Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Scenes From Steelhead's Last Party

By Bixyl Shuftan

Friday September 25 was the last scheduled party the Steampunk-themed Steelhead community would hold in their estates, the sims doomed to go away at any time after the end of the month. So at 7PM SL time, the Steelheaders and friends gathered at the Town Hall for one last bash.

 Cynthia Farshore, whom got to the party before I did, took this picture. Here, one can see a few of the pictures of the place that Fuzzball Ortega, whom was the DJ that night, requested so he could place them to help the Steelheaders recall old times.

 Cynthiia's second screenshot, showing another angle of the room for the dance.

Steelhead parties are known for two things: someone inevitable brings in a bunch of Daleks, whom eventually destroy one another, and fish being dropped in on the dance floor ... steelhead salmons of course (picture from Steelhead's group on Facebook).

The estate owner and community leader, TotalLunar Eclipse, was there via his alt Steelhead, a feline with a hamster passenger.

 One of Baron Wulfenbach's "Jagermonsters" near Cynthia.

He was soon able to find a dance partner.

 This couple looks like they were still dressed for "Pirate Day" a week earlier.

Fuzzball Ortega dances with his partner Eugenia, or "Genie" as she's usually called.

Her account offline for some days as well, Lunar's partner Tensai Hilra made it over for the event.

Lomgren also dropped in to see the place's last hurah.

Willow Leafstorm, who took over the DJing after Fuzzball, dances with a friend.

Not quite everyone who showed up was dancing.

Kal-El Venkman showed up in something other than his normal "Superman" outfit. Was this Kryptonian formal fashion? It's been a few decades since I picked up one of the comic books.

As the party wound down, Baron and Baronin Wulfenbach say good night to a couple of the "Jagers," their task at Steelhead complete.

And so, the last official event in Steelhead came to a close. From then on, all events would be held in Nevermoor. As of the writing of this article, the Steelhead Estates are still up, but not much longer. After September 30, they can pretty much vanish at any time.

*Addition* It would be later on that I found out the name of Fuzzball's closing song that I hadn't heard anywhere else: "Standing" by VNV Nation

And fighting time, so hard I pray
That this moment lasts forever
And will the world stay standing still, at least for me
Through my eyes stare into me
I bear my heart for all to see
With my face turned to the sun, there ever standing still

And fighting time, so much I ask
I will this moment last forever
Though seasons change and things come to pass
Remain inside of me
And fighting time so hard I pray
That this moment lasts forever
And will the world stay standing still, at least for me

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, September 28, 2015

Memorial for Salem De White

By Bixyl Shuftan

Last week, word had gotten around that Salem De White (Selene Spellhunter), best known as one of the Giant Snail Racing team, had passed away. On Saturday at 5PM, a memorial service was held in her honor, attended by many friends of hers. RacerX would latter comment, "The vampires and the Giant Snail folks come together over the love of a special lady."

Edgar Gravois (edgar96.gravois) started the event, "I want to thank all of you for coming to this celebration of life for Salem. I would like to open this gathering by saying a few words, then I will open it to anyone else who would like to offer words about Salem."

"Beloved friends and family, all who knew and loved Salem, thank you for being here with us. We come here at this sad time to remember our daughter, sister, friend. Salem struggled mightily against her illness and was courageous even in the darkest times. As one privileged to know her through those times, I carry with me the memory of her courage, as well as the light that shown within her. That light has moved on to shine in another place now.  But I believe it continues to shine. I choose to remember and celebrate the life of Salem, as we knew her.

"I celebrate ...her beauty ...her wit ...her talent in building ...her kindness ...her humor ...her sense of fun ...her love for family ...her joy. All of these things remain with me because i keep them in my heart, and always will. I am grateful that I know Salem, that she has been a part of my life, and I a part of hers. I believe we come into one another's lives for a reason, and when it is time for us to go on, there is a reason for that as well. I cannot say I know the reason why Salem had to leave us now. But I do know she is still with us in our hearts.

"I have asked DJ Dark to play a special song for Salem, if you will all please listen he will cue it now. Salem, sweet daughter, this song is for you." And with that, a song began playing over the radio stream,  "Into the West" by Peter Hollens. And with that, several smiled and cried, "My sister is living a better reality." "We Loves you Forever Salem Sis." "You Will Allways Be Honored And Loved Salem." "God Called Salem Home so she would not have any more pain."

Slinky Gravois (slinky.lorgsval) was next, "Welcome everyone. Thank each of you for coming here tonight. It is a comfort to be together and share our feelings and to see that Salem has so many friends. Edgar and I met Salem soon after we each joined SL. She has always been part of our family here. Actually, it was Salem who first introduced me to some of the things in SL: Giant Snail Races, Relay for Life, SL Pride..... Salem is a part of us and always will be."

"I don't have any more works  to describe how I feel about Salem, so I'll just repeat something I posted on FaceBook. 'My dear sweet Salem, daughter of my heart. This life wasn't always fair to you. This life wasn't always kind to you. Yet you've always had love to give, and people who love you for the kind and gentle soul you are. I wish you nothing but joy as you continue your journey. You carry all our love forever."

Racer X's spoke the following, "Yesterday found out my friend and co-host of the giant snail races Salem passed away last Monday. I write this with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. She was a big part of my life. (She was) with us on the Giant Snail Since 2007 shortly after we moved the track from the future back to what was Montmartre. Salem just showed up one day at the races and was immediately accepted as one of us. She started out making some great snail sci fi mods: the Enterprise, Iron Man, AT-AT, Snail, and a few others.

"She raced for a while but she really shined when we put her on the Skype call with us. We put her in the booth almost immediately. She was funny and a quick wit. But most of all Salem became a great friend. Always ready to do any crazy Idea I came up with. She could do any job we gave her. I miss her so much.

"She hasn't been on the show these last few months due to her illness. A couple weeks ago She was crying because she just wanted to go home from the hospital. The next week she was home and it was a Saturday. She called in and said she just wanted to go out and see the sun. I said that's fine just take care have today off and have fun well be ok. So she had her day in the sun."

"I just watched the last show we did with Salem on the Skype call with us, 2 months ago. (It) was our Summer camp episode. She said "Yowzer" to one of my stupid comments made me laugh. At least well always have that slice of Salem being Salem on the past race videos. With her interesting and funny way of looking at things immortalized on YouTube and I know I'll be watching them
over and over now. We lost a good friend to the vast universe.

"I like to think she's just off on another great adventure and well catch up soon. As Salem would often say 'I is Salem.' To me She still is. and always will be."

Mae Best was next, "Salem was my friend in both worlds. As her illness progressed in one world, her spirit lived harder in this one. We were her Second life in more ways than many of you can imagine. We made her life livable. We made her spirit free. We were her joy and her comfort. We were her favorite part of her life. I can't express how much I am going to miss that little girl. I know you all are going to miss her too. I know I am not the only one crying right now. She was amazing. She was Best in Show, and I miss her. She was so awesome (smile)."

Yanni Zifer, "If I may speak from here...we were among the first in rfn family line... I loved her quirkiness and of humor ... and I will miss her terribly... I started to wear all white tonight .. but I just could not stop crying long enough to put an outfit together,,, I pray our angel is flying high.. and I am so thankful for no more pain in her life."

Safra Nitely was the next speaker, "She was loyal to her friends, loyal to her team, and supportive, she always wanted to see people get the best experiance they could. and she would help all she could to do that. Salem had a lot of ill health in her later life, but she never lost hope, dipite the challanges it gave her, she never lost hope, and laways looked forwards to the next show the next event. She will be and is missed. God bless her soul, give her freedom from her pain, give her shelter in his light, she was a good person who tried her best of others, without thought to herself."

Andreas Winsmore offered, "I will say that Salem will live in my heart for ever, she was a fantastic sister, and a total friend, talented as a builder... and as a person.... and there is not enough worlds to describe such an incredible person, shw is with us forever... and I am so glad to had the chance to met her and call her my sister... the unique, the courageous and the fantastic Salem, hugs and kisses dear till I see you again!"

Edgar had some final words, "I know that among all of you are people with different beliefs, and some do not have beliefs about spiritual things at all. Nevertheless... I believe something remains of us after we leave this plane. And I think you will all agree that Salem left with us a bit of herself. And that part will go on, and live on, and we will not forget her. Here she could be herself, and be loved for who is really is. That's a benefit SL affords us all. Thank you all for coming to celebrate the life of our beloved Salem."

After the service, people were asked to sign a guestbook, and invited to a memorial dance to help celebrate Salem. RacerX also shared a video he made as a tribute to Salem: (Click here if the video fails to play) .

And so, Salem De White's friends, both vampires and Snail Racers, as well as others, bade farewell to their friend and teammate.  It was obvious she would not soon be forgotten.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, September 21, 2015

September 11 at Stagg Island

By Bixyl Shuftan

Fourteen years after the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil, September 11 is still marked by rememberances in both real life and Second Life. Some of the more impressive memorials in the past are no longer in the virtual world. Still, there are others. A grand memorial to the fallen still stands at Stagg Island. Two events were held at the location. One was at 6PM SL time.

I dropped in about the same time a teacher did with a few child avatars, "Okay class, this sim it has a wall that has the names of the fallen (last I heard) there are some displays around, there is a new area that has a real nice display as well. Take a look around but don't get lost as there are many people here." Others here were dressed as firemen and soldiers.

As I and others stood around, looking around at the scenery, notably the large wall of names, we could overhear news footage of the attack on the Twin Towers. Geena Zackerly, the owner of Stagg Island, gave a narration, "A live television broadcast that we all watched that day , a very comprehensive description of the events of the day. NBC 9/11/01 Compilation of news coverage. End of the Today Show news coverage. As the day progressed every human being felt the need to arm themselves, protect their families, friends, their property and their neighbors. Not really knowing why this happened, who was behind it, why so many innocent people had to die in such a horrible way, for what reason?? How could this act be justified ?? by anyone?? With no valid answer to any of those questions all there was to feel was 'vengeance.' Someone will pay for this!"

Others also made comments, "Respects to all that lost...and to those that the will of mankind and the heart of us left behing to always remeber...the loved ones...and the family's...and not the ignorance of the world...." "Well said." "I lost my class." "Rest in Peace, heroes." *salutes*

Geena continued, "The world realizes that this tragedy not only effects the families of those taken , but strikes at each person, it has touched us all!! We are all saddened! We have all been violated! Victims family's reach for their loved ones... praying they made it through everything. Hoping against all hope that they survived. Our hearts have been hardened and desensitized to everyday life. Reality is more than we can bare. Every day life will never be the same as we knew it. The shock, the pain that all of us have to deal with as to what has happened to our nation, our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, children and neighbors.....our very existence!"

As these words were spoken, paper lanterns appeared, with small flames at the bottoms, and began floating into the air. A woman told her child, "Sweetie stand by Mommy, watch the lanterns." A man openly wished "he could call his lil sister." He was comforted by others. One spoke, "I miss muh uncle Tom and my Cousin Mike Collins, they were brave firemen ( sittin' in tears as this was played at there funeral )." One lady looked upwards, "For all my Marine friends and Navy shipmates" *kisses her hand and blows it to the sky*. Not all comments were in respect to the fallen, one cursing what he saw as the incompetence of the leaders in Washington.

Geena went on with her narration, "Only time will reveal what is going to happen. Will this happen to us again? Have we learned to protect ourselves against evil in the world? Will we become complacent... let our guard down? Who can say? Only time!! It is our duty and our responsibility to those we lost to do everything in our power to prevent this from ever happening again. Let us hope for a strong nation and better times as we honor our loved ones in their peaceful rest. A senseless act like this reminds us all that our lives are just a drop of water in a large ocean. At any given time we or our loved ones can be gone, So hold those you love close, EVERYDAY, for tomorrow may never come."

The others continued, the ones as solders standing at attention, some others shedding tears, "Hello brother." "Welcome to the Memorial Brother." "This really means a lot ,,,,and says alot for our USA." "Just an awesome Memorial, thank you Fazz for putting this all together."

Geena came to the last parts of her words, "The time has come to accept what has happened... it isn't a nightmare... it's real! We are mad , we want vengeance, someone has to be held responsible for these horrible acts. On the other hand however, our innocents... our family members, our loved ones are free now. Free from the human suffering brought on to them from these evil people. It's time to let go of their physical beings and embrace their spirits." With a glance to the soldiers, "Our Honor guard will now Play a final tribute to our fallen." She then read from a notedcard, "Notes from the Memorial Creator: The music you have heard may very well mean something different to you. However I offered you music that I felt best portrayed the feelings of the heart and emotions of the day. The bottom line is these beautiful spirits will never be forgotten by me. Like you, that day has been burned into my memory! I would like to thank you all for your donations to the memorial. This memorial has been dedicated as a permanent landmark for all Second Life residents to visit. Your donations help to assure its permanence. Thank you for attending the 2015 9/11 tribute, Be well and peace be with you !! ~~ Fazio Magic."

It was now a little past 7PM SL time, and the ceremony came to a close, Genna saying, "Thank you all for your kind wishes and donations to the 911 Memorial. This memorial has been dedicated to all Second Life residents. It will be here for you always. So glad you all came. Please stay as long as you like." Visitors expressed their thanks, "Thank you so much, Geena." "Awesome place, congrats to who ever made this. You in the honor guard I salute you." Genna would also notice me, sending me an instant message thanking the Newser for the article about the 9/11 Memorials that morning.

The Stagg Islands 9/11 Memorial can be found at Stagg Island (13, 146, 37)

* * * * *

Stag Island was not the only place 9/11 memorial events would be held. McCoy Island would also hold its own that day. I dropped in a little late when the last musician had finished his performance. Several people were still around, including sim owner April McCoy whom thanked the Newser for mentioning her memorial that morning.

There was memorial which the Newser had failed to mention, that of it's local fire station at Sunweaver Bay. It's still up for people to see at Sunweaver Bay (57, 177, 32).

Of Aero Pines' Stairclimb Tribute that was up for a few years but wasn't set up this year, Gemma Cleanslate had a few words with the park owner Cindy Bolero. She explained events in real life, as well as the threat of griefers had simply made it impossible to provide the experience they once had, "The Co-Producer/builder and myself have both recently lost our dads and we've each been busy with family affairs in Real Life.  The tribute also became too much work and expense where much of the labor involved a full crew to protect the remembrance visitors from the Islamic griefers and other anti-Americans."

The good news, Cindy Bolero has been working on an Opensim version of Aero Pines, and plans to have a lasting Stairclimb Tribute there. She will announce when it is ready.

Fourteen years later, America and the world, in real life and Second Life, still remembers.

Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Scenes of Bryn Oh's "Strange Bedfellows" Party at Immersiva

Last Saturday September 5 at Noon SL time, noted Second Life artist Bryn Oh had a party at her Immersiva sim. In her blog, she credited Johannes1977 with the idea, whom asked why there had never been events at her sim. So they came up with one, with some of Bryn's favorite music

Bryn Oh called the event "Strange Bedfellows," of which 23 of her favorite songs and tunes would be played over an hour and a half, "ones which inspires me in some way. ... a fairly melancholy set of songs.  I am a big music fan.  I have always felt that I could have been a music star ...  If my voice didn't sound like two dogs fighting over a broken fire detector ...  For me there is a very satisfying type of melancholy that makes me wistful, sad and content all at once.  Many of the songs on this list are ones that draw out in me that feeling.  If you are hoping for a lively set then stay away!  It's more of a sit in the wheat and relax set."

Johannes played the music, often while dancing in the back of a rusted pickup truck at the scene of the party, in the middle of a wheatfield that reminded me a lot of artist AM Radio's signature exhibit.

There were a few other SL notables there, such as blogger Inara Pey and artist Ux Hax.

There was a variety of appearances, so perhaps the "strange" in the event's title was warranted.

Bryn Oh herself had a different look than usual. The grayish skin and hairdo were gone, replaced with a more common look, save for the short-cut hair and the masklike shadow over her eyes.

 Further away from the event were scenes of the current exhibit at Immersiva, including this rusting streetcar.

 There were a couple of random antics at the party. One was when someone rezzed a hearse and drove it around away from the crowd.

 Then there was this hot dog running around. One guy responded by drawing out a weapon. Maybe he wasn't too happy to "meat" him.

Okay, make that three random antics. With Bryn Oh's "bandit" look, I couldn't help but stand next to her in my raccoon appearance.

Eventually the party ended. But the displays around the Immersiva sim are still there. One can teleport in at any time to look around.

Not everything has been rosy for the Second Life artist lately. It seems her Facebook account has been threatened with being taken offline due to her not using her real-life name. Hopefully that doesn't some to pass.

Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Scenes From Team Firestorm's Fifth Anniversary Party

By Bixyl Shuftan

It was five years ago since the formation of Team Firestorm, originally known as Team Phoenix as that was the name of their viewer then. Thursday September 3 was officially their fifth anniversary, and they celebrated with quite an event which including live and DJ musicians, a live performance act, and gifts for those stopping by.

Join us today as we celebrate crossing into our 5th year of providing the most popular viewer in Second Life and virtual worlds! Five years we’ve been together as a team developing and supporting first the Phoenix Viewer and then the Firestorm Viewer used in Second Life and on other grids. It is a testament to the character of each individual on the team as they have all donated their time on a volunteer basis to provide the best experience possible for our end users.

We have a huge party planned starting at 1pm Sept 3rd (regions open at 12:30, so come early!) We have some amazing gifts to give out too!

When I first came by, a half hour after the event started at 1PM SL time, the place was full and laggy, despite being in the crossroads of four sims.

Jessica Lyon, the head of Team Firestorm, was there, along with several others from the team.

Among them was Chakat Northspring, instantly recognizable with her taur avie.

For the first hour of the event, Seth Regan (Mankind Tracer) sang for the crowd. He also gave a free CD of his songs to at least one lucky member of the audience.

At 2PM came the "Chang High Sisters" with their "Fireshow of Light, Life, and Love."

 "These folks have created and designed a unique and extremely powerful fire-dancing show, full of lighting effects of many different kinds, all created, scripted and available inside Second Life, using fire balls, prims, particles and poofers, lasers, sparks, smokes and other kinds of realistic light displays."

There were a few freebie gifts to be had. One was a motorbike, a "modified 1941 Cafe style racer" by Desert Morning Motors.

 There were also a couple pets. One was a limited edition "FireFlurry" from Kittycats, one that was maintenance-free. For Fennec fans, there was a special Fennux pet. It came in two versions, one for being held, the other for walking (and running) besides it's owner. Several people at the party had their new pets with them at the party, mostly Fennuxes, as the Fireflurries started virtual life as little kittens.

DJ Quad began performing at 2:30, followed later on by Ed Merryman.

A look at the Skybox from outside.

 Avariel Falcon, the black unicorn of the Relay was there, along with Catboy Qunhua, and a few other SL noteables outside the Firestorm team.

 A mermaid who got a little "tanked" at the party.

It was quite a show by Team Firestorm.

For those who couldn't make the party, the gifts were still there when I checked the following day, and they may be there all weekend. One can also pick them up from links on the Firestorm blog.

Happy Anniversary Team Firestorm

Bixyl Shuftan