Single mom of one child in Real Life. In Second Life, I function as the Editor-In-Chief of The SL Parade, where I regularly write about all things RL and SL. I also own land inworld, and have created a space designed to encourage comfort and relaxation.
Please check out the article written by Amanda Slavik; she is the founder of the Magick Thoughts website and is currently promoting our new SL Blog Sharing Group on Facebook and inworld. To see the original article in Magick Thoughts, please click here: Magick Thoughts Invites YOU to join The SL Blog Sharing Group!
Are you an SL Blogger who is proud of what you do? Are you looking for a place to share your blog posts with chat and input from other readers and followers? It doesn’t matter what sort of blogger you are… fashion, literary, Second Life travels… you name it… you CAN post your blog links in this group in world and in the Facebook group.
Arreba and I found a niche, a need for this in world. There are blogging groups in world but there is a lack of groups for sharing your blog posts in group chat. If you don’t mind an active group forming such as this with people posting to group chat and you want to visit other blogs and follow and have them all follow you as well, THIS IS THE GROUP FOR YOU.
A group dedicated to sharing blog posts from various websites and publications. Once a blog is posted, SL Blog Share encourages discussion and feedback amongst its group members. We believe that writing and discussion go hand in hand in better understanding a writer’s topic, so If you are a blogger and want to promote your writings, this group is for you. Fashion, Literary…you name it, all SL Bloggers are encouraged to join….
If you are a “Flickr Blogger” this is also for you. But we highly encourage you to start an actual blog if you wish to. You can get chat pointers and help here too! WordPress is our favorite! So don’t be shy, join us on FB and inworld for your blogging love. Even though I love WordPress all other blogging platforms are awesome as well. I have been blogging on all platforms I can get my hands on for at least 20 years. Can you say I love blogging? LOL
Recently, the Phoenix Firestorm project offered new SL residents age 60 days and under their very own pet, free of charge! The pets were provided by older SL residents, and the purpose of this giveaway was to welcome Second Life’s newest residents…as well as to make these new residents feel less lonely inworld.
At the heart of The Phoenix Firestorm Pet Project is the notion that virtual pets can make an Second Life resident happier and less lonely. When looked within the context of real life, the idea that pets make for a happier existence has been scientifically proven. Specifically, studies show that owning a real life pet makes a person healthier and happier.
According to Humana.com, owning a pet can lead to lowering your blood pressure, as well as increase the levels of the feel-good chemicals serotonin and dopamine in your brain (Humana.com). Pets, as quoted from a study done by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), can help their owners recover from a stressful situation more quickly than a person or friend (Humana.com).
Yet, with all Phoenix Firestorm promotional efforts aside, how does this documented study translate into Second Life? To answer this question, The SL Parade requested responses from four veteran SL community members who own and regularly interact with virtual pets.
One individual interviewed was SL veteren Oriya Tituba Ukweli. Ukweli has been a Second Life resident for over five years, and is an owner of over 50+ virtual pets. When asked if her virtual pets make her happier inworld, Ukweli gives a resounding yes. “Virtual pets…” Ukweli explains, “…are a lot of fun to watch and interact with.”
One particular pet Ukweli enjoys interacting with is her Zoobie monkey Maliaka. She says, “Maliaka does have some script issues. Zoobie pets can be set to guard your land but Little Maliaka malfunctions when other folks come around; for some reason her script does not agree with certain scripts someone might be wearing…She will automatically go into defense mode screaming and pushing that person relentlessly…”
Ukweli continues, “I was going to have her redelivered but decided against it after some friends pointed out that by some odd coincidence, everybody she did that to turned out to be bad people. I’ve had her for several years and she has not been wrong yet about her judgement of people!” After Ukweli gives out a joyful chuckle, she says, “We all know if Maliaka doesn’t like someone that that person needs watching. I also make sure to secretly bring new people in her path to see what she will do…”
Although Maliaka has script issues, it sounds like her script issues are a blessing to Ukweli. Like real life animals, Maliaka is very protective of her owner and her owner’s property, and can sense whether or not a person has good or bad intentions. And, according to Humana.com, pets actually give their owners a chance to meet like-minded individuals. Whether their owner visits the vet, pet store, or even participates in pet training classes, having a pet companion can help an owner ferret out those that do not have their interests at heart (Humana.com).
II. Losing and Finding Your Virtual Pet Can Bring Joy
Lixena Lamourfou, who has been inworld for over 12 years, echoes Ukweli’s sentiment when it comes to her pets. Lamourfou says, “I think that having a virtual pet makes my virtual life more fulfilled… they have a way of getting my attention and filling empty spaces with soothing noise and random companionship…” This random companionship, as Lamourfou states, can lead to both moments worthy of sentiment and fear all at once. “Back in 2006 – 2007…” Lamourfou says, “…my Scottish Terrier Xeryus had the ability to follow me. This was a feature that was new to Second Life.”
Lamourfou states that one of many things she loved about her Scottish Terrier was how, as its owner, she could conveniently have her pet walk along side her. “I loved how you can adjust the positioning your dog, and how you could orient himself to you. I had set his position to be about 2 feet behind me to the side a bit.”
She also loved the constant companionship. Lamourfou continues, “Well he had faithfully followed behind me for hours as I went about my business on my land. I decided to head over to a mall on another sim and do some shopping so off I went.” Two hours later, Lamourfou realized that her dog was no longer by her side.
“I went from shop to shop, chasing down group gifts and new releases when all of a sudden, I realized my dog was GONE!! Back then there was no convenient teleport history, so I tried to backtrack where I had been to see if I could find him…”
By this point, Lamourfou was quite sad over losing her virtual canine and initially gave up looking for him and logged off. When asked what made her sad about this incident, Lamourfou says, “Well, I had gotten used to having him around and he had costs me quite a bit of money, and I was not happy to spend the money again just to replace him.
Lamourfou’s reaction to the loss of her virtual pet is quite similar to what a real life owner goes through when they lose their pet. A true pet owner not only worries about their pet’s safety, but also expresses concern about the money they have invested in their pet. From food, to taking them to the vet, and even to how much an owner paid to purchase the animal can all be anchored to the feelings an owner has for there pet.
And, like those feelings of sadness that Lamourfou felt over losing her pet, that feeling of sadness was later replaced with happiness because a week later, she found her Scottish Terrier while perusing around her land. “At first…” she explains, “I looked on the ground a little ways away and saw what looked like a little black prim box…right at my property line. As I got closer, I saw that it was not a box at all; it was actually my dog Xeryus, crippled over in a weird angle. He was stuck in an animation, and it obviously looked as though he had tried to follow me off my land! As I looked closer, I realized that he had followed me as far as he could go; when I teleported off my land to go shopping, he had gotten stuck between the property lines of my land and the land of my neighbor’s….It was a touching moment, and I never lost him again…”
III. Virtual Pets Can Be Virtual Money Makers too…
Besides having virtual pets for companionship, many SL residents look at to their virtual pets as both a personalized work of art and an additional source of income. Dravenrose, for instance is the owner of 3rd Eye Perceptions and Ravens Keep Stables, both of which specialize in breeding Awesome Breed Creation horses, as well as create a line of mysticism-themed products. Located at Whippe, 3rd Eye Perceptions and Ravens Keep Stables encompasses a goth-based, mystical theme throughout its parcel. Dravenrose explains, “I’ve been in SL for 7 years, and have been breeding ABC (Awesome Breed Creation ) horses for 5 years.”
Below, please take a look at some example photos of Ravens Keep. To get the full effect of Dravenrose’s business, please be sure to visit by clicking here: Ravens Keep.
When asked about her first SL pet, Dravenrose says, “My first SL pet was a horse from ABC (Awesome Breed Creations). I chose this breedable brand because of their realistic coat textures and the variety of traits that the horses can have…”
Dravenrose alludes to another factor that comes along with having a virtual pet: realism. Realism is actually a crucial component needed in owning a virtual pet, especially if they are being bred inworld. Dravenrose says, “I am an RL artist, so I greatly enjoy working on [various pet] bloodlines…all as a way to create those perfect traits like eyes and coats…especially on a horse that can ‘wow’ my customers.”
Part of this realism also includes researching various breeds. In real life, many pet owners will look at an animal breed that has a certain color, hair texture and even eye color. To better explain, many who are interested in owning cats may opt for a cat with heterochromia iridis.
According to Cathealth.com, heterochromia iridis (also known as the odd-eyed cat), have two different colored eyes (Cathealth.com). They typically have one blue eye, while the other eye tends to be either green, brown, or yellow (Cathealth.com).
Like Dravenrose breeds her horses with particular traits in mind, real life pet owners breed pets with particular traits in mind, too. In the case of cats, one of many traits that a pet owner may look to breed include kittens with heterochromia iridis.
In addition to breeding horses with prized traits, Dravenrose is routinely purchasing breedables at various SL sales yards. Dravenrose says, when asked why she likes to breed and shop for breedables, that she prefers specific SL products brands based on how accessible they are when it comes to researching key traits. “Personally, I love to shop the sales yards…” she says, “…because you never know what you’re going to find. I also really like the online databases of breedables like Meeroos and Fennux, where you can easily search up the coat and traits you want then teleport right to it.”
Dravenrose also contends that while breeding breedables, she has met a lot of amazing people. She explains, “…there’s nothing quite like going to the ABC main sim in the morning for food….only to find the staff happy and dancing in the lobby or riding donkeys through the sim!” After laughing a bit, Dravenrose continues: “…it’s a great community that will always keep you smiling and on your toes with what will happen next.”
IV. SL Virtual Pets: Can They Make Their Owners Happy?
Based on the testimonies of Dravenrose, Lixena Lamourfou, and Oriya Tituba Ukweli; it is fair to say that YES, virtual pets can bring happiness to their owners! They can alleviate inworld loneliness, guard their owner’s land and offer protection, and can help SL community members earn inworld lindens. All of this and more make a pretty sound argument that virtual pets can enrich the lives of their virtual owners.
And, while it is safe to assume that a virtual pet can make a person’s inworld experience better, be mindful that in order to fully benefit from a virtual pet, one must do their research. ᴘʀɪɴᴄᴇss ᴘɪᴘsǫᴜᴇᴀᴋ ʙɪᴛᴛᴇʀʙᴇᴀɴ, whose inworld username is mothwings3 resident, particularly urges SL residents to shop around. “For example….” she says, “…if you are looking for a hamster set up, there are tons, but each of the different creators have different pros and cons. One may allow you to move hamsters outside of the cage, one may have better textures, etc. Also, if you’re strapped for cash, gacha pets are always a great addition to any SL home.”
As a Second Life resident that has played SL for about 4 years, ᴘʀɪɴᴄᴇss ᴘɪᴘsǫᴜᴇᴀᴋ ʙɪᴛᴛᴇʀʙᴇᴀɴ supports the belief that with tempered judgment, virtual pets can offer great benefits to their owners.
Below, please find a few photos of ReRe Sandalwood with her virtual pets. In addition to The SL Parade sim, The SL Parade has a store that sells pet horses and clothing from Sweet Temptation at the La Bella Boutique.
If you are tired of the oh-so-predictable dance venue or basic nightclub, allow The SL Parade to suggest a visit to the Butterfly Conservatory. Featured in Second Life’s Destination Guide, the Butterfly Conservatory offers a visual array of foliage, as well as a coveted selection of wild life to interact with.
Despite the variety of visual eye candy offered at this destination, The Butterfly Conservatory definitely keeps up with its namesake. Its main attraction are numerous butterflies, and seeing these butterflies flying about confirms the main theme of the Butterfly Conservatory: a destination designed to visually stimulate the palate, all while educating the masses. Take a look at some of the butterflies featured at this amazing Conservatory:
By taking a look at the above slide show, it is easy to discern that there are butterflies of every color at the Butterfly Conservatory. In fact, butterflies can be seen as far as the SL eye can see, particularly around the various plants and other wild life featured at the Butterfly Conservatory. This colorful, butterfly based fluttering is complimented by the various and informative billboards positioned throughout the Conservatory. These billboards are a colorful display in and of itself because, like the butterflies seen fluttering around the Conservatory, they also feature a parade of colors. These colors seem to be designed to draw the attention of the patron, enticing them to learn more about the various butterfly breeds and other wildlife displayed.
And, while drawing the attention of patrons with vivid displays of color, the Butterfly Conservatory also provides an invaluable opportunity for patrons to learn more about the unique life cycle of various animals and insects.
For instance, there is a beehive located here, and the hive showcases information that describes how bees live and how they produce honey, etc. There is also a churning device designed to simulate the process of mixing honey, as well as a modest amount of worker bees buzzing around the beehive. This, along with one billboard that particularly sticks out, reminds patrons of a well known challenge faced by the world’s bee population: extinction.
In fact, within the few lines featured on the Beehive’s vibrate colored, yellow and black billboard, there is an overwhelming assertion that without bees to reproduce foods like apples, oranges and peaches, man would only have four years to live. And, while this is an overwhelming realization, this billboard is one of many examples of how the Butterfly Conservatory educates the SL community about real life environmental issues.
Another fascinating exhibit at the Butterfly Conservatory is the lizard exhibit, where patrons can watch various lizards mull around in richly covered dirt. With a collective mix of rocks, cacti, and other vegetation that can easily survive dry, arid conditions; this exhibit does a great job of showcasing how snakes, chameleons and other kinds of lizards survive in such extreme conditions. When you visit this exhibit, take a look at the colorful billboard that discusses various types of lizards…there are some surprising facts that are written on them…
Overall, I would overwhelmingly suggest paying a visit to this awesome attraction. According to the Destination Guide’s Butterfly Conservatory description, this kind of venue is the first and only in Second Life, and will be displayed inworld until August 11, 2019.
Though I recently watched my colleague, Amanda Slavik wrestle with Facebook from afar (to learn more about this, please take a look at Slavik’s article entitled, Seeing Light ~Second Life Blogs Blocked by Facebook~ Tips and Tricks), I never thought that something would happen to me that would cause me to evaluate my interactions in a Facebook closed group. Nonetheless, it happened and now I am wondering why Facebook has such a limited way to report the alleged wrong doings of others–particularly in groups that ban individuals for unwarranted reasons.
In terms of what this has to do with me, I recently joined a group called The Jassy Correia Case: Discussion Group By Sleuth Society. This group’s primary focus is to gather and share information related to the Jassy Correia case. Jassy Correia was a 23 year old single mother who had ventured out to a local Boston nightclub to celebrate her birthday, but was later murdered by a 32 year old man that lives in Providence, Rhode Island. This group, like all the other Sleuth Society groups are ran by the following individuals: Laney Jane, Courtney Gill, and Bri Meyer.
In terms of why I joined this group: Correia’s death resonated with me because she was the second woman abducted while visiting a Boston nightclub. Though I have called Boston my home since 2008, I have never heard of incidents related to Boston women being abducted while out celebrating at local bars and nightclubs. This greatly alarmed me because these young women were simply out on the town, and instead of getting to their own homes safely, they were abruptly taken to indulge the pleasures of men that look at women as objects rather than people.
Be mindful that the first woman who was abducted from a local nightclub was found alive, and was found right around the corner from where I live. I was there when the cops located this woman, and I was there when they arrested the assailant responsible for her abduction.
Because Correia was not found alive, I particularly wanted to stay informed about this case…particularly out of fear that this could happen again. For this reason, I joined the Jassy Correia Case: The Sleuth Society Discussion group on Facebook.
While interacting with the members of the group, I learned a lot about the Correia case and was also able to successfully share a few articles as well as Correia’s legacy page. However, everything I shared had to be evaluated by the administrators and moderators of this group. While I initially did not have an issue with this, I did have an issue when these same administrators/moderators deleted an article I requested to be posted, then posted it as if they were the ones that found it.
While it was initially posted in the general Sleuth Society group within a few hours, it was not posted in the Jassy Correia group. Though this concerned me, I figured it was merely overlooked and did not immediately see it as an issue.
However, it became an issue the following day because the administrator of the Jassy Correia group…an administrator by the name of Laney Jane posted the link I had provided to the group the next day…without citing that I posted said link first for approval. In academic circles, this is a big NO NO because it is imperative to cite the source that has provided the information in the first place. Failure to do so is considered a form of plagiarism, which can get you thrown out of universities and a hosts of other intellectual constructs.
I politely emailed Laney Jane and asked why I was not given credit for providing the link, since I asked a day prior for it to be approved. Rather than civilly answer the question, Laney Jane asked me if I was “mad” about not getting credit first. I told her that people do not get mad, and explained that I am more interested in intellectual courtesy and professionalism versus me getting credit. If a group can defile itself in such a way that it cannot give credit where credit is due, it is my belief that it is violating intellectual property rights and should be dismantled.
Rather than behave like a leader and dialog constructively about her role in not acknowledging where the link came from, Laney Jane blocked me from responding to her and kicked me out of the Jassy Correia Case: The Sleuth Society Discussion Group.
This group’s alleged aim is to help others better understand the circumstances surrounding Jassy Correia’s demise, and to mobilize members of the community to actively assist in this investigation. By taking credit for the painstaking research of others, then muting them from the dialog process, the administrators of this group are dishonoring this group’s established premise.
Because I was banned from the group, I am unable to report this issue with Facebook. This is something I also find problematic because there should be some kind of process in place to question the validity behind blocking someone from a group, as well as the administrators that are a part of this group. This, as well as the ways in which Facebook community members can initiate complaints to Facebook administrators needs to change as well.
It is my hope that in writing about this experience, that word will spread of the shortcomings attributed to the Jassy Correia Sleuth Society group. I also hope that Facebook will keenly consider my suggestion and implement new ways to not only present concerns and complaints, but will do it in such a way that is sensibly diplomatic and swift in its processes.
Because I still want to be of service to Jassy Correia’s family, I have provided some additional information on how to contact the FBI Boston Division’s Violent Crimes Task Force, as well as information related to Jassy Correia’s GoFund Me page. Please see the text below for more information.
If you have any information about the Jassy Correia case, please contact the FBI Boston Division’s Violent Crimes Task Force at 857-386-2000. Tips can also be electronically submitted at tips.fbi.gov.
Also, Jassy Correia’s family has set up a GoFundme page aimed at raising money for Correia’s two year old daughter. To donate, please go to Jassy Correia’s GoFund Me page by clicking on the following link: Jassy Correia’s GoFund Me Page.
Though The SL Parade has been relatively quiet on the literary front, I have still been quite busy! For starters, I recently purchased a sim that functions as The SL Parade Headquarters, and have designed it in such a way that is welcoming to the SL Community! Purchasing this land has really broadened my perspective in terms of how important it is to explore different ways that The SL Parade can remain a staple in the SL Community.
With this in mind, one of many things The SL Parade has created is an inworld horse stable. The horse stable was created as a way for me to alleviate stress in my real life…all while still presenting one of my many products to the SL community. Based on a recommendation from a good friend of mine, The SL Parade Stable primarily breeds and sells Awesome Breeding Creations (ABC) horses and ponies.
To be honest, I have found that breeding ABC horses and ponies are not only therapeutic, but very informative. This is because ABC features breedables that reflect real life horse and pony breeds. Breeds like Clydesdale, the Drum Horse, and Criollo are breeds that also exist in real life, and this allows an ABC breeder to learn more about how specific breeds are used in the real world, as well as about additional physical characteristics they have. As such, those interested in learning more about a specific breed can do so by not only researching online and/or at your local library, but by interacting with others that choose to breed ABC horses, too.
To get a better feel of what The SL Parade sim has to offer, I have all the horses and ponies displayed atop of “For Sale” boxes. These displays are positioned all over the sim to encourage exploration. In addition, I have also included areas to view whales, as well as fish or even rez up a paddle boat, jet ski, or kayak. This is because I strongly believe in creating a community that is welcoming to all who enjoy nature and breeding horses. I also want to create a safe space for those interested in relaxing in an atmosphere that encourages positive interaction and learning.
[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”125″ gal_title=”amanda and belle”]
Outside of breeding ABC horses, ponies and functioning as an affiliate of various vendors like Chop Zuey, I am slowly gearing myself up to resume writing again. My RL has drastically changed, and I am still trying to create a space for myself to write about all things SL and RL. I am juggling two very important things: caring for my father and raising my six year old son.
Between the flurry of all this RL responsibility, I am still trying to find a quiet space to not only breathe, but to concentrate and write. It is hard because I am doing this with limited support. However, I am confident that things will work out for the better…
ABC Horses and ponies are on sale now at The SL Parade SIM! Please take a look at the slide show below to get a first hand look at our selection:
[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”126″ gal_title=”SL Parade has horses”]
Even in Second Life, we need to create a peaceful surrounding for ourselves. One way this is accomplished is by either renting or buying land inworld, and creating a virtual habitat that offers privacy, a space to dress, as well as a space to entertain friends and family.
However, there are people out there that do not think paying real life cash inworld is worth it. In fact, the idea of creating a private, peaceful surrounding for oneself, is viewed as neither justified nor fair. These people–rather one calls them griefers or protestors–not only believe that Linden Labs should not have any financial prowess in world nor in Real Life, but that those that buy virtual land enable Linden Labs to continually oppress the Second Life masses. These individuals, along with those who believe that too many SL community members take Second Life too seriously, deliberately encroach upon the land of another in the name of personal freedom and belief.
In fact, one of many methods of protests employed involves teleporting into an unsuspecting avatar’s home. Upon arrival, the protestor(s) find the most sexually explicit furniture in the dwelling, and (either with a partner in tow or even sexually parlaying on another’s property solo) proceed to have sex right then and there. Jeanne Anne Decosta echoes this sentiment by saying, “I think there is a whole subculture of people who [go into other people’s virtual homes and have pixel sex] because there are tons of people who spend Lindens in SL….and there’s kind of a thrill in it…[the] risk of being caught while doing it… it’s kind of a way of making fun of people who spend a lot of money on things others get for free…and it’s also an anti-capitalist gesture…”
II. Breaking and Virtually Entering SL Dwellings: Decosta is One of Many
Jeanne Anne Decosta is one of perhaps many who think that Linden Labs should not charge SL community members money for land purchases, and that the buying SL public takes land ownership too seriously. She says, “…when I was all into SL and ‘married’ to a Scottish guy I’d never met in RL…him and I used to go into houses ‘owned’ by people who were offline and have virtual sex on their sex beds & in their hot tubs…I don’t think we were ever ‘caught’ at it but really don’t remember…[I do remember that] we never left a mess…”
Gleefully smiling in her IM’s, she continues, “…it’s all just pixelated code in a leased server, [anyway]…getting all proprietary about those pixels is stupid [because] Linden Labs just [laughs] as they rake in your money :D!”
When asked if SL consumers had a right to respect, more so if they are business owners that feel the need to establish virtual sex boundaries on parcels they have bought and invested in, Decosta dismisses this question by saying, “…it’s ridiculous to become all territorial and possessive over cartoons you know?”
III. Alluding to Capitalism In SL To Show A Bigger Point
While some may deliberately go onto the virtual property of another as a form of protest, there are others out there that go because they want to capitalize on a story. One instance of this happening is in the “RPS In Second Life: An Orgasmic Bellowing” article. Written by Quintin Smith in February 2010, the article discusses the role sex plays in generating a profit for Linden Labs. Yet, unknowingly Smith mentions an incident that happened to him while visiting SL Land.
Smith says, “….my friend and I were poking around SL on Monday [and] we stumbled across this charming pair:
Once Smith refers to the picture above, he continues: “My friend and I cordially introduced ourselves as Quinns Raymation and Snaps Tremor, [and] chose to politely ignore [the couple’s] discourteous mention that we were on private land…and promptly found ourselves rudely catapulted into space.”
The SL Parade poses the following question in relation to the above quote, “Why is it rude to tell someone that they are trespassing on land that is privately owned, and why is it considered rude to be kicked off of said land and ‘sent into space’?” This question, though rhetorical in nature, reflects an ongoing discourse that shows how fine of a line is regularly drawn between protesting the capitalism inherent in Second Life versus the invasion of virtual privacy.
IV. Virtual Home Invasion: Protesting Those That Take Second Life Too Seriously
Another reason to enter a virtual home without permission is to rattle those that take Second Life a little too seriously. This could easily be categorized as griefing, but many may say otherwise. And, while there are many documented forms of media that highlight in world home invasion, one example that truly shows the reasoning behind invading a person’s virtual home can be seen in the video below. Be mindful that though this video is four years old, it is one of many reminders related to the reason how virtual home invasion can be used as a way to protest…rather the protests centers around challenging the financial capitalism allegedly inherent in Second Life, to question the notion of privacy, or to simply annoy Second Life players that “take the game too seriously.”
After watching the video below, please tell us your thoughts on using virtual home invasion as a means of protesting…
A year and some months ago today, my mother died after a long battle with substance abuse and ill health. Her death broke me down in more ways than one: I no longer had any desire to write and even worst, I had no desire to play Second Life.
In terms of the latter, I would log on as a habit, but I would never leave my parcel…I simply came up with new ways to decorate it. Yet, no matter how many times I decorated and redecorated my surroundings, I was still unhappy. I was unhappy not only because my mom had passed away, but also because I felt that inworld, I was surrounded by toxicity.
The toxicity was so problematic for me that I became afraid to interact inworld with others. Though my sl brother is the only person I often feel that I can trust inworld, he had went on a hiatus to tend to his real life. It seems that, just like me, he was also tired of the toxicity surrounding us inworld.
Yet, despite my Second Life world appearing to crumble around me, I realized I had a dream. I had always dreamed of purchasing my own sim and raising horses to sell to the SL community. With this idea in mind, I also had a dream that with the purchase of this sim, I could also share it with the SL community in such a way that it would enrich and benefit Second Life, too.
The dream I had offered a glimmer of hope in an often problematic real life and second life world. However, that glimmer of hope would dampen a bit because like many dreams, there seemed to be so many obstacles in the way. Money was one of many challenges, more so because I didn’t have much of that. Motivation was another challenge, because whenever I thought of really creating–rather it be a new sim, or even writing–I would think about my mother. I knew that despite my mom and I’s differences, I missed her–and would continue to miss her everyday. In fact it was a sadness that would not (and won’t) ever leave me…a sadness that further contributed to my isolation not only in Real Life, but in Second Life too.
I was not only battling a dream deferred, but I was battling depression and self destruction.
Then, about six months after my mom passed, my life had changed again. My dad needed a place to stay, and he needed me to help care for him. See, three days after my mom passed, my dad was robbed and beaten in his own home. He refused to go to the hospital, but he knew he had to find some way out in order to survive. So, when he called me and told me what happened, I quickly told my father that if he could get out to where I live, he can stay as long as he wanted and I would be there for him. Before I knew it, my dad had purchased a plane ticket to Boston, and was here; he has only flown on an airplane once in his life, so this was a big step for him. Yet, the best thing about my dad’s arrival in Boston was that he was the first family member to stay longer than three days in my newly adopted town. He was also the first family member that wholly trusted me to care for him, too.
When dad moved in with my son and I, there were so many changes! My father has never been a disciplinarian type of parent, and that method of parenting seemed to extend to my five year old son. My dad would buy my son whatever he wanted, spoiling him rotten in the process. All the while, I had to play the “no nonsense parent” by establishing firm boundaries and keeping my son busy as needed; this “no nonsense parenting” is still an intrinsic part of our household, so for this reason, I decided to step away from my Second Life to wholly focus on my Real Life. In the meantime, my dad and son are like two kids that I have to care for, but it has given me strength that I never knew I had.
This resilience surrounding the ability to withstand this new living arrangement encouraged me to take another look at the Second Life dream I had. Though I would often come up with all kinds of excuses not to pursue it, the excuses merely added fuel to the dream I repeatedly deferred. I began to itch for an opportunity to fulfill my dream deferred, but was at a loss as to how to accomplish it.
An opportunity presented itself in August for me to finally fulfill my dream. I was blessed with some extra money, and had enough to not only take care of my real life, but fulfill my dreams in Second Life, too. The extra money, compounded by Second Life’s 15th anniversary land purchase deal were both blessings that enabled me to realize a dream that has laid dormant for so long.
I am on a new journey now…to keep this dream alive and in motion, SL Parade readers will see a lot more writing from me now. Some of this writing will center around the horses, other works will focus on the new SL Parade land and the business opportunities available for other Second Life business owners, but all of the writing will focus on articles that balance Real Life with Second Life.
In the meantime, I encourage you to visit the new SL Parade Adult Rated sim! All who visit can take a ride on the horses, as well as take a look at the 24/7 dolphin show that happens in various corners of the sim. And remember, if you are a business owner, the SL Parade sim has stores available for rent…these stores were created by Elin Egoyen. According to Egoyen’s note card, the design of these lovely shops are based on a mixture of a Victorian, Edwardian and Southern US style houses and shops, and was also inspired by the famous Rainbow Row located in Charleston, South Carolina USA.
The embodiment of love is more than just a feeling; sometimes it is an action that is expressed in our daily dealings with others. And while love can sometimes be seen as an elusive thing that runs through the hands like water, Krystali Rabeni is a reminder that love is not only tangible, but something that can be held and savored. In this sense, it is safe to say that Krystali Rabeni’s LOVE business emulates love on the daily…rather its in her daily dealings with customers or embodied in the products she lovingly creates.
The name LOVE, according to Rabeni, is an acronym for Life’s Only Valuable Emotion. In operation for over a decade, LOVE specializes in creating home and garden items, as well as hair products. In terms of the latter, LOVE introduced hair products in late 2017.
Krystali Rabeni explains how she decided to break into the hair business by outlining her previous SL history of creating products for role playing sims. She says, “I tend to touch right across the board from creating half to full sims, villages and towns for role play, creating for my store and customers, and I also take part in lots of fairs supporting charities across the grid…”
Elaborating, Rabeni continues, “[Because of my involvement in all of these things, I decided in 2017 to break] into the Hair industry, purely on the back of headdresses that I create for popular fairs, [because I found that]…people [often] ask if I have hair to go with the headdresses and crowns, so this is a new and exciting venture…of course I will be following my brand and [incorporating the name] LOVE HAIR….”
Prior to creating LOVE HAIR, Rabeni was pretty similar to many budding business owners. “Before I began creating seriously…” Rabeni explains, “I did what a lot of people do and I opened a store full of affiliate vendors. But if a customer had a complaint I quickly realized there was absolutely nothing I could do to help them. I wasn’t the creator and it resulted in both them and me getting a little disillusioned so I began learning and creating items on a more serious scale rather than just for myself. People began IM’ing me asking where they could buy the items and then LOVE was born.”
Besides creating products that emulate LOVE, Rabeni also credits her family as a huge support when it comes to running LOVE. “I have a wonderful, very understanding and supportive family who also play in SL…” Yet, in the midst of their support, she still relies on herself to create the products featured in her LOVE line. As quickly as she says this however, she adds: “I would say that the SL residents play a huge part in helping me run my business. They promote LOVE through blogging, passing out landmarks and bringing their friends to the store. It’s amazing how much help you can receive just by being there for your customers and helping if they need it, in return, they help you and their kindness is touching and humbling.”
This customer-based support is what makes Krystali Rabeni work harder to address the needs of her clientele. Specifically, Rabeni also relies on the element of surprise when it comes to creating her products. She explains, “I tend to specialize in creating items that people didn’t know they wanted such as props, scene sets and items that mix fantasy with reality. [In fact,] one of my most popular sets is the Fantasy Deer range.” Please take a look at the slide show below:
LOVE’s Fantasy Deer range are deer that not only feature blossoms and/or other foilage that grow from their antlers, but also features deer that has antlers entangled in fairy lights. LOVE also features animated mesh deer that seemingly gallop around a parcel in what appears to be a perpetual state of happiness.
Rabeni, in keeping with her mixture of fantasy, reality, and the creation of items many did not realize they wanted in the first place says, “Who knew anyone would want deer with summer blossom and fairy lights as antlers? But they do, and it opens a gateway to the more unusual which is well received across the grid…”
II. Who are LOVE’s customers?
When Rabeni is asked about the kinds of customers she creates for, she explains: “I have clients across the grid, from role play sim owners to club owners, to people starting out with their own stores right down to the guy next door who just wants a nice garden. Every one is special and whether the clients spend 10L$ or 100,000L$ they are all treated with the same respect and quality of service…
Yet there is also another important quality that distinguishes her from other creators. Rabeni says, “SL is about equality, and we are all equal regardless.” In this sense, Rabeni’s notion of equality is noticeable by how she interacts with customers.
If you join LOVE’s inworld group for instance, Rabeni creates an online atmosphere that is whimsical, fun and loving. She makes a point to personally inquire about her customers’ well being, and often shares monthly gifts that are filled with detail and depth. Like her LOVE line, Rabeni encompasses warmth and personalization that not only makes a customer feel a part of somethinDiscuss her incorporation of love and personalization, particularly in terms of being my friend….
III. Recycling, As Featured in LOVE
Besides the creation of all things fantasy, Rabeni’s LOVE business also believes in showcasing the beauty of reusing and recycling. For instance, LOVE has a Garden Bike available on Marketplace for $175L. This bike is not for riding though; it is meant as a garden area that showcases planted flowers and other foilage–all of which are planted on a bike that is no longer useful for riding. The bike not only features a basket full of flowers, it also has foliage that grows at the base of its tires. And while many of us may never dream of using a bike to showcase flowers and other foilage, there are many in RL and in SL that would. Specifically, there are many RL gardening enthusiasts who rely on things that are no longer used. Items like old tires, cars that no longer work, and even abandoned furniture can be incorporated in landscaping to not only bring beauty to an area, but to make use of something that is otherwise difficult to dispose of. LOVE, in this sense, encompasses giving and reusing, all in an effort to create something totally unique and new. It also reflects RL, because right now recycling plays an imperative role in saving our planet and the species that inhabit it.
To better understand how LOVE products reflect real life recycling efforts, please look at the slideshow below:
When asked what prompted her to create the LOVE business inworld, Rabeni explains, “I have always been a creative [person,] and SL opened doors to a new medium…couple that with a life time of self-employment, and the two went together naturally….I had toyed with the idea that it might be possible to create a successful business in a VR (Virtual Reality) environment and [have found that] it is….more than possible…and I recommend everyone to give it a try.”
LOVE, as Rabeni passionately believes, continues to be successful because of the growth and technological advancement in Second Life. “….[LOVE] continues to go from strength to strength as SL improves. I remember back in 2007 chatting with a good friend in SL and laughing about where we would be in ten years time. I had no idea LOVE would be so well received and I appreciate the support I have had and continue to have from every SL resident that visits the store. I prefer to say THE store rather than MY store as I feel the success of LOVE belongs to the SL community.”
When asked what she liked best about creating merchandise inworld, Rabeni first establishes the struggle inherent in learning how to create in a Virtual World. “Creating in SL is a steep learning curve…” says Rabeni, “…but once you get to the top, the rewards are endless…and every day you learn more. Once you find your niche, you just can’t stop. The drive to create more and to improve outweighs the business side…”
V. Real Life Reflected in SL, According to LOVE
Functioning as a Real Life business owner, Rabeni is not only an author, but also an Imagineer. For those unfamiliar with the term Imagineer, Dictionary.com defines it as follows: a person who devises and implements a new or highly imaginative concept or technology, in particular one who devises the attractions in Walt Disney theme parks. An Imagineer can also be responsible for devising and implementing new attractions, concepts or technology in a theme park based setting (Dictionary.com).
As an author and an Imagineer, Rabeni is accustomed to wearing different occupational hats when it comes to working in Real Life. When asked how, in her opinion, Real Life is often reflected in Second Life, Rabeni says:”I find skills used in RL translate well to SL and vice versa and, as with any work of fiction there is always an element of reality which draws the reader in and gives them something to relate to, hence in SL I find this is the same. I mix elements of fantasy with the odd touch of reality and a twist of the unusual and take each resident that sees the store, by the hand and guide them on to a path they may never have walked.”
The idea of leading SL community members down the road less traveled has also proven to be therapeutic for many inworld. In fact, Rabeni told me that she has had residents tell her that they come to the LOVE SIM for therapeutic reasons…specifically because it is so relaxing. Many of these residents suffer from real life disabilities and injuries, and often look to the LOVE sim as an aid to help them better manage their illnesses. The beauty featured on the SIM seemingly freezes nature, allowing patrons to observe and partake in the beauty around them.
Rabeni reiterates this realization by describing how those that visit the LOVE sim also benefit her. She explains, “… the best part is how inspiring SL residents are and how supportive they are when they enjoy a creator’s ideas. It’s something I have never found anywhere else in any creative industry. It’s unique and SL residents created that.”
In addition to creating an atmosphere that supports the creative industry, Rabeni also contends that this support encourages her to create merchandise that is not only detailed, but often challenging. For this reason, Rabeni says that if a product is not a challenge to create, then it tends to not get released either. “So many items have gone to ‘Room 101,’ never to return….” Rabeni continues, “The finest part though is sometimes I release a new item and someone will ask me to change or add to it, even tailor it to their needs. This is great…I never shy away from a challenge and it becomes a collaboration between customer and creator and both of us appreciate each other. We usually go on to become friends and, if that person owns an SL business, I am more than happy to promote it in my groups and maybe introduce group members to new things. SL is a place full of challenges and help, friends and ideas and I say ‘Challenge accepted!'”
When asked if she would like to add any concluding statements, Rabeni said, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank YOU for including me in your wonderful magazine, and I would like to stand up and give the residents of Second Life a huge round of applause because without them there would be no LOVE and love is Life’s Only Valuable Emotion.”
Though I have been gone for some time, being a witness to Nita Wunderlich’s accomplishment does nothing but encourage me. This is because Club Lion, a club she has created and allowed to flourish, is celebrating its 10 Year anniversary! In an SL world where many clubs come and go, this is not only an accomplishment, but an important milestone!
Nita is excited about this milestone too, and is well aware of just how awesome this accomplishment is. With this in mind, Nita has been working around the clock to bring the best celebration possible. Incorporating the theme of “Life is a Circus,” Nita has recreated an atmosphere of fun, joy and excitement that features a rideable lion, as well as encourages all patrons to dress in their circus best.
Club Lion is an awesome venue, and it is a thrill to be a witness to this awesome milestone. Though this article is a brief one, it is my hope that it acts as a warm embrace to Nita Wunderlich’s major accomplishment. In the meantime, come by and celebrate this important Club Lion milestone! Here is the LM, and be sure to come in your circus best: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Egret%20Key/185/63/2183
Please take a look at the slide show below :)!
[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”108″ gal_title=”10 Years of Club Lion”]
The 3rd Annual Kultivate Spring Art Show will take place April 6 to 14, 2018 and as in previous years, the art show will featured both juried and non juried exhibitions, live performers, two hunts, and free learning opportunities! The 3rd Annual Kultivate Spring Art Show is curated and managed by Kultivate Magazine.
The following live performers and instructors will provide entertainment throughout the art show: Parker Static, Nina Bing, Wolfie Starfire, Lark Bowen, Melenda Mikael, & Dimivan Ludwig. Learning opportunities will exist in the form of one hour art, photography, and storytelling sessions. These free sessions will be provided by Veruca Tammas, Kaijah Chrome, John Brianna, Eleseren Brianna, and The Seanchai Library.
About Kultivate Magazine:
Kultivate Magazine is a publication about the cultural aspects of Second Life. The goal of Kultivate Magazine is to support art, culture, photography, music, and fashion. Kultivate Magazine consists of the magazine, The Edge and The Edge Gallery of Black and White Imagery, The Windlight Art Gallery, The Kandis Gallery of real life imagery, The Kultivate Select Gallery, Ristorante Ivanna, & The Tribute and Crown Pub. Kultivate Magazine is proud to be the media partner and primary sponsor of Team Diabetes of Second Life, an official and authorized team for The American Diabetes Association.