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Tara Linden

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Blog Entries posted by Tara Linden

  1. Tara Linden
    (Photo courtesy of Juel Resistance)
    This week’s featured artist is Juel Resistance (you may know her as Suzen Juel), whose creative output consists of soulful music as well as dreamy visual art.
    Please visit her Spotify and this awesome RL video of her playing music. We hope you check out her calendar to catch her live inword!
    She posts some amazing photos in a variety of styles on Flickr, and more information can be found on her website. If you’d like to experience some of her artwork inworld, head on over to Altered.
     
    Q: When and how did you hear about Second Life?
    A: I was playing an online game with a friend called The Sims Online. He told me to check out Second Life, so I did. I created Juel Edison and explored the vast spaces and just couldn't figure out what to make of it.  While I was exploring I met another friend that I kept in touch with and eventually I just lost interest. In 2005 my SL friend said, “JUEL, COME BACK, there is live music in SL now!” I told him he was full of s*** haaa, and I came back as… well, me.

    Q: What instruments do you play, and how did you first become interested in music?
    A: I had a thing for the organ at my grandma's house when I was about 4ish. It had all those fun bossa nova, samba, cymbals sounds, so I'd putz around on it, playing what I would hear on the radio. Mom would sometimes play it with me, she had taken lessons when she was young.  I lost interest… at about 13 I found a guitar in my grandparents’ attic, a tiny one. I ran downstairs: “PAPA!” He smiled and said, “I made that the year you were born, it's yours… go play it!” I loved that guitar and I was going to learn it… so I got some books and taught myself for a while, eventually taking lessons until my guitar teacher asked me to sing and play “Delta Dawn.” I slowly packed up my little guitar, walked home, and never went back. I was mortified. SING? I'm NOT going to SING in FRONT of YOU! OMG! That was that.  I really haven't put it down since. I also have a ukulele that I love, but I don't really play it as much. I dabble around on harmonica and also have my mom's banjo, which I would like to learn as well. Oh, and I whistle, that's important too!

    Q: The painter Wassily Kandinsky was known to experience synesthesia and expressed hearing music as he painted, associating colors with distinct musical notes. As a visual artist, do you ever feel that your paintings are informed by your music, or vice versa?
    A: It's interesting that you bring up this question! When I was a preteen or so, I would listen to music, what kid didn't, right? My mom had come into my room and asked what I was doing. So I said without hesitation, "I'm drawing the sounds: this is the bass, this is the drum, this is the guitar," She just said, “Ok… interesting.” I didn't find out until many years later that this is synesthesia. It has had a profound impact on my art and music. I often paint in what I'm seeing or hearing from music with a good bass line, like trip hop. It's full of vibrant imagination to me.
    My own music doesn't really make me see colors, more shapes...closing my eyes when I perform is like a putting up the big screen theater, haha.

    Q: While there have been many incredible female Blues and Americana figures, the mainstream image of the "greats" of these genres is predominantly men. Please share some underrated female musicians that you feel we should know about.
    A: I'm a sucker for female songwriters. Lucinda Williams tells some soulful stories in her lyrics. She's relatable, she gets it. Holly Williams. Mary Gauthier. Rory Block. Beth Hart. They all have serious soul, edge, and guts.

    Q: A huge obstacle to gender equality in the arts is the notion that many see female/non-binary experiences as only interesting to them, but male experiences as universal. Do you try to make your work universally appealing, or do you aim for a niche audience?
    A: I do quirky little cartoon drawings called 'inkies.' They can have curly hair or long hair and they always have a shirt on. Someone once asked why they are all female and I said, “Nooo, they aren't, they are gender neutral.” And as I'm grinning, I realized  that no one has ever questioned this before in my inkies. As far as music goes, I write what I write and hope someone else finds it relatable, I hope someone feels something. I hope people find a little release, be it funny or sad or any other emotion. I tend not to create things to be universally appealing, it's quite personal and very much a niche audience.

    Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
    A: That we are a global community all in one little world called Second Life. We are music and art driven, we support each other with all the unique gifts we have. It's a great community that I fall more and more in love with every time.
     
    Thank you, Juel. Keep it up!
     
  2. Tara Linden
    (Photo courtesy of Nina Setner)
    This week’s featured artist is Nina Setner, an incredibly talented singer with a broad range: jazz, cabaret, vintage and current pop/R&B, musical theater, and opera. She is a lifelong lover of music and has studied vocal performance in university, record stores, and beyond.
    Her music can be found on her YouTube channel, as well as SoundCloud.
     
    Q: When and how did you find out about Second Life?
     
    A: I'm an oldie in SL--I'm coming up on my 13th rez day this October, which seems particularly insane to me. Back in 2007, my life changed radically because I'd had my first child earlier that year. Going out with the girls had been replaced with staying home with the baby, so all of a sudden I found myself without much of a social outlet. One night we happened to be watching a now ancient episode of CSI with a storyline in which SL featured, I was intrigued, and here I am--though to be fair, I would say that in addition to the life-changing relationships I've made along the way, it's the music first and foremost that has kept me here. It has always been my touchstone, in both lives. 
     
    Q: You sing in a wide variety of styles, two of which are jazz and cabaret. For people unfamiliar with these genres, how would you describe the difference? 
     
    A: Oh wow, great question--I'll do my best! In the simplest terms possible, jazz is a musical style, and cabaret is a performance style. Jazz requires a lot of imagination and willingness to experiment and be fluid with rhythm, time signature, melody--but often within a pretty strict framework. In order to excel at it, I think you have to be brave and give into the process. You can't scat sing or improvise 8 bars timidly--you have to go in with your whole heart. Cabaret on the other hand is a more intimate performance setting, as opposed to a larger theater or arena, etc. It can be free form (on the piano bar end) or it can be scripted ahead of time in a more formal cabaret club, but in both settings, singers are enjoying a rapport and a connection with their audience, either by telling them a story through songs they've chosen ahead of time or engaging with them off the cuff. Cabaret singers commit hundreds--thousands, actually--of songs to memory, because in a setting like that, you need to be ready and able to sing requests from multiple genres, jazz certainly being one of them. 
     
    Q: You mentioned that you are a mother. How do you balance your creative outlets with raising kids, and do they like music as well? 
     
    A: I was a regular in the club circuit here in Chicagoland where I reside in the days before I had my kids.  When I stumbled into SL, I had NO clue about the live music community or potential opportunity to continue performing at a high level, but thankfully I found out pretty quickly.  While they were little, I had to keep my schedule incredibly light--one, maybe two shows a week tops.  As they've gotten older and can entertain themselves for an hour (though everyone who follows me regularly has heard my kids in the background *far* more often than I'd like over the years!), I've been able to increase that show load. My kids are young  musicians as well, but neither of them enjoy singing. Apparently they're “too shy.”  I keep hoping that'll magically change one day.  Fingers crossed!
     
    Q: When books are adapted into films, there are always purists who say the source material was better. Has there been a film adaptation of a musical that you feel should only be experienced live in the theater?
     
    A: Another fantastic question. I think musicals that are more on the visual spectacle end--for example, The Lion King--I think that those are best appreciated live and in person. It's difficult to transfer the director's vision to the screen in those circumstances. I'm also a bit of a Sondheim fanatic/purist, so while I've been really happy to see his work getting the wide exposure and recognition it deserves through film adaptations of Into the Woods and Sweeney Todd, nothing takes the place of seeing Sondheim done as Sondheim intended. On the flip side, some musicals transfer brilliantly--the film version of West Side Story is still, for me, the one to beat.  I have yet to see a live performance of it (or any other movie musical) that I liked more. 
     
    Q: Did you study music or are you self-trained?
     
    A: At this point, it feels like I've been studying it my whole  life. I started playing piano as a young kid and added voice lessons to the mix during my early teen years. Those piano lessons really helped shape my ear and broaden my repertoire beyond what I even understood at the time (I was playing Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust" and songs like it back in high school out of random piano collections I'd pick up at the local music store--who knew I'd still be singing those songs 30 years later?) I did study music in college--I went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and hold degrees in both choral music education and vocal performance, and I'm still studying today--that never stops!
     
    Q: What is the most meaningful aspect of the SL music community to you?
     
    A: So, so many things. What SL and the music community in particular have added to my life and work as a musician is sort of incalculable. But I think reaching out over thousands of miles, making those connections and sharing your art and your passion with people you never would have had the opportunity to meet otherwise? I think that's pretty damn special. I hope we're here for years to come.

     
    Thank you so much, Nina!
     
    Don’t forget to check out her calendar for upcoming performances, and her group in SL.
     
     
    If you or someone you know would like to sign up to be featured in Music Mondays, please fill out this form. For more information, take a look at our official announcement.
     
  3. Tara Linden
    A couple weeks ago I wrote about Dancing in Second Life, and I wanted to elaborate on something I had mentioned: animation overrides. This is a scripted attachment that changes the manner in which your avatar’s body moves. Like most things in SL, they are created by Residents and the marketplace has a multitude of styles if you’d like to add a little oomph to the way you walk, jump, stand, etc.

    (Photo by Catloafs)
    You can get a set of animations or even a single gesture if you’re looking for something very specific. There are AOs made for females, males, and some are unisex. Some basic AO sets come with dances as well, which you can try out using the HUD. Swim like a mermaid, strut without a care in the world, or bellydance on a colorful Oriental rug. I even saw an AO that replicated the final dance scene in Dirty Dancing, so there is certainly no shortage of options. The animations category of the Destination Guide has many great shops in which you can demo different styles before purchasing.
    It’s important to note that certain situations, like pose balls or sitting on furniture, will require you to turn off your AO to function properly. This script will make that automatic, if you prefer. Since most Bento heads come with a selection of facial expressions, you can decide if you want an AO for the entire body or from the neck down. If you don’t know where to start, a tutorial should make the variety of animations a little more approachable. Our bodies are such a huge part of how we express ourselves in RL, so why not extend that element to your presence inworld?
    If you have a photo or video of yourself being particularly lively, silly, sleepy, etc., submit it to our Flickr!
  4. Tara Linden
    This week’s featured musical artist is Komuso Tokugawa, whose work defies easy categorization. His style has evolved over many years of studying music to the molecular level and is also deeply informed by his travels and different cultures.

    (Photo Courtesy of Komuso Tokugawa)
     
    Q: When and how did you discover Second Life?
    A: In 2005 I was in Australia researching game based learning and heard about SL. At the time they didn't allow international signups. Eventually they opened it up and I signed up. I quickly discovered there were a handful of musicians live streaming into SL and that sounded interesting (literally!) so I got to work (with the help of some great SL collaborators) and started jamming too. There are a few of those original musicians still jamming in SL too!
     
    Q: You describe your music as Bitstream Boogie and Bluestronica. For those not familiar with these terms, could you please describe them?
    A: I have a lot of musical interests, and I like doing mashups of different genres to create new hybrid musical genres to go with my experiments into new sounds and instruments. Bitstream Boogie I'd describe as a mix of groove-based Mississippi Hill country blues blended with world music roots rhythms and sonic experimentation around a core of blues tone. Bluestronica is a mix of electronica grooves with electric blues. I've also done a lot of ambient music work.
     
    Q: What drew you to these genres? Any albums you would suggest?
    A: Great question! If I had to describe my style in a short sentence I’d say it’s all about Groove, Tone, and Story. The groove is the heartbeat of the song, the tone is the emotion expressed through instruments/voice, and the story is the composition and arrangement flow that takes the listener on a journey. Any music that has those three elements captures my mind, body, and spirit.
    There are so many great influences but to pick a few: 
    -Ali Farka Toure & Ry Cooder - Talking Timbuktu
    -Morcheeba - Who can you Trust?
    -Younger Brother: A Flock of Bleeps
    -Atomic Skunk & Bluetech - anything by them
    -The Blues Roots: Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Hound Dog Taylor, Etta James, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and so many more.
     
    Q: What instruments do you play, and how did you start playing music?
    I sing and play slide guitar mainly (with a dose of finger style and pick), harmonica (mainly in a rack), Shakuhachi, and electronics of different types via different control interfaces. I developed a dynamically controlled AI rhythm section as backing for playing online in SL.
    My parents had an extensive record collection so I grew up listening to a lot of jazz and big band music. Then one night I was trawling the airwaves on my radio (a device we had back pre-internet days) and out of the static came this sound I'd never heard before - the crying sound of a blues harmonica and it captivated me with the emotion. I'd found the weekly blues show from a university radio station, and I was off on a musical discovery journey.
    I'm mainly self taught but I've since done a music master’s degree. My experience being a self taught musician has also been behind my development of music education apps like https://harpninja.com/. I'm currently in the alpha testing stage of a new web app I'm developing to help musicians practice more efficiently and effectively.
     
    Q: Your music draws from musical styles found all over the world. How did you learn about these?
    A: A big part of it was the uni radio station I mentioned before, they had specialist shows of different genres you never typically heard: African, folk, world music, etc. When I went to uni there I volunteered for graveyard announcer shifts and spent them exploring their eclectic album library. Since then I've lived all over the world (now in Tokyo) and have explored many musical cultures.
     
    Q: What aspects of the SL music community are the most meaningful to you?
    A: SL music has always been the "killer app" of SL to me due to its effectiveness in bringing diverse people together to create long term virtual relationships through the high bandwidth emotional channel of live music. 
    Some examples:
    -Venue owners like Dr. John Kane, owner of Dr. John's Music Park (and also a great musician!), where I've been performing a weekly gig every Friday night since 2013.  There's been a bunch of other great venue owners and promoters over the years (RIP Circe Broom).
    -Real time music jams/collaborations with other musicians, like fellow SL musicians Hathead Rickenbacker, Noma Falta, and others. An example of one real time networked live music event in a custom juke joint set I made, filmed by the late great SL Machinima artist Osprey Therian (RIP).
    -The audience relationships. I'm forever grateful to anyone who's willing to listen to my musical experiments, and happy it can help soothe their soul. It's as much musical therapy for me as it is for the audience. Many of them are long-time SL'ers who I've never met in real life but we come together via SL to have a high touch emotional connection experience via live music. 
    -One of my audience wrote this about me which I think describes my style best: “Komuso Tokugawa’s approach to the blues is unique. The rough-around-the-edges sound is often described as ‘dirty’, ‘grungy’ or ‘alternative.’ Highly experimental, Komuso takes influences from world music and wraps them around the emotionally charged blues core to create his sound.”
     
    Please check out his music below!
     
    Websites
    https://komuso.info/
    https://sonicviz.com/
     
    Audio Links
    SoundCloud
    https://hearthis.at/sonicviz/
     
    Videos
    https://komuso.info/category/videos/
  5. Tara Linden
    With countless regions, parties, activities, and ways to modify your appearance, it’s safe to say that there’s always something to do in Second Life. However, it’s understandable that one might feel stuck or overwhelmed by all the choices. I don’t think I’m the only one who gets anxiety from spending 30 minutes on Netflix trying to decide what to watch.
    Luckily, there is a vast selection of topics under discussion in our community forums to help guide you through those moments.

    New Residents might have trouble looking for a specific item in the marketplace, finding the avatar that’s right for them, or understanding SL terminology that feels very natural to long term Residents. I definitely thought they were talking about cupcakes the first time I saw the term Bakes on Mesh.
    The main sections are People, Places and Events, Creation, Technology, Commerce, Land, and International. They cover just about everything you could imagine: machinima, land rentals, relationships, etc. For miscellaneous and support related questions, you can always go to the Answers section. And the best part is this discussion involves other Residents, all of whom were newbies at one point.
    I love that there is a Missed Connections section. SL is such a great place to meet people, but sometimes things get in the way the first time around and this is a great way to get a second chance at reaching out to someone. The forums are like an encyclopedia of Second Life information for those “What in the virtual world is going on?” moments, and I encourage everybody to check them out!
  6. Tara Linden
    This week on “Music Mondays,” we are featuring Novel Popinjay, a Second Life veteran who creates rap and hip hop tracks that encompass a broad range of moods and tones. His music is perfect for a long summer drive, with some songs being smooth and dreamy and others infused with an upbeat tempo and lyrics laced with confident and candid expression. He is adept at sampling snippets of dialogue and speeches that make it easy for listeners to visualize each detailed moment. 
    Definitely check out his SoundCloud and music video to experience it for yourself! 
    Q: When and how did you discover Second Life?
    A: It's been so many years, I don't even remember how I got on here. I’m 14 years on SL.
    Q: You described your music as rap, trap, and hip hop. For those unfamiliar with these genres, rap and hip hop are often seen as interchangeable. In your words, how would you distinguish them as two unique categories?
    A: I feel rappers more so want the fame and money, and hip-hop is more so emcees and they love the craft. I feel like I possess both hats. I love the craft and I also have that flashy trendy vibe with my music.
    Q: How did you first get involved in making music, and what instruments and/or programs do you use?
    A: I record in ProTools. I mix and master my music as well as my artist’s music. I co own a record label with ym hollies called Hoolyville Records. Hoolyville Records consists of 10 artists.
    Q: Tell us about the musicians that have been the most influential to you.
    A: Sade, Tony Tony Tone, Papoose, Eminem, TI, Donell Jones, R. Kelly, 2Pac, Biggie Smalls, and Big L, in no specific order. I love all genres of music actually and have no favorites. I appreciate different styles for different moods.
    Q: What aspects of the SL music community are the most meaningful to you?
    A: Live performances, urban DJs and strip clubs. Also shout out to the brothers Kappa Theta Phi!!!
    Q: What advice would you give to a young musician who is just starting out?
    A: Take your craft seriously, be consistent, humble, hungry, and professional.
     
    Thank you so much for sharing, Novel Popinjay! We look forward to hearing your voice continue to evolve and flourish.
  7. Tara Linden
    When there aren’t a lot of positive headlines, sometimes it’s hard to balance being an informed citizen and preserving your sanity. For those of you not familiar with one of the most epic TV friendships of recent herstory, Christina Yang and Meredith Grey had a tradition of doing an impromptu jig together when things got overwhelming.

    (via GIPHY)
    During moments like this, I think we could all benefit by following their lead. Especially now that many of us are more sedentary than usual, it’s easy to forget that dance is such a natural mode of expression; distinct forms of dance have developed in almost all human cultures throughout history.
    Second Life has an array of clubs and lounges, but when the virtual world is your oyster, you can dance wherever you want. Many animation overrides have a fun selection of dance moves to get you started, but don’t hesitate to peruse the Second Life Marketplace if you’d like a particular style. I’ve seen everything from ballet to reggaeton. Beginners, fear not, as some regions have dance balls that automatically put you in party mode when you stand on them. Our forums are also a great place to get the inside scoop from other Residents if you ever feel stuck when trying out something new. Feel free to take some inspiration from videos Residents have submitted to our Flickr.

    (Photo by Belinda Newell)
    An inworld dance party is a safe and relaxing way to have fun and just be in the moment. Everybody deserves to let go of their worries every once in a while, so dance it out!
  8. Tara Linden
    (Photos by ๖̶̶̶̶ۣۣۜۜζ͜͡ ƝЄƛԼ๑̶̶ۣ., Ryanna •{ The ImageMaker, and Roman Godde)
    We are very excited to announce a brand new initiative that aims to highlight the many talented musicians of Second Life. Our virtual world has a thriving community of artists who span a vibrant range of styles. At any moment in Second Life, you’ll find live music performances occurring across the many clubs and venues that are a key part of the fabric that makes up the Second Life community. We feel that the music scene in Second Life deserves wider recognition and promotion -- and that’s why we’ve created Music Mondays. 
    Beginning next week, we will be spotlighting a different musician in a blog post published each Monday. This is your chance to discover and celebrate the musicians of Second Life as we share insightful background information, interview questions, and links to their music and/or videos. As many of you know, there are hundreds of music oriented regions and venues in SL. We hope to spread awareness of this active scene, as the calendar of live performances is brimming with excitement. In the near future, we’ll start to showcase some artists on our recurring talk show “Lab Gab,” too!
    If you would like to be featured, or have a recommendation, please fill out this form.
     
  9. Tara Linden
    Last week we announced the beginning of Music Mondays, a new weekly initiative to spotlight the diverse talents of the musicians of Second Life. 
    Our first featured musician is Quartz, whose eclectic style is sure to have something for everyone. Some of you may already know of him, as he has been a Resident and fixture of the SL music scene for quite some time. A talented multi-instrumentalist, his musical style is classic, indie, and progressive rock. As with any devoted artist, his style has evolved over the years, and we encourage you to check it out.

    (Photo courtesy of DupliCat)
    A selection of his music is available on ReverbNation and HearNow, as well as some videos on YouTube.
    Q: What was the first record you ever bought?
    A: Hmmm... that's a toughy. I think it was Quadrophenia by The Who. Might have been Pink Floyd’s Animals. First Queensryche EP? The soundtrack to Heavy Metal? I still have all of these.
    Q: When and how did you discover Second Life?
    A: I saw a show on TV about SL and I thought "That looks cool!" After I signed up, I found out you could actually perform music to an audience. Double cool. And off I went...
    Q: What instruments do you play and how did you first become interested in making music?
    A: Keyboards, electric guitar (lead & bass), acoustic guitar, drums, voice, still working on harmonica. How? I took, I think, three or four guitar lessons when I was young then I stopped. Then out of those, I figured out how to play "Squeeze Box" by The Who. After that, I couldn't stop. Still can't. Once I start working on something, I just go and go. I don't know what I'd do without music.
    Q: Describe your favorite experience as a musician in SL.
    A: It's hard to pick one. Out of recent memory, it's doing the Pink Floyd tribute shows with Skyfire (ParticleTom Nova and Lexi Marshdevil). Tom & Lexi are so talented and creative and their particles look stunning with the music of Floyd. I love that we can combine two arts into one show. Stay tuned... Pink Floyd's "The Wall" show is coming soon My other favourite experience is dualing with Max Kleene. Sadly, I don't have time to dual a lot, but I really enjoy my shows with Max; we're just two crazy Canucks having fun. I highly encourage you to check out dual shows (2 or more musicians). It's a very cool experience.
    Q: If you could open for any musician, who would it be?
    A: Peter Gabriel. I'd actually be happy having a tea with him to say thank you for all he's done. An artist beyond time and scope.
    Q: What aspects of the SL music community are the most meaningful to you?
    A: The support of the fans in SL for live music and the arts. In RL, it's so hard to generate an audience appreciative of performing artists to come to the shows. I have some really great fans that come out consistently and support me & the SLive Music venues. I'm very grateful for all of them. I've been told I have some of the best fans out there by venue owners. That makes me very happy.
    Q: Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, there's been a lot of talk on the internet about how all the extra time at home we have could be put to creative use. That can feel like a lot of pressure, and it's important to acknowledge that it's okay to just focus on taking care of yourself and your loved ones during this uniquely stressful time. What are your thoughts on that, and has your creative output been impacted by these circumstances?
    A: My creative output has remained pretty much the same. I keep the same hours. I do miss being able to play with my RL band for live shows. But for everyone to be safe, those will have to wait. I did finally get my EP finished though. And up on the Spotify/iTunes thingy. So maybe my output has been impacted. I'd rather everyone stay safe and do their best to help others stay safe. This will be over. Might not be next week. But it will pass.
     
    Quartz would also like to give a shoutout to his management team. His manager, DupliCat, has been by his side from the beginning, and he would also like to give a huge thank you to Liz Harley, Laurie Alexis and the entire Keys Management Group (KMG)
    Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with us, Quartz!
    Please check out his calendar for information on his upcoming shows.
  10. Tara Linden
    (Photo by inkie Pixelstyles)
    Does your avatar need a furry friend? From more traditional options like dogs and cats to farm animals and exotic creatures, there is a delightful array of pets available at the Second Life Marketplace. No need to worry about whether your landlord approves or if you have the space.
    You can also pamper your pet with stylish collars, beds, and other accessories. Will your in-world buddy be a couch potato or a ball of energy? It’s up to you! They say pets take on their owners’ traits. Plus, just like people often ask to pet a dog they pass on the street, virtual pets can make great conversation starters. It might just be time for you to open the cat cafe of your dreams. Check out the Animals section of our Destination Guide for some awesome pet-spiration today.

    (Photo by ๖̶̶̶̶ۣۣۜۜζ͜͡ ƝЄƛԼ๑̶̶ۣ.)
  11. Tara Linden
    (Pictured: Isle of Pandasia)
    The news can be a little scary as of late, and when you’re cooped up inside it’s easy to get stuck in a loop of not-so-positive thoughts. In fact, our brains are wired to remember negative experiences more easily than moments of kindness. However, it is absolutely possible to change your mental habits to make your day to day more fulfilling, and not just by watching videos of dog dancing competitions. Although there’s nothing wrong with that.
    An important step in this process is mindfulness. The act of being truly present and appreciating the moment has appeared in many belief systems, both religious and secular. No matter what school of thought guides you, we all have beating hearts that get tired from working overtime due to stress. Meditation has been proven to reduce anxiety and even improve your physical health. 
    It’s important to take care of yourself, not just for your benefit, but also so you can be around the people important to you for as long as possible. 
    If you’d like to take a moment to be still in nature or quietly contemplate, there are many soothing locations in Second Life for a virtual meditation session. We hope these places can help you feel free from worry.
    Chinook Rockies 3SL: A mountainous region dappled with lush patches of trees and waterfalls to help you take some deep breaths. Isle of Pandasia: This surreal cluster of small, mossy islands is a great place to admire birds, lily pads, and glittering rock bridges. You might even see a giant floating fish! Botanical: For the avatars with green thumbs, Botanical is a great place to take a peaceful walk surrounded by a variety of plants or get ideas to cultivate the garden of your virtual world dreams. Star Journey: If you’d like to take your “me time” with a side of cosmic splendor, this stunning collection of sky galleries is truly otherworldly. Saddles Art Gallery & Ballroom: Take a stroll through this enchanting garden adorned with artwork that is complemented by the sound of wind chimes and birdsong.  
  12. Tara Linden
    While many localities are now in the process of carefully reopening certain businesses, many of us will likely be telecommuting for a few more months. Some companies are even giving their employees the option of permanently working from home if they prefer. 
     
    Whether you’re itching to get back into your routine or pleased about not having to deal with You-Know-Who leaving dirty dishes in the break room (every workplace has one!), we wanted to present a way to add a little flair to your video chats. With an abundance of gorgeous regions to choose from, why not set a screenshot from Second Life as your Zoom virtual background? The Destination Guide has a photo for each entry, and you of course have the option of snapping a picture inworld. Impromptu video call making you panic about that laundry pile? Place yourself in an immaculate virtual living room.
     
    The category Photogenic Spots is a great place to start out, and the Art section has some immersive and surreal environments that are visually stunning. You could have a Mediterranean cliffside for your meeting at 2:00 and a disco dance floor for a hangout with friends at 5:00! With so many options, it’s impossible to choose just one.
     
    Just don’t turn yourself into a potato!
     

    (Photo by Elenna Dagostino)

  13. Tara Linden
    Celebrate cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back alongside the largest community of cancer-fighting avatars at the annual Relay For Life of Second Life, which opens today. 
    This prominent grassroots fundraiser takes place year-round in all kinds of locations, including our very own virtual world. The proceeds go towards helping people at any stage of cancer as well as prevention: screening, research, and even providing rides to chemotherapy. Almost $4 million USD has been raised in Second Life for the American Cancer Society across the many inworld fundraising events since they started in 2005.
    There is a full day, night, and morning of activities scheduled, so get that coffee brewing! Unfortunately, just about everybody knows someone who has been affected by cancer, but in times of duress, the community can be a game-changer. Second Life has been defined by people open to connection, so come meet other residents who want to tell this disease to hit the road. 
    If you’re curious about past inworld RFL fundraisers, check out our wiki page, which also details how Dr. Gordy Klatt started this event about 35 years ago. You can also watch an interview with the organizers behind the Second Life event on our YouTube channel.
    Better yet, teleport to American Cancer Society Island to join the event this weekend!
  14. Tara Linden
    (Photo by Patch Linden)
    Today is the kickoff for Second Pride, and as we all know, things are going to be a little different this year. In the wake of many canceled celebrations in the physical world, we hope to make this Pride Month extra special, because the dignity in representation is priceless. Pride celebrations have become more and more inclusive over the years, going from gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender representations to a broader spectrum of gender expression and orientations.
    The phrase “Silence is Complicity” has appeared on many banners over the last week, and that sentiment certainly rings true with us. In recognition of intersectionality and the importance of allyship, the organizers have declared that this year’s theme is “together.” We all face different challenges, but standing up for each other provides the strength to keep going. 
    Come help us put the unity in community ❤️
    There are so many awesome events scheduled to celebrate love and equality. In addition to Second Pride, be sure to visit several of the simultaneous Pride celebrations going on across the grid including London Pride, Burrow Pride Fest, Pride Festival SL, and SL Pride at Home. 
    Check out our LGBTQ+ and Pride community pages to see even more featured regions. 

  15. Tara Linden
    Pictured: Machu Picchu
    At this point you may have organized your whole house, binged an entire series, or had a moment where you forgot what day it was. It’s no easy feat staring at the same walls everyday, but we’re chugging along. It’s totally natural to feel a little squirrely and bummed out that our 2020 travel plans might not work out the way we had hoped. We curated a list of real life locations that have been replicated in Second Life so you can adapt to a virtual vacation. Overpack all you want, there are no extra baggage fees to worry about!
     
    Machu Picchu: Get your steps in by climbing the labyrinthine Inca citadel in the mountains of Peru. Named one of the new 7 wonders of the world, the view from the top is incredible. You might even see a baby llama! Oahu Vacation Resort: One of the larger islands of Hawaii, Oahu is home to Honolulu, the state capital, numerous beautiful beaches, and Pearl Harbor. Fun shopping, scenic overlooks, and white sand await. Kowloon: Based on a portion of Kowloon Walled City, the intricately developed streets are lit by a characteristic neon glow. The concrete architecture and dark lighting give off a slight cyberpunk vibe.   The Grand Canyon: Grab your visor, it’s gonna be a scorcher. Explore this vast natural marvel carved by the Colorado River millions of years ago. There are also fun activities like horseback riding and games. Stay hydrated. Temasek: Temasek boasts beautiful recreations of the mangroves that serve a pivotal role in the local ecology. This region also has educational posts with fun facts about Singapore’s culture and history.   Eiffel Tower: Located in Paris, France, the Eiffel Tower has come to symbolize French culture and is the most visited paid monument in the world. The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is the perfect place for a romantic stroll. Guadalajara, Mexico: Enjoy the colorful atmosphere of one of Mexico’s most famous cities. It also has a region dedicated to the coastal city of Puerto Vallarta for an extra summery feel.
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