Monday, August 24, 2015

Memorial Service for Lumiere Noir

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Sunday August 16, a memorial service was held for Lumiere Noir. The longtime resident was best known for his building of the Ivory Tower of Prims in the Natoma sim, which had a detailed, and the best known, library of lessons and tutorials for learning how to build with prims and scripting. Known as Vice Frost in real life, a high school teacher of Plano Texas, he had passed away on Monday August 10.

The event began about 1PM SL time. It was scheduled to be at the Ivory Tower. But there was a limit to the number of avatars which could be there. Part of the reason was that Avi Arrow, whom helped take care of the Tower and organized the event, wanted Lumiere's real life family to attend the Second Life service, via newly created avatars. So a number of people gathered at a nearby area in the Taber sim next door. Daniel Voyager estimated that the number of people attending at more than 70 avatars. I myself counted 41 at Natoma and 24 at Taber. The gathering was a collection of both longtime residents, including some well known personalities such as RacerX Gullwing and Prokofy Neva
One of those attending commented, "I love that I am seeing so many truely name worthy people in attendannce!" Prokofy called it, "A very motley crew united by only one thing," paying their last respected to a man whom had done great things for this virtual world.

There were also a few members of his real life family, including his stepsister ElliePirelli Resident and his brother Pegasus58 Resident. "On behalf of the family," ElliePirelli spoke, "thank you, everyone, very much for being here today. We are honored to be here. ... Lumiere showed me Second Life almost 10 years ago and he brought (his mother) in and took her on a spaceship ride. It is incredible to see what he has built." "Thanks to all of you for being here," Pegasus58 added, "Lumiere showed this to me many years ago and I know it meant a lot to him. ... Lumiere was a teacher and enjoyed helping others learn. This brought him much joy. ... He taught my sons things at a young age and never let them believe that they were too young to learn anything."

A number of residents spoke about the departed resident.  Marianne McCann spoke, "I don't feel like I need to tell any of those gathered here today just what an impact Lumiere Noir had on Second Life. And yet, I will. Second Life is billed as a place where all of its Residents create everything that exists.  It is a showcase of the mind, a place that only exists thanks to those of us who build, texture, script, and create Our World here. Without us, there it nothing. Yet through the building in front of me - and before that, the Ivory Tower in Noyo - anyone who has ever opted to lift a primitive in Second Life has learned the ins and outs of that craft. Without an avatar like Lumiere Noir guiding and teaching all of us, how many of us would have stayed here? How many of us would have built this world? Would there even be a Second Life in 2015? I don't know. I'm honestly not sure. So, today, we mourn our loss, but we also celebrate the person and all he taught us.

"At this year's SL Birthday event, I found myself building large structures out of primitives. As I worked on it, I mused at how I was using a trick or two I learned from the Ivory Tower. I know I am nowhere near alone in this experience, just one of millions who's builds were formed with Lumi's teachings.  Through all of us, and through the tower and other things Lumiere Noir created, his legacy continues. Thank you, Lumi, for being here."

Jopsy Pendragon, "Just simply... I always felt a kinship with Lumi... as I do with Robin... The three of us weren't just satisfied to learn to use SL for our own creations... we weren't happy unless we were helping others discover what they could do here as well. I'll miss the mad need to show-and-tell some new way of doing something... and I popped in on Lumi often to show off, or vice versa... (smile). I can't say much more than that... I'll miss him deeply. t makes me glad to see him remembered by so many amazing people. Thank you.(smile)

Robin Sojourner, "Lumi was one of the first people I met here in SL. 'm a teacher, too, and I was deeply impressed by the whole Ivory Tower. As well as learning to build here. I asked him about adding something about textures. And he encouraged me to do it, and to put it on my own sim. So I'd get the traffic and tips. Without Lumi, there would have been no Texture Tutorials. I agree with Jopsy. There was a special friendship between the 3 of us, Jopsy teaching particles, Lumi with prims, and I was doing textures. It was more fun than I can tell you. I can't believe that he's gone. I'll miss him so much. Thanks, Lumi, for everything you taught me, not just about prims. About Life, and living it with joy, as well. You will be sorely missed."

CrystalShard Foo spoke, "I met Lumi back on the virtual world before SecondLife was a thing. We used to chat and hang out, which was pretty much all you could do over there, really. Well, that and play with hoverboards. When I heard of SecondLife and how you could actually create over there, I ran over as fast as I could. Turned out Lumi managed to get there a few months before me. (smile) Naturally, I glued myself to him and the few others that I already knew. He showed me the Ivory Tower of Prims back when it was first being built. I remember walking around the first floor - the only floor that was kind of finished, and surprised to learn that you could shift-drag to copy. Later when I dove into scripting, he let me try some of my weirder experiments on his parcel. Where I managed to lose a bunch of wayward moving prims now and then. Pretty sure they're all back to me by now, but.. if you stumble on one, do let me know. (grin) When I got the phone call, it was a very weird experience. Honestly I'm still processing it. But I can't really say much more than everyone else already did - I'll miss Lumi, but it means I'll never forget him."

YadNi Monde, whom until recently ran "YadNi's Junkyard" freebie mall, "I used to buy clothes from Sven Wu Kong in 'There' because I thought they were colorful and fantastic. Then I left There to come here. (paused for a few people's chuckles), and I met Lumiere Noir who was building his mighty tower. It took years to realize the clothes and the tower were made by the same person. But that was all expression of great talent. I learned a LOT in this tower, fancy tricks about CTRL Z, about turning a spinning staircase, about creating whatever I could think of. He enlarged my vision of this grid and opened my eyes on the possibilities. I am like all of us here, i am holding a bit of his knowledge inside me. We all together represent the love we have for this gentle man. Because a GentleMan, he WAS, and we will keep him inside of us until we join back with him someday. I certainly hope there is a sandbox where he went at, and we ll be teaming up again to create fancy things. We'll do more sand castles, and we ll talk SciFi oldies. And I am sure he can hear our LOVE. That's all I have to say right now I'm sorry, all I can say again is how much I'll miss him, and not being able to skype him anymore to discuss our mutual blender progress is going to be like a huge hole."

Kat Medici, "What to say that hasn't been said... Simply that Lumi/Swen gave many of us more than his time in SL. He gave us himself, his real life interests, and his friendship. I missed Swen in 'There' so I followed him here, and discovered him doing a bit of Captain Nemo, and raving about building in 2003. And I found myself intrigued again by thepossibilities of SL. Because what is more delightful than possibilities? It is because of Lumi that I met CS, and through CS, I met so many others that are part of my life, my beloveds. And most importantly, for me, without SL, without Lumi, without all of this, I would not have met my RL love. So I owe Lumi my happiness. I will always remember him and will miss Lumi/Swen for a lifefime. All hail Lumi!"

Tosha Tyran, Lumiere Noir's partner in SL and real life, "... I hope you all wont mind me getting very personal... but I just feel like that. The American poet and author Thornton Wilder once said: 'There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.' The land of the living. We have all walked through this land with Lumiere Noir. Some of us a few steps, a short encounter, others a long, long way. Much is there to say about the land of the living, memories we share. These last days have made my personal memories very vivid and I want to share just a few with you all: Lumiere, how he found solutions to so many of my problems – SL and RL: Bored with Second Life and too much hehe, haha, how great we are? He told me a wonderful thing: build! I did – problem solved. Building crisis? He admired even the simplest cube I 'created.' I had to laugh – problem solved. Hysterically searching for just the right texture? He created one himself and handed it to me – problem solved. He knew so many interesting and important people in SL. I was introduced and excepted – problem solved. Longing for stability in our relationship on either side of the ocean? He proposed marriage and arranged a wonderful, funny and joyful wedding – problem solved."

"I found my wish on and for that day. If I had one free wish, I would wish for a mad love. One that grips me like the wind would grip a tiny feather. One that grips me like the wind would grip a tiny feather. Which makes me laugh and cry simultaneously. Well, my wish was fulfilled! And - this will not go on forever. But just a few memories of the generous and ingenious problem solver Vince in Real-life. Too many books to be moved into the new flat? He sent me a kindle – problem solved. Too tired to listen to his stories which he loved to read to me. e gifted me a tablet, so he could read while I drifted off to sleep – problem solved. Dog barking persistently and got on my nerves while we talked? He just laughed, greeted her and she calmed down, because I ceased to be nervous – problem solved."

"oops, so much more. And now, Vince, now you go. And I shall have to let you go. I do hope you will not get lost out there. Go now, my love. I will watch out for you. Hoping you will see the light at the horizon. Go now - my thoughts are with you. Go now - don't fear and don't feel alone. Go now - my love will forever be with you and keep you company. And I hope you will recognize this new land as the home from which once you came.  Go now, Sweetheart, go in peace."

Avi Arrow then announced, "Now, is time the family would like to say a few words and, i think, even read some of which was said Friday at the real life memorial service." His stepsister ElliePirelli then spoke, "I would love to say a few words. First of all, thank you, Tosha, for those warm remembrances. We have all loved getting to know you and have been with you in spirit all week. Thank you for having us here today in the very special place you all shared with Vince. If everyone has time, I'd love to share some things from Vince's real life. He will be deeply missed for his kindness, his wit, and his selflessness toward friends, family and his students. A teacher in the Plano Independent School District, Vince dedicated 17 years of his life to teaching students English as a Second Language (ESL), as well as his other passion, literature. As we know from all of the stories that he read to Tosh. Vincent was a treasured friend and family member to all who held him dear. His love of life and laughter was infectious, and his commitment to learning about and sharing the elements of art, photography, and the Chinese culture he found so fascinating will leave a lasting legacy with everyone he encountered during his all too short but precious life. We will all, especially his loving mother, dearly miss him and his wonderful smile and bear hugs. God bless and keep you well until we see you again, Vincent. You mean the world to us in life and also to those whose lives you evidently touched and enriched so wonderfully here in Second Life."

"We love you, Tosh and Avi. You and Vince's other friends here are part of our family forever now, too."

Next was his brother Pegasus, "umi was a great brother, son and uncle. And of course as Ellie has said, a great teacher. He loved his students, and at his memorial service his co-workers and several of his students told us all how they were drawn to him. And how generous he was with his time to help the students with not only their studies, but to help them build a better life. He would take old computer parts to his students to help them build their own, and to teach them how to do that."

ElliePirelli, "I echo what Pegasus58 is saying about Vince as a teacher. I don't know if you all knew it, but he had a Masters of Arts in painting. His artwork is all over his mom's house. Thank you all for the support you gave him here and for giving him such an incredible springboard for his creativity and many, many talents."

Pegasus, "He played chess with one of my sons, and talked technology with theo other one. He found something in common with everyone."

ElliePirelli, "That's true. When I started making jewelry, he gave me a very elaborate metalsmithing kit to encourage me to grow my skills. Such an incredibly generous and loving man. He is dearly missed by all of us."

Pegasus, "He worked in a Chinese restaurant in college, creating an interest in Asian culture and a move to Taiwan for three years, of course as a teacher. I'm glad to know he had good friends in so many places."

ElliePirelli, "We are so happy and honored to be here to celebrate his life with you all. Thank you again. And keep building!" Tosha Tyran, "Absolutely - and the honor is on us, Elli." "ElliePirelli, "Thank you. You are too kind. We are looking forward to hanging around and dancing and getting to know you all better, and of course the fireworks - which Lumi would love!!! (smile)" Pegasus, "Yes and we will pass all of these wonderful thoughts to his mother.She was too sad to log on today but will love all of these kind thoughts." ElliePirelli, "I have videotaped much of this for her. I know she will love this outpouring of support for him. She was on here last night and talked with Avi and Tosh and it was a truly wonderful moment."

Leven Serendipity stepped forward with a poem she had to share.

In these everlasting summers
Your light shines, replacing the sun.
 We know that wind won’t blow
our memories, nor rain wash away
 your heroic legacy into Natoma’s sand.

And with us you’ll fly between worlds.
We’ll smile with each new prim rezzed,
Knowing you have built a selfless life
And one we will always share

Thank you, who illuminated
Ingeniously, weaving warmth and play,
While shaping a lasting ever after
For us to craft so happily.

Avi Arrow spoke again, "Thank you Ellie and Pegasus. It's brought such extra meaning to this event having you here with us and is a joy for us also to get to know Lumiere that much more by knowing you and sharing this with you. I would like to say one more thing in conclusion.... Above all else, Lumiere gave of himself freely and without reservation, and never asking for anything in return.... By which, we all now carry a part of Lumiere inside of us, something we get to take care of and steward over for the rest of our lives. He's given us such a wonderful gift and I love him with all of my heart for it. he touched us so very deeply. Thank you all for sharing and being here."

"Now....let the celebration begin. Let's dance!!!!

The event then moved from the front of the Ivory Tower to a nearby dance floor. The atmosphere got lighter as the event would end not with tears, but with smiles and a few jokes as the residents who remained, young and old, noted and not so well known, danced a little to the music.

Daniel Voyager posted some pictures of the event, as did Prokofy Neva, whom also posted a transcript of part of the event. Prokofy wrote that this was more than the end of a man, but the beginning of the end of an era. Second Life's prims and the ability to build with them enabled residents to have a good deal of freedom. Freedom that he felt would be absent from the next generation grid, Sansar.

And what of the Ivory Tower? Avi Arrow told me it would go on indefinitely, "As far as I know nothing will change regarding the status of the Ivory Tower and the group that supports it.  we can hope that the ivory tower library will be around for as long as Second Life is here." It would be "a permanent memorial for Lumiere."

Bixyl Shuftan

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