Friday, November 23, 2007


I've been trying to make a little more time to get in world lately. I miss my Second Life and I miss my friends. I'm grateful when they IM me or respond to my IMs during those rare times when I'm around.

The US company I work for in first life let us out three hours early on Wednesday, the day before American Thanksgiving, so I was online at a time when I usually am not. I saw that my friends Caterin and Therese were online. Cat and Tess are from Europe, and I almost never get to see them because of the eight and nine hour time difference.

I sent Cat an IM to say hi. Turns out that she's already played her hundredth piano in SL! Last I saw her blog, she was at 99. (To find out what this piano stuff means, check out her blog via the link on the right.) She said it had happened unexpectedly when she was watching a jazz performance at the Meatspace Lounge by someone she knew. I immediately teleported over to the Meatspace Lounge on Tuli to nab myself a landmark (it's notably weird that the SL client has never allowed setting a landmark from a search without having to follow it first). While I was there, I found this gong that I couldn't resist whacking. It made a great sound! I'll have to get back there when there's a gig, because I love real jazz. No "soft jazz," please!

Meanwhile, Cat said that she and Tess were being mermaids and asked if I wanted to pop on over. I'd never done the mermaid thing before, so I thought it sounded like something worth trying out, not to mention that I would get to see Tess and Cat. So I found myself at EmeraldEver's Shop by the Sea, looking at mermaid gear. Turned out that Tess had bought a "fat pack" by mistake, so she offered me one of the mermaid sets in a colour she didn't want to keep. What a doll! I gratefully accepted the green outfit and put it on. I also bought the animation override, but I wasn't allowed to rez the box on that land! Dumb. So I skipped on that and just used the pose balls in the water.

We posed in the floating shell chairs and floated calmly in the warm water (I'm imagining that it was warm). My swimmer HUD didn't work as a substitute for the mermaid HUD, but no matter. It was just great to hang around with Cat and Tess and splash in the water. They were both up way past their bedtimes, so they didn't stay long, but I think we might be back there soon.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Like riding a bicycle

I should have got around before now to blogging that I got the opportunity for DJ gig last Tuesday night. Jasper Haifisch, who is now co-owner of the Velvet, had said that there should be a time when I could substitute, if I could make the time in my own schedule.

With classes and other activities, Tuesdays have become one of the only nights when my SO and I can have dinner at home together. This past Tuesday, however, SO was out for the evening, so I told Jasper that I'd be happy to do a set, if there was an opening. And there was! Therese was doing an early set, so I kicked in when she went off at 7 p.m. SL time., and streamed my usual tunage for the next two and a half hours or so.

Things were pretty slow at first. It's been a while since I spent much time at the Velvet, and I wasn't sure how things were going any more. In SL, as in first life, the popularity of clubs ebbs and flows, and crowds sometimes change loyalties. I knew hardly anyone in the room! But then later, Leticia and Rais came by, followed by Patrice, and a few more people I knew, and the ones I didn't know were having a good time. Thank you all for your contributions to Veronique's clothing drive (I haven't been shopping in far too long).

Toward the end of the set, I was even asked if I had a group! I explained that since I don't have much time to DJ these days, there was no point in my having a group so people could keep track of gigs, but it was great to hear such an inquiry.

I have to admit, though, that I've been lax about my music library since I stopped DJing on a regular basis. Sometimes I felt like I was playing the same old shit, and I wanted something new. So maybe I should do something about that in case I get another chance to do a set. Not only do I want to keep my audience happy; I want to keep myself entertained as well!

You didn't really think I remembered to shoot any pictures, did you?

Friday, November 2, 2007

It's not just the economy, stupid

Here's a bit of first life and Second Life combined.

On Halloween night, SO and I had just finished watching the local news and were waiting for more trick-or-treaters to arrive. As is our wont, we changed the channel to CBC Newsworld, which often has good documentaries at 7 o'clock. And what did we find there? "You Only Live Twice," a documentary about Second Life from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

It seems to have been done last spring, shortly before voice went live on the main grid, and it was actually pretty good. The reporter was not flippant or dismissive. I think she enjoyed her time in world. She interviewed Philip Rosedale, of course. Man, is he adorable! Still looks about 20 years old. And he's wicked charming. She also interviewed other proponents of SL as well as a few prominent SL residents, notably real estate mogul Anche Chung, virtual sex merchant Stroker Serpentine, and clothing designer Simone Stern, both in world and in first life. She also interviewed some critics of SL, so the presentation was pretty balanced.

One major beef, though. Why is it that media examinations of SL pretty much always focus on money and business? This doc did touch on the social aspects of SL, and not just in the context of virtual sex (although it spent plenty of time there), but it was only a touch. I am so much more interested in SL as social experiment than I am in how much money Anche Chung made last year or how safe Simone's designs are as intellectual property.

For instance, was the reporter unaware that massive numbers of men, and not just transgendered men, play women in SL? Or did she ignore this phenomenon? From my counselling practice and from the comments on my PixelPulse article on voice in SL, I've seen a range of reasons for men doing this. Transgendered people living virtual opposite-sex lives is interesting enough, but what about the men who are completely cis-gendered, not even cross-dressers in real life, but who choose to be women in SL? And what about how they express, again and again, how this has changed their view of the world and of other people, especially women?

And what about virtual love and virtual relationships as opposed to virtual sex? What do relationships between avatars mean? Just where is that area between a cyber-relationship and playing a game? There is so much more to SL than currency exchange, really!

SL says to anyone who enters, OK, here you can be anything you want to be. What would you like to be? If someone's answer to that is "wealthy," well, it's their second life. But I prefer to let my imagination fly freely. I can make money in first life. But in SL, I can be and do so many things that simply aren't possible for me in first life. And that's what I find fascinating about SL. I wish someone would make a documentary entirely on that subject.