Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Scenes From the Texas Furry Fiesta

 
By Bixyl Shuftan


From Friday March 26 to Sunday March 28, the Texas Furry Fiesta took place in Second Life, and a few other places online. Much like with the Gen Con last year, the decision to make the event virtual was because of the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

The TFF however would have a smaller designated area in the virtual world than Gen Con last year. The location was in the Crimson sim, the lower area next to the beach with the sounds of waves coming ashore.

There was a freebie "store" with a small selection of free avatars. They were quite dated, but better than nothing. I didn't see any Wingless avatars, but was later told they weren't put up as there was only so much room. 

Clicking on a crystal would teleport one up to the upper level, a beach park area. The main feature was a two story building with a flat roof. 

There wasn't much on the first floor, though there was a request to donate to charity.

The second floor had a small dance floor.

The top floor had some seating and a "Cards Against Humanity" game.

Near the building were a couple other games, and a screen people could watch one of the streamed channels.

There was also a display for pages of the website.

A few people were dropping by early to check things out.

The event also had places in VR Chat and Minecraft. I checked out the latter.

There was a hotel made of bricks, where players appeared. 

With the inside detailed. There were also water elevators one could flow up in.

Outside the hotel, there were various plots, where people with permission could build something.

Taking a look after the con was over, build they did.

Friday March 26 was the official start of the 'con. Much of it was on Discord with streamed channels. But there was activity in Second Life. I ran into Shelby Allen, one of the TFF staff.

Shelby explained things were going smoothly, and showed me around a little. There were a few others around, including some whom hadn't been around in a while.

There was one thing I hadn't seen in a while. There was a group of Yinglet avatars around, the largest since the release party in Montecito Bay.


When I mentioned this to one of them, she smiled, "Obviously, you haven't been looking in zhe right places."

Later that night, the "Cards Against Humanity" (or furanity?) proved to be a hit. 

And some fun conversations.

Saturday March 27, I saw something I hadn't seen in almost 12 years. This was one of the limited edition Lost Furest kitty avatars sold with all proceeds going to the Relay for Life. While I had gotten the Hope Kitty, I forget which one this was. 



There was more activity at the top of the building.


Someone showed up in a petite avatar, looking small.

And someone changed to a six-inch Lomtech from Lomgren Smalls, at six inches, looking smaller.

While it might not have been a real-life convention, there was plenty to do. Besides VR Chat and Minecraft, some were playing video games over Twitch. And on some Discord channels there were discussions and music playing.  I listened to a few minutes of those, but not a lot. This was partially due to the instant messages I was getting, and partially because with my experience with cons, I've found it best to relax and not worry about doing too much.

On Sunday came a message from HR Fluffenstuff over Discord, "Thank you for joining us for TFF's 2021 Virtual Con the discord Server will be taken down on 04-02-2021.  We will be looking at rebuilding it properly with the feedback we got from our attendees. Our social media team will announce when and where it will be hosted when we are able. 

"Thank you again for joining us and we hope to see you at the 2022 Live con!"

One friend of mine who attended commented the experience was so involving, he ended up getting post-con blues. Others on Discord posted they liked it as well, "(I) really enjoyed what I have seen of TFF and got to connect with people I would never be able to talk to." "I have enjoyed this Virtual convention experience very much. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make this happen.  It is normally next to impossible for me to get time off work to travel, so Virtual is the only way I have been able to experience any type of furry convention in a long, long time.  I hope that you will be able to consider having a virtual presence going forward. Not just for me, but for others who have difficulty traveling, including those who have disabilities, or who are otherwise home-bound."

What happens next year is still to be determined. But hopefully there will be some kind of presence by the Texas Furry Fiesta in Second Life next year, either their own area or cooperating with one or more furry areas.

Bixyl Shuftan
 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

The WVBPE Conference


By Gemma Cleanslate


“Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education is a meaningful way for presenters to share their research and experience about the rich learning systems in virtual worlds and games. This free online conference is produced entirely by volunteers. Conference proceedings are published as the Journal of Virtual Studies by Rockcliffe University Consortium.”

This is part of the mission statement of the VWBPE on the website. To learn about this conference go to the website  https://www.vwbpe.org/mission . The program, key speakers, events are listed there. The press release said it all. That is the Gateway to it all above.


I love this conference because it has far reaching effects to many who are interested in the use of virtual worlds for education. It certainly takes on more meaning in this day and age of using the internet for learning from preschool to adulthood. There are various complaints about video games but many contribute to following directions, decision making,  focus and other skills that aid in learning. I have been a greeter-host at the event for four years. I  love getting into the builds, the displays, attending some of the programs, social events and helping presenters, visitors and newcomers to second life orient to the many venues suspended in the installations. Each sponsor and displayer has their own little island in the sky to visit. You will find space freebies at the .... and in many exhibits and a hunt .


Last year the installation took on space to arrange the many venues up and down in the air. I was happy to see that they kept thee same locals this year and will keep it next year too I hear. It is too good to put in archives.The teleport hud, centers, and landmarks work so well to aid attendees and visitors.


Just to roam the many exhibits and pick up information is so  amazing. Attending the lectures gives one a perspective on worldwide education. The social gatherings are great fun with good music and camaraderie at the Social Spaceport. You will find space freebies here , and gifts in many exhibits and a hunt somewhere. I have to check into that! 

Do not miss this event. It will run March 18 through March 20, but I believe the venues will stay for a few days after.  Check the program page on line for more information about the lectures time and place. The region is open to the public now.You are invited . 

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/VWBPE%20Gateway%20Pyxis/100/128/24 .

Grab a Swag Bag!

Gemma Cleanslate

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Reader Submitted: International Women’s Day Cycling Criterium

 
Report and pics by Claire (aka Atomic Infinity)

March 8th saw an exciting new event for International Women’s Day, held by the Second Life Cycling Federation (SLCF) at their Destiny region race track. One of the many IWD missions is to celebrate the achievements of women in sport, and promote equality and visibility, and while our sport might be ‘virtual’, it still counts!

An international field of six women lined up for the 10-lap race on the road circuit, supported by their partners, friends, and representatives from Wuud On club who sponsored the event to help promote International Women’s Day in Second Life with us. The grey ribbon of asphalt laid out before them consists of straights, hills and technical curves to test the riders skills, technique and tactics. Each rider was supplied with a special edition Zephyr racing bike built by event organizer Bill Jobs (of BJ Bikes and president of the SLCF), and a unique design race cycling outfit to celebrate the day.

The start of the race saw some jostling for position on the road, with each aiming to get a good line through the first few corners. The riders soon began to string out, forming a sinuous line that flowed around the course. The leaders, members of the SLCF and practiced at racing, not surprisingly started to break away from the peloton although even over 10 laps the chasers were never far behind.SLCF rider Claire took an early lead and managed to keep hold of it all the way to finish the 10km distance in 12 minutes 46 seconds. Le Sweetie in second place was a mere 5 seconds later, and Elise in third was not far behind. Artemis, Kyara and Inesye each then crossed the line to further applause.

The award ceremony followed with all the riders being awarded another very special bike by Bill with an exclusive paint finish called Rose & Fire. Then Claire, Le Sweetie and Elise stepped up to the podium to receive their trophies and prizes.

Thanks must go to Bill for holding the event, building the venue and the bikes, and to the Wuuds On club for their generous support to promote International Women’s Day with us. Also thanks to all the participants and onlookers which made the day very special.

I hope all involved felt elated at the celebration of our women racers, and may it be the first of many such events. I certainly felt elated from where I was standing, which lucky for me was the top step of the podium. Sorry for no action photos in the race, I was too busy pedaling!

The Second Life Cycling Federation is open to join and race at no cost. Bikes are provided free, so why not join in with one of the events, or try your skills at the ongoing time-trial timer which is always available.

More photos on Bill’s Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/192235040@N04/

Claire

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

International Women's Day at The PBC

 
By Gemma Cleanslate


I did make it to the marvelous event celebrating International Women’s Day. JardenAlexis , owner of Premier Business Center. The venue was elegant decorated in purple and white, the colors of the day. The menu offered a whole host of dinners, beef and fish,and beverages. I settled on a white wine,  shrimp and rice and  cheesecake for dessert.


Lovie Benoir was greeting at the entrance.


I am sorry I arrived a bit late and almost missed the history of international women’s day which dates back to the early 20th century, given by ƊΣSI ƛƁΘƝƜΘΘƊ ƊƛƝƝUƝƵIΘ-MƛSSIƝΘ (DesireCinquetti Dannunzio).

JardinAlexis greeted the crowd which numbered in the upper 50‘s people attending. The speakers were introduced. The theme of this year’s IWD was Challenge.


Max E Stone, a real life author, who spoke about having goals, reaching goals but with relaxation and taking time on the way with balance.


The second speaker, DarkEbony Mocha (MsDEMocha)  CEO of the Mocha corporation.talked  about working through challenges. She talked about her real life work, traveling  country working with   federally  funded programs.and how life work can help  achieve and become stronger .


Next, Dancerina Starlight, who also works with 55 local agencies federally funded programs in real life, spoke about investing in relationships and having positivity. She wove the idea of money investment and relationship investment for the long haul together. If someone comes up with an idea “soar with the Visionary” and cooperate.  


Following the dinner and talks there was a Meet and Greet outside on the large patio. I know there was to be a party too but I had to leave to real life. It was a very elegant and successful event weaving real life and Second Life together. Thanks to JardenAlexis and her staff for the extraordinary work of putting it all together.

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, February 22, 2021

The 2021 Relay Kickoff

 By Bixyl Shuftan

After months of waiting, the Relay for Life's 2021 fundraising season finally started on Saturday February 20.

The theme for this year, "Cure for a Happy Ending."

Yours truly hopped over a couple days early for a few pictures of the American Cancer society sim.

But what was behind the curtain wouldn't be revealed until later.

The schedule that day was: 9am - music by Trader then at 10am the Kick Off Ceremony. Following that was the "all day party" with 11am music by Fiz Underwood, 1pm Purelife Magnifico, 3pm Riker, 5pm Tazzie Tuque, 7pm Anni Braveheart. Those who couldn't listen inworld could tune to T1Radio and RelayRadio on their webbrowsers.

Gemma Cleanslate was there before I was, and got a few pictures.



The sim where most of the action was, American Cancer Society2, was full with 60 avatars. I was at the edge of ACS in the "overflow" with over two dozen more.

Because of the Platinum Avatar Challenge, I was in a different form, a tiny Dinkie fox. 

Some of the people didn't show up as much more than body parts early on, but Stingray Raymaker and Gem Sunkiller rezzed okay.

Several members of team Friends For A Cure, including co-captains Ari and Adam Spark. Behind them are Avariel Falcon, Bane Finch, and Panza Eilde.

There were several members of team Sunbeamers, Matt Carlton, Liska Fuchs, Spooked Dreamscape, Snowbuns (Skylark Lefavre) and Nikki (Cynthia Farshore had made it ahead of us)



One of the HC Honor Guard.

By now, most people had rezzed, most of them. I still needed to "cover some butts" in the editing room.

The lighting was best viewed at Midnight. We caught up with Cynthia.






MamaP Alter (AlterP Beerbaum) was among those dancing to the music.


Visible at times were scenes of fireworks.


 In the back of the sim behind the castle was a "Road to Recovery."

It was a path with a number of obstacles.

But persistence eventually overcomes them.


For those interested, the "Road to Recovery" is still up, at least for now.

A video of the event was made, and pictures can be found on the RFL Flickr page, including Ishtarkiss's Kickoff album.

Go Relay!

Bixyl Shuftan