Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Cobras MC Motorcycle Club

By Wesley Regenbogen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Wesley Regenbogen

Monday, June 5, 2017

Interview With Bixyl Shuftan

By Deaflegacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Interview with Gemma Cleanstale

By Deaflegacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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