Friday, March 29, 2013

Ask DrFran: How Can I Get Him Back?

By DrFran Babcock
Dear DrFran:
I am sure that you can help me with this problem I have been having for a few months. Since my boyfriend and I have broken up, I have been pining for him, and can’t get him out of my mind. The funny thing is that it was me who broke up the relationship.
Fred (not his real name) and I have been an item for a long time by Second Life™ standards. Just before the break up I was starting to feel a bit neglected, and wondering if Fred was seeing someone else here—something that is all too easy to do in this virtual world. I got really angry with him one night, and just unfriended him, and refused to speak with him for a while.
Now, several months later, I find that I miss him terribly. He kept Instant Messaging me after the break up, even though I did not return the messages. One day I did respond to an IM, and I found that feelings of having missed him started to well up in me. I realized that I had made a mistake in breaking up in such a dramatic way.
DrFran, although we haven’t re-friended (he says he was too hurt to let an unfriending happen again) we still do speak often. I have no way to know if he is online, nor does he know about me. Therefore, it takes some effort for us to chat, but it does seem to happen.
I want us to be back together, but that hasn’t happened. Yet, I think that he is really wanting the same thing, but just afraid to try being a couple again. I keep giving him gifts of builds I have made. In fact, he used one on his land. I started to wear purple hair, because I know it’s his favorite color. I try to stay in world at times when I think he will be online. I have even told him that I still care for him. What can I do to encourage him to take me back? I just know it’s what he wants. 

Dear Wanting: Sometimes I really hate my job. I get letters such as yours, filled with hopes and dreams for a better future all the time. How can I get him back? That’s probably the number one question I get asked. If you listen to popular music, you will hear songs about: “Come back to me,” all the time. Loss is a big part of being a human, and here in Second Life™ things feel even more intense. So, your loss is a great one.
The reason I hate my job at times, is because I have to tell people bad news. Wanting, the bad news is that more than likely Fred is not coming back. How do I know this? Well, (guys cover your ears) men are not very complex when it comes to women. When a guy wants a woman, he will usually go and get her. There’s none of the doubt and obsession, and constant inner debating that is the work of women throughout the world.
If Fred wanted to be back with you; he would so be there. I know you will try to tell me that he’s shy, or maybe he was hurt and is being careful. Invoking the world of the old Magic 8 ball: Odds are not in your favor. Fred is being nice, because most people would rather eat glass than look like a bad guy. So, he chats with you, may even IM you first, will accept your gifts, and other signs that he is coming back. He wouldn’t friend with you, and that is big. Did you feel rejected by that? It was a rejection, in my opinion.
There is nothing that you can do—no hair color, gift, availability, etc.—that will bring Fred back unless that’s what he wants to do. When people push, I always remember what Princess Leia said to Darth Vader, when he was trying to force information out of her: The tighter you squeeze; the more star systems will slip through your fingers. People hate feeling manipulated and forced. I am sure you do, as well.
My advice, since you asked, is to go one with your second life. If Fred wants to be back in your life, he will do that. Otherwise, you moving on is the only way to ensure that you will get to enjoy your time here. I hope you decide to let go, move on, and enjoy all those things you deserve. By the way: Purple hair? Well, Relay for Life is in full swing, so maybe your hair will do for that, but it won’t get Mr. Wont-be-your-Friend back in your life. 

Obligatory disclaimer: The column Ask DrFran is the work of DrFran Babcock, and may not reflect the views of SL Newser as a whole. Please direct any correspondence to DrFran Babcock. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Day of Relay Events

By Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday March 23rd was a day full of events for the Relay For Life. Numerous teams had events planned, large and small. And all of them cheered each other on through the volunteer group chat.

At 11AM was the biggest event in terms of area it took place on: the "Cross-Country Giant Snail Race." Organized by RacerX Gullwing and his team, his Giant Snail Races usually take place on an obstacle course in part of a sim. This marathon took place over 45 sims on the Mainland, going by places such as "The Shelter." For the Relay, RacerX and his team are known as the Giant Snail Relay team.

About a dozen racers donned giant snail avatars, and took part in the course. There were a few problems unfortunately for both contestants and onlookers. Forks in the road had arrows to help guide the racers. Unfortunetly, lag could sometimes hide them, from both racers and people trying to keep up with the action. The snails could also get caught in obstacles hidden by lag, such as trees, in addition to ban lines from peoples' houses on the mainland. The exact time the race took wasn't available when this article was written, but these cross-sim races often take over forty minutes before the first racer crosses the finish line, and an hour before most contestants have gotten through. Alden Cortes' snail was the one who won the race. Stay tuned for the race to appear on the archives soon.

The Giant Snail Relay might have had the largest event. But there were plenty of others. The Unmasking a Cure team announced a "Sink the DJ" event, "Unmasking A Cure team is kicking off our first event with DJ Chris Crisis! Come on down …  We'll be here all day! Hope you can stop in and have some fun with us!" Getting there, it was a small but enthusiastic crowd. The DJ and hostess were sporting ducky water floats, "Pay the kiosk 100L, and I'll take your request. Show your love, help unlock a cure!" Near the dance floor was a small pool, presumable where the DJ would end up if enough cash was donated. The event went on for about eight hours.

At Celtic Isle, an "En Garde" fencing tournament was held. Panza Elde announced the competition to Relay chat, taking amusement to the variety of avatars, "Another match about to begin, bird vs bunny." Heading over, the contestants were a variety of human, furred, and tiny avatars.  More than 11,000 Lindens had been raised at the event, the winner being Capt Blinker with Stero Nacht a close second. Capt Blinker joked, "I cheated, I tied Stereo's shoelaces together. (grins)"

There were other events that day. The Sunbeamers held a special "Purple Passion" Relay event that night at Club Cutlass in Sunweaver Space. How much was raised at the event is unknown, but as of the writing of this article, the team was comfortably in Bronze status with almost 32,000 Lindens. Harmony for Hope held a "Jail n Bail" in which Sunshine Zhangsun found herself behind bars, "I am too cute, so they threw me in jail. *pouts*"  "I'm sure it's well deserved." "Yes! Oh wait, I mean NOOOOO!!" And there were some more jokes about "Stinky the Skunk" and his continued presence at the Relay Rockers. It would be a few more days until the Rockers were finally free of their long lasting "skunked" status.

 There will be many more Relay events big and small in the coming days and weeks. You can find some posted in the Relay For Life in Second Life webiste Here. A new website was also revealed which keeps track of various RFL blogs and those of friends of the Relay.

"Go Relay!"

Bixyl Shuftan

Image Credit: Jasmine Dawn Shuftan

Monday, March 25, 2013

Reading of 100 Word Stories at Book Island

By Grease Coakes

When I was at Book Island last time, Jackson Arthur told me about a beta reading for 100 words so stories for the following week. This sounded fun to me, so taking a mere 5 minutes or so I write a 100 or so story (It went over 100 a little bit but don’t tell Book Island that). I warped over to Olivia Whitsend’s office as she hosted the event. I ran into Relish, the small tiger from last time, and I found out that he is also Brokali the blue alien!

Then my Exodus viewer kicked me off, and I had to log back in. I was telling everyone in the Book Island group that I had a good story, and here it is. Danger Dave had created a notecard launcher where when you send the white square in the middle of a table your notecard goes to everyone in range.

At a telemarketing job was a man and woman. One day Sally pleaded with Phil to borrow $5. Phil said he didn’t like lending money as most times he did not get paid back. But eventually Phil caved in. One day Phil asked Sally if she could he pay him back when Sally got a fat check from a lot of sales. Sally smiled and said she had bills to pay. When Sally was short on money she asked around and no one lent her any money. Phil would have of said yes, but she didn’t pay him back. That night after work Sally had no bus fare and had to walk ten miles in the rain back to her house. As a result she became sick and was unable to come to work the next day.

I got positive feedback on grammar and Relish/Brokali suggested words to add to the power of my story. Everyone’s comments did add to my story.

Jackson Arthur wrote a piece of him using words like jink and pirouette, his character used many fancy words to describe his character wanting to get away from Robert. It ended that he only has enough time for one word.

I will have to be rude. Might be fun! Use your imagination to think of what word Jackson Arthur may have used.

Brokali/Relish’s story was about a lemonade stand at the corner of Filth and Poverty. He told his story about a lemonade stand that was left behind by the current day and age of adults hating having to drive to work. Also the lemonade stand was ignored as people went to get drugs or beer instead or any fast food joint. The point was powerful saying how the lemonade stand is a bygone of more innocent times.

Silver’s poem also had a strong message of a woman walking towards an abyss with footsteps of sorrows and sins. The message I got from her poem was someone thinking of ending their own life after living a depressing and sorrowful life.

Olivia hosting the event gave out a notecard of ideas for next week for 100 or so stories. One of the ideas was gangnam style! I complained saying, "Noooooo! I don’t want to write about that!" Olivia said of course you don’t have to write about that it was only an idea. I assured her that it was an attack on gangnam style not on her. Another suggestion was “Rock and roll is the hamburger that ate the world.”

It was fun hearing everyone’s story and sharing mine. I hung out for the next event Jackson Arthur’s for a little bit, but I wanted to do some real life stuff as well so I did not stay for that. He said you can never have too much coffee I said you can never have too much coffee, ha ha! Book Island is a great place to hang to talk about anything word or book related and hang with fun people.

Grease Coakes

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Relay For Life "Skunk Aid"

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Sunday March 17th, there were a number of Relay For Life events. There was the Fashion For Life, for one. But another event was the "Skunk Aid" party. The event was held for  the Relay Rockers, led by Captain Nuala Maracas, which had been targeted by someone in the Relay's "Stinky the Skunk" campaign. The "Moonstar Mavericks," led by Amanda Darbyshire, were also involved. The event was from 5 to 7PM at Arinultra Cay.

 OK You Allllll...  You Skunked the Rockers, so now its time to celebrate with the first EVER Skunk Aid..  its a Black and White 60s Party   coming up at 5pm in Arinultra Cay.   Music by Yours Truly.  Come let Stinky know we love him, but Just Like Cancer.. its time to Move On!

No reporter was there at the scene, though details could be read in Relay chat, "STINKY!!!!!! … Moonstar Mavericks also got a visit from Stinky. … Stinky is a cute skunk, too." "I'm a doctor, not a skunk herder." "STINKY!! He's not visiting the Rockers. He LIVES with you." "As  a Noob this year, Im wondering who Relay Rockers tiffed off to have us Skunked so many Times!!?? "Well, you know what they say. Old homes are sturdy homes. And, Stinky decided he wanted to move into the sturdiest home in Relay." "Hahahaa, I first read that as 'old homes are stinky homes.'" "Hell I don't know, all I know is we have been skunked until Summer!!!" "I think they wanted him...maybe even paid him to stay…*winks* " The Relay Rockers had been given more than the standard five day skunking.

Trader commented, "Yep!  When Life gives you Lemons you make Lemonade.When Relay Gives you Skunks you make .... T-shirts and hold a Skunk Aid Party! … Rockers and Mavericks  come get your shirts and hats!  Cancer Stinks!!!" For a 50L donation, one would get a  "Cancer Stinks" T-shirt. There were also skunk caps one could get for free just for showing up.

The comments continued, "The two team captains are dressed as too funny!" "Yep.. Stinky Maracas. And Stinky Darbyshire." Trader sent me a few pictures which showed some of the funnery. Nuala had donned a fursuit over her avatar. Amanda had changed from human to furry with a Luskwood skunkgirl avatar, sporting green hair as it was St. Patricks Day.

Later on, I chatted with Trader about the event. "(We) raised about 8g and got Amanda unskunked," he told me, "We are using nothing but skunk kiosks. We had a good time (laughter). … We had people popping in and out. Lots of teams were represented.  It was a cooperative event between Relay's oldest and of its newest teams to rid ourselves of Stinky.  It showed true One Team spirit!"

"The jokes were bad," he added, "the usual road kill jokes, 'what color does SkunkAde come in?: Purple of Course.' (laughter) And I played 60s songs like 'White Rabbit,' 'Black Is Black,' 'Whiter Shade of Pale,' 'Paint it Black,' (and) wrapped with 'Ebony & Ivory.'" Trader commented he might have added songs like "That Smell," "but it was a 60s show." So what was the craziest moment? "Well, Nuala Maracas in a Skunk gut doing 'Gangnam Style' was interesting (laughter). I am glad no one took a picture of me in my Family tartan kilt , a grey 'Cancer Stinks' Shirt, and a Stinky Baseball cap."

"It was a fun event. It shows the special quality of Relay For Life of Second Life...  Regardless of your team, regardless of where on the globe we are all one team, sharing the same dream: a world without cancer! Stinky is a fun addition to Relay! Now that doesn't mean we want him to be a permanent tenant at Arinultra Cay, we don't mind him staying for a visit!"

Checking the Relay Rockers team page, someone had put up more cash to have the team skunked until April 5th. But more donations came, so by the time of this article's publishing the date had been moved back to March 30th. The fundraising boosts have raised the Relay Rockers' total to over $139,000 Lindens raised, or over $550 US dollars. The Moonstar Mavericks aren't far behind with over $129,000 L raised. Both are Silver-ranked teams. At over 51,000 Lindens raised, the Steelhead Salmons are halfway to Silver.

There were other events that day, such as a bumper car rally. One of the leading teams, Harmony of Hope, was issued a challenge when one fox resident offered to go pink if the 200,000 Linden mark was crossed. It was, and he did. 

For more information, check the RFL in SL website

"Cancer Stinks!"

Bixyl Shuftan

Pictures from Trader1 Whiplash

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ask DrFran: Lonely; Not Alone

Dear DrFran:
My Second Life girlfriend, Daisy, is the love of my life. Since we met  we have been together all the time. I have come to depend on her for planning all of our activities. She dresses me, she buys the furniture in our house, she suggests land to buy, etc. She is like a busy bee, always flittering about. Of course, I wouldn’t be writing you DrFran, if things were all rosey.
About a month ago, Daisy got a job here working for one of the big estate holders. She is responsible for responding to renters requests when she is on duty, and the owner of the estates has come to rely upon her, for building parts of the islands, and other duties. It’s not surprising as Daisy is most capable. The problem for me is that she is never available any more to do the things we used to do, and I spend a lot of time just sitting around and waiting for her to have time. I don’t think she’s cheating on me. She just seems to be busy all the time. Even more, with the Relay for Life season approaching, she will be even busier. Please tell me what to do? 

Alone Again.
Dear AA: Your last sentence kind of sums things up: Please tell me what to do? Why should any grown person need someone else to tell them what to do? It seems that Daisy was helping you to live, and you became so dependent upon her direction that you somehow lost the ability to think for yourself. I am not surprised that she has become busy elsewhere. Relationships need to be about give and take, and the one you describe is a bit one-sided.
I have no idea how to get Daisy to come back to you. However I do have some ideas for you. The best way to make yourself attractive to another person is to have your own interests and pursuits:
1.     I have said this before, and I will say it again: Do what you like in Second Life. You know that anything goes…so go do what you love. Love hockey? Well there are many hockey leagues in Second Life, same goes for all sports. I know many folks here who race cars happily, engage in wizardry tournaments, etc. There is something for everybody. Most important is that it is something you want to do.
2.     DrFran can be guilty of this next attribute, so be aware that I say what I say because of experience: DO NOT BE NEEDY. I can hear the whine in your voice, AA. I can’t tell you how unattractive that looks. I have lost first and Second Life partners by being clingy, demanding of time, or just “there,” wanting attention. See number one for what to do instead of waiting for your love to show up.
3.     Make some male friends. Friends are a great way to spend time in Second Life. The grid is enormous and filled with things of wonder and delight. Have you ever visited the Disney Parade? On the hour the characters march by to music. Silly fun, but fun nonetheless, and with a group of people, it’s even better. I don’t want you to think I am minimizing your feelings, or your ability to make friends, but it’s a lot easier in Second Life than in First Life. I find that all that is required is to speak up a bit in group settings. People are interested in people who seem alive with ideas and comments. If what you describe above is accurate, I have the feeling that people see you as just a shadow of your girlfriend, without a life of your own.
4.     Be honest: If you really care for Daisy, tell her so. This does NOT mean that you say it in a way that is a plea. True love is love that does not make a demand for reciprocation. State your love simply, and let it go. A person who loves you will heat that and respond.  A person who does not love you will never hear anything you say about love.
I hope this is helpful to you, AA. It is time for you to get your own Second Life. If not, I fear that Daisy will drift further and further away. Maybe next time you log in, you will follow your dreams, so that you can say: “Oh, I am sorry, I am busy with this trivia game,” next time. Maybe then, just maybe Daisy will see that you have a mind of your own, and that it makes you more attractive to her.
Please feel free to write to me again, and let me know how you make out. 

Obligatory disclaimer: The column Ask DrFran is the work of DrFran Babcock, and may not reflect the views of SL Newser as a whole. Please direct any correspondence to DrFran Babcock. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Steelhead Salmons' Kickoff Party

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Sunday March the 10th, the Steelhead Salmons held their kickoff event for the 2013 Relay for Life season. From about 1 PM SL time to about 9PM, DJs spun their tunes at the steampunk community's Club Gearz.

Join Steelhead for their RFL Kickoff Event, with music and assorted fun, including 'The Hair.' … Also a Jail and Bail scattered through the afternoon (No, Trader is busy today, please no more IMs asking me to arrest him). Hope you can join us.

Filling in for Aryon Dagger, Fuzzball Ortega DJed from 1 to 3 PM. From 3 to 5PM. the latex-clad Madonna Daehile had her turn with the tunage. At 5PM, Vic Morrington played the music. Earlier in the event, Fuzzball was in the cage for the Jail n' Bail. While Vic played, it was Gem Sunkiller who was under arrest. She danced in the cage, wearing a sizable purple wig and a "100 Years of Hope" T-shirt. People dropped in amounts at the Steelhead vendor until 5000 Lindens had been raised. She was finally free to go.

At 7PM. Fuzzball took over the stream once again, also broadcasting on Krypton Radio. He stool in the corner, sporting "The Hair." For those not in the know, Fuzzball bet in the 2011 season that if the Steelhead Salmons went Platinum, he'd "wear the wackiest, wildest, hair around. Well, here it is." Since then, "The Hair" has continued to be a source of humor and pride for the Salmons. Problem is, it blocks his view of movement. When moving around, he usually has to put away the enormous headpiece so huge, it's weight is supported by propellers. Fuzzball stood next to a sign that some Relayer had done a few weeks ago, and somehow became popular among his fans, "Blame Fuzz and Go Relay." While he sometimes pretends to be mad about it, like other good-natured ribbings that his fellow Relayers have given him, he took it in stride.

The crowd at Club Gearz was a mixed one. Some were Steelhead residents. Others were noted Relayers from outside the steampunk community. And some were simply friends of both whom were not part of any Relay team. Someone showed up in an anthro skunk avatar, a reference to "Stinky the Skunk," the character who show's up on a Relay team's page when someone donates at ACS  Island to "skunk" the team. As it turned out, the day after the event someone *did* pay to have the Steelhead Salmons skunked, probably the first team to have been. There was no clue as whom gave the Steelheads this dubious honor.

More than 10,000 Lindens were raised during the Kickoff event, bringing the total raised by the Steelheads to over 20,000 Lindens. As of now, the Steelhead Salmons have raised about 29,500 L in Second Life, and 15,000 L outside the Grid, for a total of 44,500 Lindens. Almost half the amount needed for Silver rank. For this steampunk team of the Relay For Life in Second Life, it was a good beginning.

Bixyl Shuftan

For Jasmine Dawn Shuftan's article, Click Here

Friday, March 8, 2013

Ask DrFran: "A Friend in Need"

By DrFran Babcock

Dear DrFran:  
Second Life has a number of things to offer. One is the people. The variety of avatars certainly allows us to appear in a number of ways, such as my furry fox avatar. Then there's how our personalities show. In my first home, one of my neighbors was a gun-totting girl who loved to shoot things up once in a while. We never became an item, as she preferred other girls and was partnered to one, she a fur and her partner a human. Despite her being a "lezzie" as she called herself, the attention of guys wasn't necessarily unwelcome as long as it didn't go too far, her responding to whistles with a wink.

When the home went under after the owner couldn't afford to keep it up longer, I lost touch with many friends there. But we kept in touch with each other. Over time, we met more often, including a few rounds at firing ranges, and at combat sandboxes, watching each others' backs.

Then her partner dumped her, for reasons I never heard. My friend was naturally saddened, and I spent some extra time with her, listening to her. I thought she'd be be blue for a time, but her depression lingered and deepened. She felt worthless, despite my words of praise.

If she preferred the company of guys for intimate contact, I would have asked her out. But her preferring the company of girls, well, that option was out. I don't know what to do as the only other girl whom also did, she was partnered and she didn't know where my friend could find another.

What can I do to help my sad friend?
Worried Fox

Dear, dear Worried Fox:
People are generally very good and compassionate. I see how much you hurt for the pain of your friend, and I know that you are a decent soul. However, as much as we want folks to be happy and at peace with their lives, there is rarely anything that we can do to make this happen. True contentment comes from within, and is not dependent upon the acts of other people.
The best that anyone can do for another person is to listen and to validate their experience. People who feel that they are being heard by others seem to do very well. Sometimes when I work with patients I don’t even say a word. I am just there as a presence, a sounding board. Patients tell me: “That was the best session ever,” and don’t even realize that I have said nothing.
Another thing to consider is the nature of male female relationships. Remember that what I say is always my opinion, and this can differ from yours and others. I find that men and women can be friends, but usually best after they have had a love relationship. Many people disagree with me about this, but my exes here in Second Life and in First Life are my friends, after a period of being apart. My belief is that if you liked the person enough to go out with them, you probably like them. In your case, you hadn’t a chance to date your friend, and it would not have happened, based on her relationship preferences. It’s pretty well known that “lezzies” may sleep with men, but they really do prefer to be with women. However, this does not mean she couldn’t be your friend, and I guess she is.
The rules of attraction are so complicated. A very wise therapist once told me that when you are out and about you are dragging all your emotional luggage around with you. If you should stumble upon someone to whom you are attracted you throw your luggage into a heap with their luggage, and you hope you have a matched set. The pile of valises gets higher and higher each time we do this. And yet, many of us do it over and over again.
Worried Fox, I hope you have found some happiness, because it is very evident to me that you are a kind and caring fox. 

Obligatory disclaimer: The column Ask DrFran is the work of DrFran Babcock, and may not reflect the views of SL Newser as a whole. Please direct any correspondence to DrFran Babcock. I look forward to hearing from you

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

One Billion Still Rising

By Gemma Cleanslate

 Saffia Widdershins sent out a call for a  meeting to discuss how to keep the One Billion Rising event on February 14 in SL to continue and not just be a one time 24 hour recognition of violence against women in the world. The event itself was a way to recognize the real life event taking place all over the world. There were demonstrations in many counties from one side of the world to the other . some were marches, some were singings, some were sudden dances. In my own state in the USA there was a hearing going on at the state capital and a group showed up there and broke into the song and dance.  
The way it was done here, in SL, in this little part of the universe, was to have magnificent art builds dedicated to the issue,  surrounding a party stage  where people gathered from midnight to midnight at this place in a universe that is open to people all over the world, men, women and children as avatars and they came! Every minute of the day there were four sims full of avatars who came to recognize, affirm that there is a problem against girl children  teens and adult women in this 21st century in the world. 

The discussion led by Saffia at the meetings Friday March 1 and Saturday March 2,  were held at the Virtual Ability sim and were well attended by those who had some contribution to the original event in some way during or before the OBR in SL. There were numerous suggestions and ideas presentedduring the meeting that went on for well over an hour . It is the first of many such meetings I think.
Education in SL is a wonderful idea, but that education is not always sitting in a classroom listening to lectures. How well does that go over in SL? (although I do it in philosophy, lol)  It can be as easy as being invited by a friend to participate in a party, where you say “what is this about“ and are suddenly educated to an issue you had no idea existed and become a student of it or more, a  part of it all. This IS education. This is to the betterment of life here and outside of SL for you. 
As a Customer Relations Officer at the SL event I saw wonderful discussion going on around me during the “party”  and at the art pieces and at the greeting points. If you attended and liked it all you may be interested in getting more involved . If so contact Saffia ... with a notecard with your ideas or suggestions how to continue this in SL. This is a universal issue and an easy way to get involved. Thanks to Gentle Heron, a “volunteer”  as she calls herself,  the heart of Virtual Ability, took notes and allowed us to use the site for a meeting. 
Gemma Cleanslate