Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Cobras MC Motorcycle Club

By Wesley Regenbogen

Cobras MC is a motorcycle club in Second Life. It was founded in August 2009. They are all friendly people, so don’t be shy and join the fun when you can..

They are located on two sims at Rocky Valley and Appletor, with roads , shops, a fishing beach, sailing, their clubhouse, Memorial Park and Garden of Weeden event area and of course their Cobras Coil tracks, also called the "Cobra Snake." This track doesn't just simply go around the sim, but rises up over the sim, corkscrewing up and around. They also have a skill track and a fantastic swimming pool, a Public Airport, a firepit hang out, bowling alleys and much more.

Six days a week, they hold their "Noon ride" at Noon SLT time, and also have a ride at 6 PM SLT time. So, they have two rides a day. Sometimes the rides are at other people's riding sims as well. There’s no ride on Mondays, normally. Their events at the clubhouse and Garden are held on Wednesdays and Fridays mostly.
If you want to join their MC you need to first “hang around,” which means you can join the rides and attend the events. When you decide you want to join them, you will first need to prospect. Prospecting is a way to get to know everyone in the MC and also allow them to get to know you.
They are a voice active MC, which means they use voice to communicate with each other, but they allow people to type as well too. People who "hang around" to join the club are sometimes called "hang arounds" or "Venom." Those made official members get the club patch for their jackets, and are "patched in."

To people that are going to prospect in Cobras MC, one advice : be nice and ride with the MC (Noon ride SLT ) as often as you can and attend the events.

Their current executive team is :
Prez- Helvis Xue
VP- Bill Hayabusa
Sgt. At Arms- Dana McGeek (Dana Spanton)
Secretary- Katalina Redrose
Treasurer- Steela Wandin

Recruiters to hit up : Steela Wandin, Rhonda Pinion, Susie Q (SUSIE Ocello) and/or Kaiya Clawtooth, when you want to join Cobras MC.

People are encouraged to “hang out” with us as much as possible and ride with them. The more people, the better. Everyone is welcome at Cobras MC ! So, if you want to ride your bike, head over to Cobras MC and join the fun. Don't forget to turn on your microphone and speak with us!

Note: their sim does NOT accept child avatars at this time. Please expect the bikers to use adult language. 
Here’s a YouTube video about Cobras MC :

I got "patched in" (made a full member) at Cobras MC on Sunday June 4th, 2017, after prospecting for about one month. I just got a new bike after being offered it for a "friend's price."

By Wesley Regenbogen

Monday, June 5, 2017

Interview With Bixyl Shuftan

By Deaflegacy

Bixyl Shuftan and I met at the SL Newser building.  He told me he first got started as a virtual journalist when he was coming onto Second Life on a regular basis, instead of just sporadically, in summer 2007.

"That's how I found out about the Second Life Newspaper, owned by JamesT Juno and run by Dana Vanmoer," he described, "They asked for reader submissions, so I sent them pictures and an article." They must have been impressed with what they saw, as they asked Bixyl Shuftan in for an interview, "After a rundown about what being a reporter for them entailed, at least an article a week, I was officially hired."  And he has been writing about Second Life ever since, November 2007.

For how the Second Life Newser was founded, the first part of the story is a little sad.  The Second Life Newspaper ran for two and half years after Bixyl Shuftan joined.  However, around the time of its third anniversary, James had to leave the Second Life for personal reason. Dana kept the paper going, and even found a new sponsor after one of their longtime main business partners went bankrupt.  But soon Dana had her own personal problems.  In April 2010, she told the crew in a meeting that she had made the decision to close.  They were shocked.  Gemma was the most outspoken person, insisting that there had to be another way.  But Dana told them that James had the sole rights to the name, and no transfer of the ownership could be done without his approval.  They went on, continuing to write. Eventually Bixyl began talking with the others about what could be done.  They eventually came up with the idea of doing a new paper.  It would be four of them, Gemma Cleanslate, Shellie Sands, Grey Lupindo, and himself, Bixyl Shuftan.  As he was the office manager of the old Second Life Newspaper, they agreed that he should run it.

I asked Bixyl who came up with the name, "SL Newser" and he told me, "I was the one who came up with the name. I recalled a real life news site calling itself 'Newser' as part of it's name. So I went with that. It was close to the name of the old paper, and readers of Second Life News would make the connection."

June 5, 2010, was the last day Second Life Newspaper would run, going out with a goodbye party and a final entry by Dana, which was later reprinted in the Newser when the old publication was taken down from the Internet a few years later. Bixyl then pointed out the Newser's first story, that of James and Dana's closing party, which appeared later that night and most readers would see the next day.

Bixyl went on to say that it was a sad day for them when the old Second Life Newspapers closed.  Their old bosses, whom they considered close friends, would be leaving the grid for who knows how long, and they were basically out on their own.

"I felt I had some big shoes to fill, and had no idea what lay ahead.  Would the readers keep following us? Could we get new sponsors?  It didn't help that one secondary sponsor from the old SLN was furious at Dana for closing,"  said Bixyl, "But we were also getting support right away. Friends told us they were sorry about the old paper closing, and wishing us well with the new one. So we were a bit scared, but also hopeful."

I asked Bixyl Shuftan what their greatest accomplishments was, and he said, " As for our greatest accomplishment, well, from the start, we set out to report the news, big and small, of the people, places, and events of Second Life.  We've done so to the best of our abilities, with how our real lives on the other side of the computer allow. But we've also been a source of information of Second Life for people who aren't online here, or are curious about joining.  And I'd like to think we've improved the reputation of Second Life journalism." 

The 'arch rival' of the days of the old Second Life Newspaper was "The Alphaville Herald".  While they were occasionally informative, Bixyl Shuftan found them to be mainly peanut gallery material, focusing on drama and trolling, and wondered if they had given inworld journalism a bad name, "In our early days, some people were hesitant to talk with us, knowing SL Journalism only from 'Herald' articles.  Others were thankful we were around, calling us a refreshing change." said Bixyl, "Having said that, the Herald did give the old paper what I felt was a more or less respectable goodbye. I guess whatever else can be spoken of them, they did respect James and Dana in the end. They themselves would update sporadically a few years later, and eventually stop publishing."

Does Second Life Newser have an arch rival? Bixyl doesn't think they do. "There are other newsletters and blogs, we're just the number one of them," he told me with a smile, "We basically more or less cooperate. If we write on a subject they covered and end up using one of their articles as a source, we give credit."  They do have a link exchange with the Second Life Enquirer.  Bixyl stated, the Enquirer's editor doesn't consider SL Newser a rival as they see them as more "hard" Second Life news while they mainly cover entertainment.

There are four writers on SL Newser whom are not considered on hiatus - Gemma Cleanslate, DeafLegacy, MajikVixen (BlueVioletVixen Lorefield) and Bixyl Shuftan himself. "Yes, barring some real life difficulty, financial, health, or otherwise, I plan to keep on running the Newser." said Bixyl.  They have been continuing to go strong with 45,000 readers a month.

SL Newser has given a physically disabled person a chance to make a name for herself as a writer (and in Bixyl Shuftan's opinion she's more than earned her place).

Of the SL Newser's sponsors, the first would be Ranchan Weidman, who runs the sim of HV Community where the Newser is. Ranchan is considered to be their land sponsor., "Ranchan owns this sim, and she told me she would provide an office, and land, rent free, for us." said Bixyl, "Originally it was a grey building." The current office with much larger windows would take its place a couple years later.

Bixyl Shuftan went on to say that Nydia Tungsten has also been a longtime friend and a source of support. She would also join the paper for a couple years and write some articles.

Bixyl Shuftan also mentioned the Sunweaver community.  The other sponsors include Farshore Radio and more recently, the Lorena Chung Estates. "Podex was a longtime, faithful, sponsor," Bixyl told me, "but they were shut down by Linden Lab due to changes in the terms of service.  Steelhead was another longtime sponsor, but they had to stop when the community closed for a year. They're back, so they may sponsor us again soon.

His cat, Chilly, was there.  Bixyl told me he had gotten the Kittycats "firekitty" at a Firestorm Viewer team anniversary party a few years earlier. Rather then keep it in his inventory or alone in his tiny treehouse home, he lets it run loose around the office.

As for Bixyl Shuftan's closing thoughts, he has this to say: "I'd say we've been doing well. We're not always perfect, but on the rare occasions we make a mistake, we own up to it and correct it. We've created a publication that has gone on for seven years with thousands of articles, cartoons, announcements, and other posts, with 45,000 readers a month. Over time, we've had many fine writers on the team. I'm sorry that many couldn't stay, but real life comes first of course.  I've seen the occasional 'Second Life is DOOMED' rant. But people have been predicting it's demise for years, and we're still here.   And it's safe to say it will be going on for some time, and we'll be here to cover it."


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Interview with Gemma Cleanstale

By Deaflegacy

Gemma Cleanslate and I met at her place at Skye Condos. She told me that she does fishing contests and helps the owners there, where she had lived for almost 10 years.  She is a manager at the condos/

"My friend Breezes Babii was a friend of the owner of the Second Life  Newspaper." said Gemma, "She introduced me to the owners." Dana Vanmoer, the editor, hired her after she and James Juno, the owner, interviewed her. "I felt terrible when they closed." said Gemma when asked about how she felt when the SL Newspaper closed.

I asked Gemma  about when she joined SL Newser.  "Bixyl asked me to join him and I said yes along with another reporter not with us now," she told me, "So I feel like a co founder of the paper as reporter and Bixyl as my boss, editor, and have been with the paper since then."

Gemma (gemma.cleanslate)'s greatest accomplishment would be the project with the SL kids. "I had friends who were SL kids and they were so misunderstood," she told me, "I believe that they are kids because of many reasons, wanted a better childhood or had a wonderful childhood. So I got a bunch of them together and they all wrote why they are SL children and we published all their stories."

I asked Gemma if she will continue working at SL Newser. "Oh yes." she answered, "I try to do a article every two weeks tho sometimes they come in bunches (laughter).  I do one and another pops up.  I hope I can continue for a while at least."

Gemma's goal with SL Newser is to improve the readership and make the articles interesting to the Second Life public so the readership grows and is informed.  She went on to say that Bixyl Shuftan follows the news that affects the readership and write the main articles.  She tries to keep  him informed of the press releases and send them to him.  But that's not all.  Gemma looks at places and events that are interesting to the public.

I asked Gemma  if she is happy with the ways things are going with SL Newser.  "So far so good." she told me, "But we need reporters who do more work."

Aside from working at SL Newser, Gemma does fishing contests as a hostess for 7Seas fishing.  She is usually at the Second Life Birthday celebration at this time as an exhibitor assistant but is taking the year off due to a health issue.  She is active in the Relay for Life and helps out at different events for them. She also attends Philosophy class in Second Life under instructor Herman Bergson. She's very frugal in shopping and does all the lists for good bargains.

I asked Gemma if she would say that she had reached her goal, and at the same time, found other goals too."Oh yes always other goals." she answered.

Gemma did have something to say before the interview was over. She says she misses Grey Lupindo. "I miss her.  Real lfie issues took her away from the paper and Second Life," said Gemma, "She was a real contributor to the SLNewser until real life took over. ... She deserves mentioning.  We (and Shelie Sands) were the four starters of the SL Newser."

As the interview wrapped up, I thanked Gemma before leaving.  I wish her all the luck in the coming months.  I can't say about the others, but I believe that Gemma is an awesome reporter.


Editor's note: Here are the SL Kids articles: Marianne McCann, Sage Kostenbaum, Patty Wylie, Everest Pike, Pygar Bu

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Haley Salomon's Memorial Service

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Sunday May 7 at 3PM, there was a memorial service for Haley Salomon. Information about her was hard to come by, a couple articles around 2008, notably one from Second Edition that dubbed her "The Princess of Green" as she had a love of green clothes and lived in a green castle. I was later told she was one of the founding members of the Relay for Life's Relay Wizards for Spunky team, an avid Tiny Empires player, a regular at Lauren Live and a close friend of the comedian, a big Star Trek fan who had a replica of the starship bridge, "In real life she was a casting agent and had a masters degree in theater."

While she had stayed out of the limelight, obviously she continued to make and maintain friendships. There were a number of people present, such as Tiny Empires creator Ultralite Soleil, Any1 Gynoid, Lauren Weyland, Holocluck Henly, Crap Mariner, Explorer Dastardly, and DrFran Babcock, who informed the Newser of the memorial service. There were a few pictures up of the lady in green.

Much of the service was done in Voice, so not all of it could be made into notes. While there was sadness in the air, "There is love, we have for each other," there was still an effort at humor, "First class shopper." "Yeah again someone who isn't mute with noise in their place." "Please turn off cellphones." Lauren was elbowed, "Tell a joke!" Someone responded, "I don't have to tell a joke, I AM a joke."

Someone noticed a "Team Fox" kiosk around, and was told it was for the Creations for Parkinsons group and fundraiser.DrFran Babcock was the first to speak, "Haley met her husband Sam in Boston. She gave up her career for him, although he was older than she. His world got smaller, and she stayed with him, shepherding his career. She had a Master's Degree in theater. She was a private person. "I loved her," says Orchid. I wish there was more we could do. I want to think about Haley."

Magnus Broday was next, "I should like to say something," and made a speech in voice. Someone passed around a Kaddish HUD. There was a poem read. They talked about Haley being a regular at the Lauren Live comedy show, "I would be very mean to anyone who sat in Haley's seat (laughter)," Any1 told the group, "Haley was very shocked at how aggressive I was about her territory." Buttermilk Panacek commented, "She took me to that (laughter)." Any1 went on, "Haley believed she could talk sense to anyone... I was ready to get violent with (laughter)."

White Queen (queen.bluestar) had the following poem:

Second life friendships are an ever changing stream of loves. Love
for your best girl friend….. love for your queendom and for your partner.
love for your relay team ,for your many many best friends.
the . loss…… is like a empty stage with the scenery
still there. …… as friends fall in love …..get married .
in good and bad ways …….
they fade away and my second life is
never the same
I AM happy for them but will miss them always
.this is dedicated to the ones that stay ..they are the jewels in my

Thank you for sharing that Queen," spoke Orchid Jameson. Several other people also complemented her. "Hounoured she asked me to read them on voice," she answered.

RandyAllways commented, "I would like to say something................ Energy can not be created or destroyed as an electronic Avatar, Haley will go on forever. Passing thru distant galaxies, Forever." Holocluck Henly commented, "The Kadish is a reminder of The Lord that he has his greater plan. And to remember and respect. There is no actual mention of death or mourning." Explorer (explorer.dastardly) commented, "It's the renewal of life." Any1 was in tears, "I am crying hard now." She described herself as having a broken heart.

Shmoo Snook commented, "I would just like to say that I'm not the most agreeable person, but the only thing I ever disagreed with Haley about was ABBA." Ivy Lane commented, "We do not have rez rights here so if anyone wants the folder with the heart or any of the frames with all her photos in them feel free to IM Phil or I." Queen responded, "Of course NOW I am still going to send her links to green hair and green skirts and tops...because I always am on the lookout for good one's as I whisk round the store" Ivy continued,

"Haley was always there. It's hard to think of her not there (sad)." DrFran added, "Haley was beloved." Lauren commented, "She traded in her Mesh skin for a Mesh soul." RandyAllways added, "Second Life as an eletronic medium makes all our Avatars immortal."

Phil Metalhead commented, "I don't have a whole lot to say, but I can say that in my 14 years here in Second Life, there has never been anyone like Haley, and I don't think there ever will be. She was a wonderful friend, and always positive and helpful." Lauren responded, "Hey.....all of Haley friends are like 'no one else'." ArminaX Saiman (arminasx.saiman) spoke, "I will certainly miss her a lot. I liked to make her laugh as often as I could, but in the past while that’s been challenging. We always had ridiculous long discussions had about things important and not, but I will always remember the laughs. That’s what I will remember the most, like if ufo's do exist."

Quarlo Quandry spoke of a Tiny Empires moment, "I can only speak for my own self -- but last time I got offered to change to someone else in TE, they offered me 20 million gold -- I turned them down -- as long as there is Green, I am in it and none other." Explorer commented, "tears we shed are golden tears of love, for every tear we shed the loved one feel the love."

Ultralite Soleil told everyone, "When I first met Haley I thought she was Shawna's little sister or something. Always together they were. I always liked to see Haley and I will miss her. Rest assured she will remain in Tiny Empires just as she is now, whether her avatar and land still exists or not."

DrFran agreed to do the Kaddish., speaking the following, "Yitgadal V'yitkadash Sh'mei Rabbah (Amen). [May His great Name grow exalted and sanctified] B'alma De'v'ra Ch'reutei Vayamlich Malchutei. [in the world He created as He willed, May He give reign to His kingship] B'chayeichon Uv'yomeichon Uv'chayei d'Chol Beit Yisrael. [In your lifetimes and in your days, and in the lifetimes of the whole House of Israel] B'agala Uv'zman Kariv V'imru Amen (Amen) [Swiftly and soon, and say Amen] Y'hei Sh'mei Rabbah M'vorach L'olam Ul'olmei Olmaya. [May His great Name be blessed forever and ever] Yitbarach V'yishtabach V'yitpa'ar V'yitnasei. [Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled] V'yit'hadar V'yit'alleh V'yit'hallal Sh'mei D'Kudsha Brich Hu (Amen). [Mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One Blessed be He] L'eileh Min Kol Birchata V'shirata. [Beyond any blessing and song] Tushb'chata V'nechemata D'amiran B'olma V'imru Amen (Amen). [Praise and consolation that are uttered in the world, and say Amen] Y'hei Sh'lama Rabba Min Sh'maya V'chayyim Tovim.  [May there be abundant peace from Heaven and good life] Aleinu V'al Kol Yisrael V'imru Amen (Amen). [Upon us and upon all Israel, and say Amen] Oseh Shalom Be'm'romav, Hu Ya'aseh Shalom. [He Who makes peace in His heavens, may He make peace] Aleinu V'al Kol Yisrael V'imru Amen (Amen). [Upon us and upon all Israel, and say Amen]

Shmoo commented, "As we say in Yiddish, oif simchahs. May we gather for happy occasions." Explorer responded, "To life Haley, forever in my heart. Amen shmoo, only joys." Anh Lycia added, "She was always the fiercest fighter in your corner, no matter what." Hacker Jannings stated, "She was my oldest friend in SL - I will miss her greatly." Xo (xochitl.ninetails) spoke, "Adios amiga Haley." RandyAllways added, "Aloha, Till we meet again."

Holocluck gave the lyrics of a song.

I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream

I have a dream, a fantasy
To help me through reality
And my destination makes it worth the while
Pushing through the darkness still another mile
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream

I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream

Ivy Lane also had this to say, "I had a bad relationship, who hasn't had one of those in SL? Haley listened to me cry, never once did she criticise me but constantly she told me that I was not happy , that life should not be this way that I could find happiness if I learn to seek out things that made me smile and laugh, becuase of her consistant sweet gentle support I left that man, and met the love of my life and every day I laugh and smile at least one time or more and Phil and I share the friendship of Haley. ... Brick and Blue: Family may not like each other. But, they teach us how to love deeply. Haley knew how to teach people to love. She was loved by many, many people - even the ones that did not necessarily like her, they loved her nonetheless."

After this, people began leaving, "Time to crash a Relay event." "Good night everyone - thank you for a beautiful memorial." "Good night everyone. It is wonderful to know that HALEY touched so many lives all over SL." "She touched all of us and more, many are gone and not even in world anymore we contacted some people from the early days that we know in FL." "I have been blessed to meet so many great people from here in FL, I went to the SLCC a few times, I drove to Missouri to meet Bob, I met Phil and Sallyanned in Cali, would have met Haley....... but she said no (sad)." Some asked how to get to her land, then were told her castle would be up a little longer.

And so, the friends of one departed resident had given their goodbyes.

Special thanks to DrFran Babcock

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, May 19, 2017

Interview With Arizona Ballinger-Whiplash At The Relaystock

By Bixyl Shuftan

Last weekend was the Relaystock, one of the more popular of the events in the middle of the Relay for Life season. Although organized by the Relay Rockers, they opened the event to multiple teams where some make thousands of Linden dollars more. I recently talked to the woman who organized the event: Arizona Ballinger-Whiplash (Arizona Ballinger). Although sometimes overshadowed by her noted partner, Trader Whiplash, Arizona can and has gotten much done in her own right.

Asking her how she found out about Second Life, her answer was, "Wow...that was a long time ago.   I happened to see an article in old online publication about virtual worlds, I forget the name of the publication now, but they mentioned Second Life.  I thought I would give it a try."

I then asked Arizona how her first days inworld went. She answered, "Probably like most (laughter). Stumbling around, walking into walls. One shoe on, one off, hair drawn down in my face (cause there was no attached hair then) and thinking I was the best looking avatar!  I shudder at that thought now  .. ha ha!

And how did she find out about the Relay for Life? Her answer was, "I found out about Relay when I wandered into LEGENDS Classic Rock club one day and met Trader.   The Relay Rockers were holding a dance event I think it was.  I have been on the Rockers since and have not looked back. That was ten years ago."

How had the Relay Rockers team and the Relay as a whole changed over the past ten years? Arizona answered, "Both have grown a lot.  Each year Relay has something new and exciting.  Each year there is more news about research findings.   It is so great to know what we do makes a difference."

Arizona had to take a short break to care of something, but was soon back. After I asked when she started helping to plan events for her team, she told me, "I started helping with event planning for the Rockers right away, and I was team captain  in 2008 and 2009, and again this year 2017." Was it a difficult job? Arizona answered, "You know, (laughter), it really isn't.   We work as a well oiled machine.  Our five or six coremembers know what it takes and how to do it. They are dedicated, efficient, and so amazing.  You ask and they say 'Yes.'  They come up with their own events and run with it.  Always something new each year.. When we go to new communities to bring Relay to them, we help them organize, but they run the event. They know their people the best.  And the next year they are more self sufficient in organizing the event for the team."

With this weekend's event being the Relaystock, I asked Arizona how it began.  She answered, "It started in 2014.  The Relay Rockers were still doing their CelebrateRemember Fight Back (CRFB) Top DJ Competition. The previous year we had held our finals at Halfway There event.  In 2014, the Halfway There event was a bit different and we wanted to do the CRFB Finals in a large team atmosphere.   We tossed around ideas and RelayStock was born.  Although the CRFB DJ Competition is no longer active, RelayStock continues to grow each year. We wanted to find a way to thank teams for all their support of Relay Rocker events, so we kept RelayStock going and are now finishing the 4th year."

I then asked her this being a Woodstock tribute, were there baby boomers looking back with fond memories and some younger people getting something of a music history lesson?" Arizona's answer was "Oh most definitely....and some enjoying the tunes they grew up listening to because their parents played it all the time (laughter)."

My next question concerned the clothes the avatars were wearing. Was there a difference between older and younger residents? She told me, "I think the older residents go more for the authentic bo-ho style that wasprevalent at Woodstock, where as younger residents wear the tye-dye.  But everyone has their own style to bring to RelayStock and it all works."

And what did she think stood out of any particular outfits, or impromptu events, at any of the Relaystocks? Airzona had to think on that, "Oh gosh... that is a tough one.  I think Santa dancing in the mud in 2015 was pretty funny.  As always Fuzz and 'The Hair' taking part. Cars and bikes going around before it opens is exciting, always some funthings happening.  I love the opening and am sad at the closing. Otter (Rowena Dubrovna) mud dancing is good for a laugh. He sinks to his little otter waist (laughter)."

After the Relaystock, there was still weeks until the Relay Walk. What events was she looking forward to in the time in between? Her answer was,  "For the Relay Rockers, we have a big Bid Me Bald May 17 with BioBreeds creator, Ozzie Drucker, he does one every year for us. Coming in June we have our HardCore For The Cure at various heavy metal and alternative music clubs, and we have the Twisted Hunts Summer Faire running for the month in support of the Rockers.   The Home and Garden Expo is one event I look forward to every year as well as the Medieval Faire by Unmasking A Cure, and the Inspired Dreamwalkers have a fun grid wide event Destination Hunt coming up that sounds like a lot of fun!   There are many on the Event Boards that I look forward to attending as well."

Getting close to the end, I asked what she foresaw for the future of the Relay for Life in Second Life? Would there will be a Relay for Life in Sansar? Arizona told me, "I think the Relay in Second Life is still going strong and will be around for a few years yet to come.   With Sansar, I can't really answer that.  It is very different than Second Life. Sansar's focus is  on the Creator and the virtual spaces are self contained. But I am sure if the American Cancer Society sees it as a viable platform, then they will have a presence in there."

Arizona concluded the interview, "When communities across Second Life come together for one common cause, something wonderful happens.  That something wonderful is Relay!"

Arizona, and her partner Trader, will continue to be a force in the Relay for Life for quite some time.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Interview with Trader Whiplash At The RelayStock

By Deaflegacy

Trader Whiplash-Ballinger and I met at the Relaystock.  There was an event happening so we went to the back.  I also got a chance to meet with Arizona Ballinger-Whiplash, Trader's partner.

My first question was how Trader got involved with the Relay. He answered, "I am a survivor.. In 2005 I was in Second Life and heard about a new charity event forming in world.  Relay For Life.   Nuala Maracas, this years RFL Event Chair, Alliez Mysterio and I decided we wanted to take part in it.  We formed a small team and fundraised at our club, La Vie En Rose in Rue dAlliez." said Trader.

My second question. one which made Trader laugh, was where the idea of "Bid Me Bald" come from. "I have leukemia," he answered, "In 2007 I went through six months of chemotherapy to treat it.  I would spend my nights here in Second Life with Nuala, Arizona and a group of friends.  Two of them, the late Catt Gable and Madelyn Majestic, said they would go bald if I lost my hair.  I said 'Wait, before you do that let's find a way to make it an event.' We tossed the idea around and came up with the idea of asking volunteers to sacrifice their hair in return for donations.   We decided $20 a day - L$5000 was a good amount.  We started it in the 2008 Season as a team event.  This is the 10th Anniversary of the event."

I asked him how he describes the T-1 Radio and his DJ style. He thought about his answer a little, "Let me start.  When I first came to Second Life, the music scene was primarily Electro Club music.  Everywhere you went.  I was given an opportunity to DJ on Radio dAlliez and decided to do Classic Rock as a fresh sound here. I love music. I grew up when 60s music was brand new.  I play guitar and studied music when I was younger.  I like to blend my sets.  Many DJs just play music.  From a hard rocking acid group, to a ballad, to a slow blues song, to pop.  There is no cohesiveness, no transitions or segues.  I like to find songs that segue from one to the other, even if the tempo or style changes. I want it smooth. If a song ends with a piano in  I look for the next song to compliment it.  Maybe fade in in a complimentary key or similar beat."

"He is a fantastic DJ." said Arizona with a smile.

Trader hates it when the DJ drops them off a cliff between songs.  He spends an hour or more queing songs as he builds a set list.  Trader also like to share facts about the music or artist, saying, "I want T1 to be like a terrestrial station.  I grew up with the legendary DJs from WMCA, WABC ad WNEW-FM and i want our station to live up to that legacy."

Trader has many favorite moments.  But he can remember the anticipation of Relay weekend.  "Every year is special," said Trader, "watching the community get so excited.  My highlights though, I guess 2014 when we relayed in Alliez's memory and took Purple Level, again in 2014 seeing us raise $415,000."

Trader remembers the closing ceremony in 2013 when they broke convio as they passed 2 million dollars. "Of course being inducted into the Relay hall of honor with Nuala and T1Radio was a humbling moment I will never forget," said Trader, "And of course walking the track during the Survivor Lap with Nuala and Arizona."

I asked Trader about the challenges. "We all face challenges.  Teams big and small are faced with challenges. How do we move to the next level? How do we avoid fatiguing our donors?  Trying to keep our teammates and community from burning out.  But its no different than the challenges we all face in life.  As a survivor the challenge of living with leukemia taught me a lot about facing challenges." said Trader. "But when it gets tough I have Nuala, I have Arizona and I have the Relay comnmunity to lean on."

On that note, I took a picture of Trader in the front of RelayStock.  I have a feeling that I have a lot to learn when it comes to Relay.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Interview with Shockwave Yareach

By Deaflegacy

Shockwave Yareach and I met at his area at Sunweaver Space , high above the sim.  Shockwave said we are in space, that's why it is named Sunweaver Space. "One of us has to build in orbit." said Shockwave. He took a moment to say this, "By the way: we are a kilometer up.  So be careful of the edges of the platform.  It's a long drop."

"Thank you for the warning. I was afraid of going over the edge." I said.

He told me this was his development area. I asked him what he had built so far. He started by showing me what he called a prototype for their campfire in the Relay for Life. "Yes.  I've started playing with Neon," he told me when asked if he built it. It had various plasmas and electrical sparks.

He then showed me the meditation tube,"You just stare at it and relax." said Shockwave when asked what the meditation tube could do. When he was asked about the avatar jumping in the chair, he said that it cycles among animations. Shockwave also showed me the plasma curtains. "The plasma curtains are for walking through." he told me, "They are just decorations.  Most of the textures I use are Raytraced using POVRay - a very old and slow graphics program."

"I made this parcel.  But not the whole sim." said Shockwave when we started talking about Sunweaver Space.  "I WISH I had a whole sim - could put out some of my maze games.  They consume land area like you wouldn't believe.  In this parcel, I can only rez my smallest."

We started talking about his role as a builder. "The first thing was Squid on a stick." said Shockwave.  "It was stupid, but silly.  You waved at people and the tentacles slapped them."

"I have a partner, Cynthia.  We build together for Relay For Life and for our store as we can." said Shockwave when he was asked if he had an assistant.  "The past year we've both been busy.  So except for RFL, our production has been slow."

 "I help my team.  But I don't think I'm an advocate.  Others are more eloquent -- I just do what I am able to do." said Shockwave when he was asked about his work with Relay for Life, specifically Team Sunbeamers, the Relay team of his neighbors the Sunweavers. We talked about his role in RFL.  "I love how we can use the special abilities in Second Life to create special events that would be impossible in real life.  It adds a lot to the experience." said Shockwave. His work with the Relay eats about fifty percent of his inworld time, but Second Life is still mostly socialization and relaxation for him.

"Cynthia and I build stuff for steampunk builds and mad science looks." said Shockwave.  He and Cynthia have worked on a number of joint projects over time. When he was asked if he had ever build a store, he said, "Yes, but it is gone now."

Shockwave had been building on Second Life for a long time, as well as real life. "You've seen the Christmas lights dancing to songs?  I do that.  But I don't have the budget others have so I have to make stuff myself and with my own designs." he told me.

Shockwave had been on Second Life for over 10 years.  I asked him when his rezdate is and he said, "Sept 29 2006." Then Shockwave said something about his work in real life. "I used to work at Nasa." he told me,  "15 years. I did a good job."

When Shockwave was asked if he goes to any club, he said, "Cutlass and Xanadu principally.  Now and then I'll find a blues club here or there.  I'm usually in Sunweavers or Caledon territory." Shockwave added that he goes to the Irish club in Caledon. "Heh.  I'll pass your complements to the dance ball builders" said Shockwave when I said that Shockwave and Cynthia are amazing dancers.

I found out that Shockwave write filk songs.  Shockwave gave me the link where he has some songs. "Once in awhile someone at a club will come up with a silly idea.  And if I have the free time, I try to make it real." said Shockwave. "Zorro wanted the song CARS done about Tanks.  So..."  And with that, he gave me the link . "I gave it a more Industrial twist." said Shockwave.

Shockwave used to write furry and Scifi, but he had not done much lately.  There was no time for him to write furry and Scifi. "Would you say that you are still a writer even though you don't do much of that today?" I asked. "I think so.  Out of practice is all." said Shockwave.  When he was asked if he has a blog, he said, "Alas, no."

Shockwave plands to continue coming on Second Life until the end.  Until then, he will continue to build things and maybe sell something.

Before the interview ended, we talked about my house-building.  When I asked him if he had ever built a house, he replied that he had built many houses. "I know you helped others build houses.  You've helped me with building a house.  Thank you." I said. "You are very welcome." said Shockwave with a smile, "Let me know if you need more help with the house building."

Thanks, Shockwave.

What I have learned from my time with Shockwave is that he is an amazing person, who would help people in need, like Relay for Life,  and someone trying to build a house.