Thursday, June 27, 2013

Interview with Tuna the Oddfellow of Second Life

By Grease Coakes

A little known secret of Second Life is a magician who has his very own Tunaverse. Tuna Oddfellow, who has been a long time resident of SL since August 15 2005, is a magician in real life. In Tuna's own words, using Houdini as an example, he enjoys pushing boundaries and seeing how far he can get.

Tuna does an incredible job of pushing boundaries as he puts on an amazing light show, the Odd Ball, for your computer screen that you might see at a dance club. In fact he won a contest held by NBC 4 the TV station as the most talented avatar in Second Life in 2007. His color and lights show wowed the judges, earning him the prize. His prize was 1 million Linden which translates to roughly $4,000 in US Dollars.

His light show at his small land will blow you away. Every Monday at 6pm SL and every Sunday at 12 Noon SL, Tuna meets with Jana Kyomoon, a real life ambient musician who created a music album you can get here.

Of Jana, Tuna had this to say, “For Jan and me, entertainment duo is more correct than business partners. Though I would love to work with Jana professionally.”

Her album is called “Ambient Reflections of Jana Kyomoon.” I’ve heard Jana’s live music at Tuna’s odd ball and it was very relaxing along with the mind blowing effects that Tuna offers. I had joked that her music is very mellow that it could be romantic. Tuna said that would be too odd though (ha ha!).

In his Tunaverse group he always asks what time is it when his oddball is about to start? His answer every time is:

“Time to get odd odd odd!”

In fact Tuna claims his real life is stranger still.

Tuna Oddfellow, "Well my Second Life is like my first life, both are stranger than fiction. In first life, I spent years as a magician. You know, finger flinging, sleight of hand, reading minds, escaping from chains the works. For many years I had performed magic at private parties, restaurants, as a street magician and as a master of ceremonies."

Looking up Tuna on the web I saw that He has been a real life magician in real life for 26 years along with his job in Second Life as a cofounder of odd studios.

Despite some physical pain Tuna still gets out to perform in real life as he still pushes the boundaries of life,  "I aim to push my own boundaries too."

Grease Coakes, "Oh sure everyone should push their own boundaries to see what he or she can achieve."

Words are hard to express the light and color show that Tuna puts on twice a week so it’s best that you experience it yourself. I remember seeing the lights and colors actually move and not stand still like a normal background. Not so fast that it makes you dizzy more like a slow turn with many colors that your avatar gets drowned in. It’s easy to lose track of other avatars and your own in the colorful world that Tuna creates for you along with Jana’s ambient electronic music.

Pictures say a thousand words sure, but you have to see his Oddball to have any idea what I am talking.

Grease Coakes

Editor's note: Tuna has certainly been making shows for quite a long time. Good to see he's still at it. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Interview with Tantari Kim

By Grease Coakes

Just recently, I turned six in Second Life. I may be old, but there are still avatars in the grid older than me. Like I stated in my interview with DrFran Babcock, Tantari Kim has been here a much longer time then I have. She heard about Second life through a MUCK which is a text based roleplay.

Tantari Kim was part of the SL beta where everyone was building and messing around. She didn’t like that as she wanted to be more of a social butterfly. She left the SL beta going back to a place called, where everyone built cars and had races a lot of the time. Then later someone on a muck said 'come back to SL, someone named Cross Lament can make an avatar for you.' For a one-time fee of $20 in real money Tantari Kim joined Second Life again. She said that Linden labs was nice enough to grant her last name of Kim from the beta Second Life when she rejoined Second Life in April 05, 2004. In April of next year 2014 Tantari Kim will be a decade old, where in comparison my avatar only turned six recently.

I may be old in Second Life, but other avatars are still older than me and Tantari Kim takes the cake. I remember one time hanging out at my fave human club SGB, which is shorthand for Sounds Gravis beach. I TPed Tantari over. When people saw her profile age, a human or two paid her Linden and Tantari was humbled by that. SGB is here at

Back then Second Life was very different where before mainstream furry avatars were available. Furry avatars were custom made for others at the tune of 5,000L vs. buying a regular furry avatar from a vending machine. Back then furry avatars were clunky and had what Tantari said had bubble tails. The lower legs were very skinny on the avatars.

The first furry vending machine made by Luskwood was a big event back in 2004. To Tantari’s knowledge at that time it was a major party back at that time period. Tantari showed me a picture of the grey vixen she bought.

Back then people made Linden by giving ratings to other avatars. Based upon being nice and personality how your avatar looked and building skills. You paid the reviewer 1L per aspect you were asking to be reviewed on for a maximum of 3L. Tantari gave lots of reviews as she made 1,200L per week. I said that would be plenty to live on in Second Life. Get an avatar every week with money like that.

The SL that exists today made accounts free, but now you had to pay real money for the Second Life Linden currency. Tantari and other furries saw the downside as lots of griefers attacked furry clubs like the Ark. Tantari said if a human avatar came to a furry club people would look up the avatar’s profile right away in case they had to report the human avatar. Furries were fearful that humans might grief the sim. But now with free accounts anyone can just make new accounts to regrief the same sim again. When people paid $20 for an account people thought twice about greifing sims or people.  Linden Labs terminated anyone’s account caught greifing.

There’s a place around called The Shelter where they still have a game show going on. Similar to "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," every question you got right was a certain amount of linden where you can choose to keep that Linden or keep answering questions to try and earn higher amounts of linden. Get a question wrong and you lost it all. The game is called payment Podium. Furries and humans are both welcome at The Shelter as a PG sim where tolerance and being polite was the norm. Seems like a nice place to go to if you had a bad day or just wanted to take it easy. It’s still around at

In fact a group she created herself is called the Vixen Scouts International as she made her very own vixen scout outfit. The motto is vixen scouts are helpful and kind. The vixen scouts is exclusive however as you must be using a vixen avatar to join in. Tantari is very much like that as she greeted new accounts/avatars at Tutorial Island back in 2005. She described various things on the picture she showed me like a board game called prim attack that she never played. On the right was the circle where new avatars loaded when they finished their tutorial. The purple bike in the picture was free for anyone to use.

She also said how next to the Tutorial Island was Luskwood which was SL’s first furry sim, which is still around today. Tantari showed me lots of pictures with her avatar among various other furry avatars. The avatars including herself shown in the pictures were state of the art years ago, but today could be used as freebies as avatar creating and building has advanced over the years.

I joined in 2007 and I really didn’t know much about Second Life. I went to the Ark which is still around today and met Tantari. She was helpful and guided me around. Another thing she remembered about the Ark is when voice chat was still introduced a few months after I joined Second life. The people who talked in voice chat killed the music played by the stream. The other side of the coin was music got in the way of those having conversations over typing. Tantari said not all people on voice were the sharpest tools in the shed though. Tantari and I talked over Skype we remembered how the ark looked and SL looked a lot different back then. She also showed me lots of pictures.

Tantari was and still is a good friend of mine as she was helpful and kind I was a clueless newbie when I first started. I may be an old avatar in Second Life, but Tantari Kim’s experiences and adventures are great in number as she is one of the first avatars in second life that we all live in today.

Grease Coakes 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

SL10B - Meet the Lead Stage Managers!

by DrFran Babcock

I could not be more excited about Second Life’s™ tenth birthday. It is almost impossible to believe that there has been a whole decade of virtual world existence.  The preparations for this gigantic party have been ongoing for several months, and SL Newser is glad to give you some inside glimpses.

Second Life™ is a worldwide, and that means that there are residents active all the hours of the day and night. The four incredible stages of SL10B will be filled with talent around the clock. If you wonder how that gets done; wonder no more. Each stage in the 20 sims (plus two provided by Linden Lab!) has a lead manager, and I will let you get a little peek into the the lives of these residents.

Each of the four Stage Leads was asked the same questions. Below are their answers:

Fedora Jones – Lake Stage. Builder: Kaz

SL Newser: How did you find out about Second Life™, and what was it about this world that kept you here?     

Fedora Jones: I really don’t remember how I first heard about Second Life™, but it was probably some random mention of it on some random web site.  I'm sure it wasn’t a First Life friend who told me about it because I didn’t know anyone in SL when I set up my account.     

I stayed because I wanted to get involved in singing once I had a better computer. Once I got my computer hardware upgraded, I was able to join the SL music community.

SL Newser: How did you come to be a stage manager for SL10B? Have you worked a birthday celebration before?     

Fedora Jones: My first real show in SL was as a singer was at SL8B, and the new (at the time) CEO of Linden Lab visited my show.  So, the SL birthday event has some sentimental value to me because it’s my anniversary, and I wanted to “give back,” if possible.  I was a Stage Manager at SL9B, and I assume that I was asked to be a Stage Lead for SL10B due to my outstanding performance as a Stage Manager at SL9B-LOL.

 SL Newser:  What are your duties going to be like during the celebration?     

Fedora Jones: Basically to “herd the cats” and get everyone in the right place at the right time. Seriously though, my primary duties are to schedule the performers and Stage Managers for the Lake stage, and to distribute information to those people.

SL Newser: Can you give us a peek/preview of some of the entertainment you will be hosting?         

Fedora Jones: The Lake stage is a "Mixed" stage, meaning that it has both deejays and live performers.  Most of the performers at Lake are deejays, but Sunday afternoon will be mostly Live performers.

SL Newser: (In homage to the old Metaverse Messenger): Pie or cheese, and why?’

Fedora Jones: I’ll choose "pie" because there are a wider variety of kinds of pie than of cheese.  Plus, you can put cheese on your pie, or even make a cheese pie, but why would anyone put pie on their cheese?  (Ed’s Note: Haha)

SL Newser: What would you like folks to know about Second Life™? Or, anything else you want to say. 

Fedora Jones: In spite of all its pixelated prettiness and technology, Second Life™ is still based on real people.  For that reason, you’ll experience in Second Life, most if not all of the emotions, and “issues” you have in real life. 

GOLAN Eilde DJ – Nuclear Reactor Stage – Builder: KT Syakumi

 SL Newser:  How did you find out about Second Life™, and what was it about this world that kept you here? 

GOLAN: I heard about it on the news. It was Friday evening on Channel 2.  They were talking about how people were making money, so I wanted to see what that was like. After that, I stayed because of the people;  what they make you feel.

SL Newser: How did you come to be a stage manager for SL10B? Have you worked a birthday celebration before?

GOLAN: I started to do this long time ago (this is my 6th year in the SL), and the sixth SLB event. I started at 2008 at SL5B,  but wasn’t a stage manager back then. We were greeters and moderators, I think.  In SL6B I was Stage Manager for the first time.

SL Newser:  What are your duties going to be like during the celebration?

GOLAN: To make sure all is OK on the stage, but that is just  overall information  so the answer can be divided into a few parts:
24 hour support for event stages, performance events, Live and DJ
 entertainment and stage areas.    
Performance Staff training and coordination, as needed.
Performance Staff scheduling, as needed.
Performer and Deejay applications and schedule(s) assignments, as needed.
Volunteer applications and assignments, as needed.
Stream Coordination and assignments.
Interviews / Subject matter expertise regarding the stages, performers and performance.
Basic Security of the stage areas.

SL Newser: Can you give us a peek/preview of some of the entertainment you will be hosting?

GOLAN: It’s going to be literally 24/7 music for eight days.  Some of the Deejays are top of the line Deejays in SL.  Playing different genres: trance and techno, and even pop music (smile).

SL Newser: (homage to Metaverse Messenger): Pie or cheese, and why?

GOLAN: Pie. pie is sweeter (grin).

SL Newser: Last, what would you like folks to know about Second Life™? Or, anything else you want to say. 

GOLAN: SL is the best virtual world I know.  I also love being here and taking part in this amazing event. Some people make you feel this is your second family.

Linda Sautereau – Main Stage - Cake Stage. Builder: Donpatchy

 SL Newser: How did you find out about Second Life™, and what was it about this world that kept you here?

Linda: I learned about Second Life at my former University, which had an initiative for faculty to teach using virtual worlds.  I basically came to use SL to teach my classes and stayed because of the music and the people.

SL Newser: How did you come to be a stage manager for SL10B? Have you worked a birthday celebration before? 

Linda: I started as a greeter in SLB6 or 7.  I was a stage manager in SLB8.  I had met Doc (Gascoigne) when I was an SL Mentor.  He knew that I owned a jazz club and asked me to be the lead on the Cake stage in SLB9, and again this year.  I feel very strongly about making a positive contribution to the SL community.   

SL Newser: What are your duties going to be like during the celebration?

Linda: Basically to make sure that the residents who come to the Cake Stage have a great time!  That means making sure that the performers start on time with as few problems as possible.  I’ll manage a crew of Stage Managers along with my assistant lead, Laura Polke.  We change and test the streams, handle any griefers, coordinate with the sim coordinators if there are land problems, and just overall run the stage. 

SL Newser: Can you give us a peek/preview of some of the entertainment you will be hosting?

Linda: Well, we have a mix of genres and types of entertainment on the Cake stage:  Deejays of almost every type of music: jazz, country, trance, house, R&B, blues—just about anything.  We will also host dance troupes and tribute bands.

SL Newser: (Homage to Metaverse Messenger) Pie or cheese, and why? 

Linda: Pie...cuz cheese doesn't like me. 

SL Newser: Last, what would you like folks to know about Second Life™? Or, anything else you want to say.  

Linda: That SL is a place where you can be and do whatever you choose to do.  You can create, run a business, or just hang out and listen to some of the best recorded and live music anywhere.  But more importantly, you can meet lovely people from all over the world, many of whom can become great friends!

Jahman Ochs - Live Stage - Turtle Stage. Builders: Flea Bussy and Toady Nakamura
 SL Newser: How did you find out about Second Life™, and what was it about this world that kept you here? 

Jahman: I’ve been involved in online communities of one sort or another since 1979, starting with ARPANet (Ed’s. Note: Wow! That’s the beginning of the Internet), through CompuServe and AOL, Delphi and PlayNET, IRC, and so on. I’ve also been a programmer since that same time working in, among other things, 3D graphic display platforms and software. I had always imagined that eventually there would be a way to intermingle the two: a 3D environment that would be a social community, so you might say that Philip (Linden) Rosedale and I were soul-brothers.

I knew about Second Life™ from its inception from the trade magazines and web sites, but did not actually arrive here until 2006, after reading the article in WIRED magazine regarding Philip receiving their Rave Award for Innovation in Business. 

Of course, once I did arrive, I found a world very close to what I had indeed anticipated; was immediately enthralled by the rich building and scripting tools and the depth of community; and, despite all of its flaws, I have never been too far from this place ever since. 

SLNewser: How did you come to be a stage manager for SL10B? Have you worked a birthday celebration before? 

Jahman: My first SLB was SL7, when one of the organizers approached me in the last weeks prior to start, to ask me to assist the Lead in managing a new stage to handle an overflow of acts for which there was no room on the other three original stages. That was the first year that the “Cake” stage came into being. (Of course, now, Cake is the largest of all the stages in SLB). During SL8B, I was again the assistant to the Stage Lead for Main stage, the last year it was called such (now it is called “Live,” to distinguish the fact that it has, exclusively, musicians and singers). That was the first year I was involved from the planning phase and really learned the whole process, from start to finish, that goes into making this event happen.  SL9B was the first year that Linden Labs relinquished their sponsorship, and it was not clear there would even be an organized, multi-sim event. As such, that planning phase was much shorter once we decided to move forward without the Lindens, using donated land. I was still right there when the call went out, and in the span of two months—this time as Stage Lead in my own right for the Lake stage—we put together one of the best SL Birthdays ever!  This year for SL10B I was offered the Stage Lead for the Live stage, and there was no way I would have been happier. I’ve been a musician (singing since I was six months old!) all of my life, and music in Second Life™ is my second passion after scripting.

SL Newser: What are your duties going to be like during the celebration? 

Jahman: As Stage Lead for the Live stage, most of my duties were prior to the celebration. I was responsible for scheduling, contacting and confirming the 120+ performers who will be appearing there during the event(!); recruiting, scheduling and training the staff of 15 Stage Managers who will actually manage the stage during the performances; and collaborate on the details of the stage build with the incredible builders who created the stage and its surroundings on the two sims that make up Live this year. 

Once the event starts (and Live stage traditionally has the first performance of SLB, after the opening ceremonies on Cake stage), it will be non-stop music here with performers back-to-back from 7:00 AM to Midnight SLT for eight days straight, At that point, I will be turning over most of the responsibilities for managing the hour-by-hour details of the stage to my team, of whom I am most proud. We work together as a unit, to make sure that every performer arrives on time, gets on stage with a working stream when they are scheduled, and has the opportunity to give the very best show possible. My role will be to make sure my team has anything they need during the event to make that happen, as well as fill in for the various roles involved where there are gaps in the schedule.  

SL Newser: Can you give us a peek/preview of some of the entertainment you will be hosting? 

Jahman: My goodness, with over 120 performers, all of whom are at the top of their game, it's hard to be that selective! Pete Mroz (Pilgrim75 Swashbuckler in-world), LindiMoo, Lyrica Acoustic, Ilianor Illios, Tone Uriza, Premium Composer, Sioux Nikolaidis, Debi Latte - and the opening act this year is Mimi Carpenter. These are just a handful (or two!) of the absolutely incredible mix of musicians and acts, which includes dance troupes and cheerleaders! Without a doubt, I can say this is the very best overall collection of talent that we have ever offered on an SLB stage. 

SL Newser (in homage to the Metaverse Messenger): Pie or cheese, and why? 

Jahman: Cheese, because I'm a savory kind of guy

SL Newser: Last, what would you like folks to know about Second Life™? Or, anything else you want to say. 

Jahman: Second Life™ is not a game. It’s a community of creative and passionate people in an environment truly unlike any other in the history of humanity, and representing a concept of reaching out beyond the physical world to form a place fueled completely by collective imagination. Whatever the future holds, that vision came to full fruition here first, and I am hopeful it will forever be remembered as such. 

So, there you have it. I think you will agree that the Stage Leads are a diverse and worthy group of Second Life™ residents. Say hello to them as you groove to the entertainment they provide.

DrFran Babcock

Monday, June 17, 2013

SL10B: Interview With Doc Gascoigne

By DrFran Babcock

Doc Gascoigne is well known in Second Life™ for his philanthropy and commitment to events such as Burn and the Second Life™ Birthday celebrations. I didn’t really know him well, but have bumped into him at many of these events. I have always had an affinity to him since his name is Doc, which is what most of my friends here call me.

I was thrilled when co-SL Newser reporter, Gemma Allen contacted me to ask if I would like to conduct an interview, with Doc. I was pleased and astonished, because he is not someone known to give interviews.

So join me as we meet this wonderful co-leader of the Second Life™ Tenth Birthday Celebration:

SL Newser: My first question is always: How did you find out about Second Life™, and what is it that keeps you here?

Doc: I got an email from Second Life™; a try us out email. I was a member of, and I thought: Wow another interesting place for me to try out, so I went there. My graphics card crashed, and I went to hunt down another. In I was a mentor and worked the newbie island.

What keeps me here is the community.  When I was a mentor we made connections to new residents and we often recruited those who found Second Life™ amazing and wanted to be a part of the community.

Almost 9 years later I still find new recruits, and I still feel that sense of community. I still want to be a part of it all.

SL Newser:  You are well known in Second LIfe™ for being a mentor, your participation in Burning Life, Burn, and the Second Life™ Birthdays, yet very little is known about you. What is it that made you agree to an interview at this time?

Doc: At nearly 9 years and for the 10th  Birthday, I decided to finally be interviewed and only by you. (laughs). In all my time as a mentor, volunteer and event lead I never thought, no matter how many times I had been asked, anyone wanted to hear what I had to say.  I do not consider what I do as anything special other than to recruit and round up people and set them up for volunteer opportunities. When you are part of the community, you want to be a part and participate. This year’s gathering expresses what true community is about.

Community is not just a word it is an entity; a living, breathing entity (Author note: emphasis mine). It’s interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location. Our common location is Second Life™. It was truly humbling for me to see so much collaboration that the Second Life™ community has shared for this event.

SLNewser: What are the things that you like about SL? You have been here a long time, and you have seen many changes.

Doc: The gadgets are my thing—both simple and complicated. Little bells and whistles and ingenious things we buy or people generously give for free that make Second Life magic. You have to enjoy the Engineer's Motto: If it isn't broken, take it apart and fix it....again and again!

SLNewser: What’sit like to organize an event as big as this birthday celebration?
Doc: It is a lot of work. It is a giant undertaking that without the help of over 1000 people (!) would never come to fruition.

We seek out really great people from all over Second Life™. The main trick is spreadsheets. I make a wicked spreadsheet. I find our best volunteers also have a love of Second Life™ community. They are natural leaders, generous, with various skill sets and backgrounds. We know that with each great interaction we “pay it forward,” and bring more people into our little army of volunteers. It is a Borg-like thing, we assimilate residents and make them part of the volunteer collective. (Author note: But, like, a positive Borg thing, right?)

SL Newser: What do you hope people experience when they visit SL10B?

KT Syakumi suggested we use the theme “Looking Forward, Looking Back.” We would like everyone to share the momentum of the event as we see ourselves: from whence to hence.

SL Newser: Pie or cheese? (Obligatory homage to Metaverse Messenger, the badly missed SL Newspaper)

Doc: Pie

SL Newser: What would you like folks to know about Second Life™?

Doc: You are a valuable asset to Second Life™.  Second Life™ is a community built with user created content. You are a part of this community. It will be your knowledge and skills that will help others continue to build and create.

SL Newser: Anything else you want to share ?

Doc: If you enjoy the party this year think about becoming a volunteer next time. Stay in the SLB Community Group for info and updates. Come join us! 

Haha, I guess Doc means: You will be assimilated.

If you see Doc during SL10B, thank him for his selfless service, and his passion for Second Life. I know I will.

DrFran Babcock

Friday, June 14, 2013

Avatar Discrimination: A Club Gives Furs the Boot

By Grease Coakes

At random I wanted to hang out and listen to music at a human club. Human clubs are known for lots of emotes and dance music that you might hear at a dance club in real life. In my experience human clubs are great places for me to write, or to play neopets while my avatar just dances. If everyone uses emotes I’m not really missing out on much in the club chat.

Then one time while checking out one club, GOL Element the 8th, I was surprised that I was imed by the club host, Psique Delicioso.

Psique Delicioso: hun

Psique Delicioso: please change to human form

Psique Delicioso: lol

Grease Coakes: Why?

Psique Delicioso: no furries

Psique Delicioso: its rules bebe

Grease Coakes: So basically this club is against furries? (shocked)

Psique Delicioso: we not against anything hun

Psique Delicioso: it’s been like that since it’s been founded

Grease Coakes: Wouldn't you think a rule like that is outdated in SL?

A little later I was ejected for simply refusing to change to a human avatar.

The next day I stop in to see if lightning strikes twice. Sadly it does, but I was able to speak with the manager and I had this to say.

Grease Coakes: Hi Lava I was wondering why furries are not allowed at your club?

LavaIncandescente: cuz is in the rules

Grease Coakes: That's your only answer?

LavaIncandescente: we try to explain to people what to be allowed

LavaIncandescente: in this club stay rules  no animal no furry

LavaIncandescente: please can your change avatar

LavaIncandescente: ?

Grease Coakes: Is there a certain reason you do not allow furries or animals? I mean I have lots of Linden to tip your DJ and host. My money is no good here?

LavaIncandescente: @--'--

Grease Coakes: I don't have any human avatars.

LavaIncandescente: sure but you have need change avatar

LavaIncandescente: for to be allow here

Grease Coakes: And yet humans have been allowed in furry clubs. Don't you think it's rude and racist to not allow furries in your club?

A little later Tiggeh, a furry who likes to hang out at IYC, and I were both ejected for being furry. Tiggeh and I both began talking with each other."

Grease Coakes, "It's different if they only booted me, but if they booted two different furries that says something."

Tigg:eh (tiggy.scholessinger), "They are technically racists."

Grease Coakes, "I was thinking that for example we can change avatars in SL. But In real life how would that look if that same club in real life didn't allow blacks?"

I think in today’s multi cultured and multi-racial world a club in real life wouldn’t get very far if they said no Africans or Asians allowed.

Tiggeh also mentioned a group that he was a part of called “Furs Againist SL Social Inequality”. I easily found the group on Tiggeh’s profile and asked what the group was about.

Kenshin Kazoku (forgottendreamkeeper), "We're basically a group of furries who are fed up with the lack of respect here on SL... "

Kensihn was also booted from a cabin hangout sim just for being furry and got this excuse from the manager, "We have a very specific clientele and we would not want to offend anyone by allowing you here." Fur is offensive? It boggles my mind why someone would find an animal avatar offensive in second life.

The flip side is why someone would be prosecuted in real life for walking around in a fur suit. As a kid I remember watching Sesame Street or maybe seeing someone in a cartoon animal suit and thinking what would it be like to be a cartoon animal or a real animal? So if it socially acceptable to be in a fur suit, say an entertainer at Disneyland, why not dress up in a fursuit on your free time? Amurtigress, a griffin friend of mine, showed me a picture of him wearing his fursuit to cheer up children at a hospital in his country of Germany in real life.

I think this article speaks out that racism is wrong in today’s society whether as a pixel avatar or in real life. It’s sad to see that even in a virtual universe like SL where there are many great things to see and places to hang out. I was shocked at GOL when I was told not to be a furry. Something for GOL 8th element to think about is you can change your avatar in second life sure. But what if this was in real life and I was writing about a real life version of your club. Would you still ban a furry for being born the way he or she was? Yes I know furries don’t exist in real life, but I’m making a point.

It’s easy to eject a pixel furry, but would it be so easy in real life to say it’s just the rules and not have a valid reason behind the rules?

Feel free to stop by which leads to GOL Element the 8th to hang out as a furry.

Grease Coakes

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lyle Lindman and his Mythology Class

By Grease Coakes

Lyle Lindman a long time avatar of Second Life every Mondays and Tuesdays at 4pm SLT tells stories from Greek mythology. It’s neat to hear stories told in voice chat in Second life or also in real life. Sometimes you can hear a storytelling in real life, but here in second life it’s as close as your computer.

I asked Lyle why he tells stories in Second Life? He answered that he enjoys reading the stories as they connect to issues in real life as well as language and words we use today. With his German accent he tells the story in voice chat.

The day I wrote the article he spoke stories about Apollo and Oracles. The main theme was about kings and others who asked to have their fortunes told. For example the king of Persia asked an oracle will he destroy an empire in his exposition. The answer he got back was when he crossed a river he will destroy an empire. When he crossed a river, he ended up destroying his own empire.

A story he told about Apollo who is the god of the sun was his son Eros AKA cupid got upset and shot Apollo in the heart. There was a mortal woman named Daphne who enjoyed hunting and praising the gods and goddesses especially Gaea (which translates into Mother Earth). Apollo when he was shot by Eros fell in love with the mortal woman Daphne. Apollo pursued the woman, but she had no interest in men so she ran from Apollo. Eventfully Apollo did catch up with her and caught her in a loving embrace. Daphne resisted Apollo and prayed to Gaea, and to save Daphne Gaea changed her into a tree. Apollo was angry and snapped off a branch from the tree. And from then on, the laurel branch was sacred as Apollo is always seen with a laurel branch in his golden hair.

Another story about Apollo told of a satyr, a half man half goat creature, of the woods. His name was Marsyas and he boasted no one could beat him in his skill as a double flute player. Apollo was angry about this and challenged him to a musical duel. Whoever won may inflict any bodily harm on the loser. Apollo and Marsyas were equally skilled musically, but Apollo defeated him by playing his lyre upside down. Marsyas could not play his double flute upside down and thereby lost the challenge. Apollo flayed Marsyas alive and took his skin and nailed it to a pine tree. The tears of the woodland creatures crying in sorrow filled the river Marsyas. This story teaches not to be prideful or else your own pride will destroy you.

In addition to the storytelling at his amphitheater there’s also a pond area for meditation and relaxation close by. I sat on one of the rocks relaxed as I wrote this article.

I commented that Lyle seemed to know a lot about Greek myths. He responded modestly and said,  "Wow, I am not really an expert. (smile)." I told him he seemed to know more than most people. He took credit by saying this, "Most of it can be found in a book by EM Berens, it is called myths and legends. I chose some parts I thought to be interesting and read stories from other books. (smile)"

Greek stories like any other set of stories from any culture are written for entertainment as well to teach life lessons. Lyle said he wanted to contribute to SL among the many other things you can find in Second Life. When I heard him in voice chat he did a great job telling the story in voice and leading a discussion afterwards. If you’re not in the mood for club hopping and instead want to relax and hear a tale stop by Lyle’s amphitheater and stay for a spell.

Lyle’s amphitheater is at

Grease Coakes

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Interview with Netera Landar

By Grease Coakes

I heard about another book author in Second Life called Netera Landar. She was nice enough to interview me at her home in SL which was a beautiful sim. Her newest book Deadly Reservations is the third book she has written which involves angels. She also has been working for a newspaper in real life near Chicago, IL as a lifestyle editor. Right now she’s working on a fourth book a sequel to "Deadly Reservations." In real life her name is Denise Fleischer. She started with poetry in high school and moved on with bigger fish to fry in her adult life. In Second Life she also works for the Metaverse Tribune, a newspaper here.

Her wild imagination helped her cook up first book called the guardian. A crusader from the American Revolution is drawn into an intergalactic battle for the fate of Earth. Lea Netera the main character is drawn to a captain who needs her help to fight the Dark Lord of Intarius. Lea is drawn into a battle with the Holians with a talking dragon and more in Netera’s first book. You can take a look here at

The second book that Netera/Denise wrote is a sequel to the guardian where Lea wants to escape back to her original time period. The odds are against her as she travels back to the Olympia’s past and must fight the army of Intarius to save billions of lives.

The third book she has written is a whole new series with Zoe as the daughter of the archangel Michael is born as a human to investigate the demon Mathias who as a mayor in small towns uses American greed and money to get his way. Only Zoe and David an agent for the FBI know Mathias’s secret that he really is a fallen angel. Zoe has heavenly powers at her disposal including creating a cube which is a holy jail cell for any fallen angels or demons. She also has an AI on her wrist named Charles. Mathias uses deadly assassins to kill anyone who tries to stop him. The sequel is "The Sharp Edge of Truth" that Netera is working on now.

I asked Netera about her hobbies and she happened to like movies pets, reading, and jewelry. She said she really enjoyed the new star trek movie. In fact she mentioned she met actors form the TV series and movies. She met the actor who played Chekov and the actress who played Ohura. She also met John De Lanice who played Q and Brent Spiner who played data the android wanting to become human. She also reviews books on

I asked Netera does she have any advice for any hopeful writers? She said to simply keep writing and you can’t force it. That’s certainly good advice as I kept pushing and writing to publish my children’s book.

Later on in the interview she brought out a robot named uncle Irvin. It showed questions in green text and it gave you back scripted responses. The robot was created by Grey Kurka.

Grease Coakes: "Hi Irvin."

Uncle Irvin: "Hi there. Have you ever been to Europe?"

Netera Landar: "Have you?"

Grease Coakes: "No I haven't."

Uncle Irvin: "No I don't think I have. Would you like to go sometime? Do you think you will?"

Grease Coakes: "Maybe later who knows?"

Uncle Irvin: "Perhaps. Only the Shadow knows."

I had to laugh out loud at the last line.

Netera also created and published a magazine called Unforgettable magazine. She gave me the copies that I simply wore and it showed up on my SL screen like a HUD.

Netera seemed like a very busy woman writing her butt off for her own magazine a newspaper in real life, a Second Life publication like I do, and her own stories being published into real life books. Her books certainly seemed original as she encouraged me to stay original and not copy off others.  Well of course no one wants to read something that’s rehashed. If you’re looking for something new check our one of her books at Amazon.  And remember to watch out for angels, one may cube you if you have been misbehaving like Mathias the fallen angel from her book.

Grease Coakes

Monday, June 10, 2013

Interview With Pooky Amsterdam Part Two

By Bixyl Shuftan

For Part One of the interview, Click Here

When I interviewed Second Life media personality Pooky Amsterdam last month, she had quite a bit to say about her experiences. We soon ran out of time, and agreed to meet up the next day. The following evening, she invited me over to the set of "The 1st Question" in the Sci-Lands.

Arriving at the place, it was of course empty except for the two of us, Quite different from when it was bustling with avatars during shows. She invited me to sit at her desk, at the co-host's chair.

Pooky Amsterdam: "I know there's enough room for your tail, Hydra sits there. … That was one thing I had asked for when the set was redesigned - Please leave room for Hydra's tail."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Yeah, distracting as heck if it's cramped (grin)."

Pooky Amsterdam: "Heh (grin), gotta know that. … What are you doing at RFL this year?"

Bixyl Shuftan: "Covering events here and there mostly."

Pooky Amsterdam: "Woohoo! Well, that makes sense. … Great, and it is all for a great cause. The help, and the personalized help this Relay gives is something pretty amazing. The way people who have cancer can find help, I mean that too. Fay Foley said to me that there was a woman who was afraid of needles. She couldn't burden her family with her fear of pain as it were. And well, her doctor didn't understand, but it made her very reluctant to seek treatment. And by talking to people here by being able to open up and come out on that to express it freely with those who understand - well it helped her beat that and she got the treatment and help she needed."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Let's see, … the Time Travelers show … "

Pooky Amsterdam: "It's like a traveling band of troubadors who create modern music in the past dimensions. Okay, not true. It's a different story, the troubadours."

Bixyl Shuftan: "You once had a different idea for the machinma?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "More than once. I have new ideas all the time."

Bixyl Shuftan: "How did the idea for the machinima arise?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "It came from discussions I was having with Dr James canton of the Institute for Global Futures. We had been talking about how great it would be to use SL for a studio set and to do a series. He was doing some work with the SLFC & iHelp student Loan. The idea of three teens who travel to the future and meet their older selves and a battle for the Good Singularity came out of these talks. They came out of discussions … about the importance of college education and what what kind of skills kids will need in the future what kind of jobs and enterprise there will be and how they need to equip themselves. We both have daughters in their early 20's too. And of course the futuristic builds and the natural sci-fiction feeling that you are in another world here, well these things contributed too."

Bixyl Shuftan: " … you had a daughter?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "Yes she is 20. I am truly grateful to have this amazing young woman in my life. The greatest joy is being her mom."

Bixyl Shuftan: "What does she think of Second Life and what you do here?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "She has come into SL but didn't have the desire at that moment to plunge on in. She is in college so that does take a lot of focus and time. She thinks it's kind of cool and she also has done the voice of Mariah in the Time Travelers too."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Oh, she has?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "She is more interested in the other side of the screen though, I think right now. Yes she has. I play the older Mariah, and she the younger."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Oh yes, I thought I recognized the voice. (grin)"

Pooky Amsterdam: "(I'm) not always easy to hide (grin)."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Time Travelers is still a series in progress. About how long will it take to finish?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "Well, we are on episode 6 now. It's a very long episode about 12 minutes. This might take us about 4 months or so. The entire series, I am not sure. We might extend it to some things about futurism and the Singularity onto the web and through social media."

Bixyl Shuftan: "You've done a few other videos, including a parody of "Date Your Avatar." (Link)

Pooky Amsterdam: "Yes we have done a bunch of films indeed. I saw Date Your Avatar when it was at 398 hits."

Bixyl Shuftan: "I don't recall another video of yours based on another. What inspired this?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "Well, I'm seeing the film and I had two very distinct thoughts. One, they had missed an opportunity to not use actual avatars. And two, 'Date your avatar?' Hahhahahah! I'm too busy to date your avatar."

Bixyl Shuftan chuckles

Pooky Amsterdam: "So then I saw myself at this desk actually, and I'm getting business deals and have to do things professionally for the show, and then I have a date and 'oh gee I just cant make it tonight' with the opener. The concept kind of was there. It was Draxtor Despres whose genius in film making and ability to embrace all kinds of elements, well it was a great collaboration, including a musician he knows called Samuels Dream."

"It was something that we worked on, and really captured something great, the loneliness and alienation of fame, the pressure as well, the need for love the plaintive cry, and the tines. Some of the things would evolve as we shot them, which isn't our usual style really, things are pretty well laid down in pre-production and the filming takes the shortest amount of time so this was something that did have a life of its own."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Yes, it did get attention among the residents."

Pooky Amsterdam: "Yes. and became a meme in a way too. …That was the first film I collaborated with Drax on where he was director. I had met him in NYC during the last state of play and knew the minute he said hello, he had to be the voice for Dr Occam. We were just casting 'Shrink Wrapped' then."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Oh really?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "(I)love working with him, and we have gone on to other films.  He shot the 'Troubleshooter 2' for Sclera Designs. and of course we worked on the 'Flufee on a Meshion' series." (link)

Bixyl Shuftan: "Oh yes, that proved to be a hit."

Pooky Amsterdam: "Loads of fun."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Did you expect to do so many videos of Flufee?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "Well, I knew there would be (more) Flufee Episodes. I don't have to have scope on something like that. It was great to do. I guess I didn't, but was pleased the reaction was so positive. And that of course makes you want to do more. We were invited to show 'Monster Mesh' at the New Media Film festival. so it will be there actually this summer."

Bixyl Shuftan: " 'Doing the Monster Mesh' (grins)"

Pooky Amsterdam: "Heh, that film I actually do look at a lot. It makes me laugh."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Heh heh, I imagine loads of residents were."

Pooky Amsterdam: "That is a film that I also think has a very good crossover feel.  You don't have to know what Second Life is, or game engines, or machinima. It's an entertaining film. And in the end that is the goal, to make something that stands on its own."

Bixyl Shuftan: "With the possibilities of Second Life mentioned so much, I imagine you've thought of the SL10B coming up, the tenth anniversary, not to mention it's theme, 'Looking Back, Looking Forward.' "

Pooky Amsterdam: "Yes I have. I'm hoping we can do a '1st Question 'edition for it or a special like a 'Yay Me or Nay Me' the SL way, and have some things on Second Life as the content for the questions. It's going to be pretty interesting. If the residents and people who know and love the grid had been supportive of Linden Lab and Second Life over the years in a kind of joyous unison, I think that would have reflected well on the grid. The folks who are in here are the ones who know more and more firsthand what being a resident means, although not perfect. I have tried to portray SL to others in the light I find it, incredibly creative and compelling a true learning experience."

"I hope that people will reflect in the greater press on what the positives are. I think in the end it will draw more people and opportunity than the dishing and negatives one can find. But of course, its a free press and should be. In no way would I say not speak of what is important, but … I wish that people would have that broader thinking cap on of how is this really going to appear to those who aren't my next sim neighbor. Just my reflection on it, but I love Second Life and I do think that machinima is a great ambassador."

"I don't need people to love SL, or come here or accept me for wanting to live a virtual life. I just must have the films look great.  I do think of Second Life as my nation though, and will defend it. It's funny, but we all learn so much about ourselves in here, and also what we are capable of in terms of work, in terms of the work we do for love, and it has been inspiring to the greatest degree to meet the people I have here, including people who are definitely my lifelong friends, and of course the people I work with too."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Besides finishing up 'Time Travellers,' what other plans did you have in the future?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "My past future plans? My present future plans? or my future future plans? 'The future is happening baby.' "

Bixyl Shuftan: "Well, all of them if you like."

Pooky Amsterdam: "In the past, like if there was no SL in my life, I really have no clue. Funny isn't it? I try to think what would I have been doing? I don't know. Maybe (I) would have started back doing some stand-up comedy. I had been a regular at the 'Comic Strip' In New York City. Would definitely have been writing no matter what."

"My present future plans are of course to produce more films and keep working in the professional way we do. We might be doing some videos for a new app actually. The principals have seen our work and we are working on some new material for this project. I feel honored to be working with these people. I can't really say more - it's hush-hush. The opportunity to have the work be called so original, and to have a company like this want to use us is great though. So I see real growth here."

"We have also another 'Vector Control' film out in the fall. It's finished, but the district asked us not to make the film public until they launch their educational program around it. So, well thats exciting!"

"I am working on a book on Virtual World Television with Carrielynn Reinhard. That is going to be pretty incredible too. We interviewed over 3 producers. It is about TV production in Second Life for a number of reasons too. The IP rights, the free tools of creation here, the talented residents, and the inworld networks. No other place has a comprehensive environment as this. We are going to be also talking about the very early days of Virtual tv with something the BBC had going in the late 90's called 'Inhabited TV' where the audience, those watching, could also participate in the program. It is about how TV has been co-opted within the virtual world universe."

"It will be fascinating I think, and with all the second screen discussions now. Well Bix, you know I think the future is 'What are you doing on TV tonight Honey?' Not who are you texting during it, or are you watching on Hulu, or Netflix. It's profound, the kind of work that so many producers have done in SL. I think what we are doing is the Grail for the (mainstream media) in many ways."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Interesting thought."

"Might the 1st Question reappear soon in regular episodes?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "I have had to scale the show back recently this year, as we have gotten so busy. And the book has been also consuming time. The show takes about 20 hours a week to produce, write and book. So right this moment, I cant say when. But I do want to continue it. I also want to put out the 'PookyPedia,' the lexicon of words."

"The show is constructed very tightly and the script for it has to be written, well you know that. Hee hee."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Heh (grins).  Well, it's getting late. Was there anything else you wanted to add?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "How grateful I am to be working with some of the greatest folks ever, people who bring humor and hard work ethic to everything, that know the human effort this all takes and how great they are. I would thank them all, Robwag Soothsayer, Russell Boyd, Petlove Petshop, Emo Wei, RIchard G Roberto, Draxtor Despres, Claus Gahrn, Rysan Fall, Lapiscean LIberty too and the great folks who do the voiceover work. RIcky Grove of course not only for his star turn in Zanzibar, but for being also a great inspiration and friend.  I would also thank him for asking me to be Programming Chair for the Machinima-Expo last November."

Pooky Amsterdam: "You know Bixyl, it takes people who know you and are motivated and want to make something greater than ourselves happen. We are able to do this also because, make no mistake, we find each other. And we learn and we grow and we achieve together. It's been the best place on Earth for me many a night and day. And in fact in some of the darkest nights, as well as brightest dawns. … It's like I have found my tribe here! Here are folks who see what the possibilities are, and want to make something really wondrous."

"And the shopping isn't too bad either. Woahahhahahahahhaah!"

Bixyl Shuftan chuckles, "Yeah, no other shopping experience *quite* like in Second Life."

Pooky Amsterdam: "Totally, and that expanding closet known as inventory, well
[01:33]  Pooky Amsterdam: it really works. Though one of my favorite words in PookyPedia comes from Harper Beresford: 'Inventoil.' "

Bixyl Shuftan: "Heh, I have a guess that that means."

Pooky Amsterdam: "Which is, of course trimming your inventory in one of those not too busy moments of Second Life which never really lasts long."

 Bixyl Shuftan: "That pretty much covers all the questions I had, Pooky, thank you.  I'll have the Interview up soon."

Pooky Amsterdam: "… I hope its interesting for people to read. … We all do our things, 'dance like no one is watching.' (grin)"

"Bixyl thank you, and please let me know when it's on the webwave!"

Pooky Amsterdam's personal blog is at . Her company, PookyMedia, has it's website at . She is also on Twitter and Facebook. And of course she can be seen at events at Second Life, giving an occasional discussion about social media, future technology, and other subjects. Expect her at the SL10B event.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

SL10B Interview: Marianne McCann

By DrFran Babcock

Second Life’s Tenth Birthday is on June 23, 2013, and the celebration is going to be the biggest birthday bash this virtual world has ever seen. There is a lot of buzz about Marianne McCann’s full-sim build, some of which was covered in prims, and the rest of which had signs asking folks not to take pictures. Top secret builds are always a fascinating draw for the public, so I decided to see if Mari would grant me an interview prior to the opening of her history-themed sim.

I was surprised and pleased that she was willing to speak with me. We met on the SL10B build on Beguile, but you won’t see any photos of the build until press daynot really that much of a loss, because Marianne is a delight to speak with. I have always found her to be someone who both takes Second Life™ seriously as well as playfully. That’s a sophisticated feat to pull off. Here’s what she had to say:

SL Newser: Mari, you were not in Second Life™ from the beginning--you came in during the rush of 2006, as did I. However, you possess an enormous love for the history and anthropology of this virtual world.

Marianne McCann: At heart, I’ve always been an explorer, no matter the world -- and part of that means understanding the history, the background. You know, getting a sense of what a place or thing is all about, and here, it became understanding the stuff that predates me, looking at how the world had evolved before I made an account in 2006.

I found it fascinating to watch the evolution, and read the history of things that sound like almost mythical things. The tax revolt, the Jessie War... all these things that made the fabric of Second Life™.

SL Newser: This is one of the first major builds I have seen you construct that does not focus on the Child Play community. Many people who do not know you here may come to know you as someone who is a genius of history, not a pioneer in the freedom to be whatever one wants to be here. What are your feelings about this?

Marianne McCann: I’m actually okay with that, really. It’s a funny story, in a way, and one that typifies my Second Life™ I guess.

I came to Second Life after hearing about it from friends, and felt it might be a good respite from actually doing a lot of community activism in my first life. Then, quite unexpectedly, found myself doing much the same here! “No matter where you go, there you are” became a very true thing.

On the plus side, we've all come a long way since then. A lot of those battles have been won or lost.
And really, it has allowed me to show off more facets of me. Like the interest in history, or some of the builds I've done in and for Bay City. That doesn't stop me from still keeping a foot in kid stuff, and staying watchful, but it gives me a more varied palate.

SL Newser: Can you explain the process you went through in coming up with the design of the build? I really want a glimpse into your inspiration...and your perspiration. What was it like to conceive of a build this large ?

Marianne McCann: Well, I have a bad habit when doing builds at the SL Birthdays. My first stop is to look at the World’s Fairs in the US in the mid-century. See, there’s that history interest, and in this case, I knew I wanted to showcase everything year by year, and give people a place to walk around and reflect.

This build was inspired a bit by the Avenue of Flags at the 1933 Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago, Illinois. The upright flagpoles come directly from it, I'll admit, but I opted to make it a plaza, with the pools and fountains to give it a more “park like” feel. The large arches in the back, feature the Second Life™ sun image from the old viewer as a fresco, to emphasize the passage of time. And of course the big box prims up there, a play on the old slogan: “It all started with a cube.” But ya, it winds though, with a sign or two for year to year, giving the highlights and some pictures, as well as the various items. Most everything is from its actual years, with items dating back to early 2002 and textures back to December 2001!

The first item on the walk is the remains of a slideshow that Linden Lab gave in 2001, at the Demonstration conference, talking about their upcoming Linden World project.
It's fascinating to read through and get a sense of what Philip & Co. envisioned early on, and muse about how close it may have gotten.

SL Newser: How have you been able to amass so many artifacts of the history of Second Life™ Who are your mentors, idols, etc?

Marianne McCann: Well, in some ways, it just sort of happened. An inventory in the 95k range and all...but back in 2007, I believe, I was writing for the Metaverse Messenger, an in world newspaper, doing a kids page. I started to watch for interesting happening on the grid then. I spotted a big gambling protest in Pooley, and photographed it. Also, I got a couple of their protest signs,  some of which I could not display on a General rated region! This led to me starting to collect items here and there relating to this history: protest signs, stuff from the tax revolt, then old maps, other items of note here and there, Eventually, well, you can see it all here,  I suspect.

SL Newser: Oh, and bears ? I guess the bears are too primmy?

Marianne McCann: I actually donated a few to another build here: Bear Island. I would need a full sim just for that collection; I have over 400 Linden Bears, and some of them are, um, not exactly prim savers. It was  my first collection, I suppose. I remember trawling through Ambelside hunting up bears.

And mentors:  I think that the SL History wiki, and all the work Oz Spade and Eggy Lippman put in on our history also helped fuel me, and Salazar Jack, too, and of course, Lalo Telling, who did some amazing history work. This build is actually dedicated in the memory of Lalo, who passed recently.
A number of times while doing this build, I’d come across something and think: “Lalo would love this!” or “Oh, Lalo would know this.” For example, finding evidence about what may have been the first Second Life2 road network in Tehama via old pictures of Natoma, that sort of thing. Oh yes, Daniel Voyager. He puts so much heart into everything he does.

SL Newser: What would you like folks to know about Second Life™?

Marianne McCann: I want people to think of Second Life as a place, a tangible space we can all share and can all do great things within. In my neck of the SL grid, Bay City, we’ve got this great community of people, all tending to work together and make our community great. I love that. So ya. I guess that. It’s this incredible place where we can all share, and learn, and grow. I also love to see people come together and make something greater. Being good neighbors and helping each other. I’m a hippie kid at heart

SL Newser: You have been quite open on your blog and elsewhere about your reasons for playing a child in Second Life™. What have been the positive and negative outcomes of this?

Marianne McCann: Well, the positives are that, first off, folks know where I and other kids come from. It’s a “light a candle versus cursing the darkness” thing. It’s made things better for kid avatars, I think. Its helped people see what it is, what we’re doing, not thinking we're all here for some deviant purpose or whatever. Otherwise, what would they learn? Not from the stuff on Report Mainz or Sky News? That’s not the kids I know.

The negative: Well, most of the negatives came out of ignorance of why I was a kid here, though I think that it has caused me to be a bit pigeonholed. People just think of me with kid stuff, or they think I’m going to be more radical, or...I dunno. I'm good with that!

I've taken some pains to try to make this build as open as I can. I mean, so it's not just “my” history. I mean, hard for it to not be through my own lens, but I have tried to be objective A lot of the photos I’ve used here are ones I’ve shot, so it is through my eyes. However, it’s not “scenes of my family life,” or what have you.

SL Newser: Pie or Cheese? (Note: This “joke” question was a standard in the old Metaverse Messenger.)

Marianne McCann: And there can be only one answer: Apple pie. With a slice of cheese.

SL Newser: Is there anything you want to say about how you came into SL, why it clicked for you, and why you love it so?

Marianne McCann: I had actually heard of SL way back. I had a first life boss who ended up being one of Linen Lab's first marketing guys. At that time there was no Mac client, and I saw no obvious value in buying into a service I could not even use, so I “filed it,” as it were. But come late 2005, early 2006 I had a couple friends who were here regularly, and raving about it all. I decided to come here for a week or two and see what the hubbub was all about. I wasn’t initially impressed. My computer was a bit slow for SL, even in those days, so the user experience was low. I could not even properly finish the tutorial on Orientation Island! The Ahern Welcome Area was a madhouse, and I quickly moved my home to the Sami Infohub.

Then I met up with the folks I knew who were here. This is the funny bit. I had three friends: One was a young mouse in a family of furs, one was a kid out on her own, and one was a kid in a family.
I thought was a bid odd but after I explored a bit what they were doing, seeing what they were up to, it seemed like quite a bit of fun. I ended up stretching those two weeks... a bit. We both grinned a lot at that statement.

SL Newser: One last question: What do you forsee in the future for Second Life™?

Marianne McCann: I’m going to tie that a bit to this display, in a way. When I started to write out all of the different things that happened in Second Life™, year by year: Gaming Open Market (GOM), Windlight, the Banking Ban, Ansche Chung, Flexiprims, etc., etc.

I realized that every innovation, every highlight, every controversy, every policy change could be written with a sentence that ended: “This was widely criticized as a bad idea, and it was said this would be the end of Second Life.” Every year, Second Life™ has been ending. Free accounts would be the end of it, or whatever, and yet, here we are, ten years on.

We have had our dark times. When the Lab laid off so many of its staff right at the end of the M Linden era; then I did worry, but we persisted, even past that. There’s some amazing stuff right now. I am a sucker for mesh stuff, and the materials stuff is amazing too.

I don’t think we’ll ever see Second Life™ like it was at the end of 2006 into 2007, the wunderkind, with all the corporations flicking about, but we’ll survive, and grow.

SL Newser: Thanks so much Marianne. What a thought-provoking interview. I can’t wait until the world can see your build.

SL10B opens June 15th, 2013. More information can be found here:

DrFran Babcock

Credit for the Liquid Prim: RRaskolnikov Roffo of the Lollygaggers (one of my favorite objects in my inventory)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Interview With Pooky Amsterdam: Part One

By Bixyl Shuftan

Pooky Amsterdam is a leading figure in Second Life media. She's known for her machinimas and shows on Second Life television, notably the game show "The 1st Question. She also gives talks on occasion about digital media and it's future. Recently I had a chance to meet up with her for an interview.

Our meeting place was the set of a future video of hers, a space station. There were a few alien critters around, although Pooky stated they were for energy, "Nothing says futuristic like (an) electric jellyfish inspired power source. I think these will look uber-cool on film. … I love this environment so much." She showed me around a little, "it also conveys so much … I love being able to combine elements for the real punch of the fantasy/sci-fi element. … It is amazing to me that we take for granted, really, all this rich visual creativity and the desire to understand the next tech as well."

Pooky Amsterdam: "I find that (the) people of Second Life have a different viewpoint of what is possible, and I think it's because we literally do and see the impossible all the time. Sometimes I am reminded of that great line from Auntie Mame, 'Life is a banquet and most poor bastards are starving to death.' We are not starving, not for visuals and creative expression. It really makes and keeps us vital. Think of how your life has been enriched by this life. I know I would not have been the 'same person' in many senses if I hadn't come here."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Oh really?"

 Pooky Amsterdam: "Although I always had an interest in sci-fi and the future, being part of this really pushed me, pushed me to become confident and more capable with of course new tools (and) new tech. I went to the talk on Oculus Rift and zSpace technology at Avaya today."

Bixyl Shuftan: "How did it go?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "There we are about 30 folks and all of us from everywhere in the world can see something that is like just released to developers. That's insane! It was amazing! There will be ways to truly interact with something that is in 2D on the tablet and pick it up with like electronic chopsticks and it becomes 3D so you can turn it all around. That something like this is possible for us to see so ahead of the pack and the curve. Tech which will take a while to become part of the mainstream. It's a thrill. And with the future, thinking folks we have met. I respect very much the fact that we are in a special place and time here."

"Anyway you know me - I'll talk, but If you like I can answer questions too (smile)."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Well, to begin with, how did you find out about Second Life?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "Well It was at the 2003 State of Play conference in New York City. It was a pretty seminal conference actually. I met Phillip Rosedale and Robin and Cory. Philip was presenting actually, and I was there the day he announced IP rights. I was given a CD rom of Second Life. It wasn't downloadable just yet then. Having experience in virtual worlds, I was able to handle the demo part there. But not having a PC (I had only amac in those days) I couldn't run the program."

"A  few years later when I was trying to get a virtual world going for people above 30 with an emphasis on doing programs, TV shows, game shows, book clubs, debate, etc, I came back to SL to  be able to understand what would be "the compeition" for the site I wanted to build. I didn't last long, only one day in 2006. But then I returned for good in March of 2008 when a variety of things made me stay here and set up more or less permanent stakes. So I knew of SL for awhile really, but only became a member of the daily grid in March 2008."

Bixyl Shuftan: "And what happened then?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "I had been studying virtual worlds and a lot of research into them. I followed Temis and got into the IGDA reports on gaming and knew there was a great potential for branded experience in virtual worlds. Plus I had had 5 years of producing shows  on another virtual platform. I produced hundreds of shows, including a talk show."

"I came here for a marketing conference and met people who would become part of my future.  Bevan Whitfeield was my mentor. She was very helpful and really made this possible for learning how to navigate and look as I wished.  Lee Ponzu was a great friend. He gave me a safari hat,and indeed I used that years later in 'A Year In The LIfe.'  Of course Paradox Olbers would be one of the greatest influences and inspirations. We met on Arthur C Clarke's death day, and he invited me to spindoem and Cypress was playing. (His) brother had a stuffed toy named Pooky that the loved, so I was immedately feeling all in the family here."

"Paradox said 'I wish that more people could come here,' and I said 'Well I could put on a show.' And he said 'What do you need?' And I said 'This place, same time every week a few hours,' and he said okay. I learned from him about how the Sci-lands were formed, and I was so impressed with him he became in a way my guru. I also met Robwag Soothsayer, who I have spoken to everyday of my Second Life. Without Rob, none of this would have been possible. He really showed me so much and is so talented. So I am grateful for the people I met at that juncture."

"Rob thought I only wanted to put on one show; hahahhahha!"

Bixyl Shuftan: (chuckles)

Pooky Amsterdam: "Anyway, he is a great builder, and so savvy. I had the show going within six weeks. And then RacerX said to Wiz Nordberg 'You have to see this show.' And they did come and well , offered me a place at treat."

Bixyl Shuftan: "So what show was this?"

Pooky Amsterdam: " 'The 2nd Question' it was called then. Over the next year or so I think we would be asked to eliminate the SL or 'second' reference form all the shows, asked by Linden Lab (due to) trademark. For me, it was easy. From the second to the first is a step in the right direction. For the hockey association it might not have been as organic. And the network had to change from Second Life Cable Network to"

"I really saw how different and powerful having an audience-involved show was. I was able to produce a science and tech show on a weekly basis. It is a powerful tool of creation on all levels, and Hydra Shaftoe I was very very lucky to find. i also met Hydra that first fateful week."

Bixyl Shuftan: "How did you meet him?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "Oh through Bevan. It was his rezday or a party for him. She invited me, and he was so charismatic. Something about him made me think, 'this guy has the right stuff to co-host a show.' He said to me, 'You could be a model.' Woahahhahahahhah! And I said, 'I ace a better idea I think.' He really is brilliant and funny, and just the chemistry was so good."

"Kat2 Kit was also a very early friend and he agreed to open the show."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Yes, I remember him. A performer and artist."

Pooky Amsterdam: "Yxes Delacroix was incredible with sound. She worked with us for a long time. And then Petlove joined the production team. Emmo was also of course becoming more and more of a part of the show, and he eventually took over the tiny wrangling, which I was really happy to see as the show opener. Alexa Stuart and Drusilla Poliatevska  joined that."

Bixyl Shuftan: "So Emmo came up with the idea of the Tiny show opener?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "He choreographed them over time, yes. We had had Kat open the show before alone, sometimes driving a flaming helicopter through a hula hoop, or his pogo stick through a flaming hoop, or the battle with Mr Potato Head on a trampoline."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Heh, a flaming helicopter?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "Things got crazy at times, yes. Woahahhaha!"

Bixyl Shuftan: "Heh heh."

Pooky Amsterdam: "We had Edsel Heinkel for a while, opened with music too. He wrote our theme song. He was  an engineer at Bell Labs, and then also a guitar player and song writer, and bam! We gots a theme song. I mean, it was great. The ineraction though, it's about what you are doing on tv or in a tv-like environment. And I came to see that this is the future, the real future of entertainment, authoring it ourselves. Being on the edge of our seats and tips of our fingers."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Yes, it certainly seemed a lot like a real-life tv show, including the live broadcasting."

Pooky Amsterdam: "Yep. And you cant kibbitz with the show host on Lettermen or Fallon you know. It is a different and dynamic thing to be part of a live show."

Bixyl Shuftan: "What were some of your favorite moments of the 1st Question?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "Anything to do with bacon. (grins) Loved the moments the two minutes before we went live - the excitement, the calm before the show. (Be)cause when you are live, you are driving a train at full out speed. (I) loved  peoples' reactions to the 'Yay Me or Nay Me's, how crazy funny that was at times. Loved the words that people made up too. When Hydra said Bubbaliscious for the first time, that was incredible. Having Curious George on the show, that was amazing, a man of his knowledge. Troy Mcluhan anytime he was on the show."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Where did the idea for that come from, the made up words?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "Hmmm, well I wrote the show you know, and came up with all the segments. The Word - Up, well I love making up words and I had an idea that we have our own *lingua franca*, our own language of the grid. And it was something we tried. I wanted people also to be able to vote in real time.  figured everyone has a made up word in them. And yes I will get the PookyPedia out! I swear!"

Bixyl Shuftan: "ha ha! (grin)"

Pooky Amsterdam: "(laughter) So that segment served two purposes: real time voting and made-up words. When the show went from an hour to 30 minutes, I asked a lot of folks what segments we should keep, and Word-Up was always a favorite."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Did people ask for a shorter show?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "No, it wasn't from the audience. It was from a watching point of view, not for the real time audience. They weren't happy, they liked an hour to be honest. No game show is an hour though, not in real life. Not outside of immersion."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Whom were the most interesting guests?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "That is a hard one. There have been almost 400 people who were on the shows over the years. Gina Schreck was great; damn woman was hilarious! Crap Mariner was great. Lauren Weyland too."

"Will Wright was just an amazing person to have on. There I felt we were in a future completely. You know, this man had created the Sims, and was (then) playing as an avatar in SL in realtime, etc. It was pretty hot that. I really enjoyed having Patio Plasma on. Patio is an incredible person. Pathfinder Linden. Cybergirl Oh Irealy enjoyed on the show too. Draxtor Despres, of course! Sol Bartz who is in real life Phil Rice, he got the most points ever I think."

"I mean, we are a pretty amazing population, folks all the time pushing the possible. We are linked with one another as avatars, and I do feel we are brothers and sisters under our skins in very profound ways. I really would be hard pressed to say favorite guests. Everyone was incredibly special. This isn't an easy question by any means."

"Solidspace Merlin deserves a mention, though he was never on the show. But he was someone I could ask 30 minutes before air time when the person who is supposed to be in seat number 2 goes missing. I would IM him on occasion and he would say 'you know, let me ask so and so.' I mean someone like that is a life saver. We did always, usually, mostly, often, have an emergency person to slot in but … "

Pooky Amsterdam: "I went to a meting recently for a film project we might do, and one of the principals saw 'The 1st Question,' and was really impressed. He used the word 'it's smart but ironic.' "

Bixyl Shuftan: "Ironic?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "Well, the show had irony, yes. I loved the irony in the show, and was really so pleased this man, a complete stranger to SL would pick up on that. The conundrums of modern life and human version 1.0."

Bixyl Shuftan: "What were some of your favorite bloopers on the show?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "Oh gosh! In a live show, the bloopers are great. That feeling of the live element. Sometimes the wrong person would be given points and I'd get an IM saying, 'He doesn't deserve that point, that was my point!.' And I loved how people were so involved in that. Right? Like it really mattered. It was so engrossing that it was and had to be, a fair show, an honest show. Truthful in all aspects, that meant a lot to me. Once a quote was disputed, did May Lou Angelou say that or Coach Ditko? And I thought 'this is hilarious, two people couldn't be more different.' Woahahahahahha! And with fierceness - hey that isn't right its her! No its him! Okokok I said, they had a separated at birth moment. And you know it is funny, but we are very universal a species."

"The worst blooper though was the what I call the tiny show. Raglan Shire came to the show."

Bixyl Shuftan: "What happened?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "Teal Freenote was on. And there was no way that every tiny there we had, about 50, weren't voting for her. And well, she won Word-Up of course, but lost the overall show due to a technicaliy. I think the lag caused the buzzers to glitch. And well, she didn't win. And the next thing I know, Karma is on the desk threatening my life. It was pretty insane. They went nuts. And I had to publically apologize and also change the voting boxes to Teal in her forever memory."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Oops."

Pooky Amsterdam: "We had a great ongoing party in there, space tag after the show. There were some really fun parties. We auctioned off f the Hydra seat once and that made a buttload of Lindens. But the show was about providing great content for people, value, connection you know. And actually through it I came to also know Carriel Lynn."

"When I spoke on the topic of virtual tv at SLCC I began researching and found this great writer who had covered Metanomics. And I quoted them more than once. I found out they had an avatar and invited her on the show. She is an assistant prof of new media studies, and we began talking off course and well, we are currently working on a book project: VWTV - Virtual World TV. The experience I had with the 1st Question and the Dating Casino got me here. And also there are so many talented producers of shows. There are 56 shows that we have covered and over 30 show producers from Second Life over the three networks. Dr Richard Bartle will write the forward too."

"I really do not know what I would have been doing without Second Life. My ability to be part not only of the present but now of the future through this book, as well as the electronic legacy I'll leave behind has only occurred because of this place. I mean who knows, 'what if' or 'what if not.' but I do know that I am very lucky and so very grateful for the people I have met here. And I also think we all embody that notion of paying it forward. And I'm going to keep doing that too."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Yes, you have done quite a bit besides the 1st Question: the Dating Game, a number of video shorts, and the Time Travelers."

Pooky Amsterdam: "Yes! And the Public Service Announcements too."

Bixyl Shuftan: "The mosquitos?"

Pooky Amsterdam: "I'm thrilled to be able to show people  this great environment, but even more to help them eradicate pestilence! It is so much. It's the dream from the first film we did Beer Break to having a meeting in real life with someone who wants to launch a product and has seen our work and says that is incredible stuff. It's unnerving, and cool, and amazing looking, and we want it for our video marketing. We will working on something  new soon too."

It was at this point Pooky had to go. So we went our separate ways for the time being. We would meet the following night for Part Two of the interview: Click Here.

Bixyl Shuftan