by realizing that Heartspeaker’s otter animal totem is associated with sharing and joy (I looked this up in the animal book I have, "Animal Speak" by Ted Andrews). Heartspeaker indeed was acting like his animal totem by sharing the stories and being a joyful person. I seemed to hit the nail on the head as a couple people agreed he had powerful medicine as he spoke from the heart and speaking from the heart and sharing is very powerful.

The quote he did say which made a lot of sense was that, "when there is silence you can hear and see the difference between the ordinary and extraordinary." In this day and age that seems to be easily forgotten as everyone is surrounded by electronics and a busy life.

If you get the chance check out Heartspeaker at Spirit Nations at 1PM SL time every Thursday. When you hear his stories through his voice and not just words to read maybe you can see between the ordinary and extraordinary yourself.

I could say something extraordinary happened Heartspeaker said over voice chat “Grease Coakes seemed like a good person." Then he added me, a person he never met before, on to his friend list.

Grease Coakes.