Repost: Lit Beacons

SLCG Cutter Djdueruer Zuo

This repost is a follow up to the article below on SL catamarans. Please also go see Tasha Kostolany’s post about Djduerer Zou and the Beachcat Fundraiser that sailors organized in Djd’s memory.

I should add that back in March 2007, I was  still brand new in SL and could barely walk straight; Tasha was in charge of the nascent Nantucket sims, and I’m eternally grateful for her wisdom and guidance with the memorial launch event… and everything else as well.

I think many of us keep returning to memories of Djd’s memorial because it revealed a remarkable strength of SL to unite so many of us in bonds of mutual support and caring. I hope we never forget that, and I’m sure we never will.

I liontaib Dé go ghcastar simm.

Two years after Djd’s death, Saxxon Domella and I both wrote again about his passing. I merged my thoughts about Djd with a post that centered on his close friend, RJ Kikuchiyo.

Well, two more years have again gone by; perhaps its ok to reprint those words once more.


Lit Beacons

Initially posted to by Jane Fossett on January 6, 2009

RJ Kikuchiyo

RJ Kikuchiyo wrote about the SL Coast Guard:

“… As a continuation of a personal and public mission I have endeavored to promote safe boating in SL just as I do in RL. The professionalism and service that I have witnessed from the SLCG staff has only earned more respect from me for the education and look-out roles that they provide…

In that comment he also referenced the article on OS Grid:

OS Grid: I must thank Owen, Nomad and Glida and others for pioneering the coastline of virtual worlds. I arrived with raw materials and desire, but their generosity allows this community to extend its horizons to new places. I am excited to announce that the virtual Great Point Lighthouse of Nantucket has now a home in OS Grid next to the NYC Clubhouse (inspired by the RL Nantucket YC house and Djduerer Zou).
The offer goes out to any OS Grid sim owner that requests a lighthouse can be provided one of their choice, for no more than the time it takes to create. (fine print: please request a real [past or present] lighthouse, as I’m no good at making stuff up!)

Thank you, RJ!

This now gives me a great excuse to talk about RJ Kikuchiyo. I’m only going to say a few words today, since I’m already writing another article about the work he and SLNE’s Mister Wind are doing to develop children’s educational programs on science and the environment.

RJ at SL Boatshow with NYC 2008 logoIf I haven’t said it before (although I’m pretty sure I have), RJ is quite remarkable as a builder, sailor, and human being. He’s an able spokesperson for SL Sailing and last month had a presentation on “Virtual boating” in SecondLife at the New York National Boat Show. The booth used video to chronicle RJ’s activites in SL over an entire week, and included a segment on the SL Boat Show 2008, not to mention a cameo appearance by Jacqueline Trudeau.
I appreciate there are many superb builders in SL, and in future articles I hope to highlight their wonderful talents and creations, but for me RJ fits in a class by himself. He has an uncanny ability to transform bare wisps of ideas into detailed, virtual objects that maintain and exceed the excitement, the endurance, and the promise of his client’s dreams.

RJ’s extraordinary ability is firmly grounded in his real life experience and his knowledge of practical and technical details of sailing and navigation. He knows what is genuine and he has the skill to convey that core of authenticity in all of his creations. JFos and RJ wait for a race Nov 2006His work captures a moment in time, and each of his three dimensional builds reveals a unique slice of history, culture, craftwork and humor. I first met RJ in Nantucket sim a few days after I first arrived in SL. Back then, I was mostly trying to learn how to walk straight without falling off the dock. In addition to all his other hats, RJ was in charge of Nantucket’s Coast Guard station. I’m pretty sure he introduced himself because he considered me a Water Saftey Hazard and a Boating Accident Waiting to Happen.

RJ was also Nantucket Sim’s master builder, and it was quite amazing to watch his new creations expand across the estate, and then see the estate grow larger to accommodate his new material. RJ would pour over the RL maps and navigational charts of the region to get the layout, then use stacks of photographs he personally took of the real buildings and local surround to capture the subtle details and context.

I recall one evening when I was practicing sitting  and then standing up in my tako without falling overboard (still not an easy feat).  RJ came over and asked what Real Life building I thought was missing in Nantucket sim. I suggested the “Jared Coffin House,” a shipowner’s mansion built in 1845 that’s now a historic landmark and just a few blocks from the dock in town. Jared Coffin House, Nantucket MAWe spent some minutes discussing the details of the building and trading website images that showed different views… and then I fell off the dock and crashed out of SL again.

When I rezzed back to that spot the following morning… wow. I was standing in front of the Jared Coffin House! In just a few hours late that night RJ had captured the essence of the venerable and elegant building and brought it to life right there in Nantucket sim.

When I thought about it this week I stopped back in Nantucket to see if it was still there two years later. Unfortunately, we all know that pixels are perishable; I was told:

“We don’t have it rezzed anywhere…
not for a long time…
it was fairly useless as a retail space.”

I certainly understand the practical considerations involved in that decision, and I left taking solace in the fact that at least the ‘real life Nantucket’ had the grace to keep the Coffin House rezzed for the past 163 years…
RJ has many interests, and his design portfolio includes sailboats, powerboats, clothes, furniture, terraforms, houses, flags, navigational markers… and pretty much anything else tou can imagine. But it only takes a few minutes with him to realize that his true passion is for lighthouses.

Very early on, RJ started the “Lighthouse Board” group in SL, and over the past few years he’s recreated quite a large number of well known historic lights and placed them across the SL waterways.  In fact when I first purchased a parcel of land two years ago, within minutes RJ showed up. He said he was happy I bought the land since he’d been thinking for weeks a lighthouse should go on that property… and he knew just the one to build: Block Island’s South East Light.  While he did most of the building, I had the chance to read up on a good deal of the available history and collect copies of the remaining photos of the structure taken over the years. the project was fascinating and timely, since erosion and many decades of coastal weather put the historic site at risk. Recreating the beacon was a way to preserve the structure and make it accessible to many who would never see it, while at the same time drawing attention to the deterioration of this and many other lights on the East Coast of North America.
SouthEast Light Mystic

When Nantucket Yacht Club moved to USS-South, I left Mystic and the lighthouse was carefully packaged and placed in inventory. However I was truly delighted when Spirit Cleanslate and Transparent Banshee fell in love with the lighthouse as well, and placed a copy on their Greenhouse sim in USS.  If you have not yet visited Greenhouse, stop reading this and go have a look. It is easily one of the most beautiful spots in all of Second Life. What a great place for SE Light to come to rest!

Djduerer Zou

While I was thinking about this article, I went around and looked at several of RJ’s more recent lighthouse creations. I think my favorite is the one in Brenham Estates, a private three-sim estate owned by Madison Brenham.

Madison was the partner of Djduerer Zou, and you may recall that both Saxxon Domela and I wrote about him  in different contexts this past month. Djduerer (“Dude”) was a sailor in real life, but then developed a progressive, degenerative brain disorder that gradually made it impossible for him to perform even simple activities of daily living.

Through Second Life he was able to sail again. Even more important, Dude found a community of sailors who took him in and accepted him as a friend, unquestioning. His disease relentlessly progressed, and as the end neared Dude’s texting became unintelligible and he had increasing difficulty moving or controlling a boat in SL. At Mowry, NYC, and all the other yacht clubs the sailors responded as one: People pulled together and worked in concert to keep Dude part of the community… on the water, the dock… anywhere.

And then he was gone.

As Saxxon recounts in his article, Dude gave us as much, or more, than we ever gave him. We all saw the strength and importance of a community and we witnessed the hidden potential inside Second Life to accomplish extraordinary things. The experience  left a lasting impression on nearly all of us, both individually and as a group.  I suspect that impression will not go away; after two years Saxxon and I are here still writing about it. That’s a good thing.
Trudeau Beach cat fundraiser

On March 18, 2007, several weeks after Dude’s death, we got together again for Djduerer Zuo. Jacqueline Trudeau’s remarkable Beach Cat was launched that evening, and at her request all proceeds from sales were donated to The Michael J Fox Foundation in Dude’s memory. That night, in less than two hours, we sold seventy-two boats.
Madison Brenham continued in Second Life after Dude’s death.  I had not spoken with her for a year and a half until this past week while I was out hunting for RJ’s lighthouses. I discovered that Madison’s created a very pretty residential estate with a tropical theme named Brenham Estates. It has a strict covenant to maintain that beauty, so no cars, no powerboats, and no intentionally obnoxious scripts, please.

But on the other hand, if you want a beautiful tropical paradise, this comes very close. The estate is subtly dedicated to Dude, and one of the sims is named Duerer. It has a yacht club, and sailboats are encouraged; Dude’s boat, which for a long time rested in a cradle in front of NYC, is now on a mooring again in one of the bays. It looks like it belongs there.

It does.

Brenham Estates
RJ Kikuchiyo and Dude were good friends. I guess it’s therefore no surprise RJ’s memorial to Dude is a lighthouse.
This one is Trwyn Du, and its Real-life location is Penmon Point in Northern Wales.   If you go over to Brenham Estates to look at it, be sure to go inside the lighthouse… you’ll find a winding staircase inside with three distinct levels, and the attention to detail is again remarkable.
The strikingly beautiful residential parcels, a covenent that emphasizes harmony and peace, a yacht club with perfect water for for sailing, and a RJ Kikuchiyo light; what an absolutely perfect tribute to our friend Dude.
It looks like others feel the same way, since most of the residential parcels are taken. Whether you are in the market to rent a parcel or not however, take a few minutes to go look at RJ’s lighthouse, talk to Madison, and then have a drink at the bar with Dude once again.

Trwyn lighthous

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