Sunday, November 25, 2012

In A New York Minute

Elspeth Humphreys' real life New York City trip, exclusively for OI Magazine,
interviewed by Sita Writer.
Pictures provided by Elspeth Humphreys. 

New York – the city that never sleeps – where everything changes and yet nothing does. You can never catch a cab in the rain but you can always get a good bagel with schmear! In the maze of Manhattan restaurants come and go in the blink of an eye, and neighborhoods are revitalized from rustic to high- end sanctuaries for high-heeled fashionistas. Vibrant with a cast of characters – visitors and residents, and a variety of superlative dining experiences, neighborhoods and attractions New York City is like no other city in the world. Locals call it “the city” because there is no other city that quite measures up to the New York experience

Fast paced, offering an opportunity for a new life, stylish, and glitzy with a dash of East Coast pragmatism or is that cynicism “the city” attracts people from all walks of life.

Elspeth Humphreys, the name of her avatar in SL, just returned from her first visit to New York City in real life back in September of 2012.

Fashion in a NYC store captured on Els' camera lens

 “Fashion drew me to New York City initially. I am from a fashion capital of the world and I have grown up with a passion for couture. I thought it would be amazing to visit and experience what another fashion forward capital had to offer and was interested to see what the fashion trends were".

Elspeth was not disappointed or surprised in her initial New York reception. “ To be honest I had been told that New Yorkers where rather rude and upfront so I was expecting that; and in fact, I got that ha-ha. I love the raw blunt edge of New Yorkers, there is no messing around and you always know where you stand,” Elspeth tells OI

Els' camera lens captures Anthony Hamilton singing

Of Elspeth’s most memorable experiences she recalls the Anthony Hamilton concert at the Beacon Theatre and watching an Alicia Keys interview at The Y center. “ The food, ITS CRAZY, and overwhelmed me and the people of New York where a breath of fresh air compared to what I am used to; adding the men are-- well, Gorgeous!” 

Els also enjoyed The Whitney Museum and in particular The Yayoi Kasuma exhibition, which is, breathtaking. 

The Manhattan skyline ,taken by Ms Humphreys
Second skyline picture, beautifully done

 She also admired the famous Manhattan skyline, Central Park and the ubiquitous yellow cabs!! A special treat for Elspeth was hooking up with some of her SL friends in RL.

NYC more than met Els’ expectations, “I felt like I was on one big film set every day. I really enjoyed the culture of the city the vibe was fantastic. The one thing I didn’t like was that I had a hard time getting directions when I was lost.”

Els' breathtaking views of the city from Top of the Rock

Elspeth stayed on the elegant Upper East Side, one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city between Central Park and the East River. The Upper East Side is located close to the Museum Mile and restaurant row on Second Ave. between east 79 and 76th Streets

Els didn’t do a lot of touristy attractions, as she was interested in exploring and experiencing the culture of the city. “The few touristy things I did do and that I enjoyed included the Top of the Rock because of the view, the Empire State Building because she stands so regally watching over her city and Time Square – it is completely over the top and overloads ones senses.”

Watch where you walk 'cause the sidewalks talk, uhm Crosswalk in this case
Els' photography of Ripley's Believe or Not, Famous Dave & Buster's

Some random New York minute shots from Els

Her pic of the East River

Els posing for a picture of herself in NYC (Uhm, she's QUITE attractive, wouldn't you agree?)

Els hopes to return to “the city” next year. “ Unlike other vacations I have taken, New York felt oddly like home even though I knew it wasn’t-- I felt like I just slotted into place.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Working Hard To Stay Broke

by DavidHawk Actor

If you've ever been so excited to get your paycheck, just to watch it go all away within minutes to all your bills, then you know exactly how I feel. Each and every week, I work forty hours to waste my days. Then, every other week, I get a paycheck that within a couple days is completely gone and I feel privileged if I got to swing through a drive thru for some dinner.
image from royalty free
Rent, groceries, power, water, sewage, trash, kids and the list goes on and on. It seems like every week I'm falling further and further behind

Rent in any specific area is defined as cost of living. Basically, New York , NY is going to be more expensive than Boise , ID. When cost of living is higher, that means minimum wage has to go up to match. This is good and bad news. First, you make more money. But in the end, that goes directly to rent. Now the con side is when the cost of living is higher, stores raise the prices of goods and services we want.
What this does is creates a void. Basically, you get $10.00 an hour and due to the cost of all your bills, it makes it to where there is no surplus of your paycheck. This creates a problem where just to survive you have to roommates or if you're married, you have to have both people working to be able to afford to not live with your parents. 

Just thirty to forty years ago, a family of five could survive on the income of only one parent. For added savings the other parent would get a job. Once the community realized that two parents were working, it all went to hell. All of the sudden, everyone knew that a family had more money and they decided they wanted it. So the prices went up. Gas for the car went up because now that you have two people driving possibly two cars, they realized you don't have a choice but use gas more.
This greed has corrupted our entire economy. Think back to when you were a kid. In most cases, we had two parents working and even with that, our homes probably only cost around $30,000. Now look at that same home and its a quarter million if not more. What is going on with this system? When did everyone decide to bleed eachother? And unfortunately its a never ending cycle. The owner of a specific company has to pay the employees more and now ups the price of their goods or services to maintain their percentage of profit. And on and on without end through all the companies and services. Another thing pushing this problem is the debt the United States has, causing our dollar to become worth less and less so anything we import is more expensive to us.

Unfortunately, there isn't going to be any vast economic change bringing the prices of things down anytime soon. Contractors will still want $100,000 to build the home so the owners will still have to sell it at $250,000 just to make a profit. Same with cars and even cereal. So the next time you wonder if you deserve a raise, the quick answer is to say "yes, you do". But if you get a raise, then the other services in the area will notice and want more of that money, jacking up their prices. 

That's my view on how hard we all work just to stay broke. If you agree, like this article and share it with others. If you don't, comment down below. And remember, I love your avatars and I'll see you next time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Visiting the Gardens of Absentia

Article by DavidHawk Actor
Pictures provided by Ipunin Pera, Carmichael Caudron & OI Magazine photographer Sita Writer

When I arrived at the Gardens of Absentia, I was immediately surrounded by one of the lush settings I've seen in Second Life™.  With the greeting area at the landing point and a donation box just down the stone path, it's easy to see why they are here.

The Gardens of Absentia is an area dedicated to the awareness and charity funding cancer research.  It was founded by Ipunin Pera and Filo Tani, both of whom are open and welcoming to everyone who visits.  They started the area because everyone knows someone who has dealt with cancer or they, personally, have dealt with it.  Ipunin said it doesn't matter if they're fighting the fight, supporting friends and family or simply in memorial, the Gardens is a place where people can come and have a positive experience like lighting candles for their loved ones.

one of the centers with ribbons supplied with information about the type of cancer and a donation box to those who wish to donate for the causes (breast cancer ribbon info center pictured here)

the leukemia ribbon info center

Pancreatic ribbon center (and then there are stomach,colon,ovarian and lung cancer ribbons as well in the sim)

One thing I found very cool as soon as I arrived was a serene waterfall and in the pool were water lanterns.  Each a varied shade of pink and purple, left by visitors with little prayers and blessings.  Walking away from the waterfall, the Gardens are proudly showing a wide variety of cancer ribbons.  Clicking on the little shrine below each ribbon gives the visitor an overview of the cancer its designated for as well as symptoms, treatment and even a notecard for more information.  Ipunin told me that her favorite is the Pancreatic Cancer area, it was an area she holds very near her heart because her father passed away from that disease over two years ago.  There, she placed a statue of a father and daughter as well as a picture of her father and herself.  

Statue dedicated to pancreatic cancer to Ipunin's real life father

The sim is a homestead that dedicated approximately 50% of its area to cancer awareness.  Every month, the Garden hosts an event where the flying of paper lanterns happens.Other than that, there are no specific events that happen on the sim because of the limited space and prims.  The Gardens has been around for four years now and even the music playing through the stream is selected by Filo and Ipunin for the guests that stop by. 

The Gardens are have two different types of donation boxes.  One that helps offset the cost of the sim and one that goes to funding Ipunin's Breast Cancer Walk, which they wait til right before the walk to transfer the L$ into RL money due to the fees Linden Lab™ and PayPal™ charge.  There is also a website if anyone wants to donate directly to the funds.

Ipunin in her giveaway outfit dedicated to Breast Cancer awareness

Over the past four years, the Gardens has helped raise approximately $L 2,000,000 with the help of talented artists and performers in SL.  If you have the itch to assist in the fight against Cancer, please contact Ipunin Pera or Filo Tani.  The Gardens does enjoy working with others to hold events, including a large event in 2010 with Costa Rica Sims™, Mad Designs™ and BOSL™.  They have helped all sorts of events like date auctions, concerts and designer showcases. 

The Gardens of Absentia group is an open group, anyone can join but it isn't currently linked to any cancer awareness groups in RL.  Most of their direct efforts are towards the Susan G. Komen 60 miles walk in 3-Days charity™ and they want to hold walks every June and October

The sim succeeds with donations from caring individuals like you, who realize that cancer affects everyone.  Either you personally will have it or someone close to you will deal with it.

Remember, if you want to help out in anyway, contact Ipunin Pera or Filo Tani.  And if you've got any interest in learning more about the various types of cancer or perhaps to light a candle for someone currently fighting or perhaps in memorial, go to and put your love out there.  

There is no such thing as caring too much or praying too hard.  Every little bit helps and everyone is a part of that.

Additional pictures of areas on the sim

Fantasy gardens section

The lighthouse

Pool of Hope and the statue dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness and survivors

Lastly, the Tiki relaxation area


Thursday, November 1, 2012

An American in the UK - Guernsey

Syrah Evans
(all camera pictures are property of Syrah Evans)

Earlier this year, I decided it was high time for this US citizen to do some more traveling. And why not travel to the UK?  The first in this series was travel to Scotland.  A lovely land and people. But, with only a few weeks to travel and wanting to visit as much as possible, I was off in the opposite direction in and actually just outside of the UK.  In this part two of a series, I went to visit Guernsey Island.
Known as the Bailiwick of Guernsey, this fine island is filled with interesting history, people and places.  Despite a common belief, the Bailiwick of Guernsey is not a part of the UK nor is it a part of the European Union.  However, it is part of the Common Travel Area of the UK making for convenient travel.  English is the common language used but they do have their own language of D'gernĂ©siais.  Nearly lost, their language is becoming more popular and is again taught in the local schools.  Historically, the island of Guernsey and the other Channel Islands are some of the last remnants of the medieval Dukedom of Normandy.
It seems a curious location for an island, just 26 miles from France.

However, it is thought at the end of the last ice age, the sea levels rose and changed Guernsey from being the tip of a French peninsula in the English Channel into an island.  Whatever the cause, nature has created a most wonderful and diverse coastline.

Along the coast of the island are many miles of walking and hiking trails.  Depending upon which part of the island you are on, you might see dramatic cliffs with a sparkling blue sea  or a long, curving beach  or even dramatic rocky shore.  While seemingly remote, you are never far from anything you may need.

The island is not large.  Just 50 square miles in size but what a wonderful place!  The air is fresh, there are farms and greenhouses in many places.  Some farms raise the famed Guernsey cows.
As my visit was in Summer, there were many roadside stands with tomatoes, flowers, all kinds of things for sale, each with a simple collection box for you to place money should you wish to buy. How wonderful and polite a place.  Even the roads have few stop signs.  Instead, the intersection instructs you to "Filter" or take turns and this is precisely what the people of Guernsey do.

Food of all types is available.  Pubs are a delightful place to sample some local fare and, of course, local ale.  The people of Guernsey are welcoming, fun, quite resourceful and they love their island. But others have wanted their island too.  
During the Napoleonic wars, forts and watchtowers were built and positioned such that any approaching enemy could likely be seen by two towers and caught in a crossfire.  During World War II, the Germans occupied Guernsey island building upon some existing structures as well as creating new sites.  Many of these are still present all over the island.
With regular air and ferry service to England, it's easy to go and see this wonderful island.  If it's only the polite but impersonal hubbub of London you seek, this might not be your first choice of destination.  But for those willing to accept Guernsey on its own terms, it's a land filled with history, lovely people and unsurpassed beauty.  I'll be back!

Thank you for reading my real life article traveling to the island of Guernsey, my name is Syrah Evans, reporting for OI Magazine.