Friday, December 28, 2018

Tiny Carolers At Grendels

By Bixyl Shuften

 Grendel's Children, at Avaria Tor (133, 134, 305) , has always been an interesting place. Long known for having avatars and accessories at bargain prices, it's owners Flea Bussy and Toady Nakamura have been known to do some fun things over the holidays. So on Christmas Day, I went over. Part of the mall had been given a wintery look. And there were other things to get my attention, like this dinosaur skeleton.

But as I was admiring it, a housefly ... yeah, that's it, landed on the thing and it came tumbling down. I had absolutely nothing to do with it *fingers crossed.*

Moving along, I noticed a Christmas tree full of decorations and some folks gathered in front of it.

The Grinch was there, and apparently doing a "Santa's lap" mall job.

Next to the Grinch was a sack of goodies. If this was his doing, he was being quite generous as it gave away a mess of Grendel's avatars. Perhaps slightly dated, but one can't argue with the price.

But not everything had been set up by the store owners and/or the Grinch. There was also a group of tinies near the tree, and they soon began singing some carols. Not exactly Christmas carols. They called them "Wootmas" carols. "We going to carol here, for you biggies? You will love our performance." "Come listen to us, everyone." "Merry WOOTmus!" "We gweat carollers!"

 ~*~ Happy Wootmas everybody, We hope you're having a nice time. We know we are!~*~
~*~ Um, there is Nooo way we're gonna be able to sing the entire song,'cuz we are so ADD that it makes us so hungry, Right? ~*~

 ~*~ So we're just gonna sing the end of the song which I'm sure you'll all agree is the best part so, C'mon Everybody! lets Sing! ~*~

~*~ On the twelfth day of Wootmas, My Drive -Through gave to me: ~*~
~*~ 12 bags of Pepto, ~*~
~*~ 11 pounds of blubber,~*~
~*~ 10 baked potatoes,~*~
~*~ 9 polish hot dogs,~*~
~*~ 8 bowls of chili,~*~
~*~ 7 pints of cole slaw,~*~
~*~ 6 chocolate milkshakes,~*~
~*~ 5 onion rings,~*~
~*~ 4 Egg McMuffins,~*~
~*~ 3 Biggie Fries,~*~
~*~ 2 Happy Meals,~*~
~*~ and A Big Bacon Classic with Cheese! ~*~

"BACON!!!!" "Rub some bacon on it!" "Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom........."

~*~ I'm Dreaming of a White Wootmas, Just like the ones I used to knowww ~*~
~*~ Where the Treetops Glisten & Tiny's, they listen, to hear, The Sleighbells in the Snow! The Snow! ~*~
~*~ So I Yai Yai Yai I'm Dreaming of a White Wootmas, With every Wootmas card I Wriiiiiiiite ~*~
~*~ May Your Days be Merry & Briiiiiighhhtttt, & May all your Wootmases.. Be Whiiiiiiiiiiiite! ~*~

"~*~ HEY!! So WOT DO YOU WANT FOR WOOTMAS?? ~*~" "~*~ HO HO HO!!! MERRY WOOTMAS!!!! ~*~"

~*~ It's beginning to look alot like Wootmas! ~*~
~*~ All across the shire you go! ~*~
~*~ Take a look at the village chalet, ~*~
~*~ The snowmen and the sleigh, ~*~
~*~ With candy canes and tinsel all aglow! ~*~ 

~*~ Its beginning to look a lot like Wootmas! ~*~
~*~ Tinies in every store! ~*~
~*~ But the nommiest site to see ~*~
~*~ Is the waffles that will be ~*~
~*~ Inside your own front door. ~*~

~*~ A pair of bunny hop shoes and lazors that shoot ~*~
~*~ Is the wish of Copper and Reign! ~*~
~*~ Dolls that will talk and go for a walk ~*~
~*~ Is the hope of Jillan and Jane! ~*~
~*~ And Kayak and Toady can hardly wait ~*~
~*~ Till Raglan U opens agaaain! ~*~

~*~ Its beginning to look alot like Wootmas ~*~
~*~ All across the shire you go! ~*~
~*~ Theres a great tree name of Steve, ~*~
~*~ That all the tinies can see, ~*~
~*~ He's GINORMOUS, and doesnt mind the snow! ~*~

~*~ Its beginning to look alot like Wootmas! ~*~
~*~ Soon the bells will start! ~*~
~*~ And the thing that will make them ring, ~*~
~*~ When all the tinies sing, ~*~
~*~ Is right within your heart!!! ~*~

~*~ The First Waff-EL, The Tinies did Say, Was to certain small critters at home as they Ate ~*~ \~*~ At home as they Ate, Licking their Paws, Wishing for NOMS Golden Crispy to Gnaw ~*~
~*~ Waff-EL, Waff-EL,Waff-EL, Waff-EL...Born is the Breakfast Treat that is WAFF-EL! ~*~

"Wall El is favorite breakfast for Kal El!" "Where for art thou Waffles?" "WAFFLES !!!" "~*~ And I want a Bike!! And a Waffle Iron!! And a Snowboard!! And a Ray Gun!!...~*~"

~*~ Wootmas time is here, ~*~
~*~ Happiness & cheer, ~*~~*~ Fun for all, the tinies call thier favorite time of year. ~*~
~*~ Snowflakes in the air, ~*~

~*~ Waffles everywhere,~*~
~*~ Chocolate cake will help us make,~*~
~*~ a feast for friends to share. ~*~

 ~*~ Sleighbells in the air,~*~
~*~ candy everywhere, ~*~

~*~ Bacon treats & festivities,~*~
~*~ & pastries made with care. ~*~
~*~ Wootmas time is here, ~*~

~*~ Wootmas time is here, ~*~,~*~
~*~ tinies drawing near, ~*~
~*~ Oh that we could only see, ~*~
~*~ such goodies through the year, ~*~

 "~*~ And I want a Remote Controlled Boat! And a New XBOX!  And a Big Box of Chocolate!!  ~*~" "~*~ And Some Sweet Shoes for My Paws!!! And I Want One of Those Things That Make those PYEW PYEW PYEW Sounds!!! ~*~"

~*~ Sleigh bells ring! Are you listening? ~*~
~*~ In the shire, snow is glistening! ~*~
~*~ A wootiful sight, we're happy tonight, ~*~
~*~ Walking in a waffle wonderland! ~*~

~*~ Gone away is the blue bird ~*~
~*~ Here to stay is the new bird ~*~
~*~ He noms on chocolate ~*~
~*~ With bacon on a stick ~*~
~*~ Walking in a waffle wonderland! ~*~

~*~ In the shire we can build a snowman ~*~
~*~ Pretend that he's a chef from outta town ~*~

~*~ He'll say 'Want some waffle?' We'll say 'YEAH MAN!' ~*~
~*~ Then he'll pour the syrup while we chow! ~*~

~*~ Later on we'll conspire ~*~

 ~*~ As we riverdance in the shire ~*~
~*~ Tiny faces alight ~*~
~*~ With all the presents in sight ~*~
~*~ Walking in a waffle wonderland! ~*~

 "WOOTCAKE!" "~*~ SAWCE!!! ~*~" "~*~ HO HO HO!!! MERRY WOOTMAS!!!! ~*~"

~*~ O' Little Sim of Raglan Shire, Where Tinies come to Playyyy ~*~
~*~ To run and chitter endlessly  and RiverDance all dayyyy ~*~
~*~ And in the Snow of Winterfest, Tinies are heard to Call.. ~*~
~*~ To Visitors of Biggie Height, Asked Why Are You So Tallllllll? ~*~

~*~ Hark the Tiny Critters Sing, Glory to the Waffle King! ~*~
~*~ Peace on the Grid & Syrup mild, Otters & Ferrets Reconciled! ~*~
~*~ Joyful with all your fur so slick, Raise up your Cookies on a stick! ~*~
~*~ And with upward paws proclaim, We shall RiverDance again! ~*~
~*~ Hark the Tiny Critters Sing, Glory to the Waffle Kinnnng ~*~

~*~ You Better Watch Out, ~*~
~*~ You Better Not Cry,~*~
~*~ You Better Not Pout, I'm Telling You Why, ~*~

 ~*~ Santa PAWS Is Coming To Town,~*~

~*~ He's Making A List, And Checking It Twice ~*~

~*~ Gonna find out Who's naughty and nice,~*~
~*~ Santa PAWS Is Coming To Town,~*~

~*~ He Sees When You Eat WAFFLES, ~*~

~*~ He Knows When You Eat CAKE,~*~
~*~ He Knows If You've Been Bad Or Good,~*~
~*~ So Be Good For Goodness Sake! ~*~

~*~ You Better Watch Out,~*~
~*~ You Better Not Cry, ~*~
~*~ You Better Not Pout, I'm Telling You Why, ~*~

~*~ Santa PAWS Is Coming, ~*~
~*~ Santa PAWS Is Coming,~*~
~*~ Santa PAWS is Coming To Towwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnn, ~*~ SANTA PAWS IS COMING TO TOWN! ~*~

~*~ Here we come A-waffling please feed us Breakfast Food! Here we come A-hungering so help our Starving Mood!~*~
~*~ Knives & Forks Come to Me, And a Warm Butter Patty, And please Serve us some Syrup &
Chopped up Pecans Tooooo...~*~
~*~ And Please Sprinkle some Berries on them Toooo! Here we come A-waffling please Feed us Tasty Treats!~*~
~*~ Here we come A-chittering so give us something Sweet!  Thanks to All for the Snax! Now we all can go Chillax!~*~
~*~And go about the things that we all Dooooo..... And Happy Holidays from All of Us to YOUUUUUUUUUU~*~

"~*~ I CAN HAZ MOAR WOOTNOG PLZ?? ~*~" " ~*~WAFFLE!!!!!!~*~"

~*~ Here we come A-waffling please feed us Breakfast Food! Here we come A-hungering so help our Starving Mood!~*~
~*~ Knives & Forks Come to Me, And a Warm Butter Patty, And please Serve us some Syrup & Chopped up Pecans Tooooo...~*~
~ And Please Sprinkle some Berries on them Toooo! Here we come A-waffling please Feed us Tasty Treats!~*~
 ~*~ Here we come A-chittering so give us something Sweet!  Thanks to All for the Snax! Now we all can go Chillax!~*~

~*~And go about the things that we all Dooooo..... And Happy Holidays from All of Us to YOUUUUUUUUUU~*~
~*~ Jelly Beans, Hunks of Cheese, Sugar Frosted Ham. All Deep-fried, Toast on the Side with Wootberry Jam.. ~*~
~*~ Chocolate Cake all wrapped in Bacon, Nachos on a Stick! Come Along, Let's eat some Noms & Hope we don't get Sick... HEY!! ~*~
~*~ Nomming Treats & Sweets, from Our Raglan Shire Buffet, Fills our little tummies, with Food this Holiday! ~*~
~*~ Just singing 'bout it now, Make's our Hunger Rise! We can't wait to grab a Plate & Stack it real High.. Withhh.. ~*~
~*~ Jelly Beans, Hunks of Cheese, Sugar Frosted Ham. All Deep-fried, Toast on the Side with Wootberry Jam.. ~*~
~*~ Chocolate Cake all wrapped in Bacon, Nachos on a Stick! Come Along, Let's eat some Noms & Hope we don't get SICKKKKKKK! ~*~

The "biggies" who were nearby listening applauded, "Beautiful bravo!" "You guys are great!" And the tinies were appreciative, "~*~ THANK YOO!! ~*~" "Merry Christmass every tiny!" "Thank youse." But it didn't take long for the tinies' mood to turn to something else other than singing, "NOW WE RIVERDANCE!!!!!!" "When do we riverdance?  Can we do it now?" And the tinies started doing their Riverdance move that would make Michael Flately proud, "I hope the floor can take it." But unfortunately, all that feet pounding had a predictable effect on the nearby Christmas tree, and it's decorations came crashing to the ground. "~*~ ZOE EM GEE! ORNAMENTZ!! ~*~" And the tinies scampered away, "Take care everybuddy!"

And so ended the tiny caroling at Grendels, at least at that time of day. Knowing Toady, she probably had some replacement tree decorations, and brought the tinies back later that day with promises of a waffle or two.

If you want to grab the freebies while they're still up, head to Avaria Tor (133, 134, 305).

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, December 13, 2018

What Happened to Aero Pines?

By Bixyl Shuftan

It's been months since we've reported about Areo Pines. This place in Second Life was noted for it's nature scenery, horseback riding, and holding special events across the year, such as it's 9/11 Stairclimb Tribute events and it's Superbowl parties. But over the years, the sims were slowly trimmed back until there were just a few left. It's sad to say that when I went to check up on the place during the Thanksgiving holiday, the place was gone from the map.

When I talked to Aero's former owner, Cindy Bolero, she told me she had turned the place over to someone else in 2015, "and early this year, January I think, she closed the park and redesigned the sims. I was out with eye surgeries n' stuff for a year, and this year been working on CERTsimulator, the FEMA disaster management and practice virtual world I've been working towards for five years."

Besides real life challenges, there were other reasons for her giving up Aero Pines. The money and management was one, "(It) was much work and great expense. ... So many different languages. It was a lot of work to do translations of all our information." But another was the change in the people who were coming over, "We were getting (a) huge amount of visitors in recent years, but it wasn't the same. ... it became mostly men preying on our endless supply of day old females. There was no more community feel, just a meat market." She does still hear from a few friends from previous happier times about the park, but times have changed, "Now I host private VWs profressionaly serving good causes, instead of just playtime."

But Aero isn't completely gone, "I never really announced it closed, but I have announced that its moved." She had gotten a place on the Sinespace grid, and duplicated part of the park there, but it hasn't been worked on in a while, "I haven't had a chance to upgrade it. It's still in winter from 2016. ... there may be a 12th annual Winter Festival if I get time to improve the sinespace version. I have to go on travel this week for a FEMA program management training. So many worlds, so little time. (smile)"

I did take a short trip into Sinespace to check out Aero Pines, or Winter Festival as it's called there. Going about on that virtual world is a bit different than Second Life, but I got there and was able to get a sled ride. But hopping off I was back where I started from. Sinespace takes some getting used to.

Sadly, it looks like a great area in Second Life has now become part of it's past, with that's left of it in another virtual world and pictures on it's Flickr page:

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, December 7, 2018

Mysterious Circles Appear on Montecito Bay's Streets

By Bixyl Shuftan

Just as Montecito Bay has been putting the slime and maw monsters behind them, there's a new mystery afoot. My first clue to what was happening was a group announcement by Becky Nostferatu on November 24.

I swear I just saw lights, guys. All over! And now, we're getting some weird circles on the ground... so strange. I wonder what it could mean for the sim? We better keep our eyes open!

But it wasn't until a few days later when I dropped by the sim. I talked to a few people, Moff (MoffettMephit Resident), Emorald Resident, Lem Aiko (LemonPledge Resident) just outside the Magnum Opus, the "MO" still under reconstruction with scafolding outside the building and the "Crux Construction Company" signs. Kardinal Klo (Klomonx Resident) was working on it, "Okay, I need to do the under colors, and the dome texture and move the windows out if they haven't yet." Lem, who was in his hard hat, might have been helping him but at the moment was taking a break.

As we talked, I noticed some markings on the road, like the "crop circles" seen on TV news and social media occasionally. I then brought their attention to it, "Say, what's that on the road?" Moff replied, "Oh, some degenerates playing a prank, or something. Street department hasn't had a chance to clean them off yet." Lem's answer was, "I dunno, they just appeared there. (I'm) pretty sure kids are spray painting them." Emorald answered, "We THINK some kids are just spray painting it. Not sure yet."

I looked to Emorald, "What do you mean 'we think?'" He shrugged, "That is the best guess I have honestly." "Cops couldn't prove it yet," Lem told me. "Why not just pressure wash it off?" I asked. Lem answered, "I ain't getting paid for it. It'll eventually wear off." Emorald told me, "It was done once, and was back the next morning." "Any more of these?" I asked. Emorald answered, "I have seen a few." Lem told me, "Yea, at every intersection. A lot of paint wasted, Must be a college prank." "But yeah Bix," Emorald commented, "who ever is doing this prank, A+ for effort."

Moff then had to leave for something. I then brought up Becky Nostferatu's group message, "Checking the Mont Bay bulletins, Becky says 'weird lights' showed up just before these circles." Lem told me, "As far as I know, the only cameras that caught anything was the ones at the gas station, they saw some sort of black shadow fly across the screen and then the ones facing the intersection went dead." "So that's all that was noticed before these weird shapes?" "I think the weird lights were kids playing with high power laser pointers. They will kill a camera very fast. It's all a big hoax, though a well put together hoax. Like I said, they get points for effort."

I then asked, "What are some of the (other) locals saying?" "There's a guy over on the east side who swears he saw some flying saucers," Lem answered, "I think he's on something." Emorald asked him, "Was that the same dude that got evicted from that one abandoned building Lem? I think he was living, next to the hotel?" Lem answered, "I don't know, but he snoops around my warehouse a lot too. The guy is a conspiracy theorist." Emorald added, "I know there was a guy living in that building, had to really clean the place up. Someone had a hell of a drug lab there." "Yeah, you wonder who was responsible, but innocent till proven guilty."

Not long afterwards, I bade farewell to the two, and looked around. Sure enough, there were more of these strange patterns on the asphalt in other places. Either they were done by a machine, or the painter had a very steady hand. I did notice one building with a few strange pictures. But before I could take a picture of it, a huge spider appeared, which freaked me out to the point I forgot about making the shot. Normally such enormous arachnids are found in the tropics. But considering the recent maw monsters and now these street circles, well, know knows?

And so Montecito Bay now has some more weirdness on it's hands. Or considering the Cruxes, additional weirdness. What happens next? Time will tell.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, December 3, 2018

Pixel to Pixel Closes: Statement From the Group

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."
- From Ecclesiastes 3, but also from a very good Byrd's song from 1965.

The Bible causes strong emotional reactions in people, from those who fervently believe it is the divine Word of God to those who think it the most dangerous fraud ever perpetrated on humankind.  But no matter where you find yourself on that continuum, within the chapters and verses and poetry of the script can be found great truths.  Ecclesiastes 3 gives us one of those truths:  For every thing there is a season.  It goes on to list what seems to be an exhaustive list to support the idea, but there is one repeated theme throughout; everything has a beginning and an end.

It started with a need.  Jadyn Firehawk, herself a fairly new arrival to Second Life and inspired by the group, Virtual Ability, recognized a feature of the world that a lot of us missed - she saw the opportunity for those with disabilities to live a meaningful virtual life in ways they could not anywhere else.  She saw a chance for millions of people in the world to live and walk and laugh and love and....function...without their supposed disability being a factor in their relationships with others.

But Jadyn the dreamer is also Jadyn the realist, and she recognized that many of those same individuals who could benefit so greatly from what SL had to offer also often had RL limitations to resources.  There was nothing she could do for those with no access to the internet or a computer, but there was something she could do for those with access but limited financial resources to fully enjoy a regular life in Second Life.

Many of us know the Serenity Prayer and its plea to a Higher Power to help us know the difference between what we can change and what we cannot.  Though perhaps inspired by that, to our great blessing she didn't take it to heart.  No, her actions are better described by the words of Edward Everett Hale:  "I am but one, but I AM one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something, and I will not let what I cannot do interfere with doing what I can do."

So, Jadyn founded the Pixel To Pixel Foundation to provide a weekly stipend for those with disabilities so that they could enjoy a more complete Second Life.  The dream became action, and the action became perseverance, and the perseverance became a foundation that worked with a network of compassionate donors and a list of grateful recipients who were able to update their avatars and purchase things to make their lives a little better and, in many cases, purchase things that they could use to create.  Jadyn created a gallery so that those who created artwork would have a place to sell their earn their living in SL.  Through Jadyn's hard work, aided by individuals who believed in her vision and gave of themselves, she was able to grow P2P so that it was able to provide support to dozens of people and hundreds of stipends over the years.

It was not always easy.  There was a constant need for fund raising, and always, always, more people who needed help than could be provided for.  It was sometimes heartbreaking, but over the years, with dogged determination and unmatched fortitude, Jadyn pushed on.

It has taken a toll.  Nine years of constant fund raising drives, nine years of pouring over applications for aid, nine years of the joy of being able to help and the sorrow of not being able to help everyone.  It takes a toll.

And that brings us back to Ecclesiastes.  There is a time to begin, and there is a time to end.  The time for this great and marvelous and selfless act of compassion to come to an end has arrived.  The decision was not an easy one, and it was not taken lightly.  Something you may or may not know about Jadyn, she has her own disability.  She has struggled with it even as she provided for others.  But the scale has tipped, and it is time for Jadyn to take care of herself.

Now, this isn't going to happen all at once.  There are resources available to continue making stipend payments until the first week of January and those payments will be made.  But effective December 1st we will no longer be soliciting donations and we will be shutting down the donation kiosks that can be found scattered around Second Life.  We ask that those who use personal giving boxes deactivate them by taking them up into inventory.  Any excess funds we might have as of January 4th, 2019, will be donated to Virtual Ability, SL's main disability support group.

Of course there will be questions and concerns and grief.   There will be temptation to direct such things to Jadyn, but we ask that all such be directed to me (Sandi Glas) for now.

In closing, we want to thank our generous donors, sponsors and volunteers who have made this nine year journey possible and express our love for those who were recipients of that generosity.

With all our love and affection,
The P2P staff.

* * * * *

A heartfelt thank you to Sandi Glas for helping me to make my very difficult decision to close down the P2P Foundation. She's been an indispensable sounding board for me over the past several months, as well as having been a valued supporter over the years in a number of ways. Thank you, Sandi.

Jadyn Firehawk

Pictures from the Newser