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