Alien cats and thanksgiving meals in Second Life

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home at Holly Kai Park, unless otherwise indicated.

Monday, November 18th 19:00: Teacher’s Pet / War and Peace

Gyro Muggins returns to Larry Niven’s Known Space universe and the Man-Kzin Wars series to bring us two short stories from that series written by Matthew Joseph Harrington, and which appeared in the Man-Kzin volume 11 (edited by Niven), first published in 2005.

Set after the end of the war, the stories within Man-Kzin XI are predominantly set during a period where the Kzin are down (but not necessarily out) and having to adapt to no longer being the masters of all races they encounter, and are in roughly chronological order.

The two stories by Harrington follow the trio by established writer Hal Colebatch, and marked his début as a published author at the age of 35. They are regarded by many as being strong studies in the Man-Kzin lore, whilst also drawing on other literary sci-fi sources. The stories are also noted for Harrington’s ability to round-out a number of “loose ends” within the Man-Kin wars as well as offering new slants on the broader carves of Niven’s Known Space universe.

Both stories use a play on words in their titles, with War and Peace doing so both in the manner it reflects the period of peace following war, and also for the way it focuses on the life and work of Peace Corben, a human female Protector, who returns in Harrington’s sequel story, Peace and Freedom, published in the 2009 volume Man Kzin Wars XII.

Tuesday, November 19th 19:00: What’s Cookin’?

A favourite food stories and recipe exchange with Caledonia Skytower and friends. This week Cale shares the P.G. Wodehouse story “Best Sauce.” All are welcomed to bring some of their favourite recipes to share, on note card.

Wednesday, November 20th 19:00 Spirit of Steamboat

Kayden Oconnell returns to the tales of sheriff Walt Longmire, reading the ninth volume of Craig Johnson’s tales about his laconic US Marine-turned-lawman protagonist.

It’s Christmas Eve, and Longmire is reading A Christmas Carol in his office when he is visited by a ghost of Christmas past: a young woman with a scar across her forehead. He doesn’t recognise her, but she clearly knows him and his predecessor, sheriff Lucian Connally, under whom Longmire started his career as a deputy sheriff in 1972.

His interest aroused, Longmire takes the the young woman to see Connally, now a resident at an Assisted Living Home. But Connally, a former US Army Air Force pilot who flew B-25 Mitchell bombers in the Second World War, fails to recognise her. This is in some ways hardly surprising, given Connally’s frequently inebriated state.

Disappointed at the two men’s reaction, the young woman whispers a single word, “Steamboat”. In doing so, she embarks on a tale that tales Longmire and Connally back to Christmas Eve 1988, when Longmire had been a deputy sheriff just two months. The holiday season had brought with it a record-breaking blizzard – and a road accident that left Longmire and the (again inebriated) Connally with no choice but to pull a B-25 out of mothballs and make a dangerous flight through the blizzard to Denver, Colorado, in order to save a life.

Thursday, November 21st 19:00 An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

Louisa May Alcott is best known for her novel Little Women (1868), a semi-autobiographical account of her childhood years with her sisters in Concord, Massachusetts. However, she also penned numerous short stories, particularly for children, and an Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving is one of them.

It’s Thanksgiving Day, and the Bassett family’s kitchen is in the midsts of preparations for a traditional dinner. But things go awry when news comes that Mrs. Bassett’s mother is ill, so Mrs Bassett and Mr. Bassett are forced to take the sleigh and attend to her. This leaves the children, led by Tilly, to complete the preparations for the dinner, and Tilly is determined to have everything ready for her parents’ return.

However, cooking a major meal unsupervised is more of a challenge than the children imaged, and soon the kitchen is filled with an assortment of smells, some of them a little odd. And then Mr. and Mrs. Bassett return – bringing with them grandma and several other guests they have invited to dinner…

With Shandon Loring. Also in Kitely – find teleport from the main Seanchai World grid.kitely.com:8002:SEANCHAI.

VWBPE 2020: call for proposals

via vwbpe.org

The 13th annual  Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education (VWBPE) conference was recently announced, together with a call for proposals, which combines calls for presentation proposals, proposals for exhibits, and proposals for and immersive experiences.

The conference will take place between Thursday, March 26th through Saturday 28th, 2020 inclusive, and has the theme Stellar, with the organisers noting:

When we look up into the night sky, almost every one of us is filled with awe as to the immense possibilities of what could be out there. New stars, galaxies, planets … even the very real possibility of life. There are a billion, billion opportunities, so rich in ways in which it can influence our understanding of everything around us.

Education is no different. We are surrounded by hundreds of millions of people teaching and learning from each other, all filled with possibilities … Instructors hold a special place in that cosmos. They are the guiding stars that help fuel the imagination to create, to build, to communicate, to partner. It is little wonder that instructors are innovators themselves, seeking out new worlds, new frontiers, and new opportunities for learning, as well as teaching.

On November 13th, 2019, VWBPE opened its call for proposals for the 2020 conference. This year the conference will include four conference presentation formats: in addition to the Spotlight Presentations, Hands on Technology Workshops, and Compass Points Round Table Discussions, the 2020 conference will include an additional track, Micro Burst Clusters for presentations no longer than 15 minutes.

Full details on the tracks and formats can be found on the VWBPE 2020 Call for Proposals page. In addition, those considering participating in the conference as presenters are asked to read the Presentation Paper Submission Guidelines for additional and supporting information.

The closing dates for submissions are as follows:

  • Presentations: Monday, January 13th, 2020.
  • Immersive Experiences: Monday, February 10th, 2020.
  • Exhibits: Sunday, February 16th, 2020.
VWBPE 2019: Lecture Area B

Sponsorship Opportunities

The VWBPE organiser are currently seeking sponsors for this year’s conference to help to keep this open source conference free for all to participate and to help with the conference’s informational systems, live streams, and archives active.

Your generous support will help raise your organization’s profile to gain the attention of over 1000 conference participants, including K-12 instructors, post-secondary instructors, researchers, non-profits, creative designers, education business leaders, and social media influencers in the field of education.

– From the VWBPE sponsorship page

Sponsorship opportunities start at US $250 for organisations and groups. Those interested are referred to the official VWBPE Sponsorship Opportunities pack, or sign-up directly / contact the organisers via the conference sponsorship page.

About VWBPE

VWBPE is a global grass-roots community event focusing on education in immersive virtual environments which attracts over 2,000  educational professionals from around the world each year, who participate in 150-200 online presentations including theoretical research, application of best practices, virtual world tours, hands-on workshops, discussion panels, machinima presentations, and poster exhibits.

In the context of the conference, a “virtual world” is an on-line community through which users can interact with one another and use and create ideas irrespective of time and space. As such, typical examples include Second Life, OpenSimulator, Unity, World of Warcraft, Eve Online, and so on, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest or any virtual environments characterised by an open social presence and in which the direction of the platform’s evolution is manifest in the community.

Read more here.

Additional Links

A pot-pourri of sci-fi, recipes, homely tales and Shakespeare

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home at Holly Kai Park, unless otherwise indicated.

Monday, November 11th 19:00: Teacher’s Pet / War and Peace

Gyro Muggins returns to Larry Niven’s Known Space universe and the Man-Kzin Wars series to bring us two short stories from that series written by Matthew Joseph Harrington, and which appeared in the Man-Kzin volume 11 (edited by Niven), first published in 2005.

Set after the end of the war, the stories within Man-Kzin XI are predominantly set during a period where the Kzin are down (but not necessarily out) and having to adapt to no longer being the masters of all races they encounter, and are in roughly chronological order.

The two stories by Harrington follow the trio by established writer Hal Colebatch, and marked his début as a published author at the age of 35. They are regarded by many as being strong studies in the Man-Kzin lore, whilst also drawing on other literary sci-fi sources. The stories are also noted for Harrington’s ability to round-out a number of “loose ends” within the Man-Kin wars as well as offering new slants on the broader carves of Niven’s Known Space universe.

Both stories use a play on words in their titles, with War and Peace doing so both in the manner it reflects the period of peace following war, and also for the way it focuses on the life and work of Peace Corben, a human female Protector, who returns in Harrington’s sequel story, Peace and Freedom, published in the 2009 volume Man Kzin Wars XII.

Tuesday, November 11th 19:00: What’s Cookin’?

A favourite food stories and recipe exchange with Caledonia Skytower and friends. This week: Finn Zeddmore with L’Achimista, a short story by American science fiction and fantasy writer, and psychologist N.K. Jemisin, the only author to have won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in three consecutive years. Cale contributes bits and bobs and everyone is invited to bring some of their favourite recipes to share, on note card.

Wednesday, November 12th 19:00 Stories from Home

With Thanksgiving in the United States now approaching, the Seanchai Library staff sit down to celebrate this time of year by sharing local tales from the various regions of the corporeal world where they live, or have lived. This Week Faerie Maven-Pralou and Caledonia Skytower continue with tales from the Wild-ish West. You are invited to recommend stories from your home as well.

Thursday, November 13th

19:00 Anthony and Cleopatra – A Novelisation

With Shandon Loring. Also in Kitely – find teleport from the main Seanchai World grid.kitely.com:8002:SEANCHAI.

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

Contemporary Sci-Fi Fantasy from such on-line sources as Light Speed, Escape Pod, and Clarkesworld online ‘zines and podcasts. With Finn Zinnmore.

2019 Dickens Project in Second Life announced

The Dickens Project 2018

In 2012, and to mark Dickens Bicentenary Year, Seanchai Library took their Christmas readings of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and created The Dickens Project, an interactive event centred on a series of readings of the book presented within an interactive environment celebrating Dickens’ life and work. Since 2012, The Dickens Project has become a Second Life tradition in the Christmas / holiday season.

Over the years, the Project has grown in size, from a small parcel to a full region, providing an immersive environment in which to enjoy what is perhaps Dickens’ most famous novel and explore his life and the era in which he lived. Now, for 2019, Seanchai Library has announced that The Dickens Project will again be opening its doors once more on December 1st, 2019.

Caledonia Skytower, Shandon Loring (centre) and Kayden Oconnell in an evocative shot of the virtual / live performance by Bear Silvershade

I’ve followed the Project throughout the last eight years, and have always appreciated the scale and depth of the event – and am not in the least surprised that it has become a staple of many residents’ holiday celebrations in Second Life. However, for those not familiar with the event, here are some highlights of what it encompasses:

  • A full region designed to reproduce the famous settings for A Christmas Carol within a larger location representative of Victorian London.
  • Over 40 hours spread through the month of December featuring live music, spoken word, dance events and performances and including dozens of performers, presenters and special guests.
  • Self-selectable interactive elements, including the Urchins in Dickens’ London role-play/game/experience, and opportunities for both RP and non-RP guests.
  • Educational and interpretive content to encourage questions like “What was Tiny Tim suffering from anyway?”
The Dickens Project 2017 Edition

This year, The Dickens Project includes a very special guest performer – Patch Linden! I understand he’ll be appearing around twice during the event.

The Dickens Project is not one single thing. It began as purely a story event, but has evolved to be much more. Our goal is to bring residents together around this important literary work and its themes. Whether their interest is historical, educational, artistic, social, recreational, active, and reflective – we work to provide opportunities to engage that are fun and meaningful. 

– The Dickens Project Director, Caledonia Skytower

I’ll have more on the 2019 Dickens Project in due course and ahead of the official opening, including the event schedule of readings and entertainment.

About the Seanchai Library

Seanchai Library (pronounced Shawn-a-kee, which means “Storyteller” in Irish Gaelic.) was founded in March of 2008 in Second Life. The programme remains dedicated to promoting the power of stories to transform and inspire through live voice presentations: “We bring stories of all kinds to life, in Second Life and other virtual worlds.” Find out more by visiting their website. You can join any of their weekly readings of popular stories and works from across all genres of literature in-world – again, check their website or my weekly previews of their upcoming readings.

Call for Second Life’s 2019 holiday shopping event

The Christmas 2018 Shop and Hop event

For the last two years, Linden Lab has run a winter shopping event over the end-of-year holiday period that has been variously called Shop and Drop or Shop ‘Til You Drop. On November 8th, the call was put out to merchants and creators to join this year’s event.

Running from Friday, December 13th, 2019 through to Monday, January 6th, 2020, the shopping will take place across the Lab’s special shopping regions. Past events of this natures have been held through Christmas holidays, as noted, and around other special events, such as the Second Life birthday celebrations, and have proven a popular means for merchants to bring new customers to their brands and stores.

Merchants interested in participating in the event are asked to to offer a discount on some of their items (think Cyber Monday deals!) and provide a small gift to holiday shoppers..

Those interested in joining the event should fill out the official application form.

RFL of SL: Strides campaigns raise over USD 13K in Second Life

via ACS / Making Strides

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has announced that the 2019 Strides Campaigns raised US $13,633 to help those dealing with breast cancer and in the search for a cure.

The total marks an impressive US $5,000 increase over the total raised in 2018. This year, ACS ran two flagship events for Making Strides, the Out Shop Cancer campaign that ran right throughout the month of October and involved stores and creators right across the grid, and the Pink Power Fest, which was kicked-off by the Strides Walk-a-thon on Saturday, October 19th and ran through until Saturday October 26th, 2019.

In addition, individuals and groups across Second Life were encouraged to organise their own events in support of Making Strides, with the top Strides Campaigns raising over $2,500 including Camping for A Cure & Bikers for BOObies.

The official announcement provides a further breakdown of campaigns and amounts raised, with the organisers offering warmth thanks to all who took part, either in the events themselves or in helping to organise them.

via the American Cancer Society

Commenting on the success of the season, an overjoyed Stingray Raymaker, Director of ACS in SL, said:

We were confident that this would inspire people who wanted to fight breast cancer in their own way, and the community certainly stepped up. We appreciate everyone who took part in this year’s campaign, and after looking at the data, we are really excited about what the future holds.

All funds raised through Strides Campaigns in Second Life are used by the American Cancer Society to contribute to our life-saving breast cancer research and breast cancer patient services.

Congratulations to all involved on achieving such a worthwhile result!

Are you interested in becoming a volunteer for the American Cancer Society in Second Life, and help their global efforts in helping cancer patients, their families and in seeking cures for cancer? Then please contact Stingray9798 Raymaker in-world or e-mail jeffrey.montegut-at-cancer.org.