Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Carnival of Venice

Patrice has been one busy girl lately. I hardly get to see her these days! She has been hard at work building new sims for the Italian government, or tourist board, or something like that.

First there was Toscana, which is the province that English-speakers call Tuscany. Toscana is a lovely, rural sim, with lots of grass and trees and grazing animals, as well as a small village. It's a great place to cycle or ride your scooter or just walk. There is even an area with huge picnic tables for one of those outdoor Italian feasts, although you'll have to imagine the food and wine.

The most recent Italiam sim to open is Venezia, also known as Venice, which Patrice did not work on (she's been working on another that will open soon -- this is a correction per Patrice's comment). Just as Toscana is a miniature reproduction of Tuscany, Venezia is a miniature reproduction of Venice, city of gondolas and canals. Indeed, one of the best ways to get a look at the place is by hopping into gondola and typing GONDOLA GO. You'll get a brief view of what there is to see from canal level. In fact, that's what Patrice and I did when we were there. It was wonderfully romantic! Maybe they should include kissing animations in the gondolas.

I'm afraid I don't know my Venetian geography. I'm sure there are famous churches and museums and palaces and other buildings like that of which I am woefully ignorant. So I don't really know specifically what we were looking at from the gondola. But you can find out for yourself. The sim is now open.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Freedom tastes of reality

Yoiks! I got distracted in that other posting. I asked the question—why are there seemingly so many guys whose primary avatar is female?—but didn't really even attempt to answer! I appreciate the comments that entry has already received. Comments always provide additional insights. Maybe there will be more insights from this one.

I already touched on one reason that some men play women. It's more social than sexual. For all the talk of male bonding, it's women who bond more easily. Women tend to see each other as allies. They can form exclusive cliques, of course, but in general they are more welcoming. Women can form friendships at any point in their lives. For men, not so much. Heterosexual men might have other men they hang out with—go to bars, watch sports, shoot hoops, things like that—but they are rarely close to other men unless they happen to have known someone for a long time, like an old buddy from high school or university. Women can more easily get close to other women, and can share much more intimate things than men can with each other. When it comes to friendships, woman are freer than men.

Another reason is that women, much more than men in this society, can be overtly sexy. They are allowed, even encouraged, to put their wares on display. It's like the opposite of the situation among birds, where males tend to have the brighter plumage and are the ones that "strut their stuff" (and females do the choosing). Among humans, with some exceptions, that's the domain of women. Women can strive to look beautiful. Men get to be strong silent types. They can be rugged and handsome, if they're lucky, but they're supposed to do that without making much effort. If they make too much effort, that's not manly. So here again, women are allowed more freedom than men.

(Incidentally, this freedom to be sexual is very powerful. I think it's one of the reasons for the oppressive patriarchy, and why in some societies women are forbidden to make any kind of display. A woman can bring the strongest man to his knees just by being herself. Desire can sap the will out of the toughest guy. This leads to men both wanting and fearing women, which of course leads to a desire to control. You know the rest.)

Second Life, of course, helps with this freedom to preen and strut. SL is loaded with "slutwear." But it's not just that. Designers also create very beautiful clothes, not just overtly sexy ones. Female avatars can as easily look beautiful and sophisticated as hot and sexy. The range of female clothing is astounding, and new designs and designers keep on showing up. For men, the choice is limited, although not as limited as many think. Still, just as in first life, guys don't have the clothing options that women do. Women have the freedom to look beautiful, sexy, sweet, pretty, or any and all of the above. The range for women even includes most of the range for men.

It's clear from comments I have read that being female in SL is liberating in these ways and more. For some, being female allows them the freedom to open themselves up, to be vulnerable, to learn about their own emotional range. They don't get this in their first lives. The fantasy of SL, the allowance for imagination, lets them escape the chains of first life male existence. They seem to be better men for it. And some question whether they have been repressing something in themselves.

What we're seeing in SL is that many more men than might have been imagined, when given the opportunity for a fantasy existence, choose to be female. This is extraordinary. It's telling us things about what men want when given the chance. It's telling us about what is lacking in men's lives in the our current cultures. It's like a grand social experiment, although without controls. Still, someone in academia should probably study what's going on here. No doubt there is much more to learn.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Men who are women who are men

It's another one of those periods when nothing really blog-worthy has happened. You don't want to hear about yet another fun night at the Velvet, I'm sure! But I'm working on some stories for PixelPulse, and that always gets me thinking about social issues in Second Life.

This time, it's one of the big SL questions: why are there seemingly so many guys whose primary avatar is female? No one knows for sure how many, but it seems there are more than a few. I'm getting some interesting insights from some of the comments on my article on gender and integrated voice on the various reasons this might be so.

I don't doubt that a certain percentage of men playing women are doing it for kicks. I've met some. Men tend to view SL as a game, and being a female avatar would just be one aspect of game playing. Apparently, men have done it in online war games for years because of certain strategic advantages. In SL, men being female for kicks seem mainly to want sex, sometimes as escorts but often girl on girl. It's certainly obvious from first life that women, for the most part, control if and when they have sex and, if they want, can have as much sex as they want. Being female in SL brings the same advantage. Men might be the initiators, but it's women who say yes or no.

Of course, at least sometimes, the guy looking for hot girl-on-girl sex is having sex with another guy looking for hot girl-on-girl sex. Maybe the guys looking for hot action might keep this in mind. Or maybe they'd rather pretend it's not so.

Men playing women for kicks are sometimes called "transgendered." This is a misappropriation of the term. These men have no desire actually to be women in first life. They are simple doing a bit of role playing. Even though there might be some undertones for some of these guys that they're not admitting to themselves, for the most part we're not talking about transgendered men. There needs to be another term for these men, because it muddies the water.

Actual first life transgender male-to-female (MTF) people are another group who often play women in SL. I have spoken with many in the course of working on articles for PixelPulse. For them, being a female in SL is no game. Some are transsexual women in transition, at various stages, so it only makes sense for them to be female in SL. But many are MTF non-op transgenders. These would be biological males who feel themselves to be wholly or partially female but, for various reasons, are not transitioning. For them, SL is like a dream come true. They can live a life that is not possible in FL, but only if they live in stealth.

I've found an interesting in-between category. This would be a guy who is not transgendered but who finds playing a female avatar to be compelling. He doesn't want to be a woman in first life, but very much does in SL, not to have hot sex but simply because women in SL have more interesting lives—better social lives, more and better clothing choices, more opportunities. SL, unlike FL, is a woman's world. It's hard for a male avatar to demonstrate that he's a genuine person and not just someone looking to pick up a girl for sex. As in FL, the cool guys suffer for the sins of the numerous male asshats.

The influx into SL of "augmentationists"—those who consider SL to be an extension of FL—threatens to upset the equilibrium. Augmentationists always want to know the FL biological sex of other people, especially women. They abhor cross-gender role play, regardless of the reason for it. They do not distinguish among the different reasons for being cross-gender. To them, it's all deception.

Not many will cry over the hot-sex role players being "outed." They will just have to go back to being guys and taking their chances in the meat market, just like in FL. But the outing of transgenders, and even of the sincere non-transgenders, will be tragic. An opportunity that in unavailable in FL, that was unavailable until SL, will be lost. Not to get melodramatic, but at least one suicide will be the result. And many others will be crushed, lost, and depressed. Some might create new avatars and try again. Some will leave SL.

I sympathize with those who have been deceived, who have been having sex with someone who suddenly "outs" himself. That would be pretty traumatic, and something to be avoided if possible. But you can't have certainty in SL any more than in FL. You can try, and in so doing curb the freedom of decent people. But it's a bad idea. The level of control that attempts to achieve certainty is fascism.

It remains to be seen how prevalent augmentationism will become. Mitch Kapor might want to erase the distinction between SL and FL, but many long-time residents do not. "Your world. Your imagination." Many take that as an opportunity to create a parallel universe, a better world, a world of positive imagination. We have to see if the augmentationists have the staying power that the immersionists have already demonstrated. Whatever Mr. Kapor wants, he doesn't control what goes on in SL. The residents do. Unless the plug is pulled.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My twin sister

Yes, it's that time again. Second Life is down for an upgrade—or maybe up for a downgrade. We've yet to see. This was supposed to be the release of integrated voice, I think, but apparently it's been postponed until next month. This time, we get sculpted prims. Since I can just about build a habitable domicile with the old prims, I'm looking forward to seeing what those with far more graphical design talent than I have will do with these new prims.

I shall take the opportunity to do another person entry. tree Sprawl (she always spells her first name that way—some people don't like to hit the shift key!) was rezzed the same day as I was, on the 30th of July 2006. We met on Orientation and/or Help Island, and she might well have been the first name on my Friends list. She skipped all the build tutorials and headed off for the mainland after only about a day, while I waited behind for a new graphics board to arrive, but we stayed in touch via IM. While I was rezzing cubes and playing with textures, she would tell me about the adventures she was already having.

When I finally jumped to the mainland, I was afraid she'd be way ahead of me and not want to be friends any more. My worries were for nothing. As soon as I jumped, tree was ready to give me a hand, and more than a few lira (I told her I had money, but she seemed to think I didn't). She took me shopping. She introduced me to her friend Athena, who is actually our triplet. She kept me company in those difficult days when Second Life seems very intimidating because you haven't really learned anything yet. I remember when she took me dancing at a place that was having an animal avatar contest, and she turned into a sort of triceratops. Then she couldn't get the darned thing off and temporarily lost her skin! Oh, everything was new then.

As we continued with our second lives, we didn't see each other as often, but whenever we did, it was like we'd never been apart. We could always start talking about whatever was going on, even if it had been a while since we'd met. I had my fling thing with M. She had a couple things of her own. She grabbed some first land long before I managed to, and even bought some more. She did eventually learn to build, and she made me a skybox on her land, my first home. (We had started with a pre-fab A-frame cabin, which was rather nice, but she went for the skybox because she wanted to use the land below.)

Eventually, she bought four adjacent 512m2 parcels and created a beautiful walled garden, some photos of which I put on my Flickr site. We would sit there and talk sometimes. When I first met Sorcha McConachie, I brought her to the garden so we could chat. tree said that she got more traffic on her parcel than a nearby club did, and that doesn't surprise me.

She had a rocky relationship for a while, and I was her shoulder to cry on when things were going badly. (The relationship also had much about it that was good, so it wasn't all tears.) In fact, I think she might have been one of the first, if not the first, to come to me that way, which led directly to my setting up a counselling practice in SL, which led to me working on a career change in first life in order to becoming a counsellor.

I did my share of crying on her shoulder as well. She was always a sympathetic listener. At the same time, she's one of those people who can cut right through bullshit, and that always helped me keep my head on straight.

Sadly, the garden is now gone. So is the rest of tree's land. In fact, tree will be gone from SL soon as well. Maybe not forever, but at least for now. Like many of us, she gave up some things in first life in order to make time for SL, and she'd like to make time for those things again. Fortunately, we have other ways of getting in touch, because tree is not just a friend to me in SL. She is a friend, period.

I love you, tree. I know we'll be in touch, but I'll miss you so much in SL. I have tears in my eyes as I write this. I am so grateful for your friendship, so glad that I met you. May you always thrive in all of your lives.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Miss May

A while back, I wrote about Eloria LeShelle of Battered Boutique and her awesome jeans. Well, she needed a new "pin-up" for the wall of the store, and she picked me for this month. I am humbled and honoured!

Even more, I got an outfit named after me—the 'Nique. Of course, it's not from any kind of talent. Eloria is the talented one. Being a model in First Life is hard work, so I understand, but being one in Second Life is totally easy. You don't even have to pose, because animations do it for you. Photo shoots are simple—just watch the photographer work. And change clothes and make adjustments when you're asked. And don't talk too much so your hands don't move!

This is a bit of a skimpy entry, because I just finished a three-hour DJ shift at the Velvet, and I'm knackered. It was Victoria Day in Canada, a holiday, so tonight was all things Canada—the good, the bad, and the silly. Of course I didn't take any photos, dammit, and alyssa looked great dressed as the Stanley Cup. And Lana was wearing a canoe. And the place was really full! I'm grateful that everyone wanted to come out and have fun.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Music revival

I'm not exaggerating when I say that Second Life has profoundly influenced my first life. In some ways, you'll just have to take my word for it, because I'm not going to go into all those details. But there's one thing that has struck me recently that I can talk about.

Recently, I started DJing. I now have a regular Monday night gig at the Velvet. I turned down another regular weekly gig because of time constraints and conflicts, but I hope I can land more jobs anyway, even if they are irregular ones. I have such a good time putting song after song in a particular order into a stream for people to listen to and dance to.

I am a semi-retired musician in First Life. I have been interested in music for almost as long as I can remember. Recently, however, I had kind of fallen away from music. I got into that mode where you say that there's no good new music, and I listened only to old favourites.

Even before I started DJing, however, I was listening to various other DJs on SL and being exposed to new music. As a result, I started paying more attention to what I was hearing on the station I listen to most often, a "modern rock" station in Victoria, B.C. When I wanted to DJ, I looked for more sources for music than the large but still limited CD collection I share with my SO. It's a lot harder to find legal digital music than I thought, at least in MP3 format rather than iPod or WMA. Still, I started to find sources and to hear things I'd previously been ignorant of.

In the process, I have become aware of quite a bit of new music. I knew there was good stuff out there, but I wasn't always finding it. DJing has been instrumental in reviving my love of modern music and in leading me to new music with which I was previously unacquainted.

Which leads me to Bloc Party. I can't remember how I first heard about them. I think it was in the process of finding new free music, and I was probably interested in the description of the band. I downloaded "Banquet" and was totally taken by the song and the sound. I decided I had to have more. I bought the A Weekend in the City CD at a store downtown and ordered the previous Silent Alarm CD from Amazon (the record store had only a remix).

I like Silent Alarm. "Banquet" is certainly a stand-out track from the album, but there are several more good tracks. Overall, the band were still finding their way.

But with the release of A Weekend in the City, I think Bloc Party have created an astounding achievement. I can't remember the last time a disc—the whole disc, not just a song here and there—has so captivated me. Some bands have a great sound. Some have great songs. Bloc Party puts them both together, and that is the hallmark of a great band. Song after song on A Weekend in the City just draw me into a different world, a world I find fascinating. I can't think of a weak moment on the entire disc, but when we get to "Kreutzberg," then things really get moving. "I Still Remember," the second single from the album, is just astounding. It's a happy, poppy, driving melody, but the lyrics are all about a love that never happened but should have. The juxtaposition is devastating. And by the time we get to "SRXT," well, it's best if you're not driving while you listen. This is a song about suicide, and it's masterful.

Some CDs grab me right off the bat, but the appeal wears off. Some grow on me. A Weekend in the City has done both, and I find that remarkable. I haven't run into an album so evocative in a long time. And without SL, I might never have known about it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sleep talking

Last night, I was offline doing a First Life volunteer thing. Tonight, I had an interview and audition for another DJ gig. I have to decide whether to take two regular shifts a week—one more in addition to the Velvet gig. I might not have much Second Life time left, but it's a good, high-profile gig. Ye gods, I might even need to talk on mic. Pretty soon, lots of people will be doing that, whether I like it or not. Oh, it's hard to be a dinosaur. And I'm not even a year old! When I joined SL last July, not even a million people had yet signed up. Look at it now.

It will be interesting to see what happens when integrated voice goes live on the main grid. We'll have to see how many places it's enabled. We'll have to see how non-speakers will be treated by speakers—and vice versa. In FL, hearing and deaf people engage in conversations (think of Marlee Matlin's character on the late great West Wing). In SL, will speakers and typists still communicate? My brief experience on the voice beta grid was not promising.

I really don't want to be babbling at my computer all evening. I prefer to type. It makes a little sound, but mainly I'm listening to music. If voice conversation enters the picture, I'm not sure how it will be. But again, we shall see. No way to know in advance.

I'm much less concerned about age verification, at least for now. Normally, I don't go to any places that I would consider pornographic or very violent. The problem might come if places I do want to go get flagged "adult" in a cover-your-ass kind of move. And I might need to get verified in order to keep writing for PixelPulse Magazine. We basically only deal with "adult" topics. The bottom line is there's some information I don't want to hand over to a third-party verifying company. Hey, I'm older than dirt, OK? It's annoying to have to prove it.

Nothing stays the same for long, least of all SL. I'll just have to keep evaluating whether the experience is worth the price. And now I really am fading....ZZZZZZZZ.

Monday, May 14, 2007

V Dizzle fo shizzle

Tonight was the official debut of Veronique's Vault at the Velvet. Vividly vivacious! Can we squeeze any more Vs into a sentence?

I am still lame about contests. I should let Push choose something. I thought this one would work: first outfit you bought in Second Life, or the oldest one you still have. It's not often that I wear the first outfit I ever bought, but I do still use the hair on occasion, and the first shoes are still some of my best and most useful (and change colour too). But I guess a lot of people have dumped their early stuff. At any rate, the contest was not the most stimulating part of the evening. Some contestants, but votes were scarce, despite my repeated encouragement. Mischief won again. Patrice came in second again. Since I was handing out the money, I did not vote, so it wasn't me who lifted Patrice into second place.

Not a bad crowd for a Monday with a new DJ. I learned something about announcements via IM. Now, I hate, hate, HATE IM spam. I have left groups because of it. But even though I had sent out the official announcement a little after 6, at 7:30 there were still only a few people in the club. So I did a bad thing and broadcast to the Velvet list. I know it's wrong, but I'm weak. Thing is, it worked. Shortly after the spam, there were a lot more people at the club. Oh dear. I will have to be more forgiving of IM spam from now on. At least some of it.

The club wasn't super-full, but there were more people there than my photo shows (or than show in Patrice's photo, which she kindly shot and sent to me). And notice the person dancing in the cage, which is always fun. I got good feedback from several people. Thank you! I strike out on a lot of requests, because my music library is still pretty small, so I appreciate people's indulgence. And I do have some rather unusual stuff to play (along with plenty of more-usual stuff), so I'm glad that people go for it. ComradeX and September came by! I hadn't seen them in a long time. I think they've been busy in First Life. It happens.

Next Monday is Victoria Day in Canada. The set will feature every Canadian artist I have, which at this point is more than two dozen, plus some other music that fits in. The contest will be about Canadian stereotypes, and anti-Canadian abuse will be the order of the evening (and don't forget those pea-soup-and-poutine-eating French speakers). Think you can handle that, my non-Canadian friends?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Art of Living

All is not really black emptiness, despite that last entry. I was kind of lonely and in a mood that night, and I channelled it purposely into some writing. I like how it turned out. Downtown is kind of an inspiring place.

It's been three days with no blog entry, and I can't let that go on, but it has not been a terribly eventful three days. Friday and Saturday nights are usually for First Life, and this past weekend was no exception. I could write about great Indonesian food and the film The Queen on DVD, but that wouldn't be quite right. I was at the Velvet very late on Saturday night, past Patrice's bedtime (recall that she is three hours later than I am), and danced for a while. Still not very blog-worthy. And I ended up kind of lonely again, so I got into jammies (with dropped drawers), lay on the bed, and thought about my sweetheart.

But earlier on Saturday, Cell (Cellside Unknown) sent out a broadcast message that he (he's mainly being a he these days) was DJing for a gallery opening. I figured I'd pop in to listen to music and see what was happening. Well, it turned out to be an opening for artist Sysperia Poppy. I remembered that I'd read about her work in Emma Nowhere's blog. I looked around the gallery and was struck by several of the photographs, but especially by one called "Warrioress." So I splurged and got it (really not a bad price for such a nice piece), and Syssy also let me have another non-limited edition shot. They were huge as displayed at the gallery, but Sys assured me that they could be resized.

So I took them to my office-studio and was about to try to cram at least one onto the bedroom wall when I realized that only the studio downstairs would give me the space to do them justice. So that's where I set them up. It's not much of a gallery, but it's much livelier than it was. And Mischief's cartoon doesn't look so lonely.

Today was seven months since Patrice and I got married. She gave me a great present, a tandem bicycle that we hope to ride together on some of the new sims she's working on. I must admit that I was thinking of Mother's Day and forgot about our seven months, but I had thought even on Saturday that Patrice might like "Warrioress." So today I beamed her over to the studio to see the photos. She liked them, but didn't quite click. I told her I'd buy her something from the gallery, so we teleported over there, where we happened to meet Sys and her partner Zoe. What Patrice ended up with was a beautiful, sad photo of our friend Cala (Super Calamari), part of the same series from which Emma has a photo.

I'm going to keep my eye out for more work by Sysperia.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

City of dreams

Downtown. It's nowhere to be if you're lonely, and alone. It's always dark in Downtown. Oh sure, there are shops, and neon, and things to do—sometimes. But if it's late, and you're looking for a lift, look elsewhere. Downtown doesn't care about your despair.

You land at one of the corners with a traffic light. No cars, so you know it's late. The signal changes anyway, green to amber to red and back to green again. The walk signs tell you when it's safe to go, as if there were actually traffic. You head down Falcon Street and into Chinatown, because you know the place, but it's empty. The neon lights make a mockery of your longing for life.

You see that there are people somewhere nearby. No matter which way you go, they never seem to get closer. You find someone, a stranger. She passes you without a word, intent on her own business, whatever that might be. Don't ask.

You keep searching, but you don't quite know what you're looking for. You see the cinema, with promises of life and entertainment, but it's closed. You head out to into the open at the edge of town, which if anything is lonelier and scarier than the claustrophobic streets under the el. You check out the diner, empty as the day before payday. The lights are up, but not a soul is to be found. You head out and find a garage where cars are being fixed, cars that never drive down forbidden streets, seeking the promise of open air and sunshine.

You fly up thinking that soaring above the urban squalor might clear your head. The atmospheric pressure still crushes you. Past the obelisk, you can see the promise of a new dawn, a dawn that never arrives. You could wait forever, waiting for Godot. A fool's errand.

You circle around and around, past the pawn shop, past the bookstore, knowing that there are people somewhere, but you never find them. You give up. You head back to Chinatown, back to where you know there's a place to crash, to sink into oblivion. It's dirty and messy, but it's as safe as anywhere in this burg.

Those potstickers from the Chinese take-out down below didn't sit too well, so you're glad that at least there's a toilet in this dump. The gods know what's in those buggers. The rot-gut whisky you washed them down with probably didn't help. You want to sleep, but the room is spinning, and sleep won't come. You're alone with your thoughts and a bag of crack and photos on the wall that some self-righteous bastard is probably soon going to proclaim are pornographic. What they hell do they know.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Vault previews

I did my first real DJ/hosting gig at the Velvet last night. Veronique's Vault doesn't start its regular run until next Monday, but Push needed a DJ, and I was eager to fill the slot.

Not only was I in charge of the music. I also cooked up the contest, sent out the notice to the Velvet group, and had access to the contest board and the "now playing" board. Thanks again to Jasper for clearing up a few things there, but for the most part I just clicked and followed directions. I also served as host for the evening. I like greeting people (and other critters) who come in the door anyway, and it wasn't so busy that I couldn't keep up.

I broke one of my own rules about contests: don't make anyone buy anything they don't already have, unless they really want to. The contest was "Velvet goes Hollywood," because it was the anniversary of the formation of Paramount Pictures. I should have said, however, that any kind of creative glam would do. I just happen already to own the pair of Leeloo Dallas costumes from the movie The Fifth Element. I promise to do better in future!

I streamed my usual mélange of rock, indie, punk, grunge, and Canadiana of all genres, somewhat expanded since the last time I DJed, with interjections of sound clips from movies (as is my wont), also somewhat expanded. The one from Office Space about the worker named Michael Bolton really got some people started. The quotes were flying fast and furious!

Mischief, who as you may know is a Neko, came with her attachment that frames her face with the MGM logo, which is always a big hit. Patrice was doing Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, resplendent (and I'm not just saying that) in a long slinky black gown and long black gloves, her darkest auburn hair, and a cigarette in a holder. Not surprisingly, Mischief got the most votes, followed by Patrice. We did have a very cute Marilyn Monroe type early in the evening, but she didn't stick around.

With all the balls I had to keep in the air (I rarely cue up more than one song in advance, because I want to "feel" what the next song should be), I did not add the ball of picture taking. Sad, I know. You should have come down, if only to see Mischief in her get-up. Starting next week, I will be rockin' the house every Monday. Be there or be cubical!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Descriptive video

Argh! I completely forgot to take pictures at Mischief's rezday party! OK, here are my excuses.

See, I got there about twenty after six, and there was no music. Someone was dancing, but let's not ask to what. The music stream was not going, and Jasper was offline. So I told Mischief that I would try to get some tunes going. I connected successfully to the Velvet server, but still nada. Repeated tries in various configurations yielded no results.

Thankfully, Push soon came online and flipped the switch. See, some DJs use their own servers to stream into clubs. I think that's what happened here—someone else's server was connected to the club. As soon as Push whacked it, I was on the air. So I played songs for a while until Jasper finally showed up. During this time, I had a friend in distress, Patrice arrived, and at least a couple more IMs came in as well. So I was dancing, and not just my avatar.

Then when Jasper arrived and took over, I was much relieved. I still had a friend in distress, but at least I had a bit more breathing room. But by the time everything had calmed down, I was totally not thinking of taking pictures. Wah!

Mischief had on a lovely new long dress too, with a really low back. And Patrice was all sexeh in black, as was I. And many people showed up to dance to Mischief's rather unusual series of requests. Patrice even got Jasper to play Gilbert and Sullivan's "Modern Major General." That's not something you'll hear at the Velvet every day!

Oh, if only I had got a shot of Mischief on the stripper pole, with big black "censored" signs over her nether regions.

At any rate, a splendid time was had by all. Patrice and I had to leave kind of early, because these days Patrice is getting up before dawn to rendezvous with her Italian land-owning clients (she is doing a very large terraforming project). And I should have gone to bed already, since I was up at 5:30 and will be up at 5:30 again tomorrow.

Mischief Fairymeadow, one year in world today. Happy happy, and many more to come!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Jean Genie

Remember No Mom Pants? Grazia Horowitz in Second Style had written that high-waisted jeans would be coming in. Horrified at the thought, I begged and pleaded for some Second Life designer to create low-rise jeans that still covered the butt, or most of it.

Well, Eloria LeShelle of Battered Boutique has done just that. Yep, Eloria is a friend of mine, and I've done model shoots for her (if you go to any of the Battered Boutique locations, you can see). But even so, this isn't about the fact that I like Eloria. It's about her awesome jeans.

She has made them in an array of colours (the one in the pictures is "faded black"). Each colour includes jeans in the pants layer that are modifiable, so you can adjust the flare of the leg, as well as jeans in the underpants layer that are pegged so you can wear them with boots. She thought of it all! Most of all, she is seriously undercharging for these babies.

And check out the booty! Yes, that's a hint of butt crack, but really, hardly at all. I slipped on a couple of pairs of thong undies, and they didn't show. You're looking at the proof. So almost no crack, and no whale tail either.

While you're at Battered Boutique, check out her outfits and tops as well. Eloria makes cool stuff. I'd say so even if I didn't know her. I am totally in love with the Rope Dress, and the stained "no cowards" T-shirt is très cool.

[Addendum: just after I wrote this entry, Eloria came out with a line of ripped jeans as well. Woot! Walk don't run!]

Friday, May 4, 2007

Where's my double-double?

Canadians consume five times more doughnuts than Americans, according to the last statistics I saw, and in Canada, Tim Hortons doughnut shops are ubiquitous. Started by a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player, Tim's is now owned by the same company that owns Wendy's. Still, it's a Canadian institution.

I'd heard from Mischief that there was a Tim Hortons in Second Life, so on Wednesday night, Patrice and I popped over there. It sure looks like a Tim Hortons. Sadly, however, it's not really open yet. There are no doughnuts on the shelves! No coffee either. (The item in the title of this entry means "two cream, two sugar"—Tim's coffee is fine, but it ain't gourmet blend.) I hope they open it for real soon. We could sit around imitating that old bit from the Royal Canadian Air Farce.

We were rescued from our disappointment by an invitation to Merik and Anwen's castle to join them and several others in their hot tub. At one point we managed to get seven of us in there. It looked a lot bigger in the photo Merik had sent. However, there really was plenty of room for all of us, and I was perfectly happy to drape my legs over Patrice's. It's not quite as nice to soak in a virtual tub as in a real one, but somehow it's still relaxing.

Of course, relaxation wasn't exactly what we were up to. It was a nice gathering of friends with lots of conversation, jokes, and just having fun hanging out together. Meri and An are super hosts and really great about having spontaneous gatherings. Love ya girls!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a deadline to meet.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Apartment life DJ makes Mischief

Not a whole lot going on, gentle readers. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes First Life needs attending to. Sometimes Second Life is more about hanging out with Patrice and with friends than about anything really blog-worthy.

Like last night, I went with Patrice to see what she's done to our crack pad in Chinatown. I hadn't actually been through the front door, having previously been beamed directly upstairs. The crime scene tape off to the side was a certainly a nice touch. And the elevator works, sort of. We're on the third storey, and there seem not to be any stairs.

But you really don't want to see the gross mattresses Patrice put in the room. Nor the boxes of half-eaten take-out Chinese food. And you especially don't want to see the used syringe that flopsie left in the middle of the floor. Yuck! Good thing I was wearing some really chunky boots to protect my little feet!

We did a bit more wandering around in the dark. Patrice wanted to get her palm read, but unfortunately there is no palm reader yet. Cool looking salon though. She was thinking that our friend Mischief might make a good palm reader.

Speaking of Mischief, here are the only bits of news I have at the moment. I have my first regular DJ gig coming up! Starting on May 14th, I will be the Monday night DJ at the Velvet. My equipment is ready, although I'm going back and forth on settings for the compressor/limiter between one set that's milder and one that's more aggressive. And I've put more songs into my library, although you can never have enough, and I'm working on getting more.

And the reason I'm not starting next Monday is that Mischief will be having her first rezday party at the Velvet, and she has gone and lined up another DJ! Jasper will be doing the streaming thing. I might have to give her a bit of grief about that, although it's very likely that Jasper has more songs that Mischief wants to request. At any rate, I will be able to party without distraction and celebrate one year in SL of one of the coolest kittehs around.