Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Ah Real Life. gets in the way of SL sometimes. That's not always a bad thing. When you get back to it, most of your landmarked stores have new stuff! In RL, you can't drag me into a clothing store. In SL...I go willingly (even happily).

Stuff in RL that just makes the sands of available time for SL run out before you realize it:

1 - Netflicks subscription.

2 - The sudden need to re-watch all of "Firefly".

3 - Family needing you to watch their house.

4 - (In my case) Major bibliophilia flare-up (that would be an all consuming need to read a bunch of books).

5 - Guests from out of town.

But hey, I'll probably be back and be-bopping along in my avatar self soon enough. Real Life must always run it's course. :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Second Life Tails

Okay, so I admit...

I didn't get it.

I couldn't understand what was up with all the tails on otherwise perfectly normal people. To be honest I thought it looked kinda silly...I mean...if you have a horse-tail...why no hooves or other horse shaped features?

NOW I get it.

Second Life tails facilitate Second Life flirting. Very handy for shy or reserved people.

"What?" "Huh?"

Yep...those tails have chat text options when you touch them. And the person whose tail you are "touching" can react in many ways. They can express enjoyment at having their tail "touched" (which can lead to other things), or they can politely continue friendly conversation, maybe act like they've been tickled...friendly but unassuming.

Everyone knows people do not have tails (actually some are born with vestigial tails, but doctors obviously remove them). So in Second you have a body part that YOU alone your reaction to who is touching it...just how "attached" that tail is to your avatar. And because it's a tail, both parties in the conversation get to interpret whether or not the tail touching is innocent or frisky. Interpreting an Xcite! Nipple Touch in public does not leave as much room for interpretation, and can be very awkward and mutually embarrassing.

But tails? Tails are a wonderful grey area.

I saw a blogpost somewhere (and dammit I cannot recall where), and someone was talking about how guys in Second Life seem to completely ignore the women who have taken the time to make their avatars look really good...and instead pay attention to the folks (not necessarily RL girls either...but shhhh) who look like they graduated from tramp academy.

I WISH I could remember where I saw that....anyway...part of it talked about the possibility that guys were intimidated by well put together avatars (just as they are with ladies in RL). But I see a solution to this problem. The well dressed lady looking for a little fun, should add these touchable tails to their well-coiffed avatar!

This allows another person to touch your tail (maybe) on "accident" in a casual manner that enables them to strike up the courage to converse depending on how you react to the tail touch.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Second Life Identity

I see an interesting thing happen to folks on SL. They start out as a Noobie with that generic fuzzy appearance we all recall with dread. And each person evolves to their own tastes, dreams, and wishes.

It's wonderful.

What I find amazing (and a little perplexing) are the folks walking around SL who seem to have self-limited their avatar. Body shape, skin color, species. You could be a completely different creature every day. You could be a vampire, an elf, a neko, a furry, a demon, anything you want, all in the course of a week.

A couple days ago, I was shopping for gowns, turned around...and found I was clothes shopping with a unicorn that had a baby dragon perched on its rump! How cool is that?!

I can understand folks self-limiting because of the cost. It does cost Lindens to have a lot of avatar variety. But I think the desire for variation is kind of a new thing. Designs have improved. When I was first on in 2007, animal shapes had a distinctly overly rounded in places sketched look. Horses legs didn't even move. It looked pretty raw.

There has been stunning improvement since, and I see lots of people now embracing nonhuman variations for their avatars as opposed to 2007.

So look at your avatar self. Take all the elements in your inventory that make your current look, make copies (add clothes so you don't wind up naked) of the elements that make that avatar "you", and put it all in a folder marked **Quick Me**.


Now you can access your favorite shape, skin, hair, eyes, and basic outfit all in one inventory click by right clicking that folder and selecting Add to outfit.

Boom. No matter WHAT you do now, the you you is right there. Accessible in seconds.

Now that those elements are not scattered throughout your inventory, you may feel more free to experiment, because no matter WHAT you do... *click* you can be YOU again.

Now get out there and explore your inner octopus! Or beastman! Or robot! Or...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Single-Hood In SL

I'm a single adult in RL. I'm fully aware that being a single female in real life is still viewed culturally as somewhat of an oddity. I do have a BF, and we are happy with our lives as they are. But other people like to stick their noses in our business. Whenever others ask me how my relationship is going, they cannot help themselves, they feel a compulsion to urge me towards altering my relationship, regardless of whether or not such an alteration is in the best interest of the two people who are actually involved in it.

I get told in various ways that I should be using tactics ranging from polite suggestion, to downright blackmail, to "make" my BF "pop the question". And in his case, he gets the suggestion that I should be popping out his kids. Never mind that he tells people we are perfectly happy being childfree and just as we are, no one believes the woman in his life really wants that. Fortunately, we are both immune to social pressure and together we laugh at the world trying to tell us what to do.

So when I got on SL again for the first time in over a year, I started to notice a trend that I considered somewhat "new". Maybe it was around when I was on before, but there wasn't as much emphasis on it as there is now. And that of course is that little box in everyone's profile. The one for you Partner in Second Life.

When I noticed it, I thought: "Wow, that's a sweet idea.". I'm afraid I've begun to change my mind about how I feel about that.

For one thing, "partnering" doesn't mean the same thing to everyone. And I think a lot of hurt feelings could be well avoided if there were some serious discussion between people over how their partnership will be defined before they do it. And for the rest of us, those of us outside the partnership, it might be nice if there was a brief description of how your partnership is defined within the body of your profile, particularly if you have a mutually "open" arrangement with your partner.

Why? Because not everyone defines SL Partnership as romantically monogamous, and at the same time, other folks see SL partnership as "serious" (sometimes even more so) like a real life romance.

The thrill of a SL flirtation gets a splash of cold water on it for me when I look at the profile to find that the person flirting with me is Partnered to someone. Is this person looking to SL "cheat" with me? I don't LIKE drama. I'm quite allergic to it in fact. And the last thing I have any interest in, is getting an IM from a deeply hurt person I've never met, venting their pain and anger at ME when they are really too emotionally attached to their Partner to address the issue directly with THEM.

The other beef I have with the Partner field on my profile, there are folks walking around SL who seem to have a vendetta against that space being blank. It's like the real life equivalent of being asked (back before I was seeing anyone) "Why don't you have a BF?". People can be quite extreme about other people's personal marital status. One time, a former BF of mine who I'd stayed friends with after our relationship was over, was so disturbed by my continued singlehood, he told me if I was still unmarried by the time he returned from overseas, he was going to "make an honest woman of me." *blink blink* What? What the hell was I supposed to say, "Thanks for your sacrifice of bachelorhood to save me from being single?" It seemed totally nuts to me. Needless to say, I made sure I did not run across him after he got back. But not long ago...I've had SL encounters that sort of mirrored this very conversation.

I'd just meet someone, and they say "You aren't Partnered." (I hate statements that make replies awkward). I confirm what they already knew, and these persons volunteered to be my SL Partners. They'd known me for about 1/2 an hour, 2 hours tops.

Okay. I gotta admit, I have a hard enough time remembering to be socially accessible enough to maintain regular SL friendships. I am an introvert. And while I did see Botgirl's blog post showing that RL introverts can turn into extroverts on SL (which is pretty interesting), it seems I'm not one of them. Which I'm actually kind of sad about, because it would be interesting to see what extroversion feels like.

I have to force sociability in SL as much as I do in RL, or I just don't do it at all. I don't think it would be fair to partner with someone who may (understandably) have expectations of spending lots of SL time with me, when I'd just as soon be off exploring sims, or practicing building by myself. After all, just because I'm perfectly comfortable and satisfied with my own company most of the time (not ALL the time, as those of you who know or are introverts understand), that doesn't mean I'm completely insensitive or apathetic to other people needing higher levels of interaction. Just like real life, the needs between Partners need to complement each other. Since I feel no need for a SL partner, to subject another person to what may seem like indifference on my part would be very unfair.

So I have no SL Partner. I imagine other people have had the same problem I've been having, and likely have agreed to "Partner" with someone, or one of their own alts...just to fill the field in, and get other people to not bug them about it. But why should any of us have to resort to that? Why is anything in our profile page open to the criticism of others? Where do other people get off essentially feeling they have a right to imply our profile is somehow "incomplete" (and by extension, so are WE) because we are not significantly linked to another avatar?

I can't say I'm impressed that the real life social pressure to couple up has made it's way into Second Life. People's relationships should be their own business, but society at large (in both Lives) seem to have difficulty with the concept of respecting individual choice.

I'm just waiting for Linden to create a new field in Profiles that tells everyone how many Prim Babies are in our inventory. Why not? One more RL piece of public nosiness that can be emulated in SL to increase "realism".

"You don't have kids? Why nooooot?"

Can't wait!

Getting Noticed


Two fantastic people have made reference to my blog in their blogs. Cheyenne Palisades and Melissa Yeuxdoux. I'm flattered to my toes you guys. Wow. I'm surprised by how that makes me feel. I started the blog somewhat for myself, but knowing that other people might start reading it. I kinda figured: "Hey start a blog, folks will read your stuff and that will be cool."

I mean, I'm a member of a couple online forums, people have commented on stuff I've written before, this really isn't any different right?

Actually, it's very different. Most of my posts will be centering around my thoughts and opinions about a World that I share with my readers. Unlike my real life, where I'm separated by considerable geography from other online acquaintances, when it comes to SL, we are all just a TP away from some of the things I might want to talk about.

It just feels different, knowing that in a virtual context, someone could actually walk (or fly) up to me and tell me they read my stuff.

Part of me worries of course. After all, I'm going to start tackling some things my readers (now that a have a few) might have pretty strong opinions about. But at the same time, if all the voices in all the blogs are saying the same things, why have all the blogs? What good is my freedom of speech if it's someone else's *sanitized for public protection* words coming out of my mouth because I start being worried about offending others? What is the point if all the ideas about the same issues are all the same?

"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" - Admiral David Farragut

One thing goes without question. I need to start getting some damn pictures on here!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Showdown in the Office

Again...veering off from SL for a bit today to share a frustrating/comforting moment at work today. And it centered around the event of this morning, the inauguration of our 44th president of the United States.

The frustrating part was the disparity, the comfort...was that it WAS generational.

Let me explain. About 2/3rds the workplace now consists of employees under 35 years of age. And then the final 1/3rd are folks over 45.

So here is what happened. Those of us in the 2/3rds category, regardless of how we'd voted, or our personal politics...were eager to listen to the inaugural address on the radio. History was being made after all. So we crank up the quiet...and listened while we worked.

Now...remember that 1/3rd group? Fortunately, on my floor, they are in a different part of the building, but that didn't stop them from walking by and making comments. One said "Turn that Shit off!" (we ignored him). And I found out from another co-worker (in the 2/3rds group) who was able to overhear another woman who fell in the 1/3rd group making comments that were downright racist.

I can tell you, those of us in the younger generation were rather shocked by it. But the GOOD thing about this...the only people being blatantly intolerant and close-minded were all over 45. To me, it indicates that blatant discrimination in general could be headed for the retirement home.

This could be a good thing. As the younger generation begins taking the reins of power, we do so with a distinctly different mindset from generations past. Of course those pages of history have not yet written whether or not this change was a triumph or a disaster as that is yet to be seen. But with change comes hope.

We shall see.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Petite Perils

This go round in SL...I admit I have surrendered. I gave up. I really tried having an avatar shape that was an accurate 5'1". But a month ago *sigh*. I now walk around at 5'10" (without shoes). I'm STILL petite from an SL perspective. But I did so reluctantly. I am proudly petite in RL...but there are some things in SL that are NO fun at 5'1".

1 - Dancing at clubs with a partner. Every animation had me hovering 3 to four feet in the air. Which never went without comment.

2 - Furniture poseballs. Looks great....sitting INSIDE that pretty chair.

3 - Hours re-sizing clothes, hair, and shoe prims. Don't get me started. This sometimes meant resizing each individual prim of cloth in a skirt. And that's not funny with skirts made of 86 freaking prims. A lot of just can't rationally buy.

4 - Bigger than comfortable boobs. On a small av, that doesn't seem like much...but trying to have a smaller chest size did lead to the occasional "child avatar" accusation. Lord knows TONS of children walk around dressed as biker chicks.

5 - I didn't know about movelock last time. Yeah. Think about that in a SL crowd. Or better yet....don't.