Friday, May 29, 2020

Reader Submitted: Memorial for Cerdwin Flanagan

By Cynthia Farshore

On May 23rd, a memorial for Cer (Cerdwin Flanagan) was to be held on her land at Witch Woods by Cer and Wolfe from 2PM SL time. However, the crowd grew beyond what it could hold. So the event was moved to The Hideaway. After TPing and links, a large crowd of over 60 formed. Once the music began playing, the pagan ceremony lead by the priest Tamlord Carterhaugh Wood started.

The priest began, "Welcome to this celebration of the life of Cerdwin Flanagan, or Cer as I knew her. She was a lovely woman and touched many of us with sweetness and enthusiasm. Cer was a pagan, so this celebration of her life will be in a pagan format. Please do not lef the word 'pagan' frighten you. All it means is a spiritual path that honors the Nordic/Viking current, and the music will reflect her preferences. Music and ritual have been known to open doors to the Otherworld. There will be drumming and it may carry you away in a light trance. This ritual will me simple. We will also honor the elements of nature. Then we will open our service to your stories. When we open up the ritual for sharing Elayne Diavolo has been kind enough to help. Please submit your request to share a story about Cer to Elayne. Elayne will then call people in order. Let us begin."

At this point, the priest called for everyone to face west and invited the Blessed Ancestors to the Sacred Circle with calls and praises to various spirits. After the priest finished the opening, Elayne Diavolo began calling people in order to tell their stories and relations with Cer, as she was affectionately called, and there were many.

One person, Sinder (Shaldowsin), made a wonderful expression, "Cer, one of the things you said was, 'I live at the speed of my mind, and love with the strength of my heart.' You liked fast, fierce, and more than I could ever know. You were always willing to make a friend, always willing to help, but more than anything, you were supportive, warm, fun. You were like the sun but damned if anyone called you the sun, no that role you gave to me, your little princess of light. You were the night, but if anything, you were the moon, welcoming, and warm on a cold night, so perfect in every way. Magical and mysterious to most. I remember the many times I called you beautiful, which is in my nature when I warm up to someone, and you would always say it was the fairy glamor. That I was the beautiful one. If only you could have seen yourself through my eyes, how you radiated love. You were supportive, to all the creators you knew, musicians, DJs, everyone, even me, you're the reason, I took the dive into meshing and rigging again, your love, your support, it made me feel like I had wings. That there was no mountain I could not conquer. You made a lot of people feel that way. And now it's over, your life ended far too soon. A few parting words, is never enough, but may you dance with the fairy folk and ride with the Valkyrie, and in your downtime, may you tend to the animals like you always wanted. Yes, I remember, our talks about your farm. How I was going to come and help you tend to them."

 Another example was Ghost (Xd Fuchs), "I did not know Cer as long or as well as I would have hoped, though, in the time I did know her, she showed that the amount of time you knew someone didn’t always matter. She was so accepting of people and open to connecting with others, and those who are lucky enough to know her were witness to her enthusiasm and support. She had a way of making people heard, felt, and seen. She made an effort to learn about people when meeting them. She radiated passion and excitement for the people and things she loved. Though this is a moment of deep sadness, we should strive to move forward with the same love and compassion Cer showed those she met and grew close to. She so clearly touched the lives of a number of people, and I personally believe she would be happy to see that same care continue to influence others, and spread through the world."

Many spoke and we do not have room here to record all who did but these two examples show the out pouring of love so many had for Cerdwin Flanagan.

The priest closed with, " Powers of the North, West, South and East, we thank you for your presence at this Circle this day.  Go if you must, stay if you will.  Hail and farewell, Blessed Guardians and Friends. Blessed Ancestors who have gone before, we thank you for your presence here. Lend us your aid as we move through these times of difficulty. We close the Door of Death behind you as you return to your rest.  Hail and farewell, blessed Ancestors!"

The ceremony ended with a Pegasus fly-over, many filled the sky. It was very clear that Cerdwin Flanagan had touched the hearts of many, may she find her peace.

Thanks to OldeSoul Eldemar (oldesoul) for this short clip of the Pegasus fly-over

Cynthia Farshore

Monday, May 25, 2020

Discussion On Alcoholism In The Coronavirus Crisis

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Thursday May 14, Virtual Ability held a discussion about how the Coronavirus Crisis is affecting those suffering from alcoholism. It took place in the Sojourner Auditorium. Titled "Strange Days Indeed," the event was part of their "Mental Health Un-Conference." Coughran Mayo (Dick Dillon in real life) spoke to the audience while Elektra Panthar provided the transcript for those not using Voice.

Coughran, whose avatar was wearing a mask, described himself as taking a balanced approach when going outside his home, such as washing his hands a lot and avoiding poker games, "it's not safe with the cards and chips." While it might seem funny that many places had closed restaurants while allowing liquor stores to remain open as "essential," he stated that that along with the stress of the Pandemic was allowing those whom had overcome addiction to relapse. "In this time stress, economic uncertainty are high, lack of scrutiny of normal social life - they are all factors that increase the chance of addiction and relapse Alcohol, prescription or illicit drugs -many people are likely to become addicted, and the problem is that the traditional way to help is not available at the moment." It was also commented that some treatment groups could end up shutting down due to the effects of the crisis, such as lack of donations as people's incomes and savings suffer.

There was plenty of feedback. Someone commented that it might be that borderline alcoholism from social drinking might decrease from people not able to go to the bar as they used to. Similar with compulsive gamblers, whom if they couldn't or wouldn't go to virtual casinos would find it hard to make bets. There was also the question if people with disabilities were more likely to develop addictions, particularly those on medications as mistakes could easily be made with dosage.

Another question was could more people find treatment in virtual reality, as some were getting it here already? It was commented that thanks to bad press, Second Life didn't have the best of reputations, and that Twitch still bans broadcasts from the virtual world doesn't help matters.

At the end, Gentle Heron thanked Coughram for the event, and the audience for attending.

For those whom want to read the transcript:  Click Here.

To check more about Virtual Ability, check out their website: .

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Scenes From Fantasy Faire's Last Weekend

By Bixyl Shuftan

From April 23 to May 10, the Fantasy Faire took place in Second Life. A fundraising event for the Relay for Life in Second Life, only the Relay Weekend is larger in terms of people attending or sims involved.

There was a lot to see, and a lot to shop for. Yours truly took more pictures of more scenes than I have time to post, so I'm going to try and concentrate mostly on what I did in the past few days.

I had fun exploring the sims. One guy commented of what I thought was the "Mistakes Were Made" area, "Good lord, this sim is like a bad trip through Willy Wonka's nightmares."

On Wednesday May 6, there was a centaur parade in Heliodor.

Okay, so it was before the weekend. But how often do you see centaurs in large numbers?

And in such a variety?

A common sight was various DJs playing somewhere on the map. On Friday May 8, it was the tune of Team Sunbamers' DJ Matt to play at Auxentios' Pass.

Matt had modified his Spirit Fennec avie to look like "Carbuncle" of Final Fantasy.

A variety of avatars showed up

From the tiny,

To the large and the winged,

To the equine,

To the gigantic. Yes, Ceri Quixote was wearing undies. She was also wearing a facial mask, a nod to 2020 reality.

 Sunbeamer team captain Rita Mariner and her friend Gil Otaared were among those cheering Matt on.

At the end of her two hour set, Matt had raised 60,000 Linden dollars. While these had gone into general donations and not part of the Team Sunbeamer total, an anonymous donor gave about that much to the team sometime that day. So everyone came out ahead.

And there was the Fairelands Quest. This was more relaxed than the previous two I was in, one year looking for the Bard Queen's father, the next helping out a wizard whom had been turned into an owl. This year, the objective was planting a garden for the Bard Queen.

One needed to items at the start, the backpack that was magically enchanted to carry all the sacks of seeds.

And there was the almanac, which gave you a little info about the plants and how to plant them. Much of the time, Matt and I teamed up to search.

 Some of the sacks of seeds were easier to find than others, such as the rose seeds in Zodiac found next to a large rosebush.

Zodiac was pretty, with those sparkling globes all around.

And this one was more ore less out in the open, though easily overlooked.

X marks the spot.

One was in a cemetary.

Other times, I had a little help from Skylark "Snowbuns" Lefavre.

After getting all the seeds, it was off to Queensgarden.

Where I had to look for various pots of water.

And various pots of soil.

After getting them all, it was off to the garden area.

 Players, once they had all the soils and waters, were transported to a garden skybox, where they would mix soils, waters, and seeds to get right combinations.

Succeed, and the player was rewarded with the sight of a beautiful garden.

The Bard Queen herself appears, explaining why such a fuss over a garden.

And for helping out, the player would be awarded. There were so many prizes, my screen was temporarily flooded. I had to copy-paste the list to keep track, though this website helps.

Saturday May 9 was the last day of the roleplay in Kuruk. The plot was that the bear chief had been found dead, and it was suspected a number of the cubs were the cause.

No doubt the whole story would be worth an article of it's own right. The short version was that the cubs did end up killing the chief, but from an exorcism. The Unweaver, the lasting villain of the Fantasy Faire over the years, had possessed the chief, and the cubs had finally freed him of it's grasp, but at a terrible cost: his life. Not Guilty.

Sunday May 10 was the last day of the Faire, and "The Final Ravedown" party.

From 11AM to 11PM, the party took place at various sims. When I was able to visit, I was needed elsewhere, so I sent an alt, which made things a bit laggy. But I did catch some things, such as DJ Madonna wearing something other than her trademark suit.

The flyer for the party commented, "No glowsticks allowed after The Incident." I never did get a straight answer as to what "The Incident" was.

In the Faire's last few hours, I never could get into the Ravedown as it was packed, so I explored a few places with friends.

Nothing like spending the last hour of a great event with friends.

Thank you everyone for your wonderful company and support not only for the Faire but for Relay for Life. We have had a wonderful 2 weeks and you have raised over 73,000usd! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We will be back next year

It was a great event, but like all good things, the Fantasy Faire would end. After Midnight, the sims were closed to anyone trying to get in. Many in the group expressed their sadness. But for some Relayers, the sadness would only be temporary. The next month promises many events, such as the Relaystock, the Sunbeamers Under the Sea party and Moon Dance, and of course the Relay weekend.

For those wanting to check out more pictures, head to the Flicker page:

Wildstar Beaumont's pictures:

Ishtar Kiss's pictures:

Bixyl Shuftan