Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Renaissance Faire and Hunt Opens Again in Second Life


 
The best way of successfully acting a part is to be it.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  

 

          Around me in Real Life (RL), leaves are turning color and beginning to fall to the ground.

          In my morning walks, there’s a chill in the air that hints of autumn.  (SO is glad to be rid of summer’s heat and is beginning to ensure that I have us ready for winter.  SO believes in preparation.)

          In Second Life (SL), a sure sign of autumn’s approach is my old friend, Perryn Peterson, inviting me over for a sneak peak of the annual Renaissance Faire and Hunt that
he hosts. 

          This year, the Faire is at a new location in Mieville, Mieville Shelley, which allowed Perryn to change things around a bit as he prepares for his fifth Faire.

          So, I schedule a meeting with him and head off to the new and improved Renaissance Hunt and Faire!

          I arrive, as before, at a seafront town nestled around a protected cove.  A tall lighthouse looms over its entrance.  Merchants’ shops line the quay.

          The main booth welcomes visitors and leads to the Faire grounds.

          Walking through the entrance, I’m struck by just how many more flowers there are now than before.  (Mike Olbracht, Mieville’s landscaper par excellance and Perryn’s partner has obviously been very busy!)

          Immediately before me is a large pond in a pastoral setting which serves as a
centerpiece for the Faire. 

          Strolling through the grounds and around the pond, I see the merchants’ shops and wagons set up for the Faire.  Some already have their merchandise while others lie empty in anticipation of the treasure soon to be on display within them. 

          There’s even a Tiny Corner with Tiny artisans offering their goods.  Liam Metaluna can be thanked for organizing this community. 

           A new addition is a large windmill which serves as a backdrop to the Faire. 

          A small, outdoor stage has been set up for performances.

          But, Perryn tells me that this could be transformed into a larger one with and actual Renaissance dance production should negotiations currently underway prove successful. 

          A brand, new tavern, overseen by Miss Moonsugah Monday, will be offering its
refreshments to thirsty and hungry visitors. 

          Perryn points out to me that the buildings were created and donated by Kaydge (“KAGE”) Resident who has recently been awarded a prize for one of his structures at a recent Relay for Life competition. 

Old favorites from earlier Faires can be found on the grounds. 

          The gypsy encampment, my personal favorite, is here with its vardos and hopefully a
fortune teller.

          The tree house stands still offering panoramic views of the Faire grounds.

          The lawn for Renaissance dances is still with us.  Miss Cyneswith Luik has made a new dance in addition to the three old favorites.  In RL, she is a professional animator from the United Kingdom.  Samples of her work can be found here:


          The maypole can be found as well.

Acadia Asylum has a shop offering its spectacular wares. 

Our old friend, Mr. Donkey, can be found grazing around the Faire with some new “critters” as friends.    

          There will be a mini-hunt as always with wondrous gifts from the participating merchants. 

          Perryn has also had several other of his veterans helping him out. 

Wyvern Drake has helped organize almost all of the events.

          Tattoo Lane has done her usual marvelous job of creating the event’s poster. 

          I’d also like to call out a friend in need.

          Some of you may recall my story about Living without Disabilities in SL. 

          I wrote about XMarieX (“Marie”) Fairport who is struggling with disabilities in RL and trying to raise funds for a service animal.

          Marie has a shop at the Faire located here offering her merchandise. 


          Marie also has a donation kiosk to raise funds for her service animal thanks to Perryn’s generosity.

          There are also tee shirts are sale to support her cause.

          Please drop by if you can and do what you can to help her.

          I’ll be writing more about this in the future.

          The Renaissance Hunt and Faire runs from September 1st to 30th and can be located here.    

          The ongoing events during the Faire can be found on this blog. 

          Go and have a great time!

          Tell ‘em web sent you!

          Maybe you might even find me wandering around myself! 

          I’d like to thank Perryn for taking the time away from his busy schedule to meet with me and to show me around the grounds.   

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

          Open roads and kind fires!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Return of the Storyteller in Second Life


 
Everything I learned I learned from the movies.

Audrey Hepburn

 

          My regular readers (Both of you!) may remember when I met Ashley Carter, the storyteller, a while back in Second Life (SL).    

          For those of you who either don’t recall or haven’t read that particular opus of mine, Ashley tells stories with images taken from SL.  (Seriously, read it!  Not for my sake but for


Ashley’s, she’s one of the truly creative folks inworld!)

          Recently, I met Ashley again and she began to tell me about her latest project so we agreed to meet again for another interview.  (Significant Other thinks that she was just too polite to tell me to get lost.)

          Anyway, we met and Ashley told me what she’s now up to.

          Ashley’s latest project will be a series of animated shorts based on her VOIDAR
storyline.  (VOIDAR stands for “Voyage Of Immense Danger and Reward.”  Told you that you should have read that last story!)

          The first title in the series is “Fighter in the Ring” and will be a telling of the main VOIDAR story arc and each video will be a tir-in with the others. 

          This particular story takes place in a prison holding cell where Ashley and a few other
VOIDAR members are currently being held. 

          Ashley takes a different approach to inworld machinima than what others do.  She won't be filming directly in world, but taking shots and editing/animating them with Adobe software.

          She studied animation in Real Life (RL) and think it’s the more natural way to tell a story than simple pictures. The audience gets to show more, listen to it, and experience it differently.

          Ashley doesn’t wish to spend too long on pre-production as she picks up most things as she pieces it together. For this video, she spent no more than three days mapping out a rough storyboard, collecting any additional items she needed, and just listing some bullet points for what she wanted to happen.  (Really, did George Lucas need any more than this?) 

          I ask Ashley about auditioning the cast for her video.

          She replies that she first asks her inworld friends if they wish to take part, but flickr is
really the best source for finding new residents. With her last video, she received more than sixty requests from flickr alone from residents who wished to get involved.  (Including yours truly!)

          Ashley has actually already begun production. So far, she’s put together thirty-eight seconds of footage, including the logo introduction. She wantsto keep it relatively

short, no more than three minutes, preferably two minutes and thirty seconds. But things change constantly!

What she likes about this style of animating is just how simple it is to complete the
work. 

           I thank Ashley and take my leave after copying down my notes.  (Why do the latter you ask?  Once, after a long interview, I TP’d away only to find that I’d lost all my notes along the way!)

          (Ashley’s very busy now so I only had thirty minutes for the interview and made the most of it!)

          Ashley is working on a very exciting project and based on her prior work, the results will be exceptional.

          Ashley is the creative sort who never gets comfortable, she’s always forging ahead, pushing and challenging herself.

          This story is the first of three that I’ll be writing about Ashley’s animated series.  My next story will be about the actual production of the videos.

          Stay tuned for more! 

          I’d like to thank Ashley for taking the time away from her busy production schedule to meet with me and for her frank answers.   

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

          Open roads and kind fires!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Castles in Second Life V – Blackmoor Castle


Any work is always improvable, you cannot really finish the work, you can only abandon it out of tiredness or incompetence.

Amit Kalantri

 
          As part of my continuing series about the great castles in Second Life (SL), past and present, I’m moving along to the next stop in my journey. 

          The subject of this story came from a reader, Jumpman Lane, who tweeted the recommendation to me.  (I’m pleased at how many residents use Twitter and how many new friends I’ve made through it.  Significant Other says something about whatever happened to meeting people in Real Life (RL).)

          Blackmoor Castle is the site of my latest foray into the castles inworld! 

          Blackmoor has an interesting story.

          Juro Kothari, one of SL’s master architects, designed and built it.

          Jumpman had indicated that the castle was unfinished so I was intrigued and went for a visit. 

          A little more about Juro though before we proceed.

          He is a long standing resident with a superb reputation as a builder. 

          Another example of his work is the Dawson Residence in SL.

          Unfortunately, according to Juro’s profile, he hasn’t been inworld much as of late.

          So, we’re not going to see much new work from him anytime soon, I suspect. 

          Further, Juro wrote he’s almost out of prims for Blackmoor which probably means it won’t be finished.  (Significant Other gives an all knowing look.)

          So, I rezz into Blackmoor Castle.

          Whereupon I find myself stuck in a crawlspace beneath the castle with no way out!  (I guess this was one of the things Juro didn’t finish.) 

          Word of advice, don’t go to Blackmoor with the LM given by search.

          Instead, use this one which I created through trial and error.  It’ll you drop right in front of the castle. 

          Blackmoor sits on a butte slightly elevated over the immediate area and is surrounded on three sides by water.  (I wouldn't want to have to lay siege to this place!)

          The main keep is surrounded by a high wall.

          The keep is multi-storied with turrets on every level. 

          Towers loom over the whole structure.

          Yes, Blackmoor Castle definitely meets the requirements of a classic castle.  (Significant Other nods in agreement.)

          A causeway leads to the main gate surmounted by the castle’s crest.

          The only occupant and the only living soul I meet in my visit is a little mouse with his
own home by the gate. 

          Entering I find myself in the main hall with the grand staircase to my right and a large fireplace to my left with a blazing fire.

          In front of the fireplace is the only piece of furniture that I’ll see in this building, a recliner, except for some partially filled, or is it emptied, bookcases.

          I wander through the empty rooms on the ground floor before ascending the stair case to the next level which is just as bare.

          The attention to detail given to the castle is remarkable.

          The stone textures on the walls and floors, the carpeting, the lattice windows, and the
stained glass rose window all add to the feel of a true castle.

          Walking out onto the promenades on the upper floor, I can take in the surrounding scenery.

          Some is suitable for a castle like Blackmoor while some reminds me of an American shopping mall in decline.  (We have a lot of them these days!)

          Yet, as I walk through the empty hallways and stare into barren rooms, I can’t help but think what could have been here.

          A thriving community and a castle worthy of Cinderalla’s reign perhaps.

          The upper stories can only be reached by flying up and landing.  They are as empty as the lower ones.

          The towers have no staircases and stare mutely over this deserted scene.

          I do find an empty elevator shaft with a call button which is only a decoration now a
dding a touch of drab color to an otherwise gray wall. 

          My visit is short.

          Blackmoor Castle is empty and home to no one save a mouse.

          However, walking through it, I can’t help but feel the presence of those who were once here and built. 

          But, then aren’t all old, abandoned castles expected to have ghosts?

          Maybe I’m channeling their dreams and hopes for the place.

          I do recommend visiting Blackmoor, it’s an exceptional example of what can be done with a castle inworld!

          Just remember to use my LM!    

          I’d like to thank Jumpman for referring me to Blackmoor!

          I’d also like to thank Juro, wherever you are, for building and allowing to continue the wonderful structure that is Blackmoor Castle!

          More pictures from my visit can be found here on flickr. 

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

          Open roads and kind fires!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Helping Others in Second Life IV


 
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.

Charles Dickens

 
          A short while ago, I had encountered a woman in Second Life (SL) who was looking to start a new business.

          I inquired if she’s be interested in my writing a story about launching a business inworld but she declined.

          Which is fine, not everyone feels the need for publicity about their SL activities.  (Significant Other nods vigorously in agreement.)

          But, I was surprised when this woman came back and asked if I’d be interested in writing about a fund raising effort to help a SL fashion designer with a serious illness in Real Life (RL).

          I know I don’t do much inworld but wander around and get underfoot but I always try to help when I can.  (Significant Other smiles approvingly.)

          So, I said yes and this story is about how a group of people came together to help one of their own and how you can help too! 

          (What?  You think you can just sit there and read my stories?  Everyone once in a while, I ask you to help out!)

          The SL fashion designer is Lexi Zelin of AngelRed Couture (Which is currently closed
for remodeiling.) 

          Lexi has a well-earned reputation for designing and making full permission mesh apparel which has helped many enter the retail trade inworld.

          In RL, Lexi has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and because of her inability to work is in dire straits for money to assist in paying her medical expenses. 

          (Sadly, in America these days these get out of control all too easily.)

          Lexi is a twenty-eight year old single mother of a young daughter in RL.

          Presently, she’s recuperating from multiple surgeries and has had a port installed in her chest in anticipation of chemotherapy treatments. 

          Which I’ve been told by friends and relatives who have undergone them are very debilitating themselves. 

          Lexi is tired and her friends ask that if you see her inworld on the rare occasion that’s she there to please respect her privacy.

          Between her illness and the outpouring of support for her, Lexi’s understandably a bit overwhelmed.

          Now, let’s talk about what’s being done for Lexi inworld!

          Two SL residents, Toxxic Rhiannyr and Heather Smithson, have created a
collaborative fund raiser, The Lexi Project, to raise funds for Lexi. 

          The team had arranged an event which I’ll quote from their blog  to describe:

The Lexi Project has grown to approximately 350 supporting brands, ranging in a vast number of fields from apparel, decor, full permission, poses, skin, hair and so much more will be found at this event and all on one region. We have received a HUGE response from the grid, many offering helping hands, services and showing nothing but pure support to Lexi and we want everyone to know, it is all appreciated.

          Unfortunately, while I managed a brief visit to view it a few days ago, by the time most readers will read this story, the main event may be closed.

          But, if you hurry, it can be found here!

          However, there are still ways to help!

          At the Lexi Project sim site, there are still kiosks where contributions can be made. 

          Lexi has created a Gofundme account page where Linden contributions can be made.

          There is also a donation kiosk that can be rezzed in SL and can be found by joining
the AngelRed Couture Group inworld and a copy is inside Group Notices.

          The merchants who created designs for The Lexi Project are listed on the blog, check with them and see if they’re still selling for Lexi if you miss them at the main exhibit!

          If you have other ideas then please approach Toxxic and Heather. 

          (Sorry ladies!)

          If you can’t contribute financially, and I understand then many can’t, then please get the word out, offer to help in some other, or just get down on your knees and pray to whatever it is that you believe in and ask for Their help.

          (I’m a big believer in the power of prayer.)

          Just please do something!

          Reading the aforementioned blog as I write this, over $9,000US has been raised so far.

          That’s a wonderful number and I thank all who made it happen!

          However, sadly, the reality today is that it won’t be enough.

          I write today to shake you out of your complacency.

          Behind the avatars we interact with inworld are real people with real feelings.

          With real problems.

          An ill, single mother with a small child should not be put in the situation of having to worry about providing for her child.

          Many of us know what a mother will do when faced with that choice.

          So, I ask all of you who read to please do something, anything.

          In my travels across SL these past several years, I’ve always been struck by the generosity and selflessness of many whom I meet inworld.

          Here’s another chance to show what we as a community can do together!

          Thank you in advance for whatever you can do! 

          Please follow The Lexi Project blog to stay current with the fund raising and Lexi’s progress! 

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.
          Open roads and kind fires!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Living without Disabilities in Second Life




 There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Albert Einstein
 

 

          A recurring theme of mine as I blog has how Second Life (SL) interacts with Real Life (RL) especially the positive effects, Dr. Phil notwithstanding.  (Significant Other nods approvingly.) 

          When good things happen inworld, I believe that they happen for a reason. 

          I don’t believe in coincidence.  (More approving nods from Significant Other.)

          I had one of those moments a while back in SL. 

          A friend, XMarieX (“Marie”) Fairport, whom I’d met through one of Perryn Peterson’s
marvelous hunts replied to my recent story about the lost great castles of SL. 

          Marie is a designer and builder of jewelry, shoes, furniture, and other high end consumer goods inworld.  She also DJs with her SL/RL husband.

While telling me about the castle that had once been on her sim, Marie asked me if I’d ever thought about writing about people with RL disabilities who reside in SL.

          Actually, I had!  (I’m really doing great with Significant Other with this story!)

          Since my first wanderings inworld, I’d heard of residents who came inworld to enjoy and participate in the lives they can no longer have in RL.

          Going back before my time inworld, James Wagner Au’s classic book, The Making of Second Life, discussed how people with RL disabilities used SL to try and get back what they’d lost. 

          (Still haven’t read the book?  You should!  Helps to understand where SL began and how it’s wandered from its original purpose.)

          Many have come from RL with physical and psychological disabilities and have found that they can have their lives back inworld and more importantly they can be in communities as full and equal partners with no one knowing about their RL limitations.

          And, while I’ve blogged about people who had RL disabilities which they escaped from in SL, RL people with disabilities inworld had never been the theme of my writing. 

          Marie offered me that chance and I grabbed it! 

          I met Marie inworld and she told me her story which I share with you now.

          It’s a story of hope and inspiration.

          Before we began, Marie said she was sure a ”LOT” of my readers have disabilities.  I just didn’t realize it.  (More knowing nods from Significant Other, I’m getting the sense that I’m about to learn something.)

Maire continued by saying there are a lot of disabilities that one can't see in RL as well.

Not everyone with a disability is in a wheelchair or holds a white cane, she adds.

          Marie told me her tale.

          Almost four and a half years ago, Marie was "normal.” 

She went tent camping with her husband and her wee ones (as she likes to call her children), swimming at the beach, and ice skating in the winter.  

Before the wee ones came along, she went out dancing at clubs with her husband. 

All this in RL.

          Marie had been an insulin dependent diabetic for years, doing the math in her head, she comes back and says twenty-six years at the time.

One day, she had a really low blood sugar level, went to get something to raise her blood sugar, and ended up falling down an entire flight of stairs.

Marie no memory of that incident.

Her mother told her that Marie had emailed her about it but she has no recollection of doing that. 

Marie does remember sitting in a doctor's office with her husband, and him being told, "If she hits her head like that again, she might not be like the person you married, anymore."

Marie continues saying that she’d had a very serious concussion and totally messed up her lower back.

          The back pain wasn't “that” bad to start with, she says, but every day, it got worse.

Until she finally went in to have it checked out.

They tried physical therapy.

They tried traction.

They tried TENS units (the electric little "Zaps" patches).

They put a rod up her back (while she was awake) to try to zap her from the inside - only to find out her nerve endings are "wired" differently and it was zapping her ribs instead of her back.

Acupuncture was tried too.

As Marie puts it, “Oh golly, I tried everything.”

Only the pain got worse and worse.

          Marie tells me that while sitting here talking to me, she’s standing, sitting, focusing on this, focusing on what is out the window, doing everything she can to focus away from the chronic, never ending pain.

Once in RL, she used to go out ice skating, camping, and dancing.

Now she uses a walker with wheels and is able to walk about a block now before she can't do it anymore.

Marie pushes herself harder than any doctor.

The doctors yell at her for trying to do too much. 

But she doesn't want to live her life on pain meds, they tried that too and she lost two weeks of her life.

Marie was so drugged up, she doesn’t remember any of it.

Smiling, Marie added that she doesn't mean to sound rude, but her husband doesn't make a very good tooth fairy for the wee ones. 

          I’m got the sense as I listened to Marie of a wife and mother more concerned about caring for her family than how she feels herself. 

          Then Marie mentioned SL and her mood changed, fast and for the better. 

I quote,

“SL...  Oh my goodness!!!!!!!!

“I can DANCE for HOURS!!!!!!

“I go ICE SKATING!!!!

“I go to the beach and SWIM!!!  I walk through forests!!!!

          “AND I focus on teeny tiny prims, most of the time, and it's like having blinders on a horse...   I don't see the pain, I don't FEEL the pain for 15 minutes at a time!!!!  I'm focused on teeny tiny prims, making jewelry, making something pretty... and the pain isn't there.” 

          (Emphasis is Marie’s.)

          Obviously, Marie feels pretty strongly about SL!

I ask if there is a big social dimension here for her and she replies that there is a huge social aspect.

          Marie explained that when she had been awarded disability status in RL by a judge, she had felt like someone had stamped “Disabled” on her forehead. 

          There was nothing there but she felt it anyway. 

          Inworld, Marie has none of these feelings.

          She feels like she did once before in RL.

          Marie does not act like she’s disabled inworld. 

          She knows there are wheelchairs, canes, and the like inworld but has no use for them. 

          Marie knows of no one with RL disabilities who acts disabled inworld. 

          (In fact, the idea for this story came from Marie when we talked about this aspect of being inworld.)

This is about Marie’s journey, her leveraging SL to fill in those parts of her life that are difficult IRL and SL is your support network!  Whether SL knows it or not!

Marie replies that she hadn't thought of it that way, but says that it’s totally.

She explains further that not only with those she talks to and listens to but what she does inworld too.

Anything to get away from the pain, if only for fifteen minutes is a great and wonderful thing for Marie.  Yes, she does have a bottle of heavy duty pain meds but her doctors are impressed that she doesn't dive into that bottle every four hours and she doesn’t because of SL.

          Marie has found both relief and distraction from her RL disability and pain in SL.

          Coming away from my interview with Marie, I realized that this is story is about her journey, her leveraging SL to fill in those parts of her life that are difficult for her in RL.

          I think about Marie’s final words to me before we made our goodbyes. 

          She asked to me tell my readers not to treat her any differently should they meet her.

Please don't ask if she’s in pain. 

Please don't "be careful" around her. 

If things get to be too much, she knows how to log off. 

Yes, this is a very tough woman who is soldiering on with her life in both SL and RL! 

Once again, we can point to another example of how SL is making a difference for the better in RL for someone!

I’d be remiss if I end this story without mentioning two things.

First, Marie always speaks in loving terms of her husband in both SL and RL, Kiva Fairport. 

Kiva has been there for her through all this and has helped her to find music inworld and to forget her pain.

Next, I want to mention what brought Marie out of what she calls the “Disabled Closet.” 

In RL, Marie is attempting to raise funds for a service animal which is very expensive. 

Shortly, I’ll be blogging about this fundraiser and how you can help Marie if you’d like to. 

So, please watch this space for more details! 

          Finally, I’d like to thank Marie for taking the time to meet with me, answer my questions, and for her amazing candor. 

          I wish her well in her journey!      

          As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

          Open roads and kind fires!