Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The 2013 Buddy Walk

By Bixyl Shuftan

For the second half of March, the Buddy Walk Fair and Expo is taking place in Second Life. The Buddy Walk is a yearly event created to raise awareness of Down Syndrome, the most common chromosome abnormality in humans. The event is also to promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with the disorder. The condition is caused by a third copy of the 21st chromosome, and generally results in mental disabilities and other problems. About one in every 700 babies born in the United states is diagnosed with the condition.

According to a notecard from the event, the Buddy Walk was founded in 1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society. Seventeen events related to the Walk took place across the US. By 2008, there were more than 250 related events, including Second Life. This was the first year of the SL Buddy Walk, in which 170 residents attended, and 55,000 Lindens were raised. In 2012. over five hundred residents attended, and over 144,000 Lindens were donated for the event.

This year, the Buddy Walk is called the Buddy Walk Charity Fair and Expo, taking place over not a weekend, but over a two week period. Like last year, there are musicians performing at live events. With the addition of the charity fair, there are stores, "Each designer has made at least two items that the proceeds  will go directly to the walk." There is a walk pathway, but there is no scheduled walk for everyone. The notecard stated this was due to "the limitations and lag of SL" in addition to residents living in different time zones.

While paying a visit to the Expo near the end of opening day, I ran into Lilly Juno, the person to contact about information about the Buddy Walk. "This has been so great," she told me, "a lot of work, but love it. I worked hard to make sure we (had) a full house, and mo missing stores. … Designers help drive a lot of traffic."

Lilly told me they had raised 31,000 Lindens on the first day, "This event is so important. It's the first time we are doing it like an expo." She had been approached after the end of the 2012 Buddy Walk about the expo idea, "I told her I will do it id she didn't know how … I wanted to make sure we can get the awareness out there."  They had a number of musicians coming in to perform, such as Maximillion Klene and Edward Kyomoon.

Of the shops, "It's something very special to me to see so many great designers and some that step in when I need a few. I had a few designers that stepped in at the last minute to fill a few needed spots." All stores had at least two items in which 100% of the sales went to the walk, "Some are only doing two items, and then some are doing three, four, and six items. And then the rest of the store is 50% donations. And some stores are only (having) the donation vendors only. We only asked they make some of the vendors for donations."

Lilly added that there was an advertisement on SL TV for the Buddy Walk, on Pulse TV.

Lilly went on to say when the Buddy Walk for 2013 is finally done, she will be working for another event, "next month my event company is running the  Parkinson charity."

"There is much to say," Lilly told me of the Buddy Walk Expo, "so many have come together to make this event possible. When I was looking for designers, some people got some for me or IMed friends who knew some. They were all so great in helping me. This is my first huge event. I have hosted events before this, but nothing of this level, I am still learning. We would like to see feedback, and make this event better next year too."

"If you think about it, we are all the same in many ways, you, me, anyone. No matter what sex or race a person is, we all have feelings. We all have fears. We all have learning issues. Some are better at one thing or another, but we all can't be Beethoven. But we can stand up together to support what matters to each of us."

The Buddy Walk Charity Fair and Expo is at Relaxation (133, 104, 28)

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, March 18, 2013

Book Island Discussion

By Grease Coakes
At 10am SL Jackson Arthur at book Island he hosts his own event Office hours every Saturday. When I got back from real things he mentioned he was practicing micro fiction. Micro fiction is a whole story into 100 or 500 words. I said that’s easy to do as 500 words is a mere page. Then he said next week is supposed to be 100 words!
“What!" I said in voice chat “How the hell am I supposed to do that?” Jackson laughed at my response and he said he wondered the same thing.

 As Jackson was talking in voice chat other Book Islanders showed up like Danger Dave as a pink bunny Nicole and Olivia along with Silver and Relish. Wearing green I reminded everyone that St Patrick’s Day was tomorrow. Jackson Arthur said “Oh no! I don’t have anything green!” I saved his ham and I sent him a green shirt I made.
Jackson said today’s topic would be flash fiction. Relish was saying Micro 500 or less and flash is 1,000 or less. 100 or drabble fiction even Steven. Nano fiction is 55 exactly! Everyone agreed that writing so little would be a major challenge.
Jackson Arthur pointed out that only 5% of your time is writing and correcting your book as the rest is promoting your book which is very much the case. Tome wise it didn’t take long to type out my book but getting it published and continuing to promote that’s a pain in the butt and it takes a lot of time.
Cale came in saying she was late, but I said she was fashionably late.
Jackson Arthur asked “Is it better to promote your first book or write a second book?” I said I’d rather promote my first book then worry about a second book. Cale was talking about writing salons and live reading. I said myself I was looking to look for real life book stores to read my story at. Jackson and I both agree Facebook isn’t a good tool to sell my book.
Every was suggesting websites to promote their written works. I suggested promoting yourself around your local area is a big key too. Networking is the key everyone agreed to that to promote your writing.  Cale brought up how you could use photography in second life to create book covers. I said it wouldn’t work for my children’s book as a realistic virtual design wouldn’t really work. However for other books it may be just the ticket. She also said how she ran into someone who had a horrible cover picture for his book cover. Cale said she is a visual person as she is also an artist in real life. She told this rude person that his cover design was not going to work but he didn’t seem to listen. 
I walked over to the next event hosted by Relish the librarian who was a tiny tiger. He made me think of Hobbes from Calvin and Hobbes he was saying he collected dictionaries. For kicks I said I have some drum and bass records. And I asked everyone who wrote Mulder’s Theme? Nobody guessed so I told everyone Mulder. He asked did anyone want to get into a character’s head. I answered yes when I get purchased at a tail sale I want to get into my buyer’s head and make sure I get the character right for my buyer. Relish said I got it exactly right. I remember asking Dragon Heart what he wanted in his story and I’m not telling in this article.
Book Island seems like a great place to hang out and talk with aspiring or accomplished writers. The discussion seems laid back and laughs are always welcome along with gongs If you have any wish to see how other writers operate and you have a story you’re thinking about Book Island is the right place to go. I myself might try a micro fiction for kicks. It’s only 500 words anyway.
Grease Coakes

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

News and Commentary: Relay For Life – Fashion For Life

By DrFran Babcock

What do you get when you mix some of the best builders in Second Life, some of the best fashion designers, and nine empty sims, donated by generous content creators? You get great things like the biggest charity event in the Relay for Life, male and female fashions of stunning quality and variety, thematic builds that challenge the limits of prim twisting and texturing. You also get blog sniping, sludge-like lag, and a little bit of greed.

There will be a lot written about Fashion for Life, and I will provide links at the end of this article for you to learn more. What I want to do, is write an editiorial on Fashion for Life—the good, the bad, and the ugly. I spent a lot of time there…not going as a journalist, but as a regular resident. Although I have a very popular freebie blog, I never use this to get privileges, and I am proud of that. I experience events and sales same as anyone here, so I can know what it’s like.

The Fashion for Life sims are a wonder to explore. The theme is the Seven Wonders of the World with a different sim, and a different designer for almost all of them. The shops within the marvels are cunningly created to not detract from the scope and creativity of the builds. My favorite for creativity is the Colossus of Rhodes, which is, as it’s meant to be, a gigantic statue of Titan Helios. What’s most clever is that there is a path that runs along the outside of his body from toe to head. The stores are lined up within the statue, and phantom doors allow easy access. It’s fun to walk up and up and up, and pop into stores. The Colossus was built by Rebecca Bashley, and the sim was donated by EMO-tions.

The Lighthouse at Alexandria has a completely identifiable look. Bryn Oh has lent her feathery and sad genius to the sim, and you walk through water to look at the shops that are in the open air. Come to see the build, and stay to buy some clothes.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built by Patch Thibaud and are sponsored by one of my favorite stores: Tres Beau. They faithfully recreate the look of the gardens, and conceal the shops within, where I did find a few gifts and dollarbies, in addition to the goods for sale for the American Cancer Society.

The Pyramid of Giza was both a wondrous and not so wondrous build. The flat colored pieces looked dated, but the psychedelic interior made up for this. The shops are tucked within the pyramid, and there didn’t seem to be many there. The pyramid was built by Thoth Jantzen and sponsored by Chop Zuey. I wanted to give this build a second chance, so I went back, and found many more stores, but I still think that the build is not as inspired as the others.

I am ashamed to admit I hadn’t heard of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus which was built by Kaya Angel and sponsored by LAZURI, but I found the build to be wonderful, and it was the first I visited, and I was immediately entranced by the sculpted statues and temples all around. In retrospect the shops there seemed a bit bigger than the other sims. I wandered there with friends, and we found a lot to like, and a few things to buy.

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia is yet another stunning structure, that beautifully complements the shops on the island. The build is by KarlinJames Zepp, and sponsored by Sonatta Morales *8* Vintage Couture. The build is done wisely, with half being devoted to the wonder, and the other half filled with market stalls that boast ceilings of hanging flowered vines. I really liked the way that looked. There is one huge shop there, and as you might guess it is the clothing of Sonatta Morales. I noticed over two million in sales at a vendor for a semi-transparent retro suit names Rose Garden.

The last wonder is the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus which was built by nexuno Thespian. Leri Miles Designs was the sponsor of the sim. This build is awash in white, with bright gold and red touches here and there. Some of my favorite designers are on this sim, and the shops are medium in size.

The other two sims are for events and gatherings, and they were built by Eshi Otawara, whom I thought was a clothing designer. I found lots of avatars on both of them admiring the spectacular build, but didn’t stick around.


Well, here is where is start to wonder out loud. The Fashion for Life event is a big deal every year. I usually don’t go, because I have enough clothes, often make my own clothes, and like to spend my Relay lindens on the convio and supporting the teams where I have been a member That said, I went and I shopped, and I kept a critical eye open to things. Here’s what I noticed:

Yes, the builds are out of this world, and really thematically are both pleasing and educational, but how many prims were used on each sim to create these builds? I have a fast computer, and a fiber optic connection, but it took ten minutes for the Artemis in Ephisis sim to rez. Do you really think that folks wouldn’t come if the build wasn’t so phenomenal? I go to Relay events to support Relay. There are thousands of pretty sims to visit. I want to be able to move around and see what’s for sale. Please, please tell me if you think I am wrong. I wonder how folks with moderate to poor internet and computers fare at these events?

Second: Greed. I was about to purchase an outfit I loved at Indrya’s. Then I noticed it wasn’t in a Relay for Life vendor. I decided not to make the purchase. I started going from shop to shop covering once again the whole seven sims. In some shops there was one RFL vendor and the rest was a store for the creator!! I hadn’t realized this. When I have done events for Relay all my lindens went to RFL. Something just isn’t right here. It smells of using charity to increase personal sales, and that’s just disgusting in my opinion. Do the fashionistas raise a lot of money for the American Cancer Society? I am sure they do; I know they do, but put out some vendors and be done with it. Create a central location of just vendors, and let folks know they are donating to the American Cancer Society.

Once I realized that vendors were way scarcer than actual sales items, I started noting that the items I seemed to want—the new, the innovative—were not the items in the RFL vendors.

So, Fashion folks…please come after me. I will apologize if I am wrong about this, but I have a feeling I am not. Fashions for Life is a charity event that seems to have two charities: The American Cancer Society and the fashion business community in Second Life.

Anyway, go see the builds. Please, spend your lindens in the vendors, and Go Relay!!!!

DrFran Babcock