Friday, July 27, 2018

Andrea Jones' "Reflections of Darkness" Opens at National Museum of Caledon

By Bixyl Shuftan
On Sunday July 22, there was an opening party for a new exhibit at the National Museum of Caledon in the Caledon II sim : "Reflections of Darkness." As it turned out, while this was  Andrea Jones' exhibit, the artwork wasn't hers but rather the poetic verses tied to these dark (mostly) images of various artists. There was a notecard one could pick up at the entrance, as well as a sign on the wall, that explained how the exhibit came to be.

Welcome, Back in the early part of 2013 I was a heavy Facebook user and I was going through a rough time. I ended up spending several months where, as I came across different pictures posted on FB.  I saw stories in the pictures and crafted verses to go with them.

Some of the verses were a form of therapy and as such some are very dark. Some were written for friends on Fb and some as parts to their Wiccan pages. The verses are raw, placed here as they were originally posted so many years ago, good, bad, short or long. Many of the images here have the artists name on them. So credit is placed to them, the words are mine.

Due to the amount of material, It could take some time to go through so take your time. Enjoy.

Cynthia Farshore played the music for the event, which got some complements, "Thanks, trying to put in something for everyone." There were a couple songs from "The Phantom of the Opera," "Thriller," "Ghost Riders in the Sky," the theme music to "Ghostbusters," Ray Stevens' "Sittin Up With The Dead,""Monster Mash," and more.

People also complemented Amdrea for her verses, "... you did write some really good poetry to the pictures, Andrea." "It is true, Andrea, it is only having journeyed through loss and darkness that one truly appreciates the light." Talking to Andrea, she had a few things to say about the exhibit, "There are a few lighter pieces in the mix. The Facebook page was made for darkness though. A few friends are keeping it running. I only wrote for a few months."

Star (Astarynite Resident) is the owner of the museum. When I asked when the idea came about for the exhibit, she told me, "I think Andrea had three weeks to pull everything together." Andrea explained, "I stated importing the verses and pics from Facebook a couple of years ago. I built a museum to put them in, but did not finish pulling them all from outside Second Life. I spent  about three weeks, yes, finishing the material. Star's museum was already to go, so I did them for here. I have more material, but no pics to go with them. Wasn't really needed on the Facebook page"

When Cynthia started playing the theme music of "Dr. Who," that got Andrea thinking, "Hmmm, I had a piece about Dr. Who,. but I don't think I presented it. ... Ah, here it is. 'A Whovians Bad Night.'"

So I am a Whovian and sleep won't come
These rhymes these rhymes bounce off my ear drums.

Like the Master with the drum beat four
Drumming in my head with sledge hammer force

Beating and beating demanding release
Threatening to drive away my nights sleep

O Doctor O Doctor where have you gone
Inside the TARDIS is where peace will come

Inside the time nexus where time rages on
Sleep is possible because everything is gone

Here in the nexus the question is not asked
So silence can not fall like an axe.

Fixed time points must stay safe
So everything in time stays in place.

Alas the rhymes are at last fading
Like the wrath of a good man abating

So sleep is just around the corner
As the Vasta Nerada dances in my quarters

So asleep and dreaming must I be
Because Captain Jack just made a pass at me.

Another picture mentioned was "Sisters Mr. Spider."

Hello Mr Spider why are you there?
What are you doing on the wall over there?
Why are you hanging over fathers head?
He won't like it if he wakes and finds you there.

Mr. Spider why are you so large?
Do spiders grow that large in the yard?
Should father wake up he will try to take charge.
He will try to squish you for being so large.

Mother would probably let out a scream.
Awaking my brother who is pretty mean.
Mother would grab me and run until she ran out of steam.
Leaving father here to squish you to cream.

I think Mr. Spider you should come with me.
I was about to sit down with my dollies and have tea.
You can join us, as I have a cup already laid out for tea.
With as many arms you have, you can have as much as you need.

I think it would be best if we let them sleep.
Waking them now would cause a scene.
If you are hungry I have cookies with my tea with icing.
I think you will like them better than people sleeping.

One visitor commented, "I'm going to sleep with the lights on after seeing this spider over the bed picture." Andrea responded, "I have a spider human avatar, but it cleared the room last time I showed up in it. The DJ was frightened of spiders, she poofed. I left so she could come back." Cynthia commented, "While in the Nav,y a guy told me he was on the ship in his rack which are enclosed but for one side, he opened his eyes to see a spider about an inch and a half wide hanging right above his head which would have been only 8~12 inches." She soon played Jim Stafford's "Spiders and Snakes."

Another visitor commented, "The Great Beyond verse is my favorite so far!" This was a picture of a skeleton in an astronaut's suit. Andrea commented, "I was thinking of the early (Star Trek) Federation space flights when I wrote it, with a little 'Space Above and Beyond.'"

Space the Final Frontier
Where your corpse is preserved for all the years

In space no one can hear you scream
Outside your capsule all is quiet and serene

No more eyes, no more ears
Nothing left with for you to know fear

Through time and space you hurtle on
A silent witness to the great beyond

One picture looked like a big contrast with the others, a picture of puppies. What are puppies doing in a gallery full of ghoulish pictures? But a closer looked showed something wasn't quite right, especially with the title: "Demon Dogs."

We look so cute. But that is a disguise.
To see our true nature just look into our eyes

Still don't see what our disguises hide
Why you should run and hide

Come closer and we will show you why

Star has only had a few exhibits in the museum before this one, "Andrea's is my fifth show. I was hoping to have a miniature show of builders builds, but most builders it seems do not make small versions of their builds and many things in the build are already at their smallest size and can't be shrunk."

So what is Andrea planning next? She told me, "I'm working on a community build in the Steam Skye City region. The Island of the Circle. ... I'm trying to come up with a build for Burn 2 in October ... for the Caledon Oxbridge University October fundraiser." She would be doing a Halloween-themed build, "I'm going to build one big one like last year ... with maybe two dance areas."

As for Star's museum after Andrea's exhibit, "I will be looking for a show in September if anyone has photographs, writings, anything they would like to display for a month or so."

Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The 2018 Sunbeamer Campsite

The Relay Weekend is the high point of the Relay for Life fundraiser season. A large number of sims are opened for the month and with the permanent American Cancer Society sim are made into a circular track, with a few sims to the side for activities such as boating, racing, DJ events, and more. The track sims are noted for their builds. Some are special "designer sims." But most are divided up into campsites for the various Relay teams.

Among them in North America Hope is that of the Sunbeamer team. Since their first year in 2013, the team has made a number of builds, in 2014, 2015, 2016 which won an award, and 2017. Now, once again they have a build that represents the fight against cancer and honoring those lost.

I had a few words with Cynthia Farshore, whom with Shockwave Yareach did the majority of work on the campsite, "Shocky helped with the furniture and the coffee house. Rita and Snowy the memorial garden and trees and plants." When I came over, the place was mostly done, but there was still a little to do, "I feel there are more info panels needed on a couple sections but otherwise (it's done)."

Talking about the campsite, Cynthia told me, "When time came that I was going to be the builder I had no idea what to build. How the design came about was in pieces. I just developed it with knowing that I needed to connect the different aspects of cancer fight to one point, the point I chose to be the Relay. So I went to the ACS website and looked at the different areas and came up with the doctors and nurses, transportation provided, the hospital and treatment centers, research and all came to the Relay. At this point I choose to set them in sections around a walkway and each section a mode of transportation assigned that represents the different areas of cancer fight traveling to the same goal to be united in the fight."

The entrance led to a path that led beside a brick wall, with information about cancer beside the path. "With this one you start on the ground and go up as it says the sky's the limit."

"My own thought." Cynthia spoke of this particular display panel.

The end of the path led to a wagon and car, next to a coffeehouse area.

"As we come to be united in relay there the common area is the place all merge in a union of fellowship. Coffee houses are today's general meeting places, much as the taverns were of old."

 The coffeehouse had a copy of the steampunk coffee brewer at Club Cutlass.

Behind the coffeehouse was a memorial garden, with numerous pictures of personalities whom met their end due to the disease, "Along with this we can reflect on the ones we lost in the battle against cancer."

"and sometimes you're surprised."

Sunweaver campsites have always had a pink fox statue in honor of Artistic Fimicloud, a member of the Sumweaver community and Passionate Redheads team, the precursors of the Sunbeamers, who passed away ten years ago. Clicking on the statue gets you a notecard explaining who she was.

Fimi was a good friend and renter on one of my sims for many years.  She lived in her treehouse and had it decorated with artwork, she created.  Fimi was a talented artist and had a gallery here on SL, where she sold her artwork. She also sold her art in RL, and her favorite subject was her beloved Hudson Valley. Each painting also included a hidden pink ribbon, as a reminder of her fight.

Fimi was fun to be around and always up for a good laugh or joke. She was friend to many.

She was a Breast Cancer Survivor, but it came back and the second bout had spread, and was the one that finally took her life. She is sorely missed. Before Fimi passed, over 70 of her SL friends posed for a photo and we sent it to her, so show our LOVE and that she was in our PRAYERS. It is her courage and never give up spirit that drives our team today.

WE RELAY FOR FIMI!  The Pink Fox is her avatar.

The past few campsites have had a prayer tower. Originally created by Becky "Sha" Shamen, this year had a different one by Shockwave, "Shocky changed the design a bit for this year. It spirals."

As in Becky's tower, people can name someone they wish to honor. Then the name floats upward towards Heaven.

Trotting about not far from the coffeehouse near the car was a skunk, "don't get sprayed."

At the end of the tour was the Hope Lodge, "Hope Lodge and lodging program info in here."

The "dummies" were from both Cynthia and Rita, "Even while I was at work this week, I was shopping Marketplace during lunch for the dummy avs. Rita will put out some of hers and that should be enough."

There were more information boards inside, as well as a few vendors for products. Someone had already bought one of the lights, "People are checking out the place already ... well, that's good."

There were also a couple seats next to a fireplace one could sit and chat, or just sit. I noticed the fireplace had Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs on it. Cynthia told me that was Shockwave's doing, "Looks rather old too. Shocky's so can be."

Cynthia would say, "This one was tough cause I had to make a cross-country trip right in the middle of the build time. I worked a few hours a night in motel rooms, using a laptop. I'm used to doing big camp builds on two monitors and a strong computer. (pause) Actually, two computers and four monitors, setup from DJing days. And the final night in a motel the laptop died, must of took a hit somewhere ..."

"I'm happy with how it's worked out. Oh, when I started I was nervous. But I am a bit of an artist, and have stood looking at a blank canvas a couple of times. I don't know it just comes to me. ..."

The Sunweaver campsite is at North America Hope (125/80/23).

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Interview with Silvia Ametza

By Deaflegacy

Silvia Ametza

I recently met up with Silvia Ametza, the builder of the Newser's exhibit at the Second Life Birthday. She invited me to her sim, and we met at the meeting place there. Silvia then started showing me her work. Starting with a copy of the Newser tower.

“This is (the) tower – original as intended. All works – all floors available.” said Silvia, “But due to script restrictions, floors between ground and top were closed.” We got on the elevator,. “All is automatic, like a real elevator. We planned with Bixyl to put on every level something from SL history – 15 levels – 15 years. Unfortunately, our plan was halted by script restrictions.”

My next question was, “What were your first few days on Second Life like before you become good at building.” According to Silvia , it was confusing, “I logged in and spent maybe 30 minutes in and then – logged out for a looong time.” She still had an account and after some time, just logged in without any goal – just logged in and started to explore. “Exploring was actually my first activity in Second Life,” said Silvia,

I asked Silvia Ametza where she got her first start in building. According to her, some years ago, not that long as at the beginning, Silvia didn't enter Second Life much. “I find SL fascinating with all that options available to residents – socializing, finding new friends regardless of where they are from, builds, clubs, various activities, etc and I decided I will learn how to shape prim. (smile),” replied Silvia, “You know – brick – one simple brick and you can build cathedrals with them. I do see in simple prim – simplest shape – cube as a brick. I can shape it. I can use many of them and give them some meaning. Later I learned some scripts and now, meshes.”

“I do still prefer using simple prims shaped and made from the mesh," Silvia Ametza continued to say, "It is very rewarding to see your build appreciated by people. This tower was built by two of us, Aimeelou Destiny and me. Aimee gave life to this tower, and to many builds we did together, with her elegant highly efficient scripts and as well builds. She corrected me many times what and how something should look. I do love building, showing it, and often give to people – I am very poor as (a) seller. I do prefer build for my friends and as a gift. Their happiness satisfies me a lot and it is a good pay for me.”
The next question is if Silva took school in learning how to build. “No,” she replied, “My first prim rezzed – cube – and I played with one single prim to see what can be done. Then I rezzed other default shapes like cylinders, etc and straight away, my imagination busted out – woooooow this is material I could build probably anything. So, no school, self teaching (smile)."

Silvia wanted to show me her biggest build. “It was difficult and it was done for joined sims called Cumberland City – they used this build but sadly, sims are gone now.” Before Silvia Ametza showed me her biggest build, I asked her how many times she had built for the SL Newser on the Second Life anniversary date. “Three times,” replied Silvia, “I did enjoy all of them.”

I was curious about if Silvia had any inspiration when it comes to building something. “It is various," replied Silvia, "Depends on mode or for an example, my best friend, Aimee shows me something – some pictures on Google and just says 'we can buld that.' And – we jump to work and just build, rebulid, fix. Often when I am exploring Second Life (many nice sims and builds) I get motivation there – plants, builds, vehicles, a lot of motivations and trying to check my abilities what I can do. As well – friends often ask- We would like to have this or that – is it possible for you to build something? Or in case of my friend< Gee – I see her build – gallery and have idea how to rebuild and make it better."

I asked Silva if she would continue to build for a long time. “Yes, I like building and will continue,” she replied. We then went to an exhibit by Kim. “Kim was able to accumulate to small parcel a lot of information," Silvia told me, "She even created voting stations to see what people think. In my opinion as builder, this is one of the best exhibits I have ever seen. Weather prediction and giving information on demand fast in case of some emergencies like was for example Catrina Storm in the USA requires a lot of education and deep knowledge. It is her world. Kim is now on stage in China, having the meeting with Chinese scientists, she inspires me a lot as well, she is motivating me to build something special, not just to please eyes.”

Silva went on to show me her biggest build. “Increase draw distance to – maybe 400 to see it all," she told me, "This bridge with realistic design. It has lights as well and all bridge needs.” She showed me the other side of the bridge. We went on maintenance carriage. “It goes back automatically – Aimee and me – we made this bridge together. What's more, Aimee scripted it all (smile).” Silvia then offered to show me their airship. I accepted, and she brought me to it, telling me, “Fully functional air ship with moving parts. Airship made by Aimeelou Destiny and me. Scripted by Aimee.” Unfortunately I found out a bit too late that I have forgotten to take a picture of the airship but it was amazing.

In my opinion, Silvia Ametza is a really good builder. She had built a 15-floors building for the SL Newser for the SL15B. I have gone on the building and would end up being impressed. I look forward to seeing her new buildings in the years to come.