Get Unhinged With Me

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me about Second Life, and really the internet in general, is the way people form connections, friendships and communities without ever really knowing the person on the other side.  Every now and again, you can witness the power of this phenomenon when people come together for a cause.  In the past few days a new, and instantly dear to me, cause has come to my attention.  Unhinged, a Fund Raiser for SL Resident and Creator Eku Zhong.

Her struggles started with MS. Then they found thyroid cancer, and through poor treatment it turned into bone cancer. Over the last seven years, literally countless surgeries, radiation therapies, bone replacements and marrow transplants later, the stress of repeated surgeries has left her skull fragile and yet more surgery is needed.

The area where her zygotic arch meets the temporal bone is severely compromised.
Literally there is a risk that her zygotic arch could lift off the temporal arch and push the temporal bone into her brain. Actions as simple as chewing hard food or yawning the wrong way could cause this.

There is hope. Another surgery could correct this issue, but it requires the purchase of a prosthesis to replace the damaged bone. This is where myself and a group of people who love her dearly come in, and you as well should you choose to help out.

From November 15th through December 15th, we will be running a festival in SL- a festival to celebrate Eku’s titanium spirit. The event is called Unhinged. It will be a great big gacha fair with a skull theme, lots of DJs and super fun party time, in honor of this spirited and sweet person who is such an inspiration.

Just reading that story makes you pause and appreciate your own situation for a moment doesn’t it?  It sure had that effect on me.  I know I can be prone to brief lapses of woe-is-me when the stresses of parenting, work, finances, relationships, health and just life in general seem to conspire to test how much you can bear, but the reality is I’ve been through nothing compared to Eku.

I’d like to count Eku as amongst my friends, I think I actually did a few time when drafting this post, but the truth is I’ve never met her.  I don’t mean I haven’t met her in RL, I haven’t met her in SL either.  So why has her situation touched me so much?  I guess it’s because we’re both regular members of the same online forum and have been since I joined it about a year and a half ago.  I can’t count the number of times that Eku’s quick wit and quirky sense of humour have brought a much needed smile to my face.  I’ve laughed aloud, more than once, at the perfectly appropriate and yet entirely random images she manages to find and post regardless of the topic.   Kind words of encouragement, down to earth advice and a heightened sense of compassion regularly pepper her writing.  A few months ago when one conversation revolved around describing how we are different today than we were 5 or 10 years ago, I got a glimpse at some of what was happening with Eku’s health, but I never guessed that the person who has steadily been a source of comfort and joy to the rest of us, was herself suffering to this degree.

I’m touched by the way those closest to her joined to organize this event (and shocked that they convinced her to allow them to) so I’m hoping to lend a hand in whatever way I can.  I can’t create content, I’m no performer or DJ, I’m not independently wealthy, but I have this little blog and so my contribution is to help spread the word.

This will be a gacha event, which I think is a great decision because gatchas are as fun as Eku.  Do you remember when you were a kid, the machines at the end of the check out aisle with bubblegum, decoder rings and baseball cards?  How you’d ask your mom for a quarter to play and hope you got the prize you wanted?  That’s very similar to a gatcha in Second Life.  Let’s say a creator puts shoes in the machine, same shoe in 6 different colors, one of which is rare.  The customer pays the machine and takes their chances, never knowing which color of shoes they might get.  If you wanted that rare color you might play over and over again to get them, might try to collect a whole set, or try to work a trade with someone to swap a color they want for the color you want which is why it works even better when the items in the gatcha are transfer.

Here is the list of the creators who have signed up to provide content for the gatcha machines. The split will be 75% to the fund to raise money for Eku’s prosthetic and medical needs, 25% to the vendor.  If you are a content creator and would like to participate, the link has all the contact information you need.

Not a creator?  No problem, Unhinged is not only a gatcha event, but in honor of Eku’s love of music and general nature, it’s going to start with a 24 hour long party.  If you are a DJ or hostess that would like to participate, the sign up information is here.

Are you a Blogger or Flickerite?  Perfect!  Those are others ways in which you can participate.  Elysium Hynes and Sonya Marmurek have set up a Flickr group and are taking applications for bloggers.  You can read more about it here.

Most of us are not DJ’s, Bloggers or Creators, but there are others ways we can help.  An indiegogo campaign has been started for those who prefer to donate outside of Second Life

This brings us to the last, but most important group in this event.  The shoppers!  Hang on to those linden dollars because the event doesn’t start until November 15th, although I’ll try to bring you updates and sneak previews of the items if I get the chance.  In the meantime, have a browse around Eku’s Zhong listing on Marketplace under Culprit and be sure to peek at the incredible Japanese inspired mesh furniture on there.

I’ve participated in community events and fundraisers before, from RFL to SL9B, OneVoice, Stand4Love and Burn2… but this feels different somehow.  This feels personal I guess.  I couldn’t be prouder to be part of a community that comes together like this and above all, a group that takes something this serious and brings only their combined lightness of spirit and quick of wit to create something fun for everyone.  From the skull theme to the name, Unhinged, I think you’re getting an idea about how special Eku and her friends are.

I’ve babbled long enough, join us from Nomber 15 through December 15th for the Unhinged Party and Gatcha Event and let’s get this lady a new jaw bone shall we?

Feeling The Burn2

The hardest part about returning to a blog after a two month absence has got to be deciding what to say.  “Hi honey, I’m home.”  No, that’s not quite right.

It’s funny, there is this unbelievably strong temptation to share all the reasons I’ve been away from this blog and from SL in general, but for once I’m going to listen to that little voice that tries to censor me.  Suffice it to say, I had no intention of being gone this long or quitting.

I’ve drafted several posts in my head; personal, meaty, in-depth posts about the oddness that is the passage of time in Second Life compared to the passage of time in real life, but again I’m going to skip those because as fascinating as these revelations have been to me, they really don’t need to be here.

My only regret is that I missed my one year anniversary of my blog and this Renoobed project.  Bummer!  For months I was looking forward to it, hoping for and preplanning a great anniversary worthy post, and then it passed unnoticed.

On the up side, I’ve returned just in time for Burn2 which comprised several of my early posts on this blog.  I love that, it feels nicely circular and complete for some reason.

If you aren’t familiar with Burn2, I suggest having a look at their website where you can find maps, lists of performers and activities and a history of what Burn2 is and it’s relationship to the real world Burning Man events.  Daniel Voyager’s blog is also, to me, one of the best place to find coverage of Burn2.

So what is Burn2?  Technically a collection of six sims showcasing artists, performers, creators and the community.  I know, sounds exciting right?  The fact is I can’t give you a good description of what it is because it varies for each person.  Someone exploring the sims to admire the builds may find the camps that are pretty much just RVs or tents to be disappointing.  Those who are going to listen to DJ’s and performers might be frustrated if the person they want to hear isn’t on during their time zone.  Pretty much everyone will have a comment about the lag.  To me, Burn2 is all those things and more.  I like the RV and tent camps as much as the incredible builds.  I love when the stream changes as I move from sim to sim and accidentally discovering a new DJ or performer.  I even laugh when I rez one of the many Burn2 vehicles to get around faster and find myself a victim of the lag monster.

Crashed My Ride

One of my favourite parts of Burn2 is chasing the green mob.  Do you know what I mean?  Opening your map and finding the group of green dots and joining them.  Many of us live a fairly solitary Second Life, or limit our interactions to a set group of people we’ve known for years.  Burn2 is the perfect opportunity to meet and interact with new people, just for a day or in the case of my chance meeting with a group called the Happy Clams at Burn2 last year, it can be a virtual life changing experience.

Having become an important part of my Second Life it’s no surprise that I spent opening night Burning with the Happy Clams of Organica at their camp

In addition to some familiar faces, my family really, I had the opportunity to dance shoulder to shoulder with creators I admire such as Mikati Slade and Glyph Graves.  Where else can that happen? Last year there was even a Linden pulling an almost all nighter with us.

Feeling the Burn2

Without a doubt though, the best part of Burn2 for me are the Lamplighters. Last year I had an opportunity to join their group and participate and though I can’t be certain of my availability this year so I didn’t commit, I did manage to tag along with them last night for the procession and lighting.

There is something really moving about this experience, joining with a bunch of avatars to walk the grounds lighting the lamps and then gather to dance to the sound of drums as the flames take on a life of their own. My reaction was as visceral this year as it was last, it completely transcended the online or pixel experience into one that I’m sure is as personal to every Burner as is Second Life itself.


I’m really pleased with that picture.  It’s difficult to capture motion and flame in SL photography, and though I could pick it apart and point out how my hand is cut off by the fire stick or that I should have smoothed out the waist, I’m leaving it as is because I really feel it captured the feeling I had in that moment.

Everyone is welcome so if you get an opportunity to participate or even watch the lamplighting, I highly recommend it. They gather here at 7 pm Oct 20, 21, 22, 24 and 26 and again at 2 am October 23 and 4 pm on October 25.  From there the procession goes to the temple and dances.

Even if you can’t attend the lamplighting, be sure to drop by Burn2 between now and October 28 to discover what it is to you.

Burn2 Schedule of Events