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Showing posts with label Mackenzie Abbot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mackenzie Abbot. Show all posts

Friday, July 21, 2023

All In The Mind-Mackenzie Abbot reporting…

Occasionally, the boss will put a story idea on the assignment log that strikes a chord with me and I must take it.  Not through necessity, but through sheer curiosity.

When I was given the job of discovering more about Fearless Nation PTSD Centre and what it does, I jumped at the chance.  As a sufferer of PTSD myself, I was curious to find out more about what goes on at Fearless Nation and what, exactly, PTSD is.

I spoke with Dr Colleen Crary at the meeting point after she gave a lecture.

Mack:So, the first question is as part of Fearless Nation, you deal with PTSD sufferers, what is PTSD?

Dr Colleen: What is PTSD? Well, It's a complicated condition. I like to call it a condition, not an illness. It is the only mental health challenge or condition that people get that is caused by external means. For example, things like bipolar, schizophrenia. Those might be genetic. I mean, we don't know. There's so much we don't know in science. PTSD, however, can be directly linked to things like combat, being a crime victim, being abused in childhood and so on and so forth. Whereas where the abuse, or the event is external. Now people always ask me what about natural disasters, you know? Whether it's a volcano or a hurricane or a flood or something like that. What was heavily studied and observed during Hurricane Katrina down in the south part of the United States, and further studies have been done since then, is that the natural disaster is very shocking. It's horrible. You lose your house., it's terrible. It's hard, but it's what happens when there's an absence of the law. There's lawlessness and a lot of crime goes on person to person, and that tends to be what causes the PTSD.  Two things happen. First of all, the brain changes shape.  The brain completely alters its shape, six months after the traumatic event. And what happens is that a person when you are being traumatised or, you know, bullied or a crime is being committed upon you or you're in combat, what happens is your brain goes into the fight or flight mode. It's a very primitive thing. It's what protected us from Sabre tooth tigers, so to speak. And what happens is it goes into fight or flight and the memory of the trauma divides into parts of the brain that are nonverbal and verbal and because that happens after the trauma is over, trauma patients can't remember the whole thing in sequential order. You know what memories of, say, a birthday party or going to work or a work project or something like that. When one is in the fight or flight mode, that memory is spliced up and goes to different areas of the brain. And then unfortunately afterwards, that's why we have the nightmares, the hypervigilance, the startle effect, and going involuntarily into shock because the nonverbal memories have not been united with the verbal memories. But there are many, many wonderful diverse ways to reunite those memories and then process the entire trauma and grieve it. There's a lot of grief work involved. There's a lot of anger work involved, et cetera. And just one sequential memory being processed and understood, and then you come to terms with it, and you can move on with your life. But it’s easier said than done. When these memories are divided, what happens is people manifest physical ailments, the nightmares, the night terrors, panic attacks, for seemingly no reason. Or there might be a trigger that reminds them of the trauma event. And, on the other side of it, is we go numb, we go and voluntarily into shock and we find it hard to maintain intimacy. We find it hard to stay with people. You know when they're talking to us it's like sometimes, we go numb, or we dissociate. Dissociate is the clinical term. We will somebody will be talking to us and it's like I can't understand a word the person is saying because we go into shock and sometimes it cycles at the same time in our brains you can understand just how difficult it is, but there are many, many, many ways to bring these memories together. But it's not easy for the PTSD patient to do these things. It's extremely hard and it's very unfair and they're incredibly angry about it because I didn't cause this trauma. I didn't ask to be hurt or bullied or have a crime committed against me or to be in a firefight in in war, in the war theatre. Now I must do all the work, so I get a lot of that, but you must go through it to get processed and over it.

Mack: You've answered the three questions I had written down in one sentence. So that kind of threw me off a little bit.

Dr Colleen: What were questions two and three, please. I may have something to add

Mack: Well, question one was what is PTSD, what is the effect and what I was actually going to ask you is that as a PTSD sufferer myself, my psychiatrist has said on more than one occasion that PTSD is basically a filing error in the  brain, where you take an event that's happened to you and you either try and build a wall around it or you file it away somewhere. And it just reappears. You know, at random time, like you say, would you agree that is that the case?

Dr Colleen: Absolutely. As I was saying. During the traumatic event, we go into shock. It's fight or flight. And the memory of the trauma is divided into non-verbal parts of the brain like your psychiatrist was talking about, you know, a filing error. It is a filing error. That's a great term. I'm going to use that. I'm going to steal that from you! Nonverbal areas of the brain and the verbal areas of the brain. This is why, here's an example. This is why for many years police did not believe rape victims or some crime victims because the part of the trauma was in the nonverbal areas of their brain where that information is stored, and they only could see bits and pieces. I mean, imagine if you're being assaulted or raped, where is your attention when you are in fight or flight when your brain kind of shuts down. I mean, it's like oxygen doesn't reach certain parts of the brain so that you can get away from, as I said, the primitive Sabre tooth tiger analogy. You're looking at the gun, the knife, or the weapon. And you're trying to figure out how to get out of this. You might play dead and just let it happen because you just freeze, like a deer in the headlights. So that's very much true. But the going one of the more popular theories is exactly what your psychiatrist said. It's a filing error in the brain between the verbal and nonverbal areas of the brain because after the trauma is over and you're safe, then you start having all these weird symptoms. Like you know, sudden panic attacks or just going numb and winking out for a few minutes or a while. Depression, anger, grief, because it' very frustrating, very frustrating illness. Or uh condition. 

Mack: So how does your organisation help avatars who come along and say, look, I need help.

Dr Colleen: Well, the reason I think that a virtual world like second life is so great. And I thought so when I first came in in 2008 and then I left because I was freaked out and overwhelmed by it all. And then I came back in 2009, just a couple months later. January because I started thinking, wait a minute. It's got built in anonymity. You know, you can come in with an avatar name and a personhood presence and. You don't have to use voice. We're using voice right now, but there are a lot of people that their bodies have been compromised by war. My best friend here in second life was a 9/11 Ground Zero EMT or emergency medical technician and stayed at Ground Zero for a long time and prefers not to speak, so she uses everything in the chat box. This is a perfect place because people can come, and they can present the bodies that they... they're like my avatar. It looks like my best day at age 27, OK. In real life I look the same, but a little older and more tired also. We have, you know, a lot of veterans or people that have survived car crashes, you know, vehicular accidents. That were traumatic, et cetera, and they may have bodies that are compromised, or they may be ill. You may fit surprising, but people who have gotten cancer or had to have limbs amputated for one reason or another, they experienced PTSD. I mean, think about it like for a cancer patient or, you know, a deadly diagnosis. Just you're told. “Hey, you know you you're not going to make it.”  Yeah, this is it. And you go and you get your will drawn up and you get your house in order, and you make sure everything's right and you're all OK. I'm ready to go. I'm ready to die and go to heaven. And then it's like, ohh well, we got the test back and, and you're going to make it. You're fine. You're still alive. And people like flip out. I mean, because it's very traumatic to go through and especially children who get cancer or long-term degenerative illnesses. They developed PTSD as well, so I think second life is a wonderful place because you can look your best self and you can be your best self. Some people come in here and they're not their best self. They're their worst self and we've we know all about that griefers and people like that. But what a wonderful place for people to come and talk about very painful truths in their lives, abuses that they've suffered, and they can do so as they please. They don't have to battle traffic to get to a psychiatrist's office or be face to face on a screen. I guess we do more virtual stuff now with therapy, but they can come in and discuss these things and we have peer support meetings. We stopped them for the summer, but we're going to be having them again in the fall, so feel free to join us, anyone. We're open to everyone who has PTSD. But the virtual. World is perfect for PTSD treatment. I See it as a Real therapeutic edge.

Mack: Is there a procedure for helping various PTSD victims, not victims of PTSD sufferers? Is there a certain stage by stage process, or is each individual different?

Dr Colleen: Everyone is different. I mean I think with any mental health condition, you know, each of us is a unique set of variables. Nature variables and nurture variables. That's why it's so hard to get medications right for people with any sort of mental condition, and why what works for one person doesn't work for another. And one of the big problems in healthcare or mental health care is that there tends to be this one-size-fits-all sort of you know plan and, even just diagnosing things, it's with one-size-fits-all, and that's not how people are, and that's not how human beings' work

Mack: So, you're also a real-life non-profit organisation for PTSD sufferers. How would someone find you if they didn't fancy doing it in world? How would they find you?

Dr Colleen: We've had better luck in world than we have in real life. There's, like, a million nonprofits or charity organisations for mental health and for PTSD, and particularly with the pandemic. But even pre pandemic getting people to.... there's still a lot of stigma attached to having. PTSD. So, getting people to step up and come to meetings in person. I mean, I can't tell you how many gyms or uh YMCA you know rooms or community centres where I've. I've sat on a folding chair with a big circle of empty chairs around me. We get much better results in in world and that may sound strange, it seems like this PTSD meetings like Veterans groups will have them. But people don't want it to be known that they have PTSD because there's all this stigma that people with PTSD were ticking time bombs. We're going to climb the clock tower. And this is simply not true. I mean, someone might have PTSD who you know, of course, you know, here in America, we have, like, a mass shooting three times a day. But they might have PTSD. PTSD can certainly exacerbate existing homicidal tendencies. But people who kill are... they already have a form of paranoid schizophrenia. Homicidal tendencies are really the best term for it. But it's people with PTSD. The leading cause of death for us is suicide. We are far more likely to top ourselves or self-harm or commit suicide than to harm someone else. In fact, the reason why we have PTSD is because we have a conscience, and we have we feel the weight of responsibility. To those we love and to the community in general. And I don't think the public understands that. So, in real life I just I like stopped it.  Now that PTSD is being a little more accepted after the pandemic, especially with medical workers and such, I want to restart it here in my community in southern Washington state, the Pacific Northwest. But it's extremely hard to get butts on seats. Whereas here people will come because nobody knows who they really are in real life, because there's still so much stigma.

I thanked her for her time and we parted ways.  I felt I had gained an insight into my own version of PTSD and the condition in general.  We only scraped the surface of PTSD and we could have continued the conversation for a few more hours.

Maybe, it’s time YOU had that conversation?

Fearless Nation can be found here

Friday, January 27, 2017

Diva Stone –Gloomy Tuesday By Mackenzie Abbot

In the early hours of Thursday morning, the 26th of January 2017, I was just about to go over the edge of consciousness into the realms of sleep when my Skype pinged. And I saw the words I never ever imagined I'd ever have the misfortune to cast my eyes over.

“Diva passed away last night. Just thought you should know.”
My initial reply was “Stone?” I was dozy and later remembered that I didn’t know any other Diva’s. And then the call came.
She had been found at home after not responding to skype and phone calls, and not showing up for work that morning.  Her Master had called the police and they gained entry to her apartment. She was just 34, way to young to be taken from this world.
I’m not totally sure if it’s the numbness from the news or the fact I’m getting old, but I cant quite remember how Diva exploded in to my life.  All I know is she did, and she stayed, beginning 2 years of a friendship that I treasured each and every single day, and still do even though she’s gone.
During bouts of late night SL’ing, I'd often chat with her before a show and she was always nervous, something she went on record about in an interview I had with her for a feature in the SL Enquirer a few years ago. We skyped a few times and I could hear the warmth and love she had for life in every breath.
She gave her everything with every performance and, as one of her harshest critics, I got to know subtle clues that gave away that she wasn't quite well or not in the right frame of mind that night. To most people, including die hard fans, this wasn't evident in her performance and she would sometimes cover it up with that high to low “oh oh ooh whoa” thing that people like Christina Aguilera do in most of their songs. 
She always gave 100% in everything she did, and told peoples stories in song. You didn’t care where she took you, you were just glad she did. Yes, sometimes she strained to get some notes. Yes, sometimes she missed them. But you know what? Nobody really cared. She snared you in from the moment the notice went out to the time she stopped.
At time of writing, details are still sketchy, but the one thing that is certain is that never again will I hear the words “Mackenzie, I see you Papi, hugs your face” nor will any of us ever hear that voice grabbing you by all your senses and french kissing you into the ground until there's nothing left but pure and utter pleasure.
Diva, I never knew your real name and, in all honesty, I don't care.  To me, and your hundreds of fans in Second Life and real life, you are nothing but the true Diva. You’ll live on in our heads and our hearts.You leave a huge hole that will never be filled, but your talent towers over that hole, filling it with the memory of your gift for song, story telling and love.  If there's a heaven, there's going to be one hell of a show up there tonight.  I hope Whitney and Lady Ella take good care of you.
If life is a game of cards, somebody is cheating.
Fly free, sing sweet and, when my time comes, save me some front row seats.
We won't forget you Babygirl.

Diva Stone 1982 -2017

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Windows 10 and Second Life: A Match Made In Heaven? - Mackenzie Abbot Reporting

As you may or may not know from reading my personal blogs, I’ve been testing out Windows 10 after it downloaded on Thursday, the 30th of August (a day after it said it would).
So far, everything is still hunky dorey in my computing life.  My experience with Second Life hasn’t changed.  I’m still busy beavering away at the Second Life Enquirer, chasing up and writing articles and trying to keep Lanai sober enough to pay me for past work.  A lot of people have been a bit weary about upgrading to WX (as I like to call it) for a variety of reasons; in my experience, a lot of this stems around “will it work with my hardware?”, “Will it work with my drivers or will i need new ones?” and, of course “Will it work with SL?”
In my case, the answers are “yes, yes it’ll work with your existing setup and yes again” in that order.
I’ve tested it out on several viewers, including Firestorm (See video below), Catznip and Linden Labs own viewer and they all work as they should with no noticeable difference.

Video Player Another big concern, particularly among the DJ circles, is “Will SAM Broadcaster work on it?”
Well there have been cries of “NOOOO! it doesn't work on Windows 10! Windows 10 sucks ass!!!”
The reason behind this is the use of cracked or nulled versions of SAM.  Unless you have a legitimate copy with a legitimate serial, you’re going to run into problems.  I’m not going to judge or preach about piracy having used cracked copies myself until last Christmas, when my other half bought me a legit copy.  Again, in my experience, version 2014.7 works absolutely fine (see image below)
ScreenHunter_03 Aug. 01 16.49

Since upgrading to WX, I’ve noticed a few improvements in speed (unusual considering i have an i3 core processor and 10GB of RAM).  Things open a lot quicker and run smoother.  I’ve also noticed the distinct lack of “xxx has stopped responding” messages which, as I’m sure you’ll agree, is a huge plus.  However, there is something I can’t quite work out.  The audio from my USB headphones seem’s clearer, despite no changes to the driver itself.
But, by far, the biggest surprise for me was the speed of Microsoft Edge, the replacement for Internet Explorer.  By golly, that bitch moves!  It equals the speed of loading the BBC News website ( by milliseconds, there really is very little noticeable difference.  It’s like “POW!” and the website has loaded.  Microsoft seem to have finally come screaming into the 21ts century and developed the ideal Internet Explorer which is fast, slimmed down and instantly likeable to Chrome heathens like myself; something they should have done maybe 5 years ago.  Downloads now compare to Chrome in speed as well, downloading in seconds rather than days.
This article is by no means definitive and thorough, as you can see i’ve not even scratched the surface, but after all the kerfuffle of Windows 8 then 8.1, MS seem to have, at last, rejoined the world of enjoyable computing.  If you’re still unsure, back up your current setup, upgrade to WX (hey, it’s free after all) and then have a play.  Don’t like it?  Roll it back.  MS make this very easy to do and will still respect you in the morning.  You really do have nothing to lose except a few hours.
And it can’t be that bad surely?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Mackenzie's Mumblings: Have I Forgotton How To Have Fun? - Mackenzie Abbot Reporting

So, three years and a bit on Second Life and I’ve settled into a routine.  

When I first joined SL, I had no idea what I was doing or, indeed, what I was going to do.  Eventually I found my way and, like most single blokes, decided to explore the sex side first.  I drifted my way around various places, most of which were too full on for my virgin capabilities.  But, somehow, I found a nice little strip club and became friends with the dancers and staff, as well as the various patrons.  Soon, I was doing the horizontal pixel salsa with some of them.  Soon enough, I found DJing and began a whole new career, in a different circle of people, with different outlooks on life.  As my fan group expanded, I came across a BDSM club and began DJing and shagging my way around the staff and VIPs as before.  Eventually I found someone who was, I thought, just right for me and we started dating, eventually partnered and I settled down, away from temptation and all that came with it.

And that, gentle reader, is where I think it all started.

The freebird came home to roost and had his wings clipped.  DJing became a chore rather than pleasure and I ended up selling advertising for the fine publication you are now reading.  I stopped going to clubs and quickly became a frail beige creature with no immediate circle of friends and no inclination to do anything other than check to see which advertisers are due to renew and work out what needs doing at the SLE.  This is my own choice and I enjoy what I do, but it grinds a bit, you know? I became a little disillusioned with SL and quickly found out that I had aged well before my time.  I would rather sit and chat in a skybox somewhere or play table games than go to a club and throw shapes, either solo or with someone.

Mack and Alison, the SLE Ad Assistant.  (She wants me bad)
Photo: Mackenzie Abbot

I have strayed, I will throw my hands up to that.  I cheated twice and ended up having a child with a hostess at a club I used to work at.  It wasn’t something I was proud of but it was the danger, the thrill of maybe getting caught.  However, I never fully appreciated that if my partner ever found out, it would upset her immensely, and it did.  So I have kept away from temptation and buried myself in my work.

In other words, I’ve become boring.

Gone are the days when I could just head off to a club or a sim and just do my own (non-sexual) thing and just be Mack.  The Mackenzie Abbot of old is still in there somewhere, buried under a few layers of elasticated waisted nylon.  So how do I get out of the “drip dry shirt” situation I’m in now and start becoming more “ready to wear”?  I’ve no idea, but you can see my current frame of mind.  I’m comparing myself to shirts, for crying out loud!
Mack has got to the stage of being like an old sheepdog.  The eyes and bowels aren’t what they used to be; he’s maybe a bit whiffy.  A faithful old friend.  Yet, despite all that, you couldn’t shoot him in the face; you just couldn’t.  You just watch him plodding around and getting on with life.  You feel like you should do something yet you can’t.

Billy No Mates
Photo: Mackenzie Abbot

Maybe I just need to take time out and rediscover what it means to be Mackenzie Abbot again.  Obviously, there couldn’t be sex involved as that’s a big no-no.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t maybe just take myself off to a club or venue and take it all in.  I don’t have to have company all the time; alone time is good too.  Although, sometimes it’s nice to share your down time with someone.  Seeing as, at time of writing, my partner works nights and sleeps during the day, it’s almost never her; so I have to see if my friends have some downtime that they are willing to share with me.  If they do, great!  If not, I’m scuppered and the usual course of action is to log off and do something else, like watch porn.  Trust me, porn solves everything!  Fap Fap! Hooray!  (Sorry!)

The author, having finally lost his mind

So, before I too have to go and work for the man (job starts in 8 days at time of writing), I’ve decided to try and reignite my interest in SL by trying things I hadn’t done before.  Something that might work really well, or fall flat on its face.

But that, dear reader, is for another day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

SLE Radio is Here!

After months of working behind the scenes researching options for a continuous flow of great music and News Talk Shows, Mackenzie Abbot launched SLE Radio! Help support our efforts by tuning in and sending requests and dedications to DJ Mack. We are also offering free on air ads during our trial period.
If you are interested  contact Lanai Jarrico or Mackenzie Abbot (charliereid78) for more information

Tune in here

Download the Tunein App on your smartphone and listen in wherever you are for free!

Visit SLE Radio’s Studio at the SL Enquirer Media Center

Sunday, June 21, 2015

All I have to do is Dream... Second Life style - Mackenzie Abbot and Lacy Muircastle reporting .......

This year’s theme for the SL12B Community Celebration is “What Dreams May Come.”

Only trouble is
Gee whiz
I'm dreamin' my life away  (with apologies to the Everly Brothers)

After much promotion and hoo-hah from the SL community, the Press Day for the 12th Second Life Birthday (SL12B) arrived and a mass of bloggers and press people descended on the landing spot, high on a hill on one of the many sims reserved for the birthday exhibits.  Mackenzie Abbot shares his thoughts on the SL12B, and Lacy Muircastle does her best to blog bomb his efforts …

Saturday, June 20, 2015


You, gentle reader, like me, have quite a few friends on that friends list of yours.  People you friend in a moment of madness and never quite remember where you met them or why you friended them in the first place.  People you want to stay in touch with because, well, they’re the business!  And then there are others who just mean a lot to you.  The kind of people you can have a laugh with, hang out with and just generally be crazy with.  Someone you can tell jokes to, or your innermost secrets.  Those special people you wish you had in RL.

However, those people who are in your inner circle (and you in their’s) are a fragile crowd.  After all, it takes just one incident to smash that bond forever and ruin what once was good.  So exactly how far can you go in a solid friendship without ripping everything to shreds?
I have a friend who is considering dating someone who I consider one of Second Life’s greasiest men ever.  There’s something about him that makes me want to be physically sick and it’s been that way since I had the misfortune of being in the same region as him.  He has a split personality it appears; one minute speaking his mind, the next trying to back away with apologies and token gestures.  There’s just something in the back of my head that doesn’t seem enamoured with him.  Is it jealousy?  Is it anger?  Is it genuinely fear for my friend?

So, do I step up and tell my friend about how I feel about this guy? Or do I step back and let her make her own mistakes?
I mean, ultimately, it’s none of my damn business what she does or who she sees.  But I’ve been around long enough to spot these kind of creatures so I know the signs.  He might prove me wrong, there is that chance, but there’s still that something that tells me I’ll be dealing with hurt feelings, broken hearts and tears in the near future.  I can’t shake it and I don’t know why…

If you were in this situation, what would you do?

Personally, I’ll be stepping back and letting her get on with it, despite my character aching to tell her otherwise.  Why?  Because a true friend lets their friends make mistakes, with the best will in the world.  A true friend will be there to patch up a broken heart, rub ointment on those tattered feelings and mop up the tears with their shoulders.  A true friend…doesn’t get involved.  It’s very easy to say “I told you so” after the event.  Everyone is an expert with hindsight; some choosing not to say anything, some choosing to break it gently and a few just coming out with it and saying “WHAT DID I SAY AT THE START?!?”.  I, dear reader, will be the saying nothing type, although inside I’ll be the other two as well, silently.
So what is the job of a friend really?  Everyone has their own definitions.  My definition is someone who is there no matter what, but stays out of personal lives.  Someone who watches from afar and observes when things go wrong, and is there to help out when needed.  And, most importantly, says nothing.

But what if I did voice my opinions about him and she took that badly?  Is it worth ruining a friendship just to be proved right/wrong in time?  In my opinion, no.  If/when she gets turned over by this guy and she asks me if I saw anything bad about him from the start, I will say no.  This negates the “well, why didn’t you say something?” conversation.  That could possibly be seen as lying, but what is a friend to do?  When things turn to affairs of the heart, nobody wins.  There is always a loser and you have to make sure it’s not you.
Just step back, watch and wait.

What do you think?  What would you do in this situation?  Feel free to leave your thoughts below.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

VIVA LA DIVA! – A Fireside Chat with Miss Diva Stone -Mackenzie Abbot Reporting

 "Do Right Woman" ~ Miss Diva Stone LIVE

As a reporter, you have to learn to keep emotions and feelings separate when you report on events, to remain neutral in opinions and generally be someone other than you for a while.  However, when it comes to Miss Diva Stone, I for one will go doe-eyed and girly in a split second and not give a flying damn how pathetic I look.  Ever since I heard her sing my name, I’ve never been the same.  So when I asked her for an interview, and she agreed, I literally turned into a prime number and exploded.  She arrived almost as nervous as I was and brought her Master and Chain Sister for moral backup.  We sit by a fireplace full of candles and the coffee starts to flow.

M: So, Miss Diva, first of all thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me, first of all, when did you discover your talent for singing?

D: I began singing when I was in 3rd grade in French class. The teacher was teaching us a song called "Alouette".  And I would sing louder than the whole class. But instead of singing along, I would be ad-libbing.  I didn’t know what it was but I had heard my mom doing it when she sang in different venues in Detroit, and then later at home for my Dad. So I was imitating her in me in big trouble.  I still know that song.

M: But I bet you didn't do it in the style of Aretha Franklin!

D: I tried my hardest I am telling you and my teacher (French Canadian) did not find it funny, but my Mom did.  She wanted to pull me on stage.  And sing in front of thousands of people. She sent me to classes and coaches.  But my nerves...that was the real problem I had.  I would go out on stage with her and puke.  It was my Dad, who focused me.

M: And how did he do that?  How did you overcome the nerves?  Do you still get nervous?

D: Well first, yes I do, but not as nervous as I used to get.  My Dad would make me sing in front of him, I mean real close in his face. When I tried to close my eyes or if I would get woozy, he would thump me on the forehead and say "Are you weak? Are you Mine? Then act like it “I was so pissed at him the first time he did it. Then it would be for him and the family then for him and his co-workers.  Then it went to the middle of K-mart!  He was super focused and determined, I thought he was just crazy.  He would make me sing him to sleep and in the morning, and after work.  He was relentless.  So, the first time in a while after the puking incident, my mom was opening for Anita Baker at the Fox.  She was singing "If I Could" by Regina Bell, I was standing back stage with my dad right in front of me with this look on his face like "Don't you embarrass me!".  And when he called my name, he smiled and pulled me in close.  He said "you have my strength in you. Use it" then he thumped me in the head for good measure.  And I went and stared at my mom for the first part of the song, she pointed at my Dad, he smiled and pointed at the audience.  I love my Dad, I love him for that.  And that was all she wrote.  I was 10 by then

M: So with your Mom's voice and your Dad's determination, you became who you are today?

D:  Indeed.  I must say, I am still finding who I am and it still takes a lot of determination and practice and I doubt myself even now.  I just have a few more tools in my packet to use to help get me through. Not to mention a few good people always ready to thump me in the head or give me a pep talk.

She looks at her Master and Sister, sitting close by

M: What doubts do you have?  I mean with a voice like yours, what could you possibly fault about yourself?

D:  I sometimes don't hear myself the way other people do. I am extremely hard on myself. I am a perfectionist when it comes to this music thang.  I hear every fault and crack and broken board in my voice before it leaves my lips and I am always drilling myself and trying for better. It’s not just the sound that I critique.  I have to feel what I am singing in my core. If I can’t connect to what I am singing, I don't do it. If I can’t make myself Happy, or Sad, or Aroused with a song, then I trash it.  I cry and laugh and sometimes bring myself to the brink of an orgasm when I sing. I have to feel every song. And that’s not always easy.  Especially if I am not happy when I sing a happy song for example. I have to find happiness, so my audience will FEEL my joy.  You feel me?

M: Not since the circus event no, but yes I do generally.  Oh god that sounded bad...ill rephrase that

D: Laughs

M: But to answer your question, yes I feel everything; every intonation, feeling and emotion in every note you sing.

D: And that is when I feel I am doing a good job, when I am worthy of the applause...

M:  As an ex entertainer myself, I know about perfectionism and self-critique

D: It can be nerve wracking.  But so worth it in my opinion.

M:  Indeed, half the battle is overcoming the fact that people have come to hear YOU.  The rest is gaining their admiration and love through applause. 

D: yes! Exactly

M: Which is why my stand up career fell flat.

D:  I don’t know why, you are funny as hell.  It was a joy to work with you, truly.

M: slips Miss Diva L$100 and whispers "Keep Talking"

D:  I still panic before every show here in SL

Mιʂʂ Dιʋα Sƚσɳҽ giggles and tucks the money in her top, and continues..."Your wit is basically unmatched and refreshing"
Smiles ..."more?"

M: Someone once told me that when the nerves go, it's time to jack it all in.  Do you believe that’s true?

D: I do, the nerves keep you hungry and open.  Open to growth and striving to get better.  They keep you yearning and thirsty for that new thang, that new edge the new lick or trick in your voice. A new height and pull with you vocal folds.  NEWNESS!  And new things are always more exciting.  Keeping them guessing and hungry right with you, in the moment..stuck

M:  Let's talk more about you as you are now.  When I first heard you sing my name, it was like aural magic.  I thought to myself "there is one special talented and quite frankly gorgeous lady whose vocal talents are unmatched anywhere in Second Life"

(Leans over and takes back the L$100)

M: How would you describe your style?

Mιʂʂ Dιʋα Sƚσɳҽ winks, pulls 100 more from her purse and places it where his used to be. 

D:  I would describe it as RAW.  It is sexy and sensual, even the songs that are not.  I make them that way. It’s raw in that I like to appeal to the animal nature in my listener... I growl and grovel and please and moan and whine...I’s guttural.  It’s from my soul to yours.

M: I can certainly vouch for that!

D:  I want to be felt as well as heard. My sister is saying personable and personal. I completely agree!

M: How did you find about SL?  Is there much difference between performing in real life and in here?

D:  I was watching TV one day and I saw a commercial for it, it seemed similar to the Sims Family which I played in my spare time. Then I googled it and saw realistic experiences of a sexual and graphic nature and let’s just say..I was feeling like that at the I SL. And as for singing here. It is very different for me because I am used to the theatre and singing on stage in plays and such in RL.  So it was an adjustment to go from that.  Full power, no mic singing to having to hold back and still give all of my passion and soul in my music.  But, I do enjoy not having to spend hours..wait I still spend hours getting my avi ready so scratch that.

M: Who were your singing idols growing up?  Did you have any?

D: Oh I had many, my Mom being the top of my list. Then it was Etta James, Rachelle Ferrell and Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, and Whitney Houston definitely

M: Is there any of them in your vocal performances?

D: Oh yes! My growl and raspiness are a product of Etta James.  My runs and licks often stem from Rachelle Ferrell, and Whitney Houston.  My Power comes from my Mom and Aretha Franklin.  My Moan exudes Nina.

M:  So where can people find out more about you and where you're performing?

D:  They can join my group or my subscriber. But If they search my name, I have in my profile, my schedule, a list of people who are blogging about me and in this case writing articles ^^ :), and I also have links to a few songs in there as well. For booking and to obtain a bio they can contact me directly or my most AWESOME manager and good friend Misitblu Verino.  I have some videos also coming up soon to YouTube.

She is still a bundle of nerves by the time I conclude the interview.  She tells me she enjoyed the experience of being interviewed and the nerves appear to leave her.  I wish I could say the same.  I’m still a wobbly gibbering wreck on the inside but ever the professional on the outside.  After all, I’ve just interviewed my favourite singer of all time and can still hear the raw sexiness in which she sang my name, all those weeks ago.  Will you excuse me a moment?

Information about Miss Diva Stone can be found in her group secondlife:///app/group/52977b51-79dd-f423-8c05-c621e712fc89/about

Friday, June 5, 2015


To the casual reader, the SL Enquirer is a great Second Life news source.  To others, it’s just a tarted-up blog with pretensions of being a newspaper.  However you see the SLE, you keep coming back again and again.  It’s friendly and familiar, with a great mix of news, views and interesting articles written by a team with a wide range of interests.  But behind the scenes, gentle reader, lies a different world.  A world of debauchery, greed for power and control.

To begin with, the initiation ceremony is humiliation enough.  But when you are in dire need of a handful of lindens to feed your starving family, you’ll let anyone do anything to you with a rubber chicken, a Walmart gift-card and small statue of Oprah Winfrey.  Survive that and you become embroiled in the seedier side of the SL Enquirer.  For a start, you are not allowed to address the CEO, Lanai Jarrico, as anything but “Miss Jarrico”.  The punishment for calling her anything else will earn you a donkey punch to the back of the head while still being receptive of a dog toy.  And you must never NEVER look her directly in the eyes unless given permission.

A recent image of an SLE journalist ,who missed out a comma in a sentence, trying to pacify Miss Jarrico.

The hours are long and laborious; often lasting a few days until Miss Jarrico is totally satisfied that you are worth of a reprieve from duty.  These reprieves can last from 1 to 7 seconds, depending on her mood, and may or may not include comfort breaks and/or food.  Call into the press room anytime of the day or night and you will see dozens of avatars, broken and battered by toil, endless research and spellchecking.  Many, just shells of their former selves, starting to take notice of their other male captives and doing their level best to hide broners, all why trying to avoid the wrath of their wicked, masochistic editor-in-chief.  Meetings can last for weeks with little or nothing being said.  The last meeting this reporter went to consisted entirely of singing nursery rhymes backwards, and mass mutual shame fest; interspersed with occasional cries of “Fo’ Shizzle Ma Nizzle!” (shouted as loud as possible to Miss Jarrico’s question, “Do you pathetic waste of prims love working for me?!?”) .
The women in the press pack don’t get away lightly either.  I observed one reporter being throttled with her own thong for writing an article that didn’t give praise to the SL Enquirer and dared to express her own views.  The party line (or should that be the Panty Line) should be followed at all times or woe betide your soul.

Three female staffers anger the CEO by not praising The SL Enquirer and are dealt with in line with the SLE Handbook.

One female presspacker, who we will call Jill, spoke to me discreetly from under a table.
“I turned up here all eager and peachy-keen on writing about my passion for fashion…and shoes….and purses….I was bouncing!  I longed to be a journalist and share my adoration for mesh with the world.

And then I signed the contract…

…I was still aglow at finally being a reporter and that’s when the mood changed.  She suddenly had a fire in her eyes and her voice changed.  She took off her glasses and began chanting.  Two of her goons appeared from nowhere and held me in my seat.  When she had finished chanting and her head had spun round to the right position, she stood up, disrobed and……and….”

She broke down quietly but regained her composure a few seconds later.
“Let’s just say there was a forest on the outskirts of the Amityville House Of Horror”
Jill turned a vicious shade of lime green at this point and scuttled away.  I never saw her again.  I’ve since heard rumours that she managed to escape and went into hiding on a sim close to the Blake Sea.  I do hope she’s ok…

Staff Action Figures on SLE Now!

Dear reader, please take it from someone who has seen and experienced the horrors at first hand; the SL Enquirer is not what it seems!  Yes it’s a great read and seems like fun to work for from the outside.  But brutality and fear reign supreme in the world of Miss Jarrico.  Please, spread the word, send help.  We implore you.

I must close now as I hear the sound of 12 inch spiked heels approaching.  Please, save us!  I must now return to pixel-counting, if I’m caught writing this, I will be subject to pain beyond human imagination….

…Keeping Up With The Kardashians…

Monday, June 1, 2015

THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE AIR: Spotlight Feature on Distant Thunders Rock Club- Mackenzie Abbot Reporting

I have to admit, I had never heard of Distant Thunders before in all my 3 years on Second Life. 
I also have to admit I’m not a rock music kind of guy, but I put aside my preconceptions and headed over to gain an insight into what goes on over there.  I found a warm and friendly place where people actually speak to you when you enter for the first time.  I was made to feel welcome from the second I walked in, and that matters to someone who has been to places where you’re just another cash cow for the club.
So I was intrigued to get the assignment of writing the Spotlight feature for the SLE.  At the anointed time, I was whisked over to the board room and was greeted by a variety of people, including the owners, Joy and Kimmy Maldor.

Mackenzie Abbot: Why did you decide to set up Distant Thunders? Aren't there enough clubs in SL already?

Joy: I never had plans to open a club but I was trying to get a club to my sim when I heard they had changed the sim. And when I spoke to the owner of that club, the response was not very good, so I decided to open one of my own.

M: Was it difficult in the early days, setting up a club?

Joy: It’s easy to open a club, anybody can, but holding on to it is very difficult, 24/7 makes it worse, so yes having a club in SL is a very difficult indeed.

M: And how long have you been open?

J: 1 year

M: Is it disheartening during those quiet times, when a DJ and Host/ess are playing to an empty (or nearly empty) club?

J: We do sponsored events, sometimes just contests to attract VIP’s, but many times it’s what it is, next set improves.
K: We also have really good host/hostess that are good at drawing VIPs in when things become slow.
J: Yes I agree. 

M: So what is the unique selling point of Distant Thunders?

J: We value our VIP’s and give personal attention.  Good music, friendly place, fun hangout.
Fiona Whelan: I would also say the different options you have available to them
K: And a lot of other fun things to do while they're here
J: For example, the other attractions at the club include a bowling alley, white water rafting, jet ski-ing, hang gliding, fan boats, sail boarding, ATV riding, paintballing, biker ball, the DT Mansion, weekly sponsored events, firing range, balloon rides and sky diving.  There is something for everyone.

S: and our DJs don’t just play music, they interact and make the VIP’s part of the set.
K: It's about the experience they can have here. It’s a great place to hang out with friends.

M: And is that a bike track I saw out there?
J: This is a Rock and Ride club, so anybody who likes to ride, we have a great track for you to use.

(I laughed)
M: I took the Editor of the SL Enquirer out on my bike and nearly killed her.  I hope you have insurance

J: failure is the stepping stone of success; you will ride well next time :)

M: I appreciate the faith you have in me, but I fear it may be misplaced.  Anyway, if you had to sell Distant Thunders in 3 words, what would they be?

J: Rock Ride & Play

M: That's probably the best answer to that question I’ve ever seen.  Ok last question, what's next for Distant Thunders? Where do you see the club this time next year?

J: Well we have some new services in progress, including Distant Thunder Wedding Venue with end to end wedding service, Distant Thunder DJ/Host School, Distant Thunder Fashion Academy, Distant Thunder Studio and the Distant Thunder Monthly Magazine.
K: Still here, and more popular and better than ever!

M: As a fashion designer myself, I’m intrigued about the Fashion Academy.  What’s that?

J: Distant Thunder Fashion Academy is about helping creators in the fashion community showcase their products. We also have a school for training those who wish to learn the methods and tools it takes to excel in the modelling field. We host a fashion show at the end of every month on the Distant Thunder sim too.

At this point, I concluded the interview and was about to thank everyone for their time when Joy stopped me

J: I would like to take this opportunity, if I may, to thank the DT staff for their hard work every single day. I would also like to thank the management staff for their commitment and hard work, as well as all the people who stood by me for building Distant Thunder.

M: I'm sure each and every single one of them appreciates that sentiment

K: We have the greatest staff you could ever find in Second Life.

Leaving the boardroom and crossing the dance floor, I get an overwhelming sense that Joy and Kimmy take an immense amount of pride in their business and staff.  Not once did the subject of making money come up.  In fact, they seem to be ploughing what money they do make, back into making the club bigger and a more fun place to be.  This reporter finds no fault with that.  Too many clubs in Second Life seem hell-bent on making as much money as they can at the expense of services or staff well being.  Maybe there’s something in that for all of us to consider.
 It is refreshing to see that Distant Thunder stands out and truly appreciates their staff and visitors as well as shows where their priorities are for making it a fun place to be.

Additional Information: