A Steampunk Revolution

So, I’m just going to start things off in the only way I can. . .

. . .seriously?

Wow. Just wow. Shortstack said it best, this adventure has been nothing but one surprise after the next, even I’m still trying to make sense of all of it. By Day 4 I had to actually sit down and stare at the screen a couple dozen times to make sure it wasn’t a typo at the numbers. This is often my seldom post appearances; out of the entire Org team of Introvert and Anbiverts I think I’m the one that likes writing the least (which is funny considering I’m almost 100% certain I’m the most active online tabletop conversion roleplayer of our entire group.) I’m getting ahead of everything that’s trying to process in my brain and form into words, so let me pull a Copperfield here and start at the beginning while I’m nursing down some coffee. (My Nephrologist would be so ticked if he ever read that single line and tell me to knock it off.)

It’s true, we’re often asked the hows and whys we pick certain charities every year, some less heard than the last. This is one of the many reasons why we do what we do at the misfit circus. SL and its many facets have so many covered throughout the year like RFL and other cancer associations, ALS, and so on. This is the key thing – year round support and events that carry on staggering numbers of donations you can’t even shake a stick at which is all well and good, so we try to shed some light on organizations that don’t have that much of a forefront in the public’s eye, or those closer to home maladies that come up in the shadows.

NKF has been, and always will be, a very, very personal charity to me. I’m not ashamed to admit in my life I’ve made some grievously stupid mistakes as many of us probably have. I’m also extremely stubborn to a fault to not want to reach out and ask for help, rather be the person that helps the rest of the world, a friend, a family member whatever the case is out before I even consider doing something for me even at the cost of my own health. Several years back in the early college years the hereditary curse of kidney issues manifested. It was minor back then, your occasional stone problem or UTI, which eventually lead to a brief non-invasive surgery and stint placement. Years passed, and the problems gradually increased with this. More interludes through those baleful double glass doors and triage waiting rooms between three different states in my travels and reckless years of trying to figure out the world. Knowing the astringent smell of hospital halls and cleaning solvents or the smell of reduced iron from blood being drawn more than anything else, or counting the little pinprick scars from IVs on both my hands and arms. I lost count how many times every couple of weeks or months between emergency care visits would happen they just kind of blurred one into the next.

The turning point in ‘help yourself before you help others’ finally hit a couple years ago, and when my fiance finally put his foot down that something needed to be done when I was spending more of a love affair with a porcelain man. Flash forward through the less ugly parts, the diagnosis was two very large calcium masses the size of small softballs were in my left kidney and bladder that made it function at an extremely dangerous level, and my right over-compensated to at an 8 to 10% function at the signs of starting renal failure. My nephrologist actually asked how the hell I was standing up let alone alive he hadn’t seen something like this before. Lesson learned – sometimes no matter how much you want to help the world, sometimes when the case calls for it you need to help yourself. I was low income, and the consecutive three surgeries were going to be a staggering amount to the tune of over thirty six thousand dollars US. I was terrified, I had no clue how we were going to handle this, HCAP failed to work out any assistance. This was where the NKF came in through some help and some magic that the bills and chronic history were drastically reduced out of nowhere.

I’ve never forgotten this. A silent face I’ve never met helped me. Helped me get the care I needed, the surgeries completed and the road to recovery. (Which was not pleasant in the least. I would never wish this on the worst person in the world, the pain is unmeasurable and your body trying to violently attack you from the inside out.) It’s because of that silent and unknown face I can keep doing what I do today. To have a healthier life, to keep pushing this charity every year in the hopes that the outreach of the SL community’s donations can do the same thing for someone else we may never even encounter in our lives and change it for the better.

This year… has been amazing. None of us expected the outpouring and generosity that has come forward at the Spiral. From the comments, the lives it’s touched knowing there’s people fighting for this charity, those afflicted by renal issues, the list goes on. I cannot find enough words to express the gratitude I have to everyone that’s made this year’s drive something truly jaw-dropping. These are numbers we’re used to seeing for WGF across three sims, not one. This is truly spectacular on levels that’re unheard of.

To the SL community – I truly thank every last one of you for your generosity and your help for this.

To our Merchants – We don’t ever say it enough I don’t think. You guys are amazing. We’re really blessed to have a core group of merchants in the Cursed Events that never slip the wayside, and keep bringing new and amazing things each event. We’ve even picked up some new faces this time too and the work and care in them is also nothing short of wonderful.

To our Bloggers – I am truly envious and awed at the same time what you all bring to this with the coverage and the photos–the stories you create each and every time. You make SL feel a bit more real and the bonds that’re created in it. And a special thank you to our beloved Bunny Blogger, Sonya, who I know looks forward to this every year. My secret compatriot in all things steampunk, Abney Park, and makes the Spiral’s growing story come alive each time between the veil of this world, and the Shadowlands of the Weaver’s umbral realms. (She’ll get the inside joke along with a couple WoD nerds.)

To the Org Team – I love you guys. I wouldn’t trade for any other team to work side by side with. (Even if Axi makes me fix things she covers in blue carpet.)

So it’s come to this. The veil’s growing thicker, and once again Ophelia and the Spiral fades into the mist and spray of steam and axle grease, for destinations unknown until she rises back from the shadowlands once again. We’ll be waiting for her in the mists, and I’ll get to pretend being Captain of the ship for one night again.

Until the next voyage,

– Lokii

Spiral Out 2014.

It is gonna be a bumpy landing, by Glenawyn Seregon

 

There were so many firsts.

Last night, at midnight SL time, there were 24 people on Cursed.  On the very last night.  This is unheard of in event circles. It just doesn’t happen.  Normally by the time the event hits the last night, there’s maybe 3 or 4 stragglers rushing to get their last minute shopping done, but everyone has moved on to other events.

There were 24 people on Cursed at midnight last night.

At 6am, when I logged in to lock the sim down, there were 10.  I gave them a warning and a last 15 minutes before I rebooted the sim up.  10 people still there, when we closed.

I don’t have words for that.

 

This is also the first event we’ve ever had where I didn’t have to ban anyone. Thanks for that, too.  Usually I wind up throwing at least 3 or 4 people on the ban list per event. This time? Nothing. Awesome.

Every time we do an event, we wind up surprised by something. This time, there were nothing but surprises. Most of them were even good. (I won’t lie and say ALL of them were, but most of them.)   We cannot thank everyone enough.  All the merchants, all the shoppers, all the bloggers, all the random people who came by to take photos, and the Firestorm and Linden Lab teams for their incredible, incredible support during these last two weeks.  When I got the final total, I think Lokii needed to sit down.

Greta, by Roxi Firanelli

People have asked me how I pick our charities. I always tell them that I don’t.  That’s not entirely true- I always pick the Oopskate charity.  But for the big events I have never once chosen the charity.   This event is about Lokii.  A few years ago she got really sick, with kidney trouble and needed surgery. The NKF helped her, and every year she pays them back. As my tag says, “I just work here.”

Of course now I have to pester her to make her annual post here, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

The Night Troops 2, by Devin Vaughn

The total raised for the National Kidney Foundation at A Clockwork Spiral 2014 is 733,286L.

When you check the exchange on that (and I always do it at a limit sell of 248 since that’s what I use for myself) you get this:

 

$2853.32 USD.  That’s roughly 275% more than last year.  Think about that number.  We came close to tripling last year’s total and it’s because everyone came together to help support the NKF.  We don’t have words other than thank you so we’ll keep saying that instead.

As I’ve said MANY times now, due to the changes in Linden Lab’s cashout procedures, we have to turn over the money *in Lindens* to the charity’s representative inworld so they can cash it out. We cannot cash it out directly to the charity anymore. The NKF has their own account – NationalKidneyFoundation Resident, and we have written confirmation from the NKF that the account is legitimate and belongs to them.

Once we turn over the lindens to that account, *we no longer control it*.  Just so everyone understands that.  Our job is to make sure the NKF account inworld gets the money.

Which they have.

Thank you all so much again. Lokii will be along presently to babble for a bit.  As for me, I am working on our next (and newest) event, A Tattered Page* [*citation needed] which you can read about (and apply for if you like) here.

 

Signing off from the Spiral this year,

AK

Departure, by Sonya Marmurek

 

 

 

 

Such Stories We’ve Had

Emmaline by Duchess Flux

The Spiral is slowly beginning to grind into a halt, preparing for its year of out-of-sight transformation that we are not privy to. This incarnation of it will still keep spinning until 6 am on October 1st, so there’s still a few days to enjoy the atmosphere and wander its streets as its inhabitants and citizens.

It always inspires stories, the Spiral, but this year it seems it sparked people’s imagination more than ever before. This was visible on its streets as the visitors indulged in the mood, in the chance to set away their everyday normalcy and drive right into the diesel-filled dusk. It showed in the wares filling the booths as the inspired merchants had their own fun with the theme. It also showed in the excellence of the blog posts from our reporter crew: not only were the pictures astonishing and full of steam spirit, they were accompanied with delightful amount of stories.

ACS Diesel Dance 2 by Aarya Phantomhive

So this is my usual tip of top hat and curtsey to them as the blogger coordinator, but more importantly: it’s my squee as a reader. Wonderful work, folks! It makes me happy to see bloggers having fun with an event, to truly enjoy what they do: that is when the magic happens.

Also, Axi let me know that we’re currently at 672,359 linden dollars or 2616,25 US dollars on the charity account. That’s really not that far from the kind of money World Goth Fair produces and that was with three sims last year. The Spiral spins in one. All that just to blink in delighted disbelief, smile and curtsey and say the two words so important in the world:

Thank you.

Engineeered for Defense by Hephaesteon

There’s a party tomorrow night, remember?

Toymaker’s Laboratory, by Hephaesteon

Hey gang, I’m back with the update type goodness.

Just as a reminder to everyone – TOMORROW night (which would be Friday) at 8pm PST Lokii Violet will be DJing the big ACS event party.  A bunch of ACS stores are donating gift cards to make up an awesome prize box for best in Steam.   I would give you a list if I could, but everyone is giving the cards to her, so I have no idea who threw in other than MV and House of Rain, but Im sure that there’s a huge bunch of them in her hands by now.  Come on up to the Gothika Mobile Unit for 2 hours of whatever it is she’s going to do.  With the thing, and the stuff.

It seems that there’s a landmark link that’s going around that’s not correct.  Unless the last number in your landmark is 1001? It’s going to put you in the wrong place – probably in the vestibule wall at Gothika Prime. We *cant* force the landing point (and we dont want to, either) because it messes with people who live on the sim full time.  So if you found yourself downstairs? Go upstairs 1000 meters.

Chimera Graves of Black Arts informs me that she has NEW stuff in her booth as of last night . Well actually I know it’s there, I went down and bought it. So if you’re hunting for the new stuff put out DURING the event, stop at Black Arts on your travels.  I am told that there’s still more stuff coming from other people as well.  Merchants are REALLY having fun with this, putting out even more stuff as the event goes on, so be sure to check back with us!

Our bloggers are doing a fine job as usual, filling up our flickr pool and their own blogs with great images. If you’re looking for our Flickr group, you can find it here.

 

Mystery Plane, by Alisa Perne

We still have plenty of time left at this year’s event, so be sure to come on back up.  I’ll be at the Gothika Mobile Unit tonight from 10-midnight with some swing and big band stuff.  (I forgot to post yesterday about the 6th Anniversary of the Wednesday Night Darkwave but we were pretty busy anyway. Thanks to everyone who came up to hang with me.  I’ll keep bringing the goth on Wednesdays, as always.)

 

And now, for the update. As of 6pm tonight, we’ve raised 550,288L or $2141.25 for the National Kidney Foundation. Thank you all so much for your generosity. We have so much time left, we might even begin approaching WGF numbers on this one. Wow.

See you tomorrow, gang.

 

 

 

 

One week down.

Timeless, by Duchess Flux

 

Well, ACS is sort of limited time, but this photo by Duchess Flux isn’t.  Lovely, isn’t it?

So we’re now a week into this year’s ACS, and people are still putting stuff in their booths to keep people coming back. I know Fission and Aftershok and Greymoon have put more stuff in recently (I think I’ve forgotten someone. If it was you, remind me.) Lyssa Sapeur of Greymoon was kind enough to make her donation outfit in black as well so all you goths? Now is the time. (yes I already got mine.)

We had a very, very busy weekend, particularly Sunday, where we had several truly enormous tip jar donations.  I don’t want to out the person who did it (but I can see the tip jar cash go through because it passes through my account on the way to the alt.) I just want to say thank you.

We are blown away by everyone’s enthusiasm and generosity, and we can only encourage people to keep coming back to see what’s new and to take more photos as well, as this year’s build has a lot of wonderful photo opportunities as our flickr group shows.

A number of people have stopped me to tell me how much this event means to them personally due to the charity.  As much as I’d like to take credit, the person to really credit with this is Lokii. The NKF is very important to her.  So if you’re one of those people and you see Pottamus, you might want to drop her a message.

I got an IM this morning asking me a very important question about how the money gets to the charity. I’ve got this information in the FAQ but at this stage that’s easy to miss, so I want to make sure I go over it again.

Linden Lab changed how cashouts were handled about a year ago.  You can no longer cash out to a paypal account you personally do not control.  This is a security measure, but the downside is that it kind of makes it a pain in the ass to do a large scale charity event.  It means that for large events, the way to do it is to have the charity itself create an inworld account of their own and *THEY* cash the money out directly to their own paypal account.

The National Kidney Foundation has its own SL account- NationalKidneyFoundation Resident.  We confirmed with the NKF that the account is legit and belongs to them. (you can read about this here).  We collect all the charity money on our designated alt for this event, and once the event is over we will hand over that amount in lindens to the NKF’s account. As always I will post screencaps of every step of the paper trail to assure everyone the money went to them and nowhere else (I always do this for every charity event we do.).  We collect it on our charity alt first because if we were to send the money to the NKF account without using an alt as a middleman we would have no way to know how much was actually raised, and no way to tell you what the total was. This is why our charity alt is used as a middleman- so we KNOW how much was raised for the event, and can pass that information along to you as we go along. However, and I am always careful to be clear about this, once the money is turned over to the NKF’s representative, we no longer control it. We cannot tell you how long it will take to cash it out. At that point, we too are at the mercy of the charity to tell us what’s going on.  But up until the cash is handed to them we will make sure everyone sees exactly where that money goes and how much it is.

If anyone has any questions about how this process works, please feel free to ask.

And speaking of money… At 6pm Pacific Time on Monday (the end of day 7) the total raised for the National Kidney Foundation was 465,737L, or $1812.26.  That’s thanks to all of you and we can only tell you how grateful we are that you are so willing to help us support the NKF.

Not Picking Daisies, by Sonya Marmurek

 

Sailing into a new frontier.

 

 

A Clockwork Spiral – Mod 5, by LadyLight Koolhoven

At some point around 3pm *yesterday* afternoon, A Clockwork Spiral 2014 surpassed the event total of ACS 2013.

In less than four days.  Basically in less than half the time of last year.  That’s an incredible thing and it’s because of all of you that it’s happened.  Thank you all so much- bloggers, merchants, shoppers, press, friends.  We could not do what we do without you and we’re all stunned at Org staring at the numbers. We are humbled and grateful for your support.

Several merchants have begun putting NEW things into their booths to keep people coming back.  I know we have at least one more booth that’s a last minute entry as well, so please do come back and visit them.  (I know for sure that Fallen Gods Inc., Dark Passions, and Greymoon have new stuff in their booths as of today- if you’re an ACS merchant who’s just put something else in, please tell me so I can let people know.)

Though the photo above isn’t from one of our official event bloggers, I think it’s a *fantastic* image.  I just love it.

We are now into our first weekend at ACS. Though Gothika is quiet tonight, Pie will be in the underground tomorrow at 8pm SL time.

Last year’s event total was 278,444L (about 1082 USD, IIRC.)

At the end of day five, A Clockwork Spiral 2014 has raised 328,377L or approximately $1277.38USD for the National Kidney Foundation.  Thank you all so much for all you’ve done so far- and please  keep doing it.🙂

 

 

 

 

Dusting off the rust.

Rust in Peace II, by Caity Tobias

 

(Dear Caity, we love you, official or not.)

So day 3 is in the (rusted) can at ACS, and it was once again very busy.  I had a bunch of people stop to IM me as I sat parked on a bench.  Some had suggestions, some had questions. Some wanted to tell me how much fun they were having. It was all very nice. I try to sit where people can see me for a little while every day so folks can ask questions if they need to.  I just go downstairs when I’ve hit the limits of my introversion.  If you see me sitting around feel free to IM.  (if I dont answer immediately Im probably in another window, but I’ll see it eventually.)

So many people are coming to take photos. It’s really heartening. And I can tell you right now that we’re doing even better so far than last year- for that we can only thank all of you who have comes to join us, the merchants and the bloggers for working so hard to make such a great event.

We’ve gotten incredible press so far and we’re very grateful.

Though we keep the 1920s Radio Network on for most of the day during this event (unless there’s a live set at Gothika), we encourage people to turn the music on. It’s a delightful addition to the atmosphere. We are planning “the big party” for this event on  September 26, but several of the European folks came down this afternoon to enjoy Lee’s set at the Gothika Mobile Unit from 1-3pm. Good times had by all.

I’ve overheard people roleplaying on the streets of Cursed. It’s all very surreal. We’re so used to being the quiet island of gothic misfit toys, this is quite the change.

I couldn’t actually *decide* between these two photos of Caity’s, so Im putting them both in. So there.

Rust, by Caity Tobias

The skin that Caity is wearing was made by Alia Baroque of Fallen Gods Inc. and I’ve seen people strolling all over Cursed wearing both the mens and womens versions. Again, it’s very surreal, like a town overrun by living mechanical people. All the while I can hear Alia cackling. (I heard that, Alia.)

Everyone should know that after only 3 days we are VERY close to surpassing last year’s event total.  I took the day three total at 6pm SL time, but I can see what it is now, and I expect we will hit that number today.

So everyone please keep coming and visiting with us. We have a wonderful weekend coming up for people to run around our..strangely mechanical island.  I’ll just wear my Angels of Liberty tshirt under my diesel gear.

Also I want to once again thank our incredible blogging team, who is doing so much work to bring awesome images and posts to everyone. Since we seem to be talking about mechanical people today, here’s Skell Dagger:

 

Spare Parts and Copper Hearts, by Skell Dagger

Tonight at the Gothika Mobile Unit, Lokii Violet will be there live from 8-10PM Pacific Time, and Rydia Suicide will be immediately after her from 10pm-midnight.

 

The day three total is 230,954L or about $890USD (this was taken at 6pm SLT. It’s higher now.) raised for the National Kidney Foundation.