Wednesday, September 24, 2014

News and Commentary: Avajean Westland's Virtually News, and Doing Broadcast News About Second Life

By Bixyl Shuftan

About a week and a half ago on September 13th, AvaJean Westland showed off to a public audience at the LEA4 sim the debut episode of "Virtually News," a parody of TV news done in the style of "the Onion." The show was described as "an irreverent take on current events and pop culture, which pushes the boundaries while using animation as the filter."

The show was rated "for mature audiences" for not without good reason. The initial episode spoofed exercise infomercial products such as the "Thighmaster" and the "Shake Weight" as having been backed by the porn industry, and had an infomercial of it's own for "The Twerkinator" : a device that will supposedly allow a girl to safely and effectively shake her behind without risk of injury.

Those attending the premier included bloggers Mona Eberhardt and Inara Pey, and Second Life Enquirer editor Lanai Jarrico. Second Life Newser was also there after having gotten a tip by Lanai.

Avajean Westland in real life is Gameela Wright, an actress from New York with experience in TV shows such as "Blue Bloods" and all three series of "Law and Order," theater, and commercials. In Second Life, she is described as having worked with Chantal Harvey and part of the machinima series "The Blackened Mirror." She also created Second Life video for the Project Homeless campaigning "The Quiet Dark Wind."

(Click Here to see Avajean's "Vitrually News" - CAUTION, Not Safe For Work)

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Avajean's resume is an impressive one, and she does have a point about these funny exercise devices. How many men use a "Shake Weight," especially in public, after all? There's certainly lots of room for news parodies, others having been done such as those some years ago by Second Lie. But talking about the episode with my friend and teammate Nydia Tungsten, we wondered, couldn't someone make serious news videos of goings-on in Second Life?

Not *every* reporter can do news in front of a video camera as writing and public speaking are two different skills. I myself, well, to paraphrase the expression "he has a face for radio," I have a voice for newspapers. But still, one wonders. If someone did weekly or monthly news videos a few minutes long, how many of you the readers would watch them?

Probably a great deal many of you, we reasoned. So we're making a few enquiries about what we might be able to pull off. We'll let you know about any developments. And those who want to give giving their voice to journalism by all means feel free to contact us.

As for Avajean's "Twerkinator," I don't think we've seen the last of it. Jimmy Kimmel's firey prank showed one way it can go very wrong.

Sources:  SL Enquirer, Prim Perfect, Modem World, Mona Eberhardt,

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Second Life "Game Review" : "What Is Second Life" Part 2

By Nydia Tungsten

Most of you that have read my articles know I have done a “What is Second Life?” article. But this time, something very personal happened to me and it started me thinking, with everything I have said about Second Life, I have missed a LOT. Here is my chance to correct that.

It is 4 a.m. and I am unable to go to sleep so I sit here gaming and listening to my REALLY off the wall music as I play different games. I realized, out of every MMO I play or have EVER played, SL is the most in depth format of the MMOs. For example, when SL first came out, I remember hearing people laughing at those “idiots” that spend real money for virtual items, which I have to admit we do (land, homes, furniture, parties, ect…ect…). BUT, so do they. They pay monthly fees to play their MMO, some up to $20 USD a month AFTER they pay the $60 to $75 USD to buy it. THEN, they pay those little extra’s to give them an edge, i.e. that nice pay for only main battle axe or buy extra gold to get those better rounds for tanks in the MMO “World of Tanks”. And now some MMO’s are starting to offer a “home” that you can make and have it look how you want it, so you have people paying extra to decorate those homes.  Yeah, they look nice, but what can you do with them? Nothing except make them look pretty and never go in them again. But yet, you paid for them and continue to put money into a “virtual world.” Now, let’s flip the coin here. For the same money you put into the average MMO, you can get twice that in SL and do MORE.

  In SL, not only could you get a home and make it look the way you want it to, you can even make the items yourself so it is TRULY a one of a kind place that you can be proud of.

   A place you can take your friends to more than once or twice before they get bored of just standing in the same spot and just looking. In SL, you can interact with almost EVERYTHING in the grid INCLUDING other players.

   Yes, there are the sex beds, but there are also so much more! You have swings, movies, chairs, desks, you can hug other players, they can hug you (both with permissions asked and given). You can make true friends there from all over the world.  The other MMO’s have certain servers for certain parts of the world so you can’t ever meet someone from…say.. Russia. I used to go to a club where 99% of the members were Russian and another for Germans. You can travel the world in the space of five minutes.

    Now we come to my experiences. I had an accident; I tripped over two playful dogs and took a bad spill involving a concrete slab. And then family issues ensued, and then I woke up to find myself with “Bells Palsy”. For those that don’t know what it is (like me until I got it), it has a lot of the symptoms of a stroke where the right side of my face was paralyzed but this is caused by pinched nerves and not a clog in the brain. I even have to wear an eye patch to keep my eye from getting gunk in it or drying out so that is why I wear an eye patch in SL as well.

      When I was FINALLY able to get back into SL after being gone for a more than a week, I found candles on my mantel from my loving Angels to show me they were thinking of me and missing me. They are still there and I get misty eyed every time I see them. The people of Second Life have become a like a family to me. I don’t know of any other MMO you can get so involved with others OUTSIDE the grid like you can with Second Life.

   You can even marry that special someone in your life, no matter which you prefer, you can marry them here. I know this first hand because I married someone so very special to me. Brandi is a part of everything I do in SL now, and I know of many others that have done the same; some have taken it to the next level and hooked up in real life too.

   I am so proud of my accomplishments in SL. I have come a very long way since I was first “rezzed”. I have come to know and love each of my Angels, without whom I would be nothing and have nothing. So, let me publicly thank my family group “Nydia’s Angels”. Thank you, my Angels.

    I have been adopted by several people in SL as well, one of which is Skylark. She adopted me from almost the start of my life in SL. She taught me about clubs and how to run them, also a bit about land, and I have taken that knowledge and ran with it. At one point, I had 6 active clubs and administered over 14 sims, but those numbers have come down now due to a lot of factors. But one thing remains, it was so much fun to learn about it and make a go of it.  Let’s see you make money in your real life (legally) from any other MMO, then let me know so I can try that as well.

   SL is also great for those who have self esteem issues. In SL, you can look how you feel you deserve to look. I know of many that are disfigured for some reason or another but here in SL, they can look how they feel, be who they are. Like myself, I am a little white vixen that I think looks nice and I have adopted that fursona  in all my online dealings.

   Until SL, I never even had an email address of my own. With the help of my friends and family in SL, I opened and bloomed and grew and tried a lot of things I would never have tried in real life. I am becoming more of who I truly am.

 So, to sum it up, SL is not just a game, but also a wonderful tool that can be used by so many people in so many ways, because no matter what you’re into, you will find it in SL.

    As soon as I am over this Bells Palsy, I will try and do more stories about more games, but….until then

Nydia Tungsten

Monday, September 1, 2014

Commentary: Second Thoughts on the ADI

By Theonlyjohnny Resident

All groups have their pros and cons, however, how many are truly evident from the inside? The common thought is that being on the inside gives you a better picture of things, however, this isn't the case in SLMC. In fact, to get the best picture, one must be on the inside, then on the outside of it, for the best picture.

I learned this the hard way, when I left ADI. Yes, there are some good things about ADI, there are some bad things too. For one, compared to other groups in the SLMC community, ADI isn't all that fair, in fact, it's one of the most unfair ones I have ever seen. Another example, ADI's supposed testing and redesigning of their weapons, isn't as in-depth as I had originally thought.

While ADI does boast a strong force, they rely too much on over powered weapons, rather than their own skill. Despite numerous training efforts, ADI's strategies seem to remain the same, charge forward, and forget about the flanks, and the rear. Given the current training sessions of ADI, one must wonder what they even do in their sessions.

Another con for ADI, is their over use of their gunships. While other groups will use a gunship, when it's absolutely necessary, ADI will simply put up 2 or 3 gunships, close to the beginning of the fight, just to ensure they will get some ground on the enemy. While the strategy is effective, it's also a bit cheap, due to the fact that their gunships are not only powerful, but they are pretty fast compared to other gunships.

On to their ground strategy, also known as a zerg rush. Their infantry, will give the rush 2 or 3 chances to get them some ground, and if it fails, they will bring up their tanks, and bikes, to ensure that it doesn't fail again. While the use of tanks is common among military groups, their use of bikes, is simply to ensure they do not die. While their use of bikes look strange, it's the same concept, as if they were using sandbags. However, some sims won't allow sandbags, so ADI will simply skirt past this rule, by sitting on armored bikes, so the bike takes damage, instead of them.

Their use of sandbags is questionable as well. While nearly all groups have a way of repairing their fortifications, ADI's tactic is to simply, rerezz the fortification, and sit back on it, so it's automatically at full health again. While this has yet to be seen by all groups, it has been done, by even some of their higher ranking members.

Of course, strategy and tactics isn't all that they need work on. ADI's views on the personal life of their members seems to be that they have final say in the matter. This way of thinking ended with one ADI member actually removed from the group, after refusing to breakup with someone from a different group. While ADI's actions were so that they wouldn't be stabbed in the back, the group still has some lessons to learn about what they can and cannot do. A member's personal life, is just that, it's personal, meaning private. A group has no right to meddle with that.

However, ADI isn't all bad. There are some aspects of the group that are good, for example, the fact that they won't nuke the hub if they're losing, however, that is just one of the very few pros about ADI. Being on the receiving end of one of their raids, can really put a new image in your head, and that's why my views of ADI have changed so drastically.