She Has Never Felt the Rain

Four years ago after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, I wrote this fiction story about a girl who had never felt the rain, living in a post-apocalyptic underground where people occupied themselves primarily in a virtual world.

Then this morning I read a true story about a child who, because of California’s drought, had never felt the rain. I was astounded. When I wrote the story, I had no idea that its poignant backstory of a child who had never felt the rain, would come true –so soon, in my life, and in the place that I call home.

Girl in the Rain


She Has Never Felt the Rain

by Bay Sweetwater

The old man beckons her to come forward, the small girl twirling her hair and holding onto her mother’s hand a dozen or so spaces behind him in the line. She points her tiny finger at her chest and mouths “me?” in disbelief.   Her eyes are wide; she chews her lower lip. He nods. The girl takes a quick breath and turns questioning eyes to her mother. “Go ahead, then,” the mother says. “You know Mr. Sanders. Maybe you’ll get your chance today.”

The pale redheaded four-year-old runs up to the old man, the way she runs no matter where she goes, too full of hope and eagerness to waste time walking.   She balls her fish against her mouth, standing on one leg, her other leg bent slightly with her foot nervously tapping the ground behind her, and gazes up at him.

The old man smiles and holds his ticket out to her, then bends down and whispers into her ear, “Tell me all about it tomorrow, huh?” She shakes her head up and down, too excited to speak. The man turns to me as I consult the roster for today. “She has never felt the rain,” he explains. I nod. He steps out of the line.

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Is a prim forever? Lessons from running (and closing) a Second Life sim

Fred Beckhusen, co-creator of the Phaze Demesnes sim that closed in Second Life at the end of the year, has now written a heart-tugging memoir of lessons learned and friendships forged during 6 years of running the Phaze sim. Because he wrote this incredibly informative and hilarious recollection in a fleeting Google+ post, I am taking the liberty of reproducing it here for the sake of posterity.

But before I do, I would like to make just one teensy correction in what he writes. He says that you will fall in love with your prims and then “cry (a lot) when you finally delete them.  And then write about them when they are all finally gone.”

Well, I have to suggest to Fred (Ferd Frederix in Second Life) and his partner Debbie Edwards (aka Wavinggirlsav Voom in Second Life) that this is not entirely true. I have, at last count, 98 of their stunning creations (including countless prims) safely stashed away in my inventory, where they shall remain, unless of course the flocks of birds are out flying on my land, or the dragons have gone to new castles to do battle.

Also, there are many pictures of their creations that spot the Internet, and I include a few of my own below to prove my point. And since a picture is just one step shy of a prim, Fred, perhaps prims linger with these pictures and are not “gone” after all. I believe prims, like friendships, last forever.




Fred Beckhusen’s Memoir

A few of the things +Debbie Edwards   and I learned from running the sim “Phaze Demesnes” over the last six years:

It’s not just about planting pretty plants, or building things, or writing cool scripts. It’s also about building friendships that last forever.  Be sure to plant and nurture those, too.

I hated to delete all the data on vistors and games and stuff like that today.  I always thought Phaze would slowly wind down, and stop from lack of interest.  But 504 people visited Phaze Demesnes the last day it existed, and many left us notes and messages of support, and money.  Proof below in the image.  Each dot is a person/minute.

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Phaze Is Closing – Everything Free /me sobbing

UPDATE: Here’s where you can get your very own Santa Sleigh & Reincows at Phaze.

A sad story with a silver lining during the Second Life holidays this year: Phaze Demesnes sim is closing down  at the end of the year. The silver lining is that its creators, Fred Beckhusen (Ferd Frederix) and Debbie Edwards (Wavingirlsav Voom) are giving away all their creations free at Phaze inworld in Second Life through the end of the year.

That includes all their amazing flocks of low-lag birds, the owl that hunts rabbits; untold numbers of dragons, horses, and unicorns; the unusual avatars like goats, elephants, and a tiny dragon; and all the geeky toys like the Einstein Eye that watches avatars; not to mention the masterwork, the Universal Translator that works in SL in any language; and best of all this time of year: a rideable, driveable Santa Sleigh with 8 tiny … umm … cows!

Also: pick up hundreds (literally) of Fred’s clever Best Tools and LSL Scripts off his website. Fred says the website will stay up, but it will have a focus beyond Second Life in the New Year.


Fred made the incredibly generous freebie offer in his Facebook and Google Plus posts announcing the sim closure:  “In 10 days all Phaze freebies are gone forever. So get your free mesh horse while you still can. Works in any sim, even no-script sims. Two years in the making. Lots and lots of skins, saddle, and armor patterns, a working lance, footprints, dust trails and most importantly, Unicorns!”

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Birthday Songs, Deep Thoughts, and Free Cake from Linden Lab

Did you know you can get your own Second Life rezz day cake for free from Shopkeeper Linden on the marketplace? It will even have the right number of years you’re celebrating written on it in frosting!

Birthday Cake

My 5th rez day in Second Life passed me like a fast train this week making me think deep thoughts about time. I listened to David Bowie sing Five Years and was so glad the apocalypse hadn’t come in real life, or Second Life either.

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Playing Second Life on the iPad

The #1-coolest thing about playing Second Life on my iPad using remote access technology is that the touch interface works inworld. You can move your avatar around and do most actions just by touching and swiping the iPad screen. I’ve spent the past couple weeks playing with SL iPad-style, via the remote access app Splashtop, and I have to say it’s fun.

Here’s a video I made filming Second Life on an iPad 4, accessed from my iMac, using a digital camera to capture the iPad screen. See my avatar walk, run, dance, fly, tp, sit, take snaps, change clothes, use AOs – not to mention hug and kiss! -all on an iPad 4, just by tapping and swiping the screen (and typing IMs on an external keyboard).

How It Works

Let’s be clear upfront: This is not a Second Life app running on the iPad. Second Life currently does not run directly on the iPad. This is Second Life being accessed on the iPad remotely from a computer (in my case, an iMac), using the remote access mobile app Splashtop. This is a productivity app designed to let you access anything on your computer from your mobile device – so you can be, say, out on the patio with your iPad, and access any document, photo, video, or software on your tablet, via your wireless network.

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A Virtual Walk Through Autumn Leaves

If you’re looking for a virtual walk through autumn leaves, this is the spot. Autumn color, deer in the meadow, and open seas. Calas Galadhon Park is back! Calas is a gorgeous collection of 11 sims of natural beauty in the virtual world of Second Life built and maintained by Ty Tenk and Truck Meredith. /me waves hello and welcome back!

The thing I like best about Calas is that you can get lost in it. It’s that big. I wondered all over the woods looking for a new cabin that was supposed to be in Dimril Dale. I never found it, but I got lost over and over again in a beautiful autumn woods.

Autumn in the woods

Calas closed during the month of August for an economic consolidation. They considered reopening with a members-only policy, but decided against it. For now, the 11 beautiful sims are still open to anyone, free of charge.

The Changes

There are 11 sims (down from 13) in the park with major reworking of Dimril Dale and Grey Havens. There is a whale on Grey Havens that you and three friends can ride. There are two dolphins on Belagaer that you can ride, and riding turtles. New cabin on Dimril Dale- you have to walk through the woods to get to it. Also a new riverboat on Gulf of Lune. And new art exhibitions on Main Street.

A Cloud on the Horizon?

Only one cloud floats on the horizon – a hint in the park’s website notice suggesting the economic challenge may only be resolved through the end of the year. Hopefully, donations and other sim support can keep the park open beyond this somewhat uncertain prediction:

“Unless something unplanned comes up we should now be able to make it through the Holiday season and the end of the year.”

Scuffling Through Autumn Leaves

When the park reopened Saturday, I hurried over to visit. I love walking in the autumn woods, through falling leaves and rustling woods, and Misty Mountains is one of my favorite places. There are deer and horses and lovely crunchy leaves to scuffle through. After a rest and a cup of chai, I rezzed a sailboat and headed out on the colorful autumn sea.

Not Familiar with Calas?

For anyone not familiar with Calas, here’s how they describe themselves:

A country setting with a small town, meadows, farms, streams…one that would reflect another early American country coastal community of the early 1900s.  Whether by foot, horse, buggy, balloon or boat, we hope our visitors will find a certain sense of peace here…a bit of the  comfort we all yearn for and need…where one feels a bit  better than when they arrived. We strive to make CALAS a park where one can come, reflect and explore on their own or with friends, but we’ve also made it a place where couples can come, cuddle, dance and just spend some quiet time with each other.



All Dressed up – for Love Donna Flora

Sometimes you get all dressed up, with nowhere to go. I’m just coming back from a walk around the lake, with the owls hooting and the waves lapping up against my houseboat. It’s early, but I’m heading in for a cup of tea and an early night. But before I go, let me tell you about this dress. It’s made by Carrie Snowpaws – isn’t it beautiful? But it’s real beauty is that it will help a much-loved Second Life designer who is battling cancer.

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Castle in the Sand, a machinima for summer

My new machinima is Castle in the Sand. It’s a love story —  with a sand castle, waves crashing on the beach, a raging storm, poetry, romantic music… your basic summer flick. 🙂

This is my entry in the University of Western Australia MachinimUWA VI short animated film competition, with the theme “Reflections.” Continue Reading “Castle in the Sand, a machinima for summer”

She Has Never Felt the Rain, a story

As I shiver this week and wonder who will blink first, America or North Korea, here is my gentle post-apocalyptic tale in which kindness endures, and even prevails.

Girl in Rain


She Has Never Felt the Rain

by Bay Sweetwater

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Seven things you don’t know about Bay Sweetwater

Strawberry Singh recently proposed an intriguing Seven Facts Meme, in which Second Life bloggers reveal seven little-known facts about themselves. Here are mine.

SL Fact #1. If I’m in a sticky or confusing situation IRL, I often find myself asking: What would Bay do? Or I’ll log into SL and ask Bay herself. She usually has good ideas. I think of her as my moral compass. Continue Reading “Seven things you don’t know about Bay Sweetwater”