Monday, July 31, 2023

Five More Online Comics, Past and Present

By Bixyl Shuftan
For those of us who never outgrew our love of comics, which probably means most of us, one place where we can read more is the Internet. The good news is one can find hundreds, perhaps thousands of comics online, from gag-a-day strips to serial story tales, from "family safe" to X-rated. The bad news, many are lacking in the quality of the art, stories and/or jokes, or both. The Newser reviewed ten a few years ago (here) and (here), then reviewed five concluded strips a couple years ago (here). After a request from a reader, here are five more I enjoyed, both currently going and concluded.

Apollo 9

This is a comic that fans of "Star Trek" and other sci-fi shows will love. Done by "Longtail," "Apollo 9" is the tale of a cast of characters and their ship as they go from one misadventure to another. "In space, no one can hear your mind snap."

Captain Maclupus was placed not in charge of a shiny new cruiser, but an outdated S-Class shuttle, it's mission not to explore strange new worlds, but to move a survey crew from planet to planet to interview unsuspecting people to fill out questionaires.  Among the cast of misfits are Lt. Cmdr Updike, an uptight gerbil First Officer, Lt. Cmdr Syzygy and Cmdr. Sunstreak, a Chakat pair who are respectively the Second Officer and Chief Medical officer, Lt. Cirini Stanson, the Foxtaur navigator, Sgt Zooey Perkins, an androginous cyborged bat and ship's mechanic with an often annoying cheerful attitude,  "Roz" Bradley, the hamster Survey Administer of whom the surveyers are all her relatives, and the ship's AI, which has it's own sarcastic sense of humor.

A number of the strips were one-shot gags, with some filler and holiday comics. The most notable exception was "Night of the Living Duckies" in which a shipment of toy rubber ducks are posessed by alien pirates. Besides Apollo 9, she would also do "Gemini Bright," a fantasy-themed comic. She also had a clearly adult-rated fancomic, "Coons," featuring characters from a strip of her friend Seth Triggs in a possible future scenario.

Apollo 9 ran from 2003-2006, the last strip being a Christmas special. Gemini Bright lasted longer, to 2008. In 2013, she had to shut down her website domain due to financial dificulties, but a year later, her friend Triggs donated some space on his for them. The last journal entry on Longtail's art page, on Aug 2014 was an appeal to donations so she could get an apartment and pay for her phone so she could get a steady job. It is unclear what happened to her since then. It is sad that this talented artist couldn't continue.

Apollo 9 is rated G with occasional PG. Some caution should be taking about clicking on some of the links as not all are safe for work.


Simply Panda Jenn

Panda Jenn's been mentioned in the Newser before as an artist who appears in Second Life somethings who has a hangout and did a few videos. She also has her own online comic: "Simply Panda Jenn." 
In the comic, her persona rents an apartment with the help of her friend Cody. But they can't quite pay for it on their own. So they bring in a friend of Cody's family: Bridget. With Cody spending hours on end with video games, and Bridget being a sci-fi fangil, Jenn at times feels like the only sane one around as she feels the weight of the bills on her shoulders and her job can be quite irritating at times.

Simply Panda Jenn ran from 2019 to Aug 2022, when Jenn had to take a break to concentrate on art commissions to bring in extra money. She plans to resume the comic soon.

Simply Panda Jenn rates a G with occasional PG


First strip: 
Twin Dragons

By Robin Dassen, "Twin Dragons" is described by him as "the daily lifes of the twins Kai and Kaya Romero, born as dragon hybrids in a human world." Fifteen years earlier in the story universe, about one in a thousand infants started being born "with animal characteristics in varying degrees" from resembling a Japanese neko with ears and a tail and mabe furry lower arms and legs to "furries" covered in fur with noticeable snouts. Kai and Kaya are dragon hybrids with scales, prominent ears and snouts, and tails. They are the twin son and daughter of Marco Romera, an Italian-American chef and Sabrina Blueford, a psychologist. Early in the strip, they live in a small town where they are greeted with suspicion by some of the locals. Fortunately, their father has earned enough money to start his dream: his own restaurant. To the delight of the kids, they're going to a neighborhood in the city where many hybrids live.

Once in the city, they soon make a new friend, a dog hybrid named Benji. At school, they run into others such as Cleo, a snake hybrid who's the daughter of the owner of a software company, and Rex, who's the captain of the school basketball team. There's Nate, a quirky but smart human youth with glasses and purple hair who seems to have a way of figuring out things and solving problems. They go through various adventures from school museum tours to Dungeons and Dragons games, and more.

Twin Dragons started in 2015 and almost eight years later is still going. The comic rates a G with a rare PG moment (language). It updates every Monday. Dasen also does another comic, "Gamer Dragons," about Kai and Kaya's misadventures while gaming. It's updating is sporadic.

Comic link:


Most of us grew up reading comics and watching shows of superheros from Batman to Superman to Spiderman. So eventually a few would try their hand at doing a superhero comic online. I've seen a few examples, my favorite being Spinnerette by writer "Krazy Krow" and artist Walker Gomez.

Heather Brown is working as an assistant in a university lab when an accident infuses her with spider DNA, giving her six arms and super strength. Thrilled at the chance of being a superhero, she convinces her roommate Shahira to help her make a costume. But things have a rough start as her webs shoot out from somewhere other than her wrists and her first try at stopping crime doesn't go so well. Fortunately, she runs into two other heroes, Tiger and Mech-Maid, who agree to train her and she teams up with them.

But even after Spinnerette gets some skill as a fighter, things don't always go her way. One supervillian gets off the hook because she's a minor. She ends up getting told by Marvel to change her costume as her first one looks too much like a copyrighted character. They occasionally team up with one group of heroes from Canada, which includes a werewolf.

She ends up fighting various villains from sparkly vampires to Nazis trying to clone Hitler. One reoccurring antagonist is Dr. Universe, a super who's power is his intellect. But while he calls himself a supervillain, he acts more self-centered than evil, and is occasionally on the side of the heroes. In one of the more interesting story arcs, the supervillian is Colonel Glass of North Korea, who sneaks into the USA to damage his country's nemesis, and isn't particularly reluctant to kill.

The comic started in 2010, and over time has had some interesting and comical twists, at times poking fun at superhero tropes. In one arc, Spinnerette runs into her counterparts in alternate universes in which she came about in earlier decades instead of the early 2000s.  A few story arcs are actually short teasers to stories on sale. Krow and Gomez were also working on a monster girl comic on sale in addition to "White Heron," a super who defects from North Korea and becomes their star superheroine.

While still a good comic, it's my impression the latest story arcs don't have the same umph as those earlier after over a decade. Maybe Krow and Gomez are saving their latest better ones for the comics for sale.

Spinnerette advertises itself as updating twice a week. But some weeks it does so only once, and there are times the comic takes a short hiatus. The comic rates PG to PG-13 due to some language and adult situations.

Comic Link:

First strip:

Scandinavia and The World

In political cartoons, nations are sometimes represented by characters. There was also a Japanese magma and anime, Hetalia, which showed them as characters in a drama. On the Internet, there's a strip in which the countries are characters in various situations, "Scandinavia And The World," done by "Humon."

The primary characters are of course the Scandinavian countries. Sweden is a bit geekish, taking pride in his computer skills, but is sometimes seen as snobbish. Denmark is laid-back, though occasionally seen as lazy and a bit of a drunkard and stoner(the cartoonist herself is a Dane). Finland, who is usually carrying a knife, doesn't usually say much and is seen as a bit psychotic. Norway is something of the straight man among the four, though has a love of nature and fish.

There are also sister versions of country personas. For the most part, they mirror their brothers. But there are some exceptions. Sister Finland lacks her brother's mean streak, though still dresses very plainly. Among the most striking differences is between Brother and Sister Sweden, the woman looking like a blonde bombshell who's usually open for a good time. Other countries are represented as well. Germany is a humble soul who feels guilty for the actions of his counterpart Nazi Germany (who is his own character in the strip). England is a usually reserved character, always with combed-back hair and a monocle. France is snooty and very proud of it's culture. So what is America like? Brother America is depicted as a big blond guy who is usually well meaning and wanting to get along with others, but his ignorance about other countries can get others annoyed and occasionally cause problems. Sister America looks like a ditzy blonde, who is always going about with her pet chihuahua Ottowa. The two occasionally mildly bicker over issues, Brother America being the conservative one, and Sister America being the liberal one.

There are no story arcs, instead the comics all being one-shot jokes from things such as events in history to jokes about cultural differences and oddities to current events. The artist isn't afraid to poke fun at her country. Once Sister America goes to Denmark, decides it would be polite to learn some of the language first, and Sister Denmark criticizes her for wasting time since most Danes know English and there's only a few million Danish speakers in the world. Another time, a moose from Sweden swam to Denmark, and Denmark freaked out thinking it would attack, "our nature is ridiculously safe." One reoccurring gag is of the Scandinavian countries as vikings, raiding England. Part of the punchline is that while Denmark, Norway and Sweden seem nice and pacifistic now, a thousand years ago, they were anything but.

Politics inevitably makes the news, and the comic. When Greenland chose a flag that's not anything like the traditional cross designs of the Nordic countries, it's seen as "A Big F-You" to Denmark, whom had colonized it. England's getting out of the EU was fodder for some cartoons. Of the incident in which a dozen Danish artists caused a HUGE stir in the Middle East because they drew Muhammad in less than complementary ways, the cartoonist commented "this is what happens when you leave Denmark alone for too long."  Occasionally, North Korea, depicted as a paranoid antagonistic man hiding his face under his flag like a cowl, makes the strip. But some issues in American news such as the Israeli-Palestinian issue never do.
Then there was the results of the USA's 2016 election when Brother America got done up in orange skin and was acting Trumplike for a time. But the artist admitted she missed America as the "lovable dork." So a rainstorm washed away the orange and he went back to his old self again. But the orange gunk too on a life of it's own as it's own character, "The Trump Blob."

While the comic usually ends with a punch line, there was one recent notable exception. With last year's invasion by Russia of the Ukraine, the usual simple style of the characters was put aside for the cartoon just afterwards, showing Russia beating up Ukraine and the EU sliding a clip into NATO's pistol. The caption was "Hey Putin, you big dumb idiot. If you're killing people in Ukraine because you are afraid of NATO, then you really f**ked up. You are the monster that reminded people why NATO was created."

If there's a message to "Scandinavia And The World," it's that people can have some pretty weird differences and sometimes truly be jerks to one another, but also that people can overcome such differences and put aside old grudges to be nice to one another and say "Skal" (Scandinavian word for "cheers")

Scandinavia And The World started around 2009 and is one of several "Humon Comics." Is updated somewhat sporadically, once a week to once a month. Occasionally, there will be a long pause in the comic website, but checking the Facebook page there are one or two new strops that haven't appeared there yet. The strip rates a PG-13, due to profanity and some adult situations. Earlier in the comic's history there were a couple nude scenes, so this isn't a comic to be browsing at work.

Comic link:

First strip:

That's all the cartoon reviews for now. As mentioned before, there are hundreds of good ones we haven't touched on yet, or even heard about. Was there one you want to see mentioned? Feel free to send one, and we might post it as a Reader Submission.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, July 28, 2023

Commentary: The Staying Power of Second Life

By Bixyl Shuftan
As a Gen-Xer, most of my earliest memories about home video entertainment involve the Atari and it's games that the household had. We got it around Christmas 1979. Four years later, I was playing the Atari games less and less. A better videogame system had came out, the Colecovision, plus the house now had a compuer, an Apple II plus. I can't remember when the last Atari game had been bought, maybe around that time or shortly afterwards. But less than five years after my household had gotten the Atari, I had stopped playing the games and they were shelved.

So what happened? Atari had gotten somewhat complacent over the years, and others began coming out with systems that could play better games, such as Intellivision and Colecovision. And then there were the makers of videogames that were soon flooding the market with them, some that were more or less cheap knock-offs of similar games. Eventually came the "crash" in 1983 in which demand for the games dropped. I myself still liked games that were coming out, but they were for the newer Colecovision the household got. In a couple years, our Coleco console would break. There were no more being made, and Atari games were no longer being sold. Not that I was overly interested as their appeal was waning on me, and went to just the computer games. And so that was my end of playing the home video games. It would be just the games on the Apple II.

Two decades later, it was a different world in regards to home entertainment. The World Wide Web had been around for about a decade. It was around December 2006 when I finally got high speed Internet. I soon checked out two places friends had been talking about: World of Warcraft and Second Life. World of Warcraft with it's simpler goals was easier to make sense out of, so I got into that one almost right away. Second Life took longer. After some looking around, after which the person who invited me over was suddenly too busy to help much, I only came on once every three to four weeks, until I found out about the Relay for Life track. That got my attention, and I began logging on more often, started meeting people, made friends, got a better avatar, began learning more about the place and where more interesting places and events were.

A year after my arrival, I'd gotten an SL job and a purpose here, had a group of friends, and all looked well. How long it would last, I didn't know. I'd been part of an online sci-fi roleplay that lasted for several years before it closed down. And then of course there were the Atari games that lasted for a few years before things went downhill with the company.

Sixteen years later, I'm still around. It was nine years ago that I let my Warcraft account expire. While I would get back on a few more times, the last time three years ago, I didn't stay for long. But Second Life I'm continuing to log on regularly.

So why the difference between my time here and Warcraft, and that of playing Atari games? Well, it the case of the Atari games, the answer is more obvious. There was no social aspect to the games, the technology of gaming progressed so that others were offering better products, and the company ran into trouble after a few years before it's new and improved gaming system caught on. With computer gaming, there were more possibilities as computers could be upgraded as games got more detailed and sophisticated. And with the Internet and World Wide Web came more and more of a social aspect. Those two developments would allow for MMORPGs and public virtual worlds.

My personal experience with World of Warcraft, I got into it fairly quick and got into an Internet friend's guild. But he and his wife would need to log off after a couple years due to real-life troubles, and eventually the group closed and my group of friends became fewer and fewer. In contrast, in Second Life I kept making friends and kept finding places, and experiences, to go to. Probably the only reason I stuck around in Warcraft for a while was because some SLers I knew also enjoyed the game. But after several years, my interest waned to the point I would come on only for short periods. Part of the reason was it's monthly fees. There would be other MMOs such as Rust that got my attention over time, but once again I would mostly playing with friends from Second Life, and eventually be taking breaks when their interest waned.

I would also give a few other virtual worlds a try. Early on, there was InWorldz. But if it wasn't for my Second Life friends, it wouldn't have gotten more than a passing interest. And when they paid less attention, so did I. Later on, some began checking out VRChat. Two keep going back there, a late Gen-Xer and a Millennial. It does seem this next-generation virtual world attracts mostly computer users not yet in middle age. But Second Life continues to get numerous residents in their 30s, 20s, and younger.

So what is it about Second Life that continues to attract people twenty years after it's creation? I once stated I came here to see the places people had been making, but I stayed because of the people. Like elsewhere on the Internet, I found interesting people, some like-minded and some a bit different but still interesting. There are others who came here for different reasons. Some came to see what they could build here. Some came here as it can be a great place to hold a roleplaying game in the style of "Dungeons and Dragons." And yes, there are those who were attracted to Second Life because of the "cyber noogie."

But in the end, what keeps us here, at least in my opinion, is the social aspect, the people. 
Yes, social media such as Facebook and Twitter has proved more popular. But some of us want and feel we need more than just a space to chat. We desire a three-dimensional landscape to interact on. Plus in recent years there's been growing concerns about social media's willingness to respect privacy and that it may be bad for the mental health of some people and be toxic to America's political discussion.

As to why Second Life and not VRChat? Well, the newer virtual world is in a different style. There is no "mainland" or any  other group of directly connected areas. All locations are basically islands onto themselves that one can easily portal to, but not directly connected to. Also, there is no inworld economy, no currency. Everything at "stores," at least that I've seen, is for free. If one wants to sell an avatar, one has to work out the deal outside VRChat and convince the interested party you're not trying to cheat him or her. That and wanting your own unique look can be much more expensive. And aside from a few places that set something up, there is no texting. You have to up and speak and not type. If you really don't want to, or can't, use your voice, you're out of luck. That likely discourages some, especially women, from going about there.
This isn't calling VRChat a bad virtual world, it's still good. One regular user I talked to told me it seemed more alive to her, enjoyed the option for full body tracking (which needs special gear) and she found it easier to find places where people were active and not just AFK. It's just that (in my opinion) Second Life has aspects it doesn't, and is more versatile.

Twenty years later, Second Life is still, in my opinion, the best virtual world available to the public.

Bixyl Shuftan

Addition: Someone contacted me saying recently VRChat has added more options for texting, notably a "chatbox" about a year ago.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Steampunk At The Bellisseria Fairgrounds

By Gemma Cleanslate

What a magnificent installation Gracie (GracieAustinn Resident) has at the Bellisseria fairgrounds this past week and it will be there until June22. 

It is steampunk which is so much fun to see . It is the third DJ’s Golf Around sponsored by Bellisseria Bike Drive & Scoot Group which has events every week in SL.

It is open daily for miniature golf, Snail Racing, Whale flying and just hanging out. Events are as follows and open to anyone who wishes to have fun at a party.

□ 21st: Wed. 12pm: Chuckey

6pm: Matt (Formal Steampunk)

□ 23rd: Fri. 12pm: FAR

I pulled out my steampunk outfits from the SL19B and was happy to be able to wear them again. DJ Far was spinning fun tunes on Friday the 16th and I made it to that event.

Saturday I took a tour of the golf area and saw the elegant flora and steampunk décor. I jumped on a racing snail and took a try at that . I did pretty well and landed on the board with 5.5 seconds .

Sunday I attended another party at the Event where Fuyuko '冬子' Amano (Wintergeist Resident) Dj’ed. Try to get over there to see the installation before it disappears and perhaps attend a steampunk party. You are welcome in any garb though.  

Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

A Fun Busy Weekend

By Gemma Cleanslate

It was a fun busy weekend in Second Life for me. Saturday morning as usual I read the SL Newser and then I read The Gazette which is the newspaper of the BBB( Bellisseria Bureau of Bureaucracy) Group. I always read this paper on Saturday (after I read the SL Newser) when it is released because besides the news or interview that appears there it also shows the new locations for the passport stamps. I have been collecting the stamps for long time. There are stamp terminals all over the grid. It is great to visit so many new places . I often get ideas for articles by doing this.

I took time to attend a fishing contest. which I did not win or even get close but it was fun.
The big discussion in the Bellisseria Citizen Group was shopping. Dreamer Pixelmaid was passing out information on bargains which I had to go check out. Then it was time for real life running.

Sunday I attended three events . The first was a visit to the always huge Bay City Anniversary celebration. I am sorry to say I missed the parade but got to the great party. DJ GoSpeed Rasere (GoSpeed Racer) was spinning tunes when I arrived and after greeting all I hopped on the fun conga line they have there for all the events.

Following GoSpeed the live singers took over with lovely songs . There were 50 + at the party having a great time.

Next I stopped over at the Sunday party at Virtual Ability where Stepin always has great tunes for the members and invited visitors. There was an ongoing discussion about banned books going on and most agreed in principle that banning in libraries that are the collectors of data and information for the public is never good. There was also the usual fun banter. Mook remarked that his bucket list was filled with books he wanted to read and food he wanted to taste.

My next trip was to a Cultural Diversity street party hosted by Sondee was under way. The street was lined with booths of food and information from many countries. I of course grabbed a piece of pizza , one of my favorite foods. ÐĴ ८hocoŁatε Śiη™ (Tyesia Xevious) had some great music going on.

I forget to tell you that Jadin Emerald has installed a fun high diving platform at Yosemite High Sierra.
If you would like to try it go over and you can get a chute and HUD and try it out! I took a few jumps.

It has been a while since I had the opportunity. Then take a walk in the forest and look around. There is a travel hud available to help you get all over both High Sierra and Yosemite. If you want to “chicken out “ it will take you down to the entrance where you can grab the hud. There is also a nice back pack full of goodies for visiting and camping at Yosemite,

Friday, May 5, 2023

Reader Submitted: 988

 By Any1 Gynoid
Ronnie Montrose 64, Kurt Cobain 27, Amy Winehouse 27, Wendy Haluza 29, Brian Donovant 15, Rose Berka 38, Jim Morrison 27, Janis Joplin 27, Jimi Hendrix 27 ... When I am on Second Life, there is one thing you can bet your digital boots on, I always request the song "Suicide Solution, theme song of M*A*S*H. I am not afraid to talk about suicide. I am your friend. I am there 24 hours x 7 days a week, x 365 days a year. I am a 988 Crisis Counselor.

Mental Health. In this country, The United States of Americs (USA! USA!), where there are 400 million guns, more guns than people. In fact, about 2/3s of all guns in the world are the private property of US citizens. And our 50 state gubbermints are shedding budgets ... taking money away from colleges and universities ... DEFUND mental health institutions ... kids are scared to go to school ... Fox News incessantly spreading spreading Russian propaganda. Who you gonna call?
So here's the thing. The USA is the greatest country in the world. More than half of all US hoseholds are living paycheck to paycheck, 2/3 of households making under $100,000 per year, 3/4 of households making under $50,000. Paycheck to paycheck. What that means, let's say you are the breadwinner, and you break a leg or your car breaks down, or you get arrested, or you get pregnant (i.e. the looming crisis in 20 veto-proof red states). You were just getting by from paycheck to paycheck. But now,  ... The wheels fell off your life's jugging act. What can you do? Who you gonna call?

Suicide may appear a solution. So here's what we do. If you called 911 emergency services, these high-school educated guys, heavily armed, expecting you own an AR15 Assault Rifle ... will knock on your door, possibly guns blazing. Yeah, go ahead and do that. Or call me. I'm just sayin.
All the problems, all of the major mistakes that we make building an Information Technology (IT) system, all the mistakes, land on the IT helpdesk. Similarly, but in a much larger context, all of the major mistakes, we parents, we teachers, we counselors, we pastors, we officer friendly's, all those mistakes and problems gotta go somewhere. 911 is often NOT the right answer. So there is 988. 988 is the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is national. It is everywhere in The United States of America. It is 24x7x365. FREE!

So basically, we will take your call. We strive to be compassionate, empathic, engaged, and helpful. But mostly we listen. Our goal is to help you through the next 24 hours safely. There are things under your control, and we will help you discover. Tomorow is another day.

Nine Eight Eight. 988. There for you. Voice and TEXT. Could be your last resort. Hopefully not. But remember this. You gotta friend. AnyOne will take your call. 988. Bada Bing!

Any1's opinon piece for the SL Newser (The REAL Fox News)

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

A Story From Fairelands Chat

The following is from the Fantasy Faire chat on the night of April 18, 2023.
 Pookie Wolfsong gathers her charges to wait for the mists to  lift and  the portals to open. The song of the Fairelands has been growing stronger.  "So  my friends the veil will  lift and the wonders will be there to behold." The spark  of wonder and the excitement  of hope fills  the group. Their guide waits for the change "Soon, so soon and you will see that there is still  magic, Hope and love."  She smiles knowing  she will once again meet her friends and her old dear friends in the Fairelands.

She checks on each one of her group. "Remember when entering the Portal you may find you have changed from what you are now. Just enjoy the change. For now you can be what ever you want to be. Sing with the Fae, swim with the merfolk, or even eat waffles with the pawlice. I wander, explore listen to the tales of each  land. Then I  meet old dear friends and  dance."   She smiles seeing the grins from souls that are so tired. For their struggle has left them exhausted. "Please my friends take your time enjoy yourselves. I know there is so  much to see and do.  Talk  to the people and know you are not alone. You all know  where to  find me. If you need  me. I promise not to bother you once we enter."  With  that she hugs each one softly kissing  each person. "I am so glad you can come."  They all look up into the clear nights sky watching  the stars slowly move across the heavens. Like a key to open a lock the stars glide into position.

She watches the stars. Marking the time. Soon the portal will open once again. "So close I just have to hang on a bit more." She walked, slowing back into her home carefully placing each step.

She prepares for  her rounds on her dear friends. Each day grows more treasured than the last.She gathers the gifts for each. then takes the precious medicine that allows her to visit. She marks how much she has left so little left  but enough. The Faire will come and her friends will go and experience the wonders, the fun and the love of the Fairelanders.

[She makes her way to visit each one of her friends. Years ago She would have called them her patients.  Now all are her dearest friends and part of her family. Time is a fine teacher if one cares to learn.  No one knows how much we have and each day is truly magical.

A young girl in her bed weak from therapy looks to her. She takes from a pouch the tablet and  hands it to her. "It is all set for you. Soon the fantasy faire will open. And you see what I have been telling you  about. Remember to have fun  And I want to hear all about it"  She smiles seeing the light still shine in this young ones eyes. 
"Nurse Why are you doing this?  I mean you don't have too? Why?"

"You need to see and know there is still a world of magic and wonder. With wonderful beings that do care. You are not alone and never will be. I do expect to see you dance on the FaireChylde with  me" She says with a smile, then makes her way to finish her rounds.

Her shift ended  and she reports to her own treatment. Tried sore she prepares for the next day.  She takes a tablet and starts to create the avatar that her newest friend asked for to go to the faire. "So little time so  much to do."

Pookie Wolfsong (Helixer Resident):

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

April Fools in Second Life

By Bixyl Shuftan

The Newser's April Fool joke article got some chuckles, one calling it "short and sweet and almost believable." Another just commented, "Good one!" Zada Bury added to its believability by putting a link of her youtube in the comments. Unlike some past fooleries, there were absolutely no complaints. Some might see that as a sign of the joke not being funny enough, but it still got laughs. The only remark from the Lab was by Cosmic Mole,  "No comment."

But this was far from the only April Foolery around.

Once again, the Lab decided to get into the act. Their jab at Facebook/Meta last year was a tough act to follow. But they did. Starting Friday night, UFOs began appearing over Bellisseria. One resident stated they were built by Magic Mole and owned by Abnor. There was much chatter and mock panic in the Bellisseria group, "you said moles. i wasn't expecting UFOs!" "aLiEn LIfE fOrm DeTEcteD.. ExTerMiNaTe! EXTERMINATE! aTtentIon alL pLaneTs oF the AgNi FedErAtiOn.. wE hAve aSsumED cOnTRoL!" 
"Poor Hiiro is being lasered to death" "take me now aliens, I'm ready." "The one near me is not sending me tractor beams. nobody wants me. (sad)" "Most have moved along but that one is just obsessed with Hiiro." "Oh no, they got me. Goodbye cruel world. Bury my inventory with me." "Maybe those ufos are manned by bonniebots?" "Now there are Chinese balloons moving in." "an UFO, owned by ABNOR MOLE, beamed me above my Linden Jouseboat .. is it cnsidered as sexual harrasment .. any lawers avaiable here ? ..  and why this happened First of April hmmmmm? ... Thank you of correction .. I was assaulted by SLURPY v1.0 on last day of Marchh .. HEEEELP" "(name), have you welcomed your new alien overlords yet?"

The craft weren't truly saucer-shaped, but thick disks, resembling robot vacuum cleaners and were christened "roombas" by some Bellisserians. "Unidentified Flying Roomba." "How do you get them to clean your house?" Some had lit tendrils waving from one end, which a few joked were alien tentacles. Various residents would take pictures and post links in chat. Gemma Cleanslate would also take a few, and pointed out one to me that she had come across.

The UFOs, and mock panic and other chatter continued for some time. "WARNING hUmaN! PrEpAre to be tRansMogRifiEd!" "Find someone who can yodel?" And people continued to log in not knowing what was going on, "Hi - there's sapceships flying trying to shoot the houseboats (laughter) - how do we get rid of them?" "They could be scanning the area for faults or maybe to check peoples orbs coz some have it set lower then it suppose to be like 2 seconds." "I guess that's what I get for being a squatter in one of the Mole homes (not own-able by residents)."

Over time, people had to leave, "I need to get back to real-life. Have fun everyone and don't get probed by the Slurpies." And after many hours, the UFOs went away as fast as they appeared. 
And somehow, there was no sign of Elvis the whole time. 

There were other examples. For those who missed Team Firestorm's April Fool last year, they did it again. 
At Caledon Oxbridge University, there was a joke announcement about a class on griefing, "How to Grief."

Hello fellow evildoers. Join us for our How to Grief class! Learn how to cause trouble and aggravation for your fellow residents. Amaze and delight the two friends you still have left.


The Sci-Fi con, which was going on, decided to get in on the act. There was a "debate" of sorts between people roleplaying characters from the planet Pandora of "Avatar," some as "Na'vi," others as spacefaring humans. There was also a moderator, trying to explain things to the audience, "after the humans on earth began space explorations, Pandora is the first world humans found with sentient life. They found a world lush with life, a thriving but dangerous ecology. And they found resources that changed the economy and life on earth. They were met with resistance by an indigent species known as the Na'vi, and they abandoned their first wave of acquisition. ... they've returned with better technology, and a greater interest in the resources of Pandora. Our panel today is to discuss what the mission of the current reach out truly is. What should be the status of Pandora in the scope of the interplanetary community?"

There were actually two groups of humans, "Lt. Colonel Derek Bowman representing the RDA," and a scientist from a different group, "Jadelee Hendricks representing the PCI is under contract through the UN with the Pandora Conservation Initiative as a senior technician and also as an avatar driver. The Na'vi call her a dreamwalker." She explained that part of her purpose was to try and repair the damage caused by the first humans, and were doing so only after getting permission from a Na'vi tribe to man an abandoned facility.

But the roleplayers didn't count on numerous tinies coming over with protest signs, "HUMANS WRECK PLANETS!" "No humans on Pandora!" "Leave Pandora to the Na'vi!" "Stay, stay, stay! Stay at home!" Eventually, some of the humans started to get nervous, such as the camera crew, "this is bad, very very bad. Let's get out of here!" So did the Colonel, "Things are getting rough here, need cover and extraction ASAP." Probably the best reaction was from one of the blue aliens, "This is a rather strange ritual, Keyeung. At least most of the beings here seem to be on our side."
For fans of Grendle's, it's time for the store's yearly April Fool's area to open up.

Welcome to Grendel's 11th Mostly Annual April Fools,  ... See the iMax, play board games, lob apples, swim with the fishies, visit the dinosaurium, enjoy wild and crazy art, run a real game of minefield, learn the Secret of Linden Success, and knock over Toadhenge a few times! Fireworks every Linden night ~@~ 5:27, 8:27, 11:27, and 1:27 both am & pm.  Take the rockets from the store!  Touch everything, trust nothing!   Brought to you for mostly the 11th time by Frog-n-Cat Productions!  

To get there, head to the Grendle's entrance at Avaria Tor (133/135/305). Jump on one of the three nearby rockets (actually sit on it), and you'll appear at the entrance of this special area. Feel free to look around, but not everything is as it appears and surprises are around every corner. As Toady herself says, "touch everything, trust nothing."

Finally, there was the April Fool that was played on the Sunweaver community. Club Cutlass, the community's airship club, had disappeared, leaving behind the dance floor, music board, and other furnishings and decorations hanging in the air. Anyone just simply teleporting up would likely end up falling to the ground and going "splat" Wile E. Coyote style.

Exactly what the explanation was, there's some confusion. Supposedly Cynthia had taken it down for a slight renovation. But Rita was saying "Our pirate ship got pirated by pirates!" 

But the club wasn't the only thing taken down. So did stretches of railway, and the Farshore Field Airport. Cynthia's April Fool was pretending to be upset at something and taking away her items in protest (which someone else did for real in the community over a decade ago). But everything will soon be back to normal.

There was some more funnery later on deserving of mention, such as the "Slime A Linden" at the Sci-Fi con. And there was the War Thunder game's April Fools, as well as "War of Warship's" April Fool's "Training Assistant" Grapply, "It  looks like you're trying to dodge a torpedo" and more. But this is all I have time to write about for now.

Hope your April Fool's Day went well,

Hat Tip: Gemma Cleanslate, Liska da'Lantros, Toady Nakamura

Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday, April 1, 2023

ApRiL fOoL!!!

Happy April Fools Day from the Second Life Newser!

May your April Fools Day be filled with joy, merriment, and general foolery.

For previous April Fool jokes, check out 2022, 2021, 2020, 20192018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 20142013, 2012, and 2011

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

The Premier Business Center

By Dancerina Starlight 


Premier Business Center


PBC is a Multicultural Global Virtual Business Park where business owners meet, market, network, collaborate, socialize, build groups, and have discussions, based on business needs.  The Premier Business Center (PBC) has been quite busy the last quarter of 2022 and sprinted into the first quarter of 2023 with vigor, purpose, and intent.  Since its inception in 2013, PBC has hosted many events on varying business and social levels and has the following and support of other business ventures to show its imprint and impression in Second Life (SL).  There are many things to see, do, build, design, and capture in SL.  Residents from all over the globe contribute to SL using their skills, gifts, talents, and other resources to keep the grid relevant and impactful.  


For this reason, PBC exists, to add to that body of contribution; ensuring to impact those who are drawn to its vision, mission, and agenda.  It took a visionary with confidence and grit to embark on a monumental task of creating a one-stop sim that meets the needs of business minded professionals, associates, and friends.  As a Twenty-First Century virtual think tank, it is also a place where people convene to strategize, problem solve, innovate, and develop new ways of meeting the needs of the SL community.   For those who have experienced the PBC energy, they reverberate the impact it has had in their personal and business space and growth.   Agreeably, this makes PBC one of " The best place in SL for networking, marketing, exploring, and/or dancing the night away! 


It is an SL jewel located in the chiseled, mountainous, properly aligned skyline, skirted with splashing river water, on the mainland.  Formally, its infrastructure comprises, The Convention Center, The PBC Talk Show, The PBC Night time Show, Theater, Memorials, Condominiums, Hotels, Office Space, Apartments, Writer's Den, Artist's Loft, PBC Waterfall Karaoke Bar, Diner, The Botanical Garden, PBC Performance Hall, PBC Blue Lagoon,  The JardenAlexis Frozen Lake@ PBC, The Cultural Arts Center, The PBC House of Prayer, and The PBC Mid City Concert Stage.  


The sim is open to the public for tours twenty-four hours a day and are scheduled through JardenAlexis.  


Some aspects of the constructs are available for partnership or use with mutual agreement.  It is a place and space where ventures utilize in partnership to meet goals for real life causes.  It touches every facet of business, education, and social, which serve as conduits to build a bridge between both worlds whereby it aids real life experiences and causes by creating direct linkage for meeting non-profit and foundation financial goals to solve real world social issues. Thus, PBC serves as a resourceful pipeline that connects people with real organizations, such as One Billion Dollar Rising, Disaster Relief Funds and many more to ensure financial resources are a two-way experience between SL residents and real organizations. PBC practices the clean hands method and only serve as knowledge base operation, connecting people with direct access.   Primarily, when JardenAlexis (Jarden) birth PBC, she intended in an SL and real-life way to promote growth and empowerment for people in both worlds.


Jarden Alexis


Who is the brainchild behind this virtual think tank?  Meeting the brainchild behind this SL virtual think tank and conglomeration is certainly not like meeting a stranger. Her kind, warm, inviting, open-minded, business-minded, forward-thinking, captivating, and impressive demeanor draws people to her.  Jarden is the Owner and Founder of Virtual Executive Assistants (VEA) and PBC.  The VEA is a Global Virtual Executive Administrative Service that provides administrative, marketing, promoting, creative, and consultation services, to a global network of busy business owners or individuals.


She finds enjoyment in planning and creating inspirational, motivational, and educational events. She meticulously plans events to educate, empower, and foster growth in the SL world. She brings awareness and fosters social and professional relationships in so many different arenas and that is very impressive.  I believe most who know her, know what and how much she does. Her time, commitment, and investments are commendable. There is one thing she does that continues to do that captures my attention, and that is she leans in, reaches over, extends a hand, and gives handshakes to others who are doing great things as she and who are aspiring to do the same as she.   


She has worked in spaces such as Second Life Birthday (SLB) and Burn2.  She is a judge for Color of Couture (COC), Miss Virtual World (MVW), DOT-BE FASHION - MAN OF THE YEAR (MOTY) and Parallel Universe Productions, and The Viral Voice Season.  She is a widely sought after partner in SL and enjoys every moment with each partnership.  She is kept busy in SL, not just operating her own business and partnerships, but also working with others and assisting as they work toward their goals.  She is not considered a sim sitter, meaning sits and enjoys her own sim, but Jarden works among other like-minded professional ins SL.  


In her free time, you can find her building on her PBC Sim, supporting others, shopping or exploring the SL Grid.  Also, nestled somewhere, on the same sim, though you might not be able to find her, as it is a private nook, she is building a private haven-- a place where she can sometimes retire to relax, relate, and release in quite space.  Jarden knows and understands that one person is not an island and invites others, their ideas, talents, gifts, and all they have to offer to PBC as well as what they bring with their own think tank.


Living up to its motto, "to motivate, educate and inspire, in the past, and particularly in the last two quarters including the latter part of 2022 and onset of 2023, PBC has been in full swing, as usual, hosting annual PBC events as well as engaging in partnerships.  Annually, PBC supports the SL and RL community by offering events to educate and motivate its supporters and business partners. During the last quarter of 2022 and the first quarter in 2023, Jarden was kept busy meeting, planning, and hosting multiple events.  The PBC's 2022 fourth quarter exited the year having yielded four successful events from fall through bitterly cold days in the winter; inspiring Jarden to plan from Fright to Freezing activities for all to enjoy.  With a loud ring into a new year, PBC was joined by over 100 guests at intervals, to welcome 2023! The energy continued with numerous events, including a memorial. With March being Women's Month Jarden hosted her annual Women's Luncheon.  As we look back to each quarter, we can't help but to delineate the great work Jarden does in the SL community:


Quarter Four 2022 and Quarter One 2023 Timeline


Saturday, October 29, 2022
:  Fright Night @PBC with three Spooktacular DJs, Haunted House, Escape Room, Food, Fun and so much more!

 Sunday, December 4, 2022:  In collaboration with Denyaii' La'oro's Unleased Journey Honoring Dragon McMaster's and the La'oro unleashed ladies and gents dance troupe! Denyaii took the audience down memory lane as she and guest performers who have worked with Dragon and La'oro unleashed and showcased some of her most popular choreographed routines created while dancing with La oro at Phoenix, Elysium and PBC!


Saturday, December 17, 2022: 
A Christmas Party for Family and Friends on one of the coldest nights to hit the USA this winter! It was a night for Ice Skating, hot chocolate and some wonderful music @ PBC Frozen Lake.


Saturday, December 31, 2022:
 The PBC New Year's Eve Central Standard Time (CST) countdown The PBC Frozen Lake.  Guests had the choice to ice skate or dance the night away and countdown together!!!


Sunday, January 22, 2023:
  Encore! Encore from the December 4th Tribute! Denyaii's La Oro's Unleashed Ladies and Gents Tribute "Denyaii's Journey into The Past." It was so nice; it was unleashed twice! It was another great event just like the first time around.  She ended both shows with La Oro's famed Soul Train Line that turns into a Block Party which includes audience participation! It was an exciting show and Tribute to La Oro's Unleashed Ladies and Gents.


Sunday, January 29, 2023:
  The PBC Black History Month was a great kickoff! Approximately 100 or more guests for the opening and many more for the walk-through for THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT TIMELINE EXHIBIT @ PBC Performance Hall!  Guests explored the exhibits, listened to great music, ate and enjoyed the ambiance! BLACK HISTORY IS AMERICAN HISTORY!!!


Tuesday, January 31, 2023
:  Remembering a dear family member and someone who worked very closely with PBC, an artist and intuitive soul. Her SL family remember here through libation done by Denyaii, release of balloons and doves, tributes, memories, and dancing.  REMEMBRANCE OF INDEA VAHER ON HER ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!


Sunday, February 12, 2023:
  The One Billion Rising Awareness at PBC MidCities with The Baptiste Family Foundation (KariNoelle Baptiste) and PBC (JardenAlexis) was a major success with guests receiving T-Shirts to commemorate the event.  "One Billion Rising is the biggest mass action to end violence against women (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender-based violence) in human history."

 Sunday, February 19, 2023:  The PBC Disaster Relief Awareness hosted PBC's MidCities, served to meet the recovery needs of the Major earthquakes which hit south-east Turkey and the north-west region of Syria on 6 February 2023." At the time, the earthquake death toll surpassed 46,000.  There were 4.6 million children in the earthquake-affected areas of Turkey and more than 2.5 million children affected in Syria.  More than 84,000 buildings have been severely damaged, need urgent demolition, or collapsed.  Jarden provided resources for SL residents to reach out and help through direct linkage!

 Sunday, March 4, 2023:  PBC International Women’s Day IWD) Luncheon was a great success for PBC.  Using the real-world theme of #EmbraceEquity, three guest speakers inspired and invoked guests to #EmbraceEquity.  As usual, Jarden's team was present to support and ensure the IWD was a success:  From the start of the event with the Greeters Monrocie Pontecorvo, and Lovie Benoir to the IWD prayer by Lovie, and the IWD History given by KariNoelle Baptiste, in addition to the messages by the guest speakers, every word spoken at this event was uplifting, motivational, educational, powerful, and very inspiring! To top it off our DJ Lyrical Lynn kept it going with her amazing uplifting and empowering music for the after party meet and greet!! This was one of the Best PBC events!!!  (JardenAlexis)

Two quarters in review are just some of the planning of PBC. From 2013 to 2023, Ms. Jarden Alexis has touched many sims, corners, and business in the existence of PBC. And, from what we understand, she plans to continue working hard to do her part as she approaches the PBC 10-Year Anniversary in the fall.  It is left to be seen what she will reveal for PBC moving forward. If you were to sit and have a chat with her, she would tell you, "I couldn't do this alone." She always acknowledges those who work alongside her.  


She is always appreciative of the Second Life Newser; Bixyl Shufan and Gemma Cleanslate for their continued support.  Other support includes FRIENDS OF PBC (PBC Sponsors):  Lovie Benoir Dancerina Starlight, and Karinoelle Baptiste.  Others who have supported PBC's efforts, assisted occasionally in the areas of photography, social media posts, greeting, and building are:  ƘαɾιƝoεʟʟε Bαρтıƨтε (karinoelle)- Photography, social media; TealaE- Photography, Social Media; and King Panda Baptiste (preppymercedes) - social media.   She also acknowledges those who have invariably greeted at events:  Lovie Benoir, Dancerina Starlight, Rhyme Gardner, Trina Minxy Ƈσяℓєσηє (juanita.petrovic), and Monrocie Pontecorvo.  She also credits building efforts to Divine Collingwood Finest.


The Premier Business Center goes above and beyond to provide lasting, positive, and memorable experiences. It operationally strives for excellence while enjoying the process.   Jarden is humbled to be the brainchild, force, and founder of PBC.   Please contact JardenAlexis for further information, collaboration, or to schedule the PBC Tour!  You can find her on Facebook to view many pictures from all her events as well as those with whom she collaborates with respective events.  We wish Jarden Alexis and PBC a HAPPY PRE-TEN-YEAR ANNIVERSARY!


Dancerina Starlight