Monday, November 18, 2019

Some Veterans Day Events

By Bixyl Shuftan

Last Monday, November 11, was Veterans Day in the United States. This is a holiday for Americans to honor those whom served in the Armed Forces. In real life, there were parades and other events. But there were also events in Second Life.

On Saturday November 9, the Marine Corps Ball was held.

Organized by the people behind the Veterans Tribute to honor the anniversary of the founding of the US Marines, the event was held in the Veterans Isle sim. The event was from 6 to 8 PM.

On Veterans Day itself, the Happy Vixen had a small party for the holiday. But the main event for the Sunweaver/Angels community was at Club Cutlass two days later on Wednesday November 12.

Cynthia Farshore, a veteran herself whom served in the US Navy, played the music for the event that went from 6 to 8PM. At the close of the party, the veterans of the community present lined up and saluted.

The big event was the annual Veterans Tribute, which appeared inworld just after the start of the month, and was around until shortly after Veterans Day. The Newser would interview the two people in charge, Flattop and Sarah Ewing.

Linden Lab would also feature the Tribute on Second Life Destinations. Draxtor Despress would do the video for it.

The people behind the Tribute would send the Newser a note of thanks:

Thank you so much for the amazing article about the 13th Annual Second Life Veteran's Tribute.

You made it possible for us to reach so many more of the Second Life citizens and let them know they have a place to honor those that have served in the armed forces. 

We, the coordinators, are so grateful for your assistance and willingness to contribute to the veterans. 

They would also send us a plaque, which is up at the Newser office at HV Community.

Thanks again to those who served, for the United States and other democratic republics.

Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Halloween Party Fundraiser at Caledon Downs

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Tuesday October 22, Caledon Downs held a Halloween party at it's Goblin Cave. The occasion was to relax and have a little fun, dressing up in costume and enjoying a some music. But it was also the second of two fundraiser parties for Caledon Oxbridge University. The first had been on Saturday October 19 at Caledon Oxbridge Village.

Cynthia Farshore, the Duchess of Caledon Downs and the owner of the Goblin Cave, played the tunes for the audience. A total of Twenty-seven others were there, many in costumes that ranged from the spooky to the whimsical. A gift-giver would randomly give prizes to people, such as ghastly portraits, pumpkin bats, witch corgis, marshmallow skulls, and more.

There were some Halloweenish tunes such as Ray Stevens' "Sittin Up With The Dead," the "Transylvania Twist," the "Monster Mash," the theme to "Ghostbusters," "I Put A Spell On You," "The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati," "Feed my Frankenstein," and others. "What do you feed a Frankenstein?" "Frankenfurters."

People talked and joked as the event went on. When the song "Hotel California" came up, someone joked "Electricity on even-numbered days," a reference to the brownouts currently going on there. When Cynthia played "Darn I'm Dead Again," sung by Shackwave Yareach whom was also at the party, people jokingly offered to be his agent, "Do you have a manager Shock? Need one? Sign here...... No don;t bother about reading the fine print - trust me - (mwhahaha). Shockwave mused, "My daughter, who I made it for, hated it (grin)."

Someone named Teddy Bear walked in with a huge needle, "Anybody want a flu shot? ... I am not sure what kind of medicine I have in this syringe" "Flue shot?," someone asked jokingly, "No thanks, I had my chimney cleaned before winter. ... Are you a registered nurse Teddy?" "I am a deadly nurse. I specialize in zombies." "How does one nurse the undead?" someone else asked. "Carefully" responded another. Badger asked, "Oh, you're a staff nurse at parliament?" Teddy responded, "I have a special weapon to crack Badger skulls." "If  you do that Teddy you'll have to nurse him back to health." someone mused. Badger joked, "Do I get sponge bathes?" Teddy responded, "I will simply give him one squirt from my syringe. Bend over MGB, this will not hurt!"

There was a little talk of the Halloweenish attractions elsewhere in Caledon Downs, notably the "skull hunt" in which one has to look for nine small skulls, the three larger ones giving out a basket to collect them, "find them all you get a prize." Andrea Jones commented, "Cynthia puts a lot of work into her region. Always something to do here."

Eventually, the party came to a close, "Thank you all for coming." "Great set tonight Cynthia." "Thanks for hosting us!" A total of 15,300 Linden dollars had been raised.

Caledon Oxbridge University ( is best known for offering tutorials for new residents of Second Life. Besides Caledon Downs, Cynthia Farshore is the owner of Farshore Radio.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Scenes From Burn2

By Bixyl Shuftan

 Once again, it's time for Burn2. For those who don't know, it's the largest yearly art and music festival in Second Life. It's the virtual version of the yearly Burning Man festival which takes place in Black Rock Nevada. It's considered a partial inspiration for the creation of Second Life as early on in Linden Lab's history, some of the staff visited a Burning Man event and were impressed. After Second Life was launched, the Lab allowed the use of a number of sims for a "Burning Life" event by fans of the real-life festival. After a few years, the Lab no longer sponsored the event, and it would be renamed "Burn2."

This year's theme is "Metamorphoses." As usual, the official starting point is at Burning Man- Deep Hole (174/32/25).

 Not far from the starting point, you can get a balloon ride that can take you around the sims.

An art exhibit for the Lamplighters, one of the groups of Burners.

A Ranger station, with an animesh critter dancing away on top. I would see a few of the latter around the Burn.

 Burn2 isn't just about art, but music. While going about, I noticed this little party under a big tent.

The key build of Burn2: "The Man." On Saturday, this wood structure will be burned.

The six-sided structure under The Man.

While not 100% sure, this looks like the Temple. The burning of the temple on Sunday will be the last big event of Burn2.

A build based on the story of Pinocchio. The book wasn't quite like the movie.

A party on a platform high in the air.

Burn2 is known for it's decorated outhouses. Some could be whimsical.

Um, that cigarette isn't supposed to be there, is it?

 This exhibit was one of the more interesting, on the outside looking like a museum.

On the inside, it was a number of rooms. I forgot to write down the location, but it's one I recommend seeing.

That's it for now with the scenes from Burn2. It's just a small example of what's there, so drop on by. If you can't drop by this upcoming weekend, the sims should be up at least a couple days afterwards, with more time to enjoy the exhibits.

Bixyl Shuftan

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Happy Rezzday Shockwave and Cynthia.

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Thursday October 3, there was a party at the Goblin Cave at Caledon Downs, in Caledon. The occasion, not just to celebrate the rezzday of it's owner, Cynthia Farshore, but also that of her friend Shockwave Yareach whom had his a few days earlier. Cynthia had come onto Second Life on October 03, 2009. Shockwave stepped onto Welcome Island on Sept 29 2006. Both are noted builders and members of the Sunbeamer Relay team.

As per prior notice, Rare Double Rezzday Party! Come join Shockwave Yareach and Cynthia Farshore as they both celebrate their rezzday. They are nearly to the day 3 years apart Shocky - 9/29/2006 and Cynthia  - 10/3/2009. Make your way to the Goblin Cave now at 6 PM SLT for around 2 hours of mixed music.

Both Shockwave and Cynthia are members of the Sunweaver community, but have ties to the Caledon one. And over the course of the party, people came by from both to wish them well. "It's a special bday for the Duchess," Shockwave told everyone, "10th Rezzday." "The Duke turned 13 (on) Sept 29," Cynthia responded. She played a number of songs, including a few birthday tunes like, "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen." She collected no tips, but there was a donation jar for Caledon Oxbridge University. There were also a few parodies such as "Born to be Mild." Someone wondered if a year in Second Life was equivalent to six in real life. One vixen grinned, "That would make me 69.  No thanks."

Someone mused about anniversary gifts, "50 = silver, 6o = gold, 75 = diamond, 200 = platinum, ... I guess?" He then corrected himself, 100 = platinum." Shockwave mused, "If I live to be 200, ugh!" Another woman giggled, "I had not heard about SL years.  But at 82, I guess that would qualify me as a greymuzzle."

At one point, Cynthia contemplated, "I wonder myself why the Guv titled us Peer instead of Duke or Duchess?" Shockwave wondered, "He misspelled 'Pier' maybe, meaning you're pillars of the community?" Cynthia's friend Liska Fuchs mused, "The drug store pharmacist is the 'piller' of the community."

At another point, someone crashed, came back, and commented he felt like kicking his ISP.  Spooked Dreamscape commented, "Give the ISP an offer they can't refuse, 'Weed.'" Major General Badger commented, "But read the fine print first. Contracts are not legally binding nor do magical badgers accept liability for flood, fire or theft." Someone else joked, "Consult a honey badger before making deals with badgers." "I thought honey badgers didn't care?" spoke the one who crashed. "You want one representing you in court." Badger mused, "Sign in blood - mwhahaha - oops, did I say that out loud?

There was a birthday cake available for anyone to get a piece, Shockwave saying, "Everyone can get a slice of cake from the cake on the bar." Someone responded, "Good, shows that the motto is true. Cake does exist in Caledon." Andrea Jones mused, "It's made of pixels so not filling, eat as much as you want." Liska joked, "The cake is a lie."

Over time, people came by, some to stay the whole time or most of it, some for an hour, others to just stop by to wish the two well, "It is always an honor to celebrate a RezDay!" Shockwave commented, "Always good to survive to have another." "May you both be in world for many more!"

As the party drew to a close, Cynthia reminded everyone of the movie at the Sunweaver's Feral Theater, "The movie The Nut Job will be playing at the theater in the Sunweaver Estates. Hopefully I can get the stream to also play here." Shockwave mused, "You'll go nuts for the movie."

Soon after, the party was over, and the people went their separate ways. But the Goblin Cave is still around for anyone wanting to stop by for a little music and maybe a game or two.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, September 16, 2019

Happy Birthday Firestorm - Interview With Tonya Souther

By Cyfir (Cyfiremmerich)

I got the chance to check out the Firestorm Ninth Anniversary Party today and briefly interview Tonya Souther who is the Mac developer for the Firestorm viewer. The turnout was amazing with well over 150 people there supporting the Firestorm team’s work. “I think the event's fantastic. I hadn't heard Savannah before, and she's a great singer. I'm pleased to see as many folks out here on a September as there are.” Tonya remarked, “I'm constantly amazed at the support that Firestorm gets from the user community.”

I personally have been using Firestorm for years and I absolutely love how customizable the viewer is. I have my Firestorm viewer extremely customized with chat notifications, a purple theme, and graphics settings. It’s a power user’s dream and I wouldn’t be able to go back to another viewer at this point. “Me either!” Tonya said “We make Firestorm to be the kind of viewer we want to use ourselves. We're pretty demanding of what we expect. If we want to use it, then others will too.”

I also got to ask Tonya how Firestorm will handle “Bakes on Mesh” and she had this to say. “We're in the process of gearing a release ready right now. In fact, after I get done here, I'm going to go back to fixing MacOS bugs.”

So there seems to be plenty to look forward to from the Firestorm team in the near future and beyond thanks to their tireless support of the viewer and it’s fans. Here’s to another nine years!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Innfest 2019, The Lovecraft Festival

By Bixyl Shuftan

The annual Lovecraft festival is taking place in Second Life. This ia the annual celebration held by fans of H.P. Lovecraft, which started on the author's 129th birthday. Originally called the "Lovefest," this year the name has been changed to "Innfest" after the name of the place, Innsmouth.

Lovecraft received little recognition while he was alive, not really able to make a living as a writer and had little money at the time of his death. But he has come to be recognized as one of the most influential 20th Century horror authors, his works emphasizing the fear of the unknown and the sense that life as we know it is an all-too-thin shell shielding us from a reality too bizarre and frightening to truly comprehend without going mad. He inspired other writers as well as artists and game makers in adding to a sub-genre of horror that has come to be called "Lovecraftian."

The reason for the event's name change from "Lovefest" has less to do with a few people getting confused by the name and more to do with a certain milestone. This year's festival also marks the tenth anniversary of the sim of Innsmouth, which according to the event website was modeled after Lovecraft's story "The Shadows Over Innsmouth." It was created by Darmin Darkes and her team, and is currently owned by Arik Metzger (AriktheRed), who has been doing the festivals since 2012.

Yours truly didn't hear about the celebration until Sunday August 25, so most of the festival has already taken place. Still there is much to do. The main area around the entrance, Innsmouth (17/34/1201) has a number of shops. Among which is one by Kittycats, whom are described on the website as having brought back the "KittyCat of Ulthar." In one yard is a feline statue and several cats prowl a yard. Across the street from Zan's Clothing is one shop with a strange circular cloud overhead.

There are other places in town besides the shop, and in the darkness comes the uneasy sense that something is hidden in there just waiting for something to come by and ambush. At the port area is a ship. Approaching it, a message came up, "'At the Mountains of Madness' - An Antarctic expedition that didn't exactly fare as hoped.  Something stirs in the hold... and what, pray tell, is in that crate labelled for the Antarctic (hint hint)?" Taking a look in the dark hold was ... a penguin? But this penguin was a huge giant that occasionally cackled in what sounded like a menacing tone. Irronically enough, there were fossils of a penguin this size found just a few days ago in real life. Maybe Lovecraft was on to something.

There's also a trolley going about town that can take you around the town, as well as other places in the sim. I also found a teleporter that takes you to a place at Innsmouth (30/74/1500) inspired by the story "The Lurking Fear." Touching the sign there will get you a few items. Another I found was at  Innsmouth (65/80/1906). And there is the town of Innsmouth at the ground level at Innsmouth (20/241/54).

Road to Innsmouth: 'The smell of the sea took on ominous implications...  [reaching] the crest and beheld the outspread valley beyond, where the Manuxet joins the sea just north of the long line of cliffs that culminate in Kingsport Head... On the far, misty horizon I could just make out the dizzy profile of the Head, topped by the queer ancient house of which so many legends are told; but for the moment all my attention was captured by the nearer panorama just below me. I had, I realised, come face to face with rumour-shadowed Innsmouth.'

There have been music concerts during the Innfest. On the final day of the event is a Masquerade Ball, at Tuesday August 27 at 9PM SL time (Midnight EST).

So if you're a horror fan, or just want something out of the routine, by all means come to Innfest. If you come across this article after the event, explore the sims anyway. Just make sure you're prepared for the scary and disturbing.

For more information on the festival, check out their website at .

Bixyl Shuftan