Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Scenes From Bay City's Tenth Anniversary

By Bixyl Shuftan
(with pictures from Dahlia Jarham and Daniel Voyager)

On May 20, the Bay City area and community celebrated it's tenth anniversary. Bay City is Second Life's largest urban area, and one of it's better known places. It also has the distinction of being the first major project of Linden Lab's Department of Public Works, the idea of creating a place where residents could live "the American urban experience, between 1940 and 1965, perhaps best typified by Chicago circa 1950 and marked by a distinct deco influence." Starting on it's second anniversary, the community has held an annual street parade, the best known on the grid, and a music and dance party to celebrate it's opening.

Yours truly didn't quite make the parade (you can see the pictures Gemma and I took in last year's). Dahlia Jarham and Daniel Voyager did, and posted some on their Flickr pages. Before the parade started, participants gathered in the Harwich sim.

There would be floats and vehicles of all kinds, though some would be on foot.

The parade started at 12:30PM SL time, and judging from the pictures, there was quite a lot to see.

The parade would go by places, such as this motel.

By the time I finally arrived, the parade was all over. But the concert was starting up, "Welcome to Bay City's 10th anniversary celebration!" With my choice of outfit being a bit limited due to a fundraiser, I went with a different avatar than usual, which confused a few people. But they were happy to have me, and my friend Shadow, join in the celebration.

Kennylex Luckless was among those most enthusiastic, "There is not a party without Bixyl.!"

GoSpeed Racer was the DJ for the first hour of the party, sporting the "Miss Bay City" crown she currently wears at events in the area.

GoSpeed has recently been writing fiction about characters in a virtual world. Although Second Life isn't mentioned, it's fairly obvious what the inspiration was, "For those who may not know, I named my second novel, 'We Built This City.'  You can buy a paperback or eBook version."

 Ucello "Uccie" Poultry was looking a little blue, though not feeling blue.

Daniel Voyager was also there. Marianne McCann was out of sight and behind the curtain on stage.

 And like most parties at the North Channel stage and dance floor, there was a conga line dance.

And some of the moles showed up. Abnor Mole joining the conga line.

 Others were Hexidecimal, Ginger, and Garden Mole.

Eventually, GoSpeed played her closing tune, "Man or Astroman," picked up her equipment, and got off the stage.

She was followed by live singer Parker Static.

At one point I ended up crashing. When I came back, my viewer was conserving memory by not showing the stage. The other moles had joined the conga line, Garden Mole apologizing for her tail getting in the way of the person behind her. Abnor Mole joked, "This is a little known fact, but if you can make a conga line in SL wrap all the way around in a complete circle Philip Rosedale will appear in the center and tell us if there will be 6 more weeks of lag. Or that might just be a rumor I made up. It's hard to tell."

At one point, someone began dropping chickens onto the dance floor. Abnor Mole remarked, "Is it bad that I suddenly have a craving for chicken nuggets?" "I want to do the chicken dance for some reason," another remarked.

And after a minute or so, they exploded into a cloud of feathers.

What was the "porpise" of this?

Eventually, it was time to leave. Although I was a little late, it was a great party. But my all means this isn't the end of the events here. Later this summer is "Hot Bay City Nights," and other events this year.

Happy Anniversary Bay City

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Scenes From Bid the Lindens Bald

By Bixyl Shuftan

Besides being the scene of the Relaystock from Friday May 4 to Sunday May 6, the Relaystock sim was the scene of another fundraising event: Bid the Lindens Bald. Organized by the Relay Rockers with the help of Linden Lab, nineteen of the Lindens were putting their hair on the line for the purpose of raising money for the Relay for Life in Second Life. The RFL in SL is one of the larger chapters of the Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society's largest fundraiser.

Last year, the first "Bid the Lindens Bald" event raised almost a million and a half Linden dollars, a huge success. Like last time, the Lindens volunteering were in three teams. The Product Ops team had Alexa Linden, Ekim, Grumpity, Oz, and Patch. The Support Leaders team had Ami, Garry, Keira, and Tommy. The largest team was Support Agents, which had Corky, Evie, Ginger, izzy, Kristin, Madori, Sparky, TJ, Vix, and Vanessa. At the Relaystock sim entrance, there was a kiosk for each of the three teams. And at the end, the team in third place would go bald for one day for each 5,000 Lindens the two other teams combined raised.

On Wednesday May 9 at 4PM SL time, the kiosks were frozen and the totals added up. The Support Leaders team got the most, a total of 180795 Linden dollars donated. Second place went to Support Agents, whom had gotten 99467 Lindens in their kiosk. And third place went to Product Ops, which got 28,287 Lindens. The three teams combined had made 308,549 Linden dollars. It would be Alexa, Ekim, Grumpity, Oz, and Patch Linden whom would be without their hair for over a month.

Thanks to some computer trouble, I didn't make it in time to see most of the Lindens get their haircuts. "Looking good," Trader Whiplash, who was playing "Almost Cut My Hair" by Crosby Stills Nash and Young when I arrived, would say, "So far still 10 ears!" But I did arrive in time to get some pictures, such as Oz Linden dancing away, "Oz is looking pretty good here, and no blood." Oz himself asked, "Send recommendations for cool scalp tattoos!"

Alexa Linden, whom with a shaved scalp was covering it with flowers.

Grumpity Linden was apparently just getting her haircut.

Later on, I would see her sans hair.

Ekim Linden looked like he didn't have much hair to begin with. But who's going to argue with a dragon? As for Patch Linden, I never did see him, "Patch is soo in hiding," OldeSoul Eldemar remarked.

Governor Linden was halfway sunken into the ground when I saw him. As he had scissors in his hand, apparently he had been doing at least some of the haircuts, and the tiny skunk in the place was staying clear of him while he had them. Someone upon seeing him remarked, "I KNEW IT! I KNEW the Lindens have overworked underpaid hamsters running the servers." Vanessa Linden told him, "Shhhh don't tell our rodent secret!"

Madori Linden dancing away with her long green hair.

Keira Linden was on the winning team, and didn't have to go bald. But the pixie Linden did so anyway.

Kristin, Garry, Evie, Caleb, and Tommy Linden. We don't know however if Caleb was the right shark or the Left Shark.

A better picture of Kristin Linden, whom was a skeleton avatar with a refrigerator in her hair. I asked her what the kitchen appliance was doing there. Madonna Daehlie commented, "What? No, Bixyl.. You got it backwards.  Kristin's fridge has grown a skeleton." Kristen herself replied, "It's where I store my leftover souls I eat." Another remarked, "Kristins fridge head reminds me of that meme: 'I don't know whats going on in this picture, so heres an image of a skeleton with a refrigerator on its head.'" That got the bony Linden's attention, "Oh if that's an actual thing please do send it to me. Hahaha!" Late in the party, one would remark, "Looking at Kristin, I'm wondering if the company pays a living wage?"

Oldesoul in a tiny avie, and Tazzie "Tazz" Tuque in a "Pawlice" uniform.

Corky Linden in a velociraptor avatar, with wig. I joked, "Corky, when my friends see you, they're going to think Second Life has an 'Ark Survival Evolved' sim" Corky responded with a "Haha Bixyl." I turned out Tommy Linden was the Ark player, "Oh my God! Bixyl, I love Ark! ,,,Corky watches me play a few times. ... She likes the dinos, she does not like me shooting them (laughter)."

I saw this little guy with a piece of scissors. Was he trying to do a haircut?

This pony was with the Relay for Christ team.

Looking outside the dance area were some vans from the Relaystock a few days earlier.

While there were a few jokes at the Lindens' expense, there were also some complements. Corky Linden responded to them, "Awwww (smile) It wouldn't be nearly as fun to work with everyone if it wasn't for you guys." "You guys are fantastic too, don't believe for a minute that I don't know the work you all put into making SL go."

Eventually, the event started to wind down. Tommy Linden spoke as he left, "Alright folks, its been a lot of fun, thanks for coming out and hanging out with us and donating! You all enjoy the rest of your evening!" Alexa Linden told those still there, "Thank you all for making this event such a success." Evie Linden would say, "Thank you everyone for your donations! This has been a spectacular event! My hair also thanks you (smile)."

And so, another Relay event had a successful end, raising over a thousand US dollars for cancer research.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Relay for Life Season Kickoff

At 10AM on April 7, 2018, the official Relay for Life in Second Life fundraising season officially began with it's "Kickoff" event. The event had been anxiously awaited by it's volunteers since the end of the last season in August. But this year was different in that the Kickoff was in April when for the past several previous seasons it was in March. This shorter than usual season was part of "Project Relay Refresh," aimed at revitalizing the Relay after the past few years shown high but declining fundraiser totals. The Relay Refresh aims to change that.

"Welcome to Relay for Life Two Thousand Eighteen," Stingray Raymaker greeted the crowd, "It is a completely refreshed relay ... I love the attitude that we've had for the last few months coming into this Relay. I would have to say this is a completely refreshed Relay with a fresh heartbeat. I will say also that last summer I spoke at the wrap-up ceremony, committed to you that we need to refresh our Relay in order to position us for what's yet to come. We had to simplify. We must shut the door on old traditions. It's hard to do sometimes. But some traditions fade, and we pave the way for new traditions. Open our minds to new ideas. We must embrace people, and their willingness to help, in order for 2018 to be the bridge between the past and the future. This is a bridge year. We have to change our mindset from being an event filled with individuals or teams who are competing for a prize to a mindset of being one team: Relay for Life of Second Life. One team working together with one common goal, which is a world where cancer is no longer relevant. It's touched too many of our lives for that not to be our real goal. And the only way we're gonna do it is to work together. The entire Refresh mindset starts with our core values and every decision that we have made from the summer of last year and into the future is guided by and aligned to those core values."

Stingray would speak further, as did Nuala Maracas, Random Padar Darrow, Nikki Mathieson, and MamaP Beerbaum. Frolic Mills would also say a few words about his recent recover from cancer, "My therapy was we are going to give you chemo to make you very very weak and then burn your throat. I am in remission but that is a savage way to become a survivor. They destroyed my cancer, they did not cure my cancer. The fight is far from over. I had the most modern treatments anywhere in the world, but its still not advanced enough."

There were also some performances on stage before and in the middle of when the Committee and Frolic spoke.

 The stage was designed by Royal Shippe.

MamaP concluded the opening ceremony, "Let’s hand it to our teams.. Our ONE team, UNITED, called Relay For Life of Second life by playing loud and proud the Parade of Teams. GO RELAY!"

(Click here to view the video of the opening ceremony)

Yours truly couldn't get in the two sims where the Kickoff was taking place, RFL Kickoff 1 and RFL Kickoff 2, the former having over eighty residents. So I listened over the stream with a few others while Gemma Cleanslate took a few pictures (seen earlier in this article). They told one another survivor stories, "My Dad has been gone 22 years this year . The night before I got married his hair started falling out and he went and got it shacved off.. My groom, brother and groomsmen all went that morning and went bald with him."

Some would give stories over the main volunteer group. Bain Finch stated, "Like all of you, I joined Relay For Life to find support for the things I was struggling with, but what I found was totally unprepared for. I did find what I was looking for, but also found something I never expected. Trough all the tears of laughter and hardship expressed, found a group of people that defeat and failure is not in our vocabulary. I found a group of people, that no matter how harsh their lives are, will in a heart beat, lend a hand of support to another, even when their basket of needs are near exhaustion. I found a group of people willing sacrifice everything to help another. I found the possibility that things can be better than they are now. To keep fighting, to keep working, to keep striving to make things better, even if our efforts seem futile, even when they seem futile for a long time yet to come, and keep pushing, that all will be well, even when we know for a fact, it will not be so. I found the true essence of HOPE."

But eventually I did get on, though the ceremony was over.

The stage area was very well done.

I would then take a look at the various camps of most of the teams.

I did hear that several teams were not represented in the track. Among which were my own, the Sunbeamers. They were mentioned in the ceremony, though.

There were established teams, such as the Second Life Cheerleading Squad.

There were some new teams, such as Relay Music Fest.

Just south of the ceremony stage was a central dance area, where people could dance.

Team "Buck Cancer" had a mechanical bull. Even with several tries, I couldn't get much longer than five seconds.

It was quite an exciting first day for the 2018 Relay season

Image Credit: Gemma Cleanslate, RFL in SL

Bixyl Shuftan