Friday, July 28, 2017

The 2017 Relay Weekend Report (Long)


Disclaimer: When I post about negative experiences, it is rarely if ever out of any smug satisfaction.  There are no winners.  It is a "buyer beware" as I stumble through the metaverse.  This post definitely serves this purpose.  You have an opportunity to learn from any mistakes I've made and spot warning signs in advance.  Those who find me relating a story involving people you know: take it for what it is; there's no glory in it for me. I am sure to lose several from my contact list.  I always blog with the expectation that someone is going to find out, whether there are tattlers or not. This is The Internet.  Just keep in mind that my opinions may not be that of my friends or team mates from ACTS, and that taking anything out on the team or creating difficulties getting the team resources, omitting them from services or preventing them from representation or fundraising, is an attack on innocent people - both from the team and The American Cancer Society.  They have nothing to do with this post.

As an addendum to my disclaimer, I'd like to state the obvious that I work hard to provide what I can to back up what I say.  For example, for my previous post about RFLofSL's shabby treatment of Giant Snail Relay I acquired images AND video references of past involvement to show just how conditions had progressively declined.  There was no ambiguity but there was much to answer for. The big question of course is whether 2018 will mark an improvement for RacerX Gullwing's team?  btw for Relay Weekend their co-captain Tindallia Soothsayer is their team's designer and builder. Ask her what they need.

As for this post, it took some time to get ahold of logs and links to back things up.  I already had a great deal of snapshots and screen captures, and perhaps between the notes and images it was just so overwhelming.  I gave up my own team because RL had its own plans for me, so putting this together had to take a back seat, even if it is posted in chronological context (this draft had been under way from July 2017 into spring 2018).  Thank you for your patience.

Me and friend Tindy taking a break while touring the Relay sims.
There is an issue which I have been overdue to address which is relevant but have decided to make that its own post at some point.  It will be NSFW and hard to miss among my posts.  But first things first.

Looking back on Relay Weekend 2016 as the nicest and least lagged in Relay For Life of Second Life's history and the committee stumbling along following volunteer backlash, we hoped that this trend of struggling to improve their empathic skills would continue into the following year.  There were some interesting changes under new lead and T1 Radio head Nuala Maracas, but what worked and what didn't by Relay Weekend?

The first thing about any sort of leadership is that putting someone with an easy disposition to the forefront does not necessarily mean they're right for the job.  Nuala stepped in for Events coordination in the past, but with so many egos at play a personality with a balance of nice and tough was necessary to reign them in as RFLofSL Chair. I did not see this. And if I didn't then others didn't.  I happen to like Nuala and felt she was in the wrong role for perhaps the wrong reasons.

Regarding management upstream: Our American Cancer Society liaison Stingray Raymaker largely ignored us in 2017 after so many no-shows in 2016 and delegated another ACS employee with little experience in cyberculture and no first-hand knowledge of RFLofSL's past to pay attention to Second Life. More on that in a future blog post.

Fall From Grace: The Phantom Inquisition 

Phantom track meant MORE lag user side as we slagged thru the uneven terrain beneath

Last year most of us embraced estate owner Sue Peregrine's advice and wisely set phantom where possible, which basically meant non-walking/standing surfaces and whatever portions of a campsite didn't rely on solid surfaces to get an effect across.  There was also the curious matter of linking to the sim Navmesh which escaped most participants, myself included.  I emulated those campsites after gauging the depth of their core prims (Sue read last year's post and IMed me about it since I mentioned I couldn't find documentation on it beyond Navmesh's role in automation.  We had a good conversation and she cleared a lot up.  Sue's very nice, and her eagerness to enlighten and generosity in loaning out sims for RFL fundraisers over the years speaks volumes.  Thanks to her the track in 2016 was the least lagged Relay Weekend ever).

But that was then.

I want to state what should be obvious: With the notoriety and loss of support covered in blog posts these three years (not just in mine) that all eyes are continuously on RFLofSL's behavior.  That said, any time an essential member of their ranks and a respected fixture of Relaydom or Second Life abruptly moves on, you have to wonder.  Two fingers from our eyes to yours.  Her departure, regardless of the reason, sent up a red flag.

As you know there's been an ongoing issue with forced landing points since last year when Relay For Life became a quadrant of the Activity Sims.  This was applied to American Cancer Society as well. The excuse for these were rubbish; they only served to inconvenience Relayers and visitors looking to return directly to locations for help and support.  I guarantee you their number over alleged undesirables was substantial.  The Relay committee 's antipathetic reputation extended to impact that of the American Cancer Society themselves, but these people remained oblivious to their impact in Second Life on the brand they served.

Anyway..

Purposeful / Functional application went out the window this year with frantic directives to make everything at the track phantom.

Actual Notice. Remember you can click to view blog images full size.
Designers either ignored this altogether or mocked the committee by complying and rendering paths, bridges, interior stairs and floors - EVERYTHING - phantom and therefore unusable:

Interiors & exteriors by designers who complied with the above notice.

Even then the worst offender may have been the committee themselves.  Disrespecting the diversity of Relayers in a virtual world by causing small animals, children, and fae folk to run face deep through large portions of the track.
A Dinkie cat trying to traverse the track.
Is this respectful of cancer survivors and caregivers?
I'm still not sure whether to use "overzealous" or "fanatical" here.  Neither are redeeming qualities.  One thing's for sure: this lunacy wasn't made at the request of any Lindens.

Yes, you heard right: The path itself was phantom!  Every bump and dip and stumble contributed to the burden and lag experienced by each of us.  Depriving us of a smooth surface defeated the purpose of applying phantom in the first place.

I didn't know about collision's effect on lag until last year.  I have Sue Peregrine and the Lindens to thank for it.  Relay For Life of InWorldz will never hear the end of it from me.  But god help me if I ever descend to the depths of pointless directives for their own sake or to sound important.




Fall From Grace II: The Great Hunt Hipocracy

As one would expect from an egomaniac who did not anticipate the consequences of driving a beloved and valuable member of the community out, Grace Loudon had a different set of standards for her own builds throughout the Relay sims. 

A track hunt was in play this year.  As we explored the regions after the weekend and decided to participate, it became evident that she didn't need to check her own content for collision objects or excessive scripts.

These were builds set in out-of-the-way places in the designer sims.  They all had pointless animated textures of an avatar speaking (the mouth was a tiny portion of the whole build). Some were not phantom. Many were opressively heavy builds...

 Above: over 40 LI. · Below: Over 200 LI
Both: animated texture scripts just to have the mouth move. 




Would it have been too much to expect Grace to follow her own guidelines and do the right thing? Either she didn't truly feel the rules she imposed on other builders applied to her, or they weren't valid as decreed and she just wanted to exercise power to satisfy some urge.  Or both.


Such a talented designer but what a hot mess at the cost of Relayers' comfort and mobility. Shame on her and her team.

What Became of Media Row?

Media Row was changed to optional overpasses along the track.  For those entities who sponsored to have one: Bravo!

Music To Fly By overpass complete with mixing console.
Gorean WHIP had interview seating.
T1 Radio again had its own campsite although Relay Rockers is their team (RRs have a closed membership policy) and as usual they defied policies left and right with track parties and a perpetual space for congregating and dancing.  Each year they disrupt track caching efforts with a sim blocking and destabilizing tailgate party Friday evening.

Thing is, unlike other stations affiliated with teams and mega events, T1 Radio is RFLofSL's official stream and host full coverage during Relay Weekend.  This means that while the track is heavily attended they feature DJs from a variety of orgs, each with their own following or entourage, who will congregate on the campsite.  Despite policy regarding DJs inviting followers, there are dance machines left out to encourage participation.

Relay Rockers impromptu gathering at T1 Radio Campsite fills the sim and
blocks Relayers from entering. Pic taken on Sat 13 Jul 2013 12:37pm SLT
We et al shared sims with their RR campsite in 2015 and couldn't enter it before the Honor Lap.
Is it necessary to pose a burden to Relayers? Why does such a trade-off have to exist? Teams are asked to have no more than 8 members at the campsite during Relay or parties at the track ever, so when was this double standard set? 

The fact is T1 Radio is an essential part of the Relay Experience in Second Life. They introduce relevent contacts and fellow Volunteers in a way that brings humanity to what are otherwise names in text chat. They offer up a world of inspiration and fundraising ideas and make announcements. They inform us of events and projects we might otherwise have missed.  That said, there is a need for their presence.

I have a solution for T1 Radio, and it's something I've said before:  The Activity sims are along the track and over the border, with locations each separated by an abundance of space.  Why not place T1's Campsite right at a corner? They will be accessible from and won't negatively impact the track.  Think of it: they can maintain a small listening party on site.  They attend the big ceremonies themselves so there won't be any internal conflicts during those times when there is heavy population there.

Along this principle was this year's Fight Back Ceremony.  It was done in just that way: held over the sim border while still trackside.  It was perfect.

Of course that doesn't mean some of us won't temp-derender most attendees to stay connected; a lot more were present. The Fight Back ceremony was held just over the border from the track in view of Relayers
Let's do this for T1 Radio this year so they can offer a place for ppl to dance on site all weekend! They can have their tailgate and afterparties with abandon.  Let them be the token stage for that Activity region, sharing with gachas or vendors and a quarter of the ceremony space.  Make half of the Fight Back area part of that region too since they are responsible for broadcasting it.

You're Welcome.

Mirror Mirror On The Wall: Who Congested The Track Most Of All?

Aether Chrononauts Tiny Steps was humbled when their campsite sim ran into frequent bouts of congestion. Second Place were repeat offenders Relay Rockers elsewhere on the track.

But a closer look exonerates ACTS, and here's why:

A track sim typically consists of four large team campsites.  Sometimes there are 5 as one side will have one large plus two narrow half-sites.  Congestion may occur when a team has an enthusiastic roster and high attendance all weekend. ACTS certainly falls into this category as we are a conglomerate of communities, cultures and former teams.


The Caledon portion of the ACTS campsite.
Purple Tears was across the track from us, another enthusiastic team.  They are a closed group consisting of SL children and camp counselors from a time when Hard Knocks ran an exclusive sleepaway camp each summer which ended at the track. SL Relayers know them for their long purple kites. But also - like the tinies and dinkies on our team, the children require scripts which make their forms and identities possible; it is not reasonable to expect them to omit these.  Ditto a third campsite which joined us on the sim: Fantasy Faire, with petite faeries and wing wearers. Fantasy Faire took a proactive role beyond the Faire and were a consistent presence on Relay Weekend.

So who planned for there to be three aggressive teams in one sim?  The blame would fall on someone in the committee for that.

If it didn't get even better, and it did...

Take a look at this map for the track for 2017 and our sim (we took the NE quadrant):



To the west of ACTS was Fantasy Faire. To the south was Purple Tears. Now, take a look at the SW quadrant of the sim.  Here below is a closer look so you can see that U shape in the road instead of running straight across:


RFL Hero not long after Relay Weekend

Let me bring up something mentioned last year: Remember how originally those who would reach the new Rising Star milestone of US$100 but fell short of Bronze would get a spot on a designated designer sim for their team?  Feedback over active teams who fell short of those new and demanding milestone parameters (originally Bronze was US$40 and Silver US$300) caused the committee to backpeddle over awarding campsites. They abandoned the idea of a dedicated sim of small spots altogether.

Then imposed this in OUR sim RFL Hero this year.  That and I guess some teams just didn't want the burden of having to design a quarter or eighth of a sim.

So to review:  A region consisting of THREE LARGE ACTIVE CAMPSITES with team members always present had AN ADDITIONAL EIGHT PARCELS, many also with team members always present.  In the end our sim served as home base for TWELVE TEAMS.  Yes, you saw that correctly.  Two teams merged their campsites together and made #8 on the map. One sim, 11 campsites. One sim, 12 teams. That was us. 

And you don't think the organizers are bonkers?  If this wasn't their crowning WTF moment of 2017, it came a close second after that phantom track bullshit.

Anyway: Exonerated.  Relay Rockers? Still not off the hook for congesting their sim each year :)

Another Good Thing Though: Awards!

It was awesome.  Throughout the course of the weekend committee placed fundraising awards beside campsite markers.  Members could take copies for themselves. This was a vast improvement from the previous year, when most teams didn't even receive their awards.

Only one thing: you could take a copy of everyone else's awards too.   For some, RFLofSL award levels are a goalpost, while for others they're a status symbol to permit them to look down at others.  I just liked collecting them.  They are an apt memento from this year's theme of passports and travel stickers.  And thank you for finally making the awards phantom.

The Relay Track Hall of Shame

And by that I mean teams who pick their campsites up early.  Yes, for a change this is about some team leads and not the committee.

Most Relayers don't have access to the track before Saturday morning, then spend much of their time in Low Graphics mode so they can minimize crashes.  There is no time for them to "cache the track" and their draw distance is set below 50s.  Yet designers often make HUGE objects or set their presentations within massive environments.

The only chance anyone gets to really see the track and all the hard work put into campsites and builds are after Relay.  This way one can crank up the settings and give credit where due while appreciating it all.


Enjoying a designer sim after Relay Weekend.
The sims remain open for many days after, and it's for a reason.  You can see a little of it while you're running - because you're there to walk or run - and keep giving mental notes lap after lap: "I gotta visit this after."

That is also the time their photogs and videographers record the year's offerings for posterity.

Except there are some people who choose to pick up, sometimes while people are still walking the final Victory Lap (aka the "See you next year!" Lap).

Here are 2017's Relay Weekend Hall of Shame winners:

Guardians of the Grid and Guardian Charities. Fuck you.

 
Morningwood Valley. Fuck you.
RadioActive Air (in fairness someone told them to remove it right away)

Number 11 on the map posted previously: Purple Tears. They vacated Sunday. Fuck you too.

Thanks to everybody else who kept their stuff out for a few days so it could be looked at by masses of grateful Relayers.

Eclair Martinek's designer sim pick-i-nick at RFL Remission.


Can Relay Weekend Be Redeemed?

It's hard to say.  The committee has fallen so far into the pit and cannot seem to extricate themselves.  New generations of RFL participants don't know what it was like back when We Believed, when we ALL cried at ceremonies rather than the committee cherrypicking speakers for pathos potential.

I want to relate something from the 2011 closing ceremonies.  It is a portion of Stingray Raymaker's speech after everyone else had their say and some rewards were announced.  It was a year when I participated with two teams and spent the weekend with Giant Snail Relay.  It was my first time at the track proper, and my first any ceremony.  Special "thank you" to IshtarAngel Micheline, who recorded that year's ceremonies on audio. (please bear with me as I'm not experienced with formatting transcriptions)

...And I have one more "thank you" that I did save for last and I wanted it to be a surprise.

To Mama and Dwen [aka MamaP Beerbaum and Dwen Dooley],

You have both thanked everyone.  You spent the ... entire year making sure that the spotlight is on everyone but yourselves. None of us - myself included - would have been able to accomplish anything we have if it weren't for your inspirational, steadfast, dedicated leadership.

Your commitment to excellence in all areas and your refusal to accept the status quo have reignited a passion across the entire grid.

We've spent so much time over the last year together discussing and debating just about every single detail of the whole [Relay Weekend] event. We didnt always agree on every point, but your ability to not allow things to get personal and your dedication to the success of the event is the reason why we were able to get to this point today.

Many of you don't realize - and I swear this is not some cliché speech tactic but seriously - at the root of every decision, every discussion or conversation that we had - and we had conversations daily about what to do, about this or that - the consideration was always: "How was this going to affect the teams? How was this going to affect our volunteers' decisions?  If we do this, have we considered all options and all implications?"

It was never about Mama and Dwen. It was always about The Relayers.

You were The Doctor and Rose, the Jeff and Jordan of my Relay experience this year.

So for once I think it would be okay for the two of you to step into the spotlight - I think everybody would be okay with it - and take a bow.

But not for too long 'cause we gotta get started on next year pretty soon. The nuthouse is calling...

What an incredible speech, and what an experience.  Those words inspired me to become a captain the following year.  That spirit carried us through 2012 and beyond. 2014 was the last great Relay year in Second Life.

If you've lost your way or came after that time and never knew what it was like, I have something special for as long as it exists...

Relive Relay Weekend 2014!

When Treet TV was an active production company in Second Life, several of their shows had a presence on the track.  The Giant Snail Races you already know.  But so did Designing Worlds.

DW usually had a studio overlooking the track.  For Relay Weekend 2014 it became their home base for roundtable discussion in what was round-the-clock video coverage.  It featured trackside interviews with team captains and Relayers, the Tiny Snail Race, and all ceremonies.  It was such a job and they went above and beyond, but it preserves Relay For Life of Second Life at its best and even captures that moment when funds passed US$400,000 during the closing ceremony.

This stream runs in one continuous loop 24/7 and requires Flash to play.
 http://original.livestream.com/virtualrfl


One More Thing..

Last but not least, thank you to those who attended my annual 4am Lap Theme set at the Activity sims Sunday morning.

World Music for International Hour. Ty FF's Elayne for hosting!
  

Coming Soon: The 2017 Wrap Up and other things.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Last Activity



Meow Meow Meow Three, Two, One, MEOW!!!

 If you've participated in Relay For Life of Second Life for a significant number of years, you may recall a dual purpose for the Activity sims. 

First: TEEN ACCESS
They were General rated and accessible to minors at a time when a Teen Grid consisting of 13-17 year old residents migrated over to the Main Grid.  Back then those sims were the only accessible regions on the track, so it made sense that they offered robust content.

Second: There were ACTIVITIES! 
We're not talking about auctions or vending machines or performances.  Performances are events.  There were rides and amusements - interactive fare - which varied according to each year's designer.  Visitors were never disappointed and it attracted those who otherwise may not have visited the track.

Snail Racing on Relay Weekend

RacerX Gullwing was one of Relay For Life of Second Life's earliest participants, having started in 2006 with his team Giant Snail Relay.  When Relaying and Relay Weekend participation grew beyond the grass roots level, RacerX Gullwing's Giant Snail Races - the grid's longest running sport - moved over to the Activity sims and became a highlight, with several epic races throughout the Weekend and one televised live via TreetTV.

These were intended to be scaled down versions of his cross-country races of 80+ Mainland sims leading up to a 4-sim odyssey on Relay Weekend.  They promoted what the Activity sims had to offer with an incidental tour.  Naturally with only 4 sims the Tiny racing snails were introduced.  These events were televised live and were an epic battle of skill and determination against extreme lag. (look for links below to relive some of them)

In about 2013 as part of the RFL 10th anniversary theme of RFLofSL someone on the committee had a special track fashioned just for the Tiny Snail Races.  By then the last of SL's minor residents had grown up and activities in the sims were limited to performances, ceremonies, auctions and a marketplace.  And the Tiny Snail Race. The race was restricted to the custom track. This marked when perhaps the sims should have settled into their new collective identity as Event Sims. With the Snail Race track limited to a space within one sim there were 2 races held, one for the Tiny Snails and another for the Giant Snails.



2016's Tiny Snail Races track. Approximately 140-150m long
Since that time Tindallia Soothsayer - who has built Giant Snail Relay's campsites since 2010 - designs the track for Relay Weekend's Tiny Snail Races. The dimensions have averaged half a sim by a quarter sim, still cramped and indeed making for a much shorter broadcast. 2016's episode lasted less than 10 minutes versus 2010's hour and most of the decade's 30-40 minute coverage per show.

Then came 2017

Relay Weekend, a time to remember those we lost and bring everyone together in the spirit of hope and strength and challenge, which annually turned to its Event sims for inspiration at the opening and closing ceremonies, respite from stress in the form of live acts and DJs and some shopping, suddenly found itself in the hands of a designer and not a member of the committee.

Remember the 3 Mile Island debacle of SL10B?  Desolation, destruction, harm - all those aesthetics a cancer suvivor or caregiver should never have to experience more than they already have - this is who they picked to design the "Activity" sims.

"Q*bert's Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland"
First, getting from place to place has become restricted to strict teleport areas versus a long, set path. Most of the sims are hard landing points, especially (and yet again) Relay For Life region. So forget about World Map teleporting to the least populated sim for the opening or closing ceremonies.

It is a terrain of desolate blocks or grimey concrete with sections anally carved out for Auctions, stages, a Gotya Garden (they really should call it a Trench), with the only green at the center for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.   Because we still don't know whether tomorrow's Fight Back ceremony will be there or rudely block Relayers - Remember them? They're the ones we are HONORING by having a Relay Weekend in the first place - from running their laps by having it held on the track.

Why do I put "Activity" in quotes?

Well, remember the Tiny Snail Races?  Remember past cramped space alotments of 1/2 x 1/4 sim for the track?  They designated barely half that this year!  I truly don't think these people have ever seen a Snail Race to qualify them.  And they need to ask TINDALLIA for any needs and NOT RacerX since she is their builder.  Tindy is extremely creative and has made do as less and less space has been given to this Relay legacy and become more and more disrespected.

With the limited parcel given them and difficult concrete block terrain to traverse just to take a seat or walk off the track, Tindy rallied and added a dash of colour and optimism in what is an otherwise bleak environment.  Please offer her kudos and support for the hard work and many hours she put in to please everyone while still come through with what is sure to be a worthwhile competition.


This year's race track
Come to the Tiny Snail track or Giant Snail Relay campsite for this year's commemorative Tiny Snail and donate to help fight cancer.  Then join everyone at 2pm SLT TODAY for the Shady Fox Memorial Tiny Snail Race. The event will be filmed for future release on YouTube and Treet.tv.

Now for your enjoyment and nostalgia are a list of past Relay Weekend races...

2010 with Wiz Nordberg
http://treet.tv/shows/snailraces/episodes/tiny-snail-relay

2011 with Saffia Widdershins
http://treet.tv/shows/snailraces/episodes/tiny-snail-rfl-2011

2012 with Elrik Merlin and Saffia Widdershins
http://treet.tv/shows/snailraces/episodes/tiny-snail-rfl-2012

2013 with Saffia along with Fantasy Faire's Zander Greene and Dave Abbott
http://treet.tv/shows/snailraces/episodes/relay-life-2013

2015 with show hosts RacerX, Tindy, Mae Best and Shady Fox (no guests. Treet no longer covered the Weekend)
http://treet.tv/shows/snailraces/episodes/rfl-tiny-snails-2015

2016 RacerX, Tindy, Mae, and Oodleme Noodle (no guests)
Shady Fox passed away from cancer following a late diagnosis earlier in the year. This annual event has since been renamed the "Shady Fox Memorial Tiny Snail Race"
http://treet.tv/shows/snailraces/episodes/rfl-x-country-jul16

My connection with Giant Snail Racing began as host of a viewing platform
during a cross-country race. This was the day I learned of RFL: April 14 2010

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

SL14B Exhibit: Two Weeks of Carnivalesque Wonders

SL14B Cake Stage skyline. Build by Mikati Slade
How about that Second Life Birthday?

I scored several slots at SL14B for a total of five. Excessive? You snooze you lose. No two were alike.

I was approached a week early by Cake Stage leads regarding an event hosted by the Lindens.  It had to be to their Carnivalesque theme: mostly New Orleans Mardi Gras mixed with Rio:  I don't know how they knew I could do this, other than a wild guess from my exhibit theme ( Or Marianne? Going to have to ask her).   They said my application would be for a separate set.  I wholeheartedly agreed.

A week later came  the offer of a prime time slot Tuesday on Stage Left.  With the start of SL14B  openings trickled in and I jumped on Wed 8-10am, Friday 4-5am, then Sunday 8-9am.
DJing the World Pop set Sunday morning at the Cake Stage
On Monday morning I woke up to notices & an official Email about SL14B's big party, a Masquerade Ball.  Wait. That's my time slot.


People had a great time. Nobody walked out from the music. Word came through that staff were chair dancing.  This isn't bragging so much as reaffirming I hadn't let anyone down.  No voice just uninterrupted music. The tips - for which I am always grateful - paid my stream for July and a couple of weeks' rent. The event was a success!

I had my "regular" DJ set the following evening on  Stage Left: Swing Moon type fare consisting of vintage jazz, big band, boogie woogie, movie soundtracks, retro revival & electro swing.  It was Midsummer's eve (really it was, so stop laughing), and a conflicting event I would otherwise have attended, was announced on short notice; it pulled most of my friends and Rosehaven neighbors away at the halftime.  The fact is for timezones west of Eastern Daylight Time, summer solstice occurred at the end of their day.  The  crowd was light until the next talent arrived with their manager (jeez). I got tips from their growing number of followers, which was nice. I like to think I helped move the time more quickly for them in a pleasant way ;)

This year's DJ stage atop a festooned top hat
As mentioned earlier I grabbed Stage openings as quickly as I could and landed three: a New Wave set on Stage Left on Wednesday morning SLT (prime time Europe), Classic Funk early Friday morning on the Cake Stage, and World Pop again at the Cake Stage Sunday morning.  I kinda wished I had a chance on the DJ Stage but never saw any lists of open slots for there.  Also the Cake Stage team & I go way back, so I must confess favouritism.


Classic Funk set Friday morning - Shiva approves!
This year we had performer badges.  I hadn't noticed at first until my stream check for Stage Left that there was a box of them.  Having not noticed a box the previous day I created my own badge (Right) for the Cake Stage.  Then got the official one (Left) on Friday. Click for larger images to compare the two:


I loved being able to offer up a range of music throughout SL14B, plus bring a little Mardi Gras to those who had only heard about it via my exhibit "The Other Halloween".  Thanks to my friends who posed on the float for shots (when I'm done with it I'll link to a machinima in this post, so check back).  My exhibit was situated in a neighborhood with Bay City, Burning Man and the Ivory Tower of Primitives. A lucky spot across from the Welcome sim.
My exhibit The Other Halloween
 
There were some really fun things at SLB including two interactive percussion areas, a tribute to the late Ladyslipper Constantine, an awesome region (literally: SL14B Awesome) of sights & games.

Interact with images at Inside-Out


One of two Faux DJ booths on SL14B Awesome.
 This year's auditorium was based on Radio City Music Hall, Stage Left was a humongous mythical Thai guardian (I saw somewhere someone mentioned Chinese... most definitely not), and of course Mikati Slade's Hirajukulicius pixel Cake Stage.

Stage Left

Loki Eliot's party in his head
Alas all celebrations come to an end so that we may look forward to the next time. The Cake Stage collapsed the following Sunday.  Again look for a link.

Thank you SLB staff and participating Lindens.  Thank you attendees.  See you next year for the 15th!

Stage Left WiP and me
blogged on iPod over an iced Decaf venti SFV 2% latte at 7am

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Rollercoaster RFL: Fantasy Faire vs Halfway There vs Skybox Woes vs Relay Stock


Disclaimer: When I post about negative experiences it is rarely if ever out of any smug satisfaction.  There are no winners.  It is a "buyer beware" as I stumble through the metaverse.  This post definitely serves this purpose.  You have an opportunity to learn from any mistakes I've made and spot warning signs in advance.  Those who know these people and find me relating a story: take it for what it is; there's no glory in it for me. I am sure to lose several from my contact list.  I always blog with the expectation that someone is going to find out, whether there are tattlers or not. This is The Internet.  Just keep in mind that my opinions may not be that of the ACTS, and that taking anything out on the team or creating difficulties getting the team resources or preventing them from representation or fundraising is an attack on innocent people - both from the team and American Cancer Society - who have nothing to do with this post



Fantasy Faire has been - as it often is - an experience for the senses. 

The kind and selfless people running it, the vibe of a major convention with the added element of complete immersion, those caught up in the vibe and committing themselves completely (from DJs departing from their usual fare to sim creators auctioning off region content to a media entity such as SaffianWiddershins coordinating LitFest & bringing inworld published authors & overseeing writer's workshops.  Saffia's costar of Designing Worlds, Elrik Merlin, has ever served as Fantasy Faire Radio's Laird, bringing it to life in collaboration with Zander Greene.

Thank you  Fairelanders! 

Next Stop: Halfway There Fair 

The Halfway There Fair was a bit of a joke this year.

Not because teams had no spots on a dedicated region (it was held on 3 sims last year I think. You can go look it up in my archives from last year) but instead used a little area on American Cancer Society sim with prefab decor & some space for team gachas. The turnout was much less than in the past, and to be honest you weren't missing anything.  Their much touted committee hour wasn't a time to encourage relayers but to pat themselves on the back. More of an eyeroll and what else is going on elsewhere.  There really wasn't any reason for a volunteer to stick around for that unless you were on their teams or were their friends.

The attention they drew were similar to that failed 1950s weekend we had back in 2012, with teams manning kissing booths, dunk tanks and other midway amusements for donations with about the same results.  Relay Rap always delivers at least.

sigh... when will anybody learn that high attendance and mesh don't mix?
And I have far from the worst connection to Second Life.

Meanwhile, More Skybox Stupidity

I spent about 4-5 days on a Filmore style poster for my upcoming Relay Stock gig. A LOT more than I did for the Pirate Radio poster from 2015.  Finally done - and fixed since I got the time wrong on it, I submitted the event.

And was taken to that damn skybox again. 

So I IMed a committee member.  And they gave me all sorts of lame excuses like routing problem people away from ground level.  The issue is there is no direct access to the RFL building, and when someone specifically comes to complete a registration process (the SLURL is provided as part of the registration), being shucked up to a skybox on the other end of the sim is just plain rude. That and a paranoid mindset which chooses to discard one of America's disappearing policies "Innocent until proven guilty."

Unless of course they're referring to Relayers? Let's face it: What would you think is the ratio between relayers and people looking for info or support versus griefers?  Exactly.  Again someone on the committee forgot their purpose was to act on our behalf. 

I responded with this:

So far you havent given a valid reason to explain why ACTIVE RELAYERS are FORCED to a skybox when they are TRYING to complete their event set up.  I dont believe you have a realistic perception of what happens. Most Relayers are eager to get to where they need to go. They are rudely routed to some noob intro room with signs all over that look the same, some not having been fully rezzed. And Lord help those with computers not as fast as mine.  There is no clear stand-out prim or anything the average person can differentiate between a teleport to the RFL building and any other wordy poster on the wall when they DO rez. And you know something? I've tried to aim and TP and THERE IS NO DIRECT TP ACCESSS TO THE RFL BLDG which is the problem, because you send everyone who creates an event to that damned skybox.  There are only like a couple of places one can direct TP to on the island, and they are nowhere near the RFL bldg.  If it isn't a blatant statement on how lowly the committee regards people who work their asses off then it is just poor planning and user-UNfriendly.  Speaking as someone who took communication in design for a 15 yr graphic arts career and a 20 year history in customer care.  btw this response will be saved as well (not your part of the discussion and no naming names).  There is a large contingent of unhappy relayers who are being discouraged from participating because of this BS.  That's not counting the people who were driven from inworld Relaying but it DOES count many who thought "okay maybe they're back."  Not with excuses instead of adjustments.  btw Nothing personal UNLESS you have a personal vendetta against volunteers and a positive inworld Relay experience. 

*Mic drop*
Why don't they focus instead on snerts who disrupt the sim when people are actually on?
Dork shows up with a donation prim and stands before the committee during HTF Relay Rap.
  
At Least There's Relay Stock!

On a POSITIVE note, I've got my set coming up this Sunday at Relay Stock. Kudos for my team captain for securing a spot for me.  You know I love that era in music and it doesn't get enough respect.  During a recent Relay Rap someone must have whined over do we hafeta play 60s music tsk garrrrrr to which Trader said hey play anything you want: modern, country, it's all good.

*death stare*

Anyway if you miss that swell of happy and optimism all but gone from this millennium, if you want to hear tunes you loved back then or on really good oldies stations, come to my set this Sunday 14 May at 11am SLT (that's 2pm EDT / 19:00 BST) on the Relay Stock stage. 

And if it's Mother's Day where you are for a modest Linden donation I'll provide you the URL of my stream for that time.  Let Mom in on it: She'll love you for it!

I have an incentive - I always have this incentive, to be honest - to avoid songs that could potentially be overplayed by an ongoing lineup of DJs.  There's SO MUCH STUFF from the peace/love/hippie era that it's easy to come up with great tunes you're less likely to hear again or very much over the weekend.

It'll sound a LOT like this poster I made:

Trader is likely to host his Time Machine on Sunday evening to an enthusiastic BYOK crowd. Let's give credit where due.  It's likely that's the other place you'll get to hear "other tunes" than the 20-30 recordings everyone else will be playing - if they're not veering off to country and autotune.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fantasy Faire 2017!


It's that time of year again.  For ten days the place to wake up, the place to hold one's virtual breath before setting depth of field, the place to enjoy music that's a little off to the side of mundane Relay fare...

...when for once or twice in the year I get to broadcast over Internet radio...

...when ancient gods walk among us...

...when I find new merchants for me and Snurky (finally got her out of those tiger feet; I gifted her with dragon sneakers last year in exchange for a round of audio clips)

from Avatar Bizarre
 The masked ball will be interesting. I hope they have seating; I never had  to think about it before.  Going to estimate resumption of dancing will be late October.

Come To My Set at Fantasy Faire!

*TONIGHT* Tuesday 25 of April at 7pm SLT (10pm EDT / 13:00 AEST), Dreamtime returns to Fantasy Faire w/eclectic music plus custom spiel from Snurky Snoodle.  Look for notices and promos in the following inworld groups:

- Aether  Chrononauts
- Relay For Life Volunteers
- Cartoon World & Beyond
- ** Fantasy Faire Fans **

There is a poster with the LM in my grove on Rosehaven at the stage. 



Sunday, April 2, 2017

Checking in a Quarter There & Other Tales

I'm rather enjoying not captaining a Relay For Life team this year in Second Life.  With the hassles of RL under way it's nice for someone else to take care of all the stuff.  I already know a large portion of the members, so really there is no assimilation to be done.  Most of all they share our policy of as little or as much, it all matters.

Hearts & Souls is still active this year.  Come August we'll be doing our part for Relay For Life of InWorldz.  That's IN Inworldz.  We're already up and running to accept credit card and PayPal donations.  If you haven't donated and been meaning to, come on over to our team page:  http://main.acsevents.org/goto/HeartsnSouls2017 

What of InWorldz? Once they ramp up they'll see what RL Hearts & Souls contributed towards their Relay Day total and add it in on our team tally on their website.

How are RFLofSL faring?

 They pushed updates through to their HUD requiring people to replace vendors. At the ceremony one of the great pitches was that updates would push through to rezzed tools.  It's a bit of an inconvenience, especially since most merchants and creators keep a copy of prepped vendors to rez and reprise in more than one location.  You have no idea how good we had it back in the day with notecards.  Absolutely no muss or fuss, just rez and grant.  I'd be curious what a Keynote view would reveal, whether their web marketplace links ever get clicked that they've chosen to stick to web setup for all vendors dropped.  Or are they using this method to watchdog content for branding violations?

Still, one cannot chalk this up as any great shakes.  They have a new tech and are treading new ground.
Attending a Relay Rap

As it turned out only committee leads had been posting Relay Rap promos in the Info-Only group in the past; their designated RRap person couldn't.  Well wasn't that silly?  It has since been resolved and she's included that group among her rounds of promotions.  So cross that one off the list.

There was an amusing bit of feedback regarding the Relay HUD's clarity a couple of weeks back.  Several brought it to their attention.  Again unable to take responsibility or admit they botched something, the committee responded that they would address the resolution of the graphic to accommodate those with vision problems!  Trying to blame us with a contrived disability is poor diplomacy if not outright condescending.  Think about all those using laptops... Nothing says privileged like being talked down to  by 27" dual screened Richie Riches...

The Curse of the Forced Landing Point

One of the PITB arrangements last Relay Weekend was a forced landing point to get to the ceremony, only to be forced to land in some skybox thousands of meters up with a Relay For Life exhibit and welcome area.  They did it again, this time at American Cancer Society region. If you don't know the exact SLURL of a building interior or special spot, you'll wind up in a skybox in the far corner of the region.  DAYUM!  I tried to map-teleport to the threshold of SciFi Con on opening day and had a real struggle because of this stupid thing.  They really need to cut that shit out.

If they want to "help" they should consider this:

Since a random World Map search puts people squarely at central coordinates. Why not make a 16sqm parcel right there with the forced landing point? This way people like me who actually pick areas of a map will get to where they want to go and won't be inconvenienced by some prank presented as being for our own good (what a patronizing sentiment). There shouldn't be anything to hide in that region.

Can't Find The Team From Hell?

Harmony of Hope renamed themselves Go The Distance. Rumor has it they did this to get in on special perks and awards.  One would think a name change wouldn't justify "new team" status. Watch that one when awards come thru by the end of the season.

Fantasy Faire

Coming up later this month will be Fantasy Faire. I've got a DJ slot there. Watch my group for a heads up.

But First: The 9th
Combination Consecration & Transformation

Not 9th Symphony! My 9th Rezday.  Party this Thursday 6 April 5-6:30pm SLT at my rennovated home (I'm calling it a combination with a home warmed-over).   I will provide music from all sorts of eras and demographics.  You're invited!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Whisperer Gets Schooled

Someone called The Whisperer - one of those bloggers who get off attacking everyone and everything - caught sight last month of an incident related by merchant owner LTD and why they chose not to support Relay For Life of Second Life this year.  Suffice it to say not much about it surprised me, and they were very clear about this being an SL-based issue.

Enter The Whisperer. He used this as a springboard to tear into Relay For Life and The American Cancer Society, RFL of SL and RFL of InWorldz.  Many of his rhetoric has no basis and is outright false.

Naturally, as with other megalomaniacal bloggers we've seen, their mindless minions respond in blind reverance, one even calling Relay For Life a scam.

This blogger seems to be on a hate spree, given some other entries I skimmed while tracking this one down.

I posted the following response. It remains to be seen whether The Whisperer will approve it to his comments.

While I agree with many of your points regarding RFL of SL behavior (I've documented it in great detail), your statements of where donations go both in SL and IW are **FALSE** and inciteful and need to be edited.   It is stated clearly that ALL money goes to the American Cancer Society.  The avatars collecting on both grids were set up by ACS staff. Clicking a kiosk on either grid takes you to info about where the donations go and what they fund.

You may have a grudge over people or a cybersocial site, but ACS is legit and their efforts should not be maligned so frivolously



As for Inworldz, I didn't post anything about my first season with them last year. I owe you at least an overview, and very soon.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Again a Question of Priorities

The committee was much larger than originally expected...
The Kick-off ceremony yesterday was very high energy and big on Ronco style hype.

During the ceremony - as part of the ceremony as one of the "But wait! There's more" pitches - came the details of a special resource HUD from which we could receive fundraising tools.   Right then group notices came through with the HUD.

Let's break this down...

The USA had just experienced a similar occurrence in which their president - a TV personality - held off denouncing hate crime incidents until he had everyone's attention at a nationally televised appearance during primetime.  His moral compass was called into question because exploiting these incidents were more important than addressing them as soon as they had occurred. Imagine a shooting not mentioned or condemned or an offer of support expressed to grieving families by any past US president in the past 40-plus years.

The Relay For Life of Second Life committee - which by its very name exists as a commitment to serve Relay teams and Relayers - is responsible for providing team captains and volunteers with fundraising tools. Captains must have these before kick-off as part of their booths to get the ball rolling collecting donations. These have always been available at least a day before kick-off weekend to give everyone time to load vendors of salable items and place kiosks. Why?

- Because this is what these tools are for,
- Because this is the purpose of team spots at a kick-off,
- Because the objective of every team is to get tools and collect donations, and
- Because it is the role of the committee to make it all happen FOR THE RELAYERS.

You'd think the parallel with America's State of the Union would have been obvious, and possibly something in someone's head may have clicked after strong feedback and thought: "You know, maybe holding off supplying something to our relayers..." because the fact is we're not the committee's followers "...just to put on a big show and hype basic equipment as mannah from heaven ISN'T the right approach or in their best interest."

It was just in the committee's best interest to put on a show while everyone was tuned in.

Add to that the fact that this HUD supposedly offers many clickable items for different resources.  The only problem is the graphic is poor quality. You can only read about half of the clickable spots clearly to know what they are. (Click to see it full size)


Image not resized or retouched. Anyone know what the upper right stamp says?
On the plus side, clicking TOOLS on it offers you several buttons from which to choose.  It is a definite improvement to contain vendors, kiosks, and auction supplies in each of their own folders and not get dumped with anything you won't need.


Their hype over the HUD would have been better pitched at last month's Relay Rap to give volunteers something to look forward to, with them coming through via group Notices this past Thursday or Friday, then spiel in-depth about new features during the ceremony to bring people not entirely with it back into the fold while volunteers in the know extoll the virtues of the new stuff around them.


The committee just can't get past the "they mean well" and "they're trying" phases. They just don't think things through, and as long as they think of themselves first and place priorities on the wrong things in the guise of acting in our best interests -while representing The American Cancer Society - there's always going to be a problem and a rut to crawl out of.

Addendum to previous post: Is this a Relayer-friendly option over ceremonies set at sim borders?

Also if they think cancer shaming volunteers or extorting them with RL info is going to be an answer to criticism...  Let's hope NOBODY sees that ever again.