Progressive Left Think Tank – Discussion group / meeting club

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One of the things I really like doing in Second Life is going to discussions, topical gatherings, and peacefully sharing opinions with others. Most of these though, are geared towards western philosophy, religion, tech, or secondlife news/events. Many are in voice – which I’m not a fan of (I find it distracting and it leaves out all of the non-hearing members of SL).

So on that note, and given that in this past year I have seen the return of extremist versions of populism and nationalistic policies around the world, and especially here in my own country (USA), I’m starting one of these of my own.

This will hopefully be a regular discussion gathering for the progressive left in second life to chat and think-tank together.

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The first meeting will be on March 1st, 2017, at 8PM SLT.

Here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Keroo/232/24/4086
SL Event: https://secondlife.com/my/community/events/event.php?id=6991900
(The event sends you to a different spot on the parcel than the actual meeting room. Proper SLURL is in the event description).

The first topic is one I expect to repeat regularly:

What is the Progressive Left? What does this mean, what should our goals be, how should we go about achieving them?

For Americans, are we just the “Coffee Party” radical wing of the Democrats? Or something more?

How do we build unity and a cohesive way of taking on tactical and strategic action, rather than factional infighting over who’s individual issue is more important, possibly resulting in none of them being carried forward (is that a true or false concern)?

Can we, or do we even need to, or have we already moved beyond each faction feeling it’s own issue is so important that it has to be put above other Progressive issues first?

How do we find a way to advance a broad based Progressive Strategy? Can we embrace diverse inclusiveness in ideals as well as we do in membership?

Some links to consider:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-wing_politics
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressivism#Contemporary_mainstream_political_conception
https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/definition-progressive-are-you-progressive
http://progressive.org/
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Rules:

  1. Conversation is on an open basis. There won’t be a ‘reading’ or formal statement or moderator. Just be open and chat away.
  2. This is a meeting for Progressives. Not a meeting to challenge progressives or attack progressivism. It is assumed that those attending embrace or self-identify as on the progressive left in social and economic issues.
  3. This is a text chat venue, not a voice venue. Voice often leads to distracting sounds and range based issues that clutter to conversation, and leaves out the non-hearing members of SL. Text can be understood (or even translated) by everyone, and retains a record.
  4. Assume everything typed in local chat will be recorded and possibly posted. I may put the logs into a blog post. Assume everything said in IM is confidential, as per the SL Terms of Service.
  5. Some disagreement will tend to occur. Keep it polite, and avoid personal attacks. Individuals who demonstrate an anti-progressive agenda and who are present to attack or shut down ‘the left’ will be removed.
  6. The meeting is held on a property in Zindra, on A rated land. The venue is clothing optional. Any ‘adult aged’ avatar is welcome (including things where this is a moot point, like a robot or ‘prim cube’ or animal. ‘Adult’ activities are not to be done in the presence of the meeting.
  7. Suggestions for future topics, the meeting area, and so on are welcome. I suggest writing them up and sending along a notecard. There’s a ‘mailbox’ on the wall above the ‘radio’ for dropping notecards if no one is around.
  8. We are above a river on Zindra, and sailing / boating is available at ground. Clicking the space in front of the door will take you down to ground, to a door that can also be clicked to return back up.You can use the meeting hall and the land below as you desire when meetings are not taking place.
    The radio in the meeting hall and a linked radio on a DJ stand down below can both be used by anyone, but are limited to the presets I have placed in them.
  9. There is an ulterior agenda to all of this – I am hoping people can meet / make new friends. Self included. If you find you like what someone has to say, feel free to keep chatting with them after the meeting.

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Progressive Left Think Tank – First Meeting 3/1/2017 8PM SLT
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Keroo/232/24/4086
SL Event: https://secondlife.com/my/community/events/event.php?id=6991900
(The event sends you to a different spot on the parcel than the actual meeting room. Proper SLURL is in the event description).

Stuff and Things – as SL gets kind of solo even as I go to more places…

27414259970_02798ba749_oSo its been a long while since I updated my blog.

The upgrade to Firestorm that brought the much needed Jellies came, and I see lots of flat out stupid people dialing up so they don’t see Jellies and can ignore this rather than trying to reduce their lag

The update to Belleza came, and it was a resounding successful improvement. But I still see merchants not including Belleza when the dev kits for Belleza are available now…

I have more or less adopted a clothes-free SL-lifestyle now. In part I just feel comfortable this way. I don’t get anyone being shy about a cartoon in a video game on their computer screen and its fun to run around like this and imagine if I could really do this. In part its a personal statement against all those people who refuse to sell me things because they’ve yet to support Belleza… 🙂

And its just fun.

No I am not a nudist in real life so you can stop IMing me that question. I personally think real life nudists are willfully foolish in their insistence that nudity is not sensual. Made all the more obvious by the fact that their sims in SL are full of xxx-poses behind every corner. Even the ones like Eden (where I am not allowed because they don’t allow people that look like me) that ban that in public have it inside so many of the buildings…

Then again I get that they probably do this because of fears of real-life crackdowns if they admitted the truth about the sensuality.


I keep meaning to write three articles here…

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Standing about rather than getting things done…

One:
About how I use Firestorm now that I do use it. I’ve been opposed to TPVs for years so this is new for me but I tend to deep-dive into things I do so I’m already helping others. But there is also a lot I could still learn.

As an aside to help explain why I’m on Firestorm now:

A great quote I don’t remember the source on is ‘have loosely held deep beliefs‘. I think I heard it on the Tim Ferris podcast… This is to say that you should get to know and very strongly advocate the positions you hold – or they are not worth holding. But you should be ready to abandon them in a moment if they should prove flawed or false. Be an advocate, and activist, but have no loyalty. Loyalty is for the ignorant. Principle and ethics are what should guide.

So this article would be both about how I use Firestorm now, and why. With the note that I could drop them in a moment if the winds changed and they were no longer an ideal choice.

The biggest gain for me in Firestorm was the built in AO. Yes this very old feature that the rest of you know about. It cut about 3mbs off my script count because I figured out how to use it to be a my own ‘dance engine’ and not just AO. Hint: put all your dances into the stand category of a ‘second AO’, set that one to cycle as desired, and switch to it when you want to dance. Can’t share dances? Big deal, I can’t stand line dancing anyway. Firestorm’s other features are handy but I could survive losing them. But this one reduced my lag – so it actually helps not just me but also those around me.

Two:
I want to write about how severely Second Life is a ‘white space’ and how alienating this is to me as a person of color. SL is a very unfriendly and uncomfortable place for me a lot of the time. Everything is just too ‘white’. This is an article that would not win me many friends… Because white people are very fragile when it comes to talking about race – they generally cannot handle facing reality exposed. I lost a few friends just with each shift in tone on my avatars skin… So I’m pretty sure if I were honest with them about how racially charged SL is, I’d clean the slate of the ones I have left… Since it is so ‘white space’, so ‘ethnic’ for their ethnicity, they don’t see it – they are in their comfort zone in SL. But to such a degree that it is alienating for the rest of us. Insert token other person of color here pointing out to me how wrong I am because they’re are more white-minded than me even though less white-bodied than me – a person who does not get the difference between individual and systemic.

Actually my favorite example of this – combing both ‘white fragility’ with ‘you are not colored enough’ was a blond haired blue eyed pale as a ghost but not albino woman saying she was African American and so I, as a Mulatto mostly Asian/Indigenous mix had no place speaking from the POV of a person of color… Which she did elsewhere rather than ever approaching me…

Three:
Even this article will get me into ‘trouble’. I need to do a new updated review of Belleza. The new versions of the body are amazingly well done. Belleza is now the lowest lag mesh body option out there, it holds up the best to changes in the shape dials and avatar physics, it looks really nice, and it has a wide list of options in customizing.

I feel merchants under-support it, and over supports significantly inferior bodies like Maitreya. Now remember my idea of ‘loosely help deep beliefs’. My first review of these panned Belleza as bad and at the time I was getting ready to promote Maitreya. But over time I saw Belleza fix every issue it had, put in more improvements, and all while Maitreya’s flaws were fundamental to the design and not fixable without ruing compatibility with all past clothing. Note that Belleza had the same problem (but to a lesser degree)… and this is why ‘Isis’ was put out to replace ‘Venus’…

Maitreya’s problem, in a nutshell, is all in your bosom. It deforms when you get just a little big big or small, and it has horrible avatar physics that leave it unable to look naturally weighty – but instead kind of springy with a ‘boing boing’ jerky bounce if you try to make it have a lot of motion (as it should if you are nude – if you meet me in SL you will see my bosom swaying all over the place. Now go topless and run around and notice your boobs are not going to run in the same direction as you… But on Maitreya, they will just bounce like a yo-yo on drugs). This is not to say Belleza is perfect. I still don’t have the sway of real life. But its the closest to it I’ve been able to get to so far. Only Lena Lush comes close – but that body is very high ‘Avatar Complexity Index’ and doesn’t have many alpha cuts. Mind you now that I am an SL-Nudist Lena Lush and Lena Perky are actually decent choices: They are mod and you can delete the parts that make it high ‘Avatar Complexity Index’ (the applier layers), and if you’re always nude you don’t care about alpha cuts…

So…

Maybe I will write those articles and maybe I won’t. The points they will hope to make are now ‘out there in part’. The arguments I would use to back those points… that would take more writing. Though I fully expect I will end up having to moderate some comments to this blog article in regards to my comment about SLs ethnic biases and Maitreya’s flaws.

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Hey naturists: Tell me again how nudity is not sensual or erotic?

All of that said… Since I am an SL nudist these days, I have been seeking places I could go while nude, and trying to build a ’24/7′ list of places that will let me be as I desire to be.

Right now that list is basically these venues, which includes several spots that are listed as ‘pickup joints’ but which in actual use are just hangout spots.

  • Naked – the only place I have a rental lot. 10 sailing sims. It is started to lessen in activity because it lacks good focal points. There is a popular hangout spot by the landing point but it is all chairs so the people there just sit and be boring. I feel a redesign to get them up and maybe moving or dancing, or at least to mix the seats with spots to stand or dance, would help. I also think removing ALL the furniture from there and moving the landing spot to the south of the sim just across from a clubhouse down there would greatly help the place…
  • ~ Hydra ~
    I go here when I spot enough green dots. Its a trance / euro-something dance place. The info encourages nudity but its rare to see. Though on some days for reasons I don’t know half the crowd will be nude. Curiously I did see them boot a furry out of the joint even though there is no sign anywhere that says no furries allowed… so I do have one DJ there now that I avoid.
  • [SMASH]
    Basically the same kind of music as Hydra. The place also allows nudity though I was told recently that it used to not allow such. I wondered if I was welcome, until a manager took the time to have a conversation with me and be welcoming. After all you can never trust the ‘hello [avatar name]’ that pops up when you teleport into a place… I usually don’t respond to those with any more than a ‘/me waves’ because I am not sure if they’re just scripted messages…Generally I like SMASH, but it moves the event around the sim and 2 or 3 of the spots they use are extremely laggy – as in I drop to 1 to 5fps… even with graphics turned down, and in one of them, if I end up there, I have to ‘force quit’ out of SL and relog in to another sim… But as long as they don’t cycle into those spots the place is enjoyable.
  • BLACK VOLCANO BEACH – I’ve known about this one for a while but generally avoided it because everytime I went they were playing some kind of metal… Recently started sticking it out to find that not all of the DJs are metal. As long as they aren’t playing metal I can sit here and enjoy the place.

Now I’ve just shared 4 places, 3 of which are dance clubs. This is my problem in SL these days… Dance clubs in SL are places to be alone in a crowd.

The 4th place, Naked… is serious ‘white space’. To the point that most of the people there don’t even greet or talk to me when I pop in. So I’ve been lessening how often I go. I have this impression that as the non-white avatar appears, people just shift to IMs… True or not… I don’t know. But I feel alienated there on a good two-thirds of my visits. I will need to put a white alt together again and see if there’s a difference.

  • Commune Utopia – I used to go here a lot, and still go often when I see a crowd. Its semi- welcoming. People will talk but not to the degree I’d like. The build is too dense though – giving me enough lag that to walk from one spot to another it is easier to just teleport. Even with short distances of less than a few meters. They recently moved one event to a beach spot that was on a very narrow pier – making this even worse, as I generally cannot find a spot to even stand. That said if they’re doing events on their ‘main floor’ and people are there, there’s plenty of open room there and walls that block laggy outside items from slowing up the graphics. Though of late the events there have been under-attended.
  • Old Lar’s – this is a spot I keep meaning to start going to. I’ve snuck in on alts a few times and found it OK. Just a dance club though so again it is being alone in a crowd. I have yet to make it a regular spot because it is one of those places with people dancing on bar tables and I just don’t get why a bad movie from 2000 (Coyote Ugly) has become ‘the thing to recreate’ in Second Life clubs… It’s the same reason why I don’t attend the ‘CMNF Lounge‘ – all they do is dance on the bar… Not to mention too many people on old pre-mesh avatars. :)So why mention Old Lar’s if its not even a hangout for me? It’s indicative of my search issue. All I can find for places that welcome nudity and are always busy are clubs where you sit there alone in a crowd. And something about the theme tends to jar at me. I imagine it is perfect for the regulars. This is a bit of what I mean by Second Life being so severely a ‘white space’. These places are too ‘ethnic’, as in ‘white ethnic’. So many white people will read that line as an attack… and then feel like a Soca or Hip-Hop club is too ‘ethnic’ and not see the contradiction… Its not about places being intentionally hostile – its just about the perspective the scene is made from and for. I’ll try to avoid getting too started on the ‘Reggae’ clubs in SL – they all remind me of the kind of joint you’d find inside of a tourist hotel in Jamaica rather than out in the community… Either they’re clean and hippie, or they are ‘Rentafari’ XXX joints (in fact many of the ‘hip-hop’ venues in SL seem like ‘tourist’ spots rather than for people ‘in the life’ – the avatars in them are just too ‘over the top’). Remember just because I’m an SL nudist does NOT mean I’m into the whole SL-sex scene.
  • Phil’s Cafe – this is pretty much exactly the kind of space I am looking for in Second Life. Only problem is that it is a weekly event that lasts one hour on a Thursday night… So what do I do with the rest of my week?At Phil’s, there is a weekly topic, and we talk. I can be dressed however I want and nobody cares. What matters is the topic. I do wish they’d update the furniture. I tend to just stand because the chairs all lack animations… This place is just a small box in the sky somewhere with some random diagrams on the walls and some prims you can sit on that are roughly shaped like couches – pre-sculpty furniture…But the fact that its discussion makes it appealing and I go. Granted every now and then it gets a libertarian coming in and the places goes downhill rapidly and they start spewing racist pseudo-economics or Ayn Rand pseudo-nazism. But the normal crowd is better behaved even though I’m pretty sure it has a few conservatives. There’s a few Philosophy groups in SL, but they’re either way too ‘white space’ stuck on Plato, or Libertarian. Even been to one that was a mix between Plato and Ayn Rand

If I could fill my week with places like Phil’s I would. I’ve been told I should host my own such venue. I did build one on my land, but I’ve had second thoughts about going ahead with it.

But instead I end up in a lot of places where I am alone in a crowd. Which has led to Second Life becoming a largely ‘solo-player game’ for me. I spend most of my time sitting in my skybox, sometimes elsewhere on my land, and then now and again alone in one of these crowds.

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Too much time by myself in SL.

Sure I get IMs from people looking to meet me…

But they are often in one of two forms:

  1. Hey
  2. So here are these things about you. Now talk to me.

The first one… yeah, like… um… what do I say to a one word comment out of nowhere? Sometimes they manage to add a ‘baby’ on the end of it… Other times it manages a sentence that is usually a proposition and not to discuss politics…

The second one drives me even more nuts. This is the person who sends me a very detailed message. Pages, sometimes over days… but in it they never tell me a single thing about themselves or why or how or who or what to drive me to interest.

Instead the entire thing about their impressions of me.

I start to feel like an exhibit at a zoo.

I don’t want to be told about me. I want you to tell me about you and maybe some things about you we might have in common or could get together over.

I do realize here that I am sitting here asking other people to do the work of contacting me rather than getting out myself and contacting them… that is a valid problem. If I really want to meet people in Second Life, I need to become more outgoing…

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Yeah, I need to start bugging other people instead of waiting for them to bug me.

 

It’s time to try to find some new friends in Second Life

This is going to be a bit of an awkward post…
I may have to edit it a few times to get the tone right…

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Bear with me in this awkward post, and if you think we’re a match, I’m putting myself out there hoping I can dig up a new friend or two.

As time has gone by and people have left SL, I’m finding myself getting thin on SL friends. I’ve hit that point where I’m hoping there are some people out there that would enjoy my company and with whom I would enjoy being with.

Its time to try to find some new friends around here.

If you’re up for an active SL friend, toss me an IM. Don’t send me a friend invite – those are really awkward before you know someone well. I’m not a Facebooker, I need to get to know somebody and spend time with them often enough before I feel like they belong on my friend list.

I don’t know how better to do this, so I’m just going to list off some things. Things I enjoy doing in SL, types of people I’d be interested in, some things about me, and of course types of people I know I am not compatible with. And then follow it up with my usual wordy essay on things and stuff.

This is not meant to be exclusive or something. I’m just hoping it can be a way to build a connection to give an ‘opening line’ to start things up.


What I enjoy in Second Life:

  • Hanging out and chatting someplace cozy, like people’s SL homes, small hangouts, and remote explore-able spots.
  • Having guests over to my SL home or other spot of land. Visiting others on theirs.
  • Dancing my avatar to enjoyable music, watching others dance as well.
  • Virtual Sailing. I really enjoy exploring SL waterways and oceans.
  • Virtual Driving. I enjoy driving SL vehicles almost as much as sailing.
  • Fashion Shopping at places that are not busy when I go so it can be social.
  • Shopping for quirky knick-knacks to rez here and there on our SL land.
  • Talking about left-wing Progressive politics and social issues.
  • Mesh bodies and accessories for them.
  • SL Nudity. Of late I prefer to be nude in SL anywhere that will allow it.

Things I’ve wanted to try but have never gotten far with:

  • SL Roleplay. I just can’t find a theme that I can sync with unless it already has cliques that look impossible to break into. I need serious hand-holding on this one.
  • SL Philosophy venues. Where did these go? I remember them as a newbie.
  • The whole furry community. It seems interesting but I’ve never found the right ‘glue’ to make it stick.
  • SL Live Music. If I could find a ‘clique’ to go to these with, I think I’d really enjoy it.

People who have interests in one of more of these things are people I’ve found easy to be friends with in past:

  • Left-wing Progressives. People of like political mind – I can’t seem to find them here.
  • Artists. I’m an art freak. Many of us are.
  • Hippies. I’m not one, but I like them.
  • People that just like to chat a lot, about things and stuff and whatever. I can sit for hours and just chat.
  • Hispanic communities (that can speak English, as I don’t speak Spanish even though I am second generation from South America).  Circumstances left me cut from my roots.
  • Multi-cultural communities. In school my thing was international law and ethnic studies. I love meeting people from ‘over-there-istan’.
  • People with their own quirks, who I can manage to entertain.
  • People that want to socially explore Second Life, even the parts we’ve “already been to”.

Some key things about me:

  • I am always a Neko or a cat furry in dreads. I won’t take these off to go someplace.
  • My avatar is African, but I am mulato (Asian, South American Indian, European, and a small bit of West-African).
  • I am hyper political, left wing, progressive. All about equal right, justice, unions, environment, and similar issues.
  • I am Rasta, that is a religion – not a style of party or music.
  • I can be hyper-shy at times, but over-talkative at others.
  • My education is in the social sciences, my profession is in technology.
  • I wear the term ‘Social Justice Warrior’ with pride.
  • I keep up with the writings of some of the Black Panthers and have corresponded with them in the past, but am not a member. I was however in La Raza when I was in college, as well as in the Native American Student Union. Didn’t keep up with either after though. I did not join the Asian Student Union at my university as they, in that one school, were quietly not welcoming of mixed people.
  • I have a strong geeky side, loving science fiction and fantasy. I love Star Trek, I loved Harry Potter, I’m fond of Dr. Who, Avatar was one of my favorite movies, I find my Hulu list is mostly super-hero TV shows, but I can’t stand Game of Thrones.
  • I am feeling the Bern.

People I have found I am not good at sustaining friendships with, and things I don’t enjoy:

  • Conservatives – I can be cordial with them, but friendships never last.
  • Libertarians – Diametrically opposed world views, always ends in a fight.
  • Hetero men & gay men that act controlling. It just gets uncomfortable after a while.
  • Lesbian Women that are seeking intimate relationships.
  • Anyone that feels a need to focus on & repeatedly point out how ‘sexy’ they find my avatar.
  • Roleplay that recreates points in history where people of color or other ethnic groups were brutalized.
  • Roleplay of slavery (ie: I do not get on with the Gorean scene).
  • Any venue flying a Nazi or Dixie flag, or similar flag / symbol of hate.
  • Country music.
  • RLV, Couple dances, HUG animations, Line dance systems, and similar things where I’m part of a group sequence and no longer in control of my avatar without breaking the ‘social encounter’.
  • Being hassled about trying RL Nudism. If you start lecturing me on this I’m out.
  • SL Sex. I don’t do it, period. Tried that as a newbie and found it was not my thing.
  • People that just hang out by themselves and IM me once in a blue moon but otherwise become forgotten entries on the Friend List.

The wordy essay part:

Once again this is kind of an awkward post…

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I’ve wanted to write this blog entry for about 4 years now, and its felt super weird and awkward, and kind of embarrassing, each time. But I’ve noticed I’m not the only oldbie with this problem. It gets lonely when the people you started with have moved on.

If you read my blog you probably have some ideas about me. Probably some of them are even correct.

I originally tired Second Life in 2006 for about 2 days, but didn’t come back as a regular user until 2009. So I’ve been here 6 and just over a half years now.

I once read that most people who join Second Life only last with it about a year and a half, and that feels about right for what happened with most of the friends I met when I was new. So for most of my Second Life time my circle of friends has just been a very small few number of people, and whole lot of acquittances. I’ve reached that point in Second Life where you even nod at the people you really don’t like because you’re mutual survivors of some form of online culling…

New users have it a lot easier on this score. People expect newbies to not know anyone, to be approachable, and newbies themselves haven’t yet become ‘hung up’ on ‘what the rules are’ (or whatever…) and so don’t refrain from just landing on your head and starting a conversation like it was normal or something.

After we reach a certain point in SL, we start developing ideas about what we should be doing – even where those ideas are very different, everyone ends up with their own set of expectations. But even worse – other people stop assuming you’re looking for help… and start giving you “respectable space”…

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Spending way too much time by myself lost in my own thoughts. Share some of your thoughts with me.

So my Second Life has gotten a bit lonely of late. I’m feeling a need to make some friends again and I don’t really know where to go as an ‘oldbie’ to find them.

I really enjoy just hanging out with some people in a not too busy cozy place and chatting. I’m not very good at being superficial, so large casual social things always feel awkward to me.

I’ve been really enjoying Second Life sailing. This is something I’ve liked for a long time, and my enthusiasm for it tends to be directly tied to my ability to find places I can go naked sailing. Real Life me can’t get into open water. I’m a natural born swimmer but I get panic attacks. When I was a toddler I had a babysitter that wanted to see Jaws, and had to take care of me… so he met both needs by sneaking me into the theater… I try to get my water fix in Second Life.

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You can have a lot of fun with SL Sailing. It ranges from relaxing on a wide open sim, to a crazy game of timing sail adjustments.

I love SL dancing because I love watching the animations of a nice well designed avatar moving. I used to do a lot of dancing in clubs in my real life when I was younger. I love to see each avatar in its own unique dance. I really like to see avatars that are of quality and interesting to look at. Entertain me visually and I will entertain you visually.

But I’m a bit picky about music… so I don’t end up in SL clubs because they’re all playing the same selection of pop, rock (some of it – but I like 60s/70s rock), metal, or country. And that’s 3 things I can’t relate to. I enjoy Roots and Rasta Reggae. I enjoy Hip Hop and Rap if it has a positive mindset. Soul, Salsa, World Music, Blues – I’m good with those too. Pretty much anything except country, pop, metal, and rock. People always tell me I could go to SL dance clubs and just play my own music – but then my avatar would be ‘out of sync’ with things. Yeah I know that is silly but in my mind as I watch my avatar I sync her motions to the music… and if I actually know the music around her is not the music I am hearing, I “feel” out of sync…

SL Shopping. It has been a very long time since I’ve had SL shopping friends. Since about half a year into my being in Second Life actually. Somehow I keep making friends with the people who don’t like to buy anything. I want to have friends I can go places with, play dress up with, tell me an outfit looks good but another one sucks, suggest a different sofa, listen to me suggest a different arm chair, and so on.

I enjoy shopping in the quirky low traffic spots that have unusual items in them.

I also enjoy shopping for fitmesh clothing. Go on the off-days of events when the crowds are not there and you can actually have some fun. Perhaps my biggest frustration over the years in SL was that none of my friends partook in SL fashion, except for when I was a newbie and had friends who would do MM boards but never buy. I really like to play around with outfits, and often when with friends I’ll keep changing and talking about the choices. I’d really like to meet some people who enjoy doing the same thing.

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This is my normal outfit these days. Its not an invitation to something, its just how I feel.

Second Life nudity / nudism. I really love to run around on a naked avatar. Neko or Cat Furry. It feels more natural to me. Unlike the ‘naturist’ types I also like to make my avatar very sensual in her dress, and I find this to also be perfectly natural. This can really confuse some people who are looking for ‘sexy time’ in Second Life… because that is the last thing I am seeking. I just love to be naked in Second Life. The circumstances of my Real Life make this a non-option, though it has always fascinated me. Ever since I first came to Second Life I have dabbled in it on and off again. And this being Second Life I don’t feel a need to follow the ‘constraints’ that real life nudists adhere to where they shame people who feel sensual or erotic about nudity. But I also don’t feel the need to see nudity as an invitation to something.

SensuallyNudeAvatar.png

I like to spice up my nude look sometimes. Its fun, sensual, and feels good to do.

I would love to have some friends that equally enjoyed that, and that sought to spice up their avatars for a sensually nude experience (ie: get a mesh body, a good skin, a good AO, and match your parts to your body, and add accessories to enhance).


So I’m putting myself out there. Hoping to breath some life back into Second Life for myself and whoever I hang out with.

I’m looking for  just a few quirky people, who might enjoy a good portion of the same things as me, who didn’t freak out at the nude pictures above, and whether old or new or in between with Second Life – want to enjoy it with others.

If you’ve wondered about getting to know me, send me a message in Second Life.

 

They named a Kink & D/s sim for my Real Life religion – offensive?

RastaSim.png

Location of this pic:

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Rasta/116/99/22

Consider this analogy:

Says it is D/s inspired. If I got a sim and named it ‘Jew’ and made it a place for Southern Biker gang RP, would that be offensive? Yes. But would it be offensive enough to get pulled? Think on that.

I use that analogy because ‘Southern Biker Gang RP’ is not offensive by itself. D/s and Kink people are perfectly legitimate roleplays in Second Life. I don’t get them or agree with them, but I accept them and accept that people should have a space to self explore themes of importance to them as long as it is not hateful to others.

It is the mix I am trying to get across in that analogy… If you took a theme that is way out of step with a real world faith community, and named it after that community… isn’t that crossing a line?

Let alone that if you names a sim ‘Jew’ or ‘Muslim’ or ‘Catholic’ it would and should get heightened scrutiny…

How should I act over this. I know how I feel over it.

This is not what Rasta is about. In fact its pretty much in opposition to what Rasta is.

Now for contrast look at this sim:

RastasSim_001
Not only do I not mind this one, I kind of want to get a Linden Home here. Except it turns out this is just a park sim and the homes in the background there are all just across the sim border.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Rastas/96/38/41

Why the difference? This second place is neutral in tone. No reference to any theme in the sim itself. And as a park sim, a place that is named for a real world religious community cannot get ‘messed with’ by people with bad intent or lack of knowledge.

I could actually feel a sense of comfort if I won the Linden Home lottery and got a spot bordering there.

 

And yes I know that as I am a sometimes SL Nudist people will wonder why I am objecting to a sim with the above mixed themes. But again I’m not objecting to the themes – I’m objecting to them being placed within the specific context of a sim named for my religion.

PS: Comments from random bigots pointing out how they could ‘find anything to get offended about’ will be deleted for the bigoted spam that they are…

Victory is… still down the road a bit. But we’re walking forward again…

If you love something, you don’t flee – you work to get it fixed. And you put feet to the fire over it.

We all know that last year the Second Life Terms of Service got put through the wringer of a rather nasty change that no one liked. Its possible even some inside of Linden Lab were none too pleased – though that is speculation.

Back when this occurred some SL Pundits called for people to ‘leave SL if this bothered them’. Some see the only metric of protest for an online service being ‘abandonment or disengagement.’

You have to wonder… if this is reflective of people’s upbringing…

I didn’t leave SL. I didn’t stop buying stuff for my avatars. I even near doubled my land holdings.

I was not one of the big bloggers on this at the time. I just said my piece in the comments of other people’s blogs.

I didn’t leave Second Life… because I care about Second Life. And not just the ability to have a sandbox to play pixel-pusher in. I care about the communities. Even and especially the ones I’m not personally in. I care that they are possible, that they exist.

I care that a dying friend (who I did not know was dying at the time), was able to give and receive so much love at the final stages of her life. Because of Second Life.

There is a magic to Second Life that goes WAY BEYOND prim acounts, tier, Marketplace, and the Terms of Service.

Its the magic of the people in Second Life. Even and sometimes especially the Linden employees we love to deride but sometimes secretly admire (if you’ve ever squealed at the sight of meeting a Linden inworld, you cannot fully pretend to hate all the Lindens… I’ll give you a pass, but I’m also holding onto a knowing grin)…

Heck… we lambaste those Lindens so much BECAUSE we care…

Some would say nobody cared about that TOS change last year because:

“Since this controversy began, there not been a noticeable drop in the amount of Second Life content created, bought, and sold, let alone any dip in actual usage of Second Life.”
– Linden’s Revised ToS for SL Still Troubled, Says RL Lawyer

And that we had no reason to be up in arms because:

“there is no evidence it was ever intended maliciously, nor that the clause caused any noticeable drop in the amount of Second Life content created, bought, and sold, let alone any dip in actual usage of Second Life.”
– Linden Lab Amends Draconian Clause in SL’s Terms of Service (Months After Anyone Was Really Angry About It)

But it changed… for some reason Linden Lab decided to amend things.

So…

Apparently Linden Lab pays attention to more metrics than just people giving up. Apparently they also pay attention to community goodwill, and community commentary.

So if the dollars didn’t move, if the users didn’t flee… then what and why?

People spoke up, blogged about it, got third parties to pull support (places like Renderosity), they called Linden Lab out on it all over the internet.

I would hazard to guess that the Second Life userbase even managed to get the former CEO of Linden Lab tossed out (speculation again – deservedly or not, it was under his watch and flipped the dial for many in regards to him).

Some Pundits think nothing happened and no one cared…

They would push the notion that the ONLY valid way to protest an online community is to rage quit it…

Well, I’m pretty freaking pissed at Congress these days…

But it doesn’t mean I decided to “quit” the USA and move myself to Jupiter… (or even further to Canada or Utah or something).

Only the really crazy sorts actually try and fly off the planet when these things happen. Especially when there’s no other planet to go to, let alone spaceships to get there with.

“the fact remains that there’s been no noticeable drop in SL usage or Marketplace activity since this controversy cropped up.”

That’s just looking at it all wrong…

SL is a community first, and in communities you pay attention to attitudes and general conduct. Not just numbers. Perception is a whole lot more important in the longer picture.

Even if its just the content uploaders / re-propagators that are ticked off… that can spread in a viral manner – and they alone are still a significant community.

But to just pretend like they don’t even exist?

That’s just irresponsible.

Because people didn’t and don’t burn down THEIR OWN communities in protest (absent ghetto riots – and maybe because of them folks are more aware of how poorly that tactic fairs).

The thing is… its BECAUSE WE CARE that the one thing people did NOT do is leave and destroy their communities…

If no one cared… then yeah – that is when all the users would vanish and Marketplace would drop off.

But we do care. Maybe too much.

So instead we rant and rave to the point that the Second Life brand gets toxic… which itself may not be wise… but it is the sort of protest people WILL do because it can seem to be done without hurting the existing communities… (even though it does, it is too indirect for most people to perceive)

Linden Lab is however, wise enough to see that keeping the users happy helps the brand – and that the ‘bottom line’ is not just the dollars.

Sure they fumble in meeting the community’s needs, and get it wrong more often than right… but they at least understand it actually does matter.

So a tossed out CEO, and now a new Terms of Service. I’d say – rightly or wrongly – Linden Lab is at least trying. They’re aware of the problem.

GI-Joe may have said “Knowing is half the battle.” Linden Lab just has to learn how to handle the other half… (pipedream maybe, but I care, so I keep hoping) O.o

I think the whole point of bringing in Ebbe Altberg was to get a CEO who had the skills to be able to understand and relate to the users.

(I am never going to get over that this guy’s last name basically sounds like ‘Alt Neighborhood’ to me) 🙂

He’s not made changes as fast as we might like – but I think its clear that he has better intentions than in past, and is obviously putting in the effort.

To me, that speaks volumes of how Linden Lab got hyper aware after the Terms of Service changed last year, that they were doing something wrong, and needed to figure out what. So they got themselves a guy who could deal with that…

Ebbe Linden’s somewhat exposed that among a number of lindens… they too had been getting frustrated with the prior direction, and wanted to reach out again (or, I am reading too much into some statements. But when I listened to the Drax File Interviews, I got the impression they wanted to get to know us more than they had been allowed to in recent past).

So… I think the way the community acted after that last Terms of Service change last year was exactly right.

Rather than abandon Second Life and our communities in it – we called them out on the change, and got very vocal. But we stayed engaged to show we cared.

And now, though its not everything we wanted… we’ve got a much better CEO, and an improving Terms of Service.

There is even mention now on Daz3D (a major source of 3D models) as a result (Daz3D models are still barred from use in Second Life – which if you understand what their models are, makes sense regardless of the Second Life Terms of Service).

So…

I’m calling this one a partial victory, and a road we’re now walking down.

We got their attention, they’ve begun addressing it, and not just that – they are now trying to become a more responsive company as a result.

Because… abandoning the thing you love is the LAST way to fix it. Engaging with it is just so much better.

Ever burning fire – Ever Dreamscape

Ever Dreamscape
An ever burning fire has gone out.

That is how it feels since I learned.

On May 8th, 2014; a friend of many made the move on to her account in Third Life. It took a few more days for us to find this out.
Ever's Memorial - Ever had the perfect smile
Ever Dreamscape was a spark of inspiration for so many. She was the Clown Princess of Bay City. The glue that held so many pieces together.

At the tender age of 53, Ever logged out of First Life.

I first met Ever on an individual level during one of her random escapades. I’d gone to a few Bay City events and noticed how after a while they always took a turn for the humourly weird. One person seemed to dragging folks along for a few things, so I thought I’d stick to that person for a bit, maybe say something, and see what was going on.

Ever was full of an absurd amount of energy and drive. She seemed to be at the center of so many things, the sort of person who just had to be that extreme extrovert out there all over the place in both RL and SL. It would be some time until I knew better.

Its probably not right for me to share those of her secrets that I held; but I can do better. Or rather she can. She can share her secrets for us:
Hero’s Journey – Ever Dreamscape’s story
The Abuser – Ever’s struggle

It was always a thrilling experience to connect with Ever. Over time the conversations got deeper and I learned there was a soul of some amazing substance behind this bubbly silly avatar. She struggled with many things, and had her battles to wage. SL was the place where she could recapture a time where she had been able to be outgoing, and she took that, and quite literally set it on fire.

I mostly ran with Ever during 2012. I had a lot of fun just randomly popping in on her and seeing what she was up to. Sometimes it was a blast. Other times I’d surprise her alone somewhere in SL and this is how I got to know how much she had to struggle with – those were the moments when I just tuned in my big cat ears and set the whole thing to listen.

Do your friends a favor, if you read this. Sometimes, just let them ramble at you and go on for hours on end. SL is a great place for people to pour out their hearts and heal each other.

Ever showed me that. And she showed me that our ideas about who our friends are might not always be right. Sometimes the people we know are so much more amazing than we could have ever imagined.

She must have known that – she gathered up so many people’s hearts like a silly mother hen. Or maybe mother chimp. Or mother shark. Or drunken crazy lady on the corner with a match and kindling stuffed into your mailbox. Kind of… all of that. In the right ways.

She had her own set of superb ears as well I should say. I’m a fighter, and I get myself into scraps all the time. She was very good as just hearing me rant and rave and then having something useful to toss back for a little sense and perspective.

You can see, or remember, some of Ever’s magic, as she was one of those rare people who recorded some of her SL for all of us. Here is Ever’s youtube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/user/EverDreamscape

When 2013 came around, I don’t know why – but I stopped coming to SL. For most of that year I didn’t log in for more than a minute or two every month. I just sort of dropped the mic and walked off stage.

I never managed to reconnect with Ever. She was there everytime I sent her a message, but I stopped showing up. I kept thinking to myself… next week I’ll be back in SL again and I’ll hang out with all my friends there.
Her last words to me were on the SL Feeds:
ever.dreamscape
“Happy New Year!!! ..and yes it would be nice to see you about ! :D”
Nothing important then. Just a friendly poke. But now I feel it.

Ever’s passing makes me realize putting of those who are dear to you is never wise. I’ve got some people I need to find a way to talk to now.

It feels like the fire has gone out for me in SL. But I strongly suspect Ever would not want that. She was an ever burning fire, an eternal party, always putting up cheery face and meaning it. People can be happy and sad at the same time – even being so happy you need to put on shades to be around them. That was Ever.

Her last words to us all are both humorous and sad:

ever.dreamscape:
“ok her’es th deal, i’ve suddenly taken very il….. if i ralley may spend a couple more years to harass you all hoping! did not takw the thoraze. it’s been lovely dancing w you all…..gnight George muahhhhh”

So everybody just keep on dancing:

For some reason when I view Ever’s youtube, it keeps recommending Boy George. So here’s one more for the party, Ever:

In quirky faith, you knew what your heart was for, and now you’ve got a halo.

And yes, no matter where you are now, Fire haffi burn:
Fire Ever haffi burn
Till we meet again;

Go light em up in heaven for us.

Second Life’s “Sexy Time” advertising – thinking twice about the opposition to it

This is cobbled together from some posts I’ve been leaving on Hamlet Au’s blog.

You might think that as a spiritual person, active about my faith in SL, who often comments about ‘that stuff’… that I’d be on the bandwagon against the new ads.

Especially as those ads are basically “the sexy white people” routine again…

But I’m not so willing to fight this one.

Let me use a bit of over the top silly exaggeration to make a point.

Imagine its 2009 and you’re a corporate user looking to use Second Life for business meetings, showcasing your real life business achievements, selling product, branding, etc…

Problem is… the place is full of so-called furries and XXXers and RPers and educationals and “commie-liberal-hippie-artist-scum”. All those people you don’t want in your store scaring your customers. The weirdos you picked on in 6th grade.

So you call up your mate from school, M. Linden, and ask him to take an accounting of things and correct all this. You’ve got money to dump, and he just needs to clean up the place. Get rid of the geeks and losers.

So he tries.

And we all know the result. SL goes into a tailspin, policies get odd, prices go up, venues close, and then business realizes it doesn’t even want the product anyway. In fact; the whole call M. Linden got seems to have been dreamed up in his head: business was never really on board anyway. They were the customer Linden Lab wanted, the freaks were the customers Linden Lab got.

Even SL’s founder is on record calling his users ‘disabled freaks’. He used more polite language, but basically back then he called us all ‘the crazy cat lady down the block and the old guy telling you to get off of his lawn.’

Now its 2014 and Linden Labs is looking at marketing again so they look at what people ACTUALLY USE SL FOR…

Hamlet Au posts this almost every month.

Top sims?

XXX-this and XXX-that, with a bit of Borat sexy time thrown in for good measure and a few furries and goreans. PLus some dating and dancing places for those ‘so-called online dating freaks’.

The rest of us? We’re a bit like those 2009 business users (OK, I’m a furry half of the time… this is just a silly parable after all).

Now everyone’s all up and trying to call E. Linden and ask him what for… Asking him to clean up the place so your respectable art and live music and charity work doesn’t have to sit next to the gorean-furry-luvulongtime-escort-interracial-child-xxx operation…

But… well…

At the same time we’ve been demanding for years that they recognize who’s using SL, and market to them.

Now they are.

And we don’t like it.

Pick your poison folks.

Because its right there in Hamlet Au’s blog… look at who the top sims are (note how similar this 2011 link is to the 2014 one – this stuff is pretty static in theme).

If anything, LLs needs to get MORE explicit in these ads. It might chase us “regular respectable folks” away… but at least then they’d be appealing to their actual users for a change:
Those ‘noobs’ on the xxx sims…

Now, I don’t mean to imply that the XXX and ‘fantasy self’ crowd drove away the business crowds.

Rather I am trying to show that we’ve already seen what happens when Linden Lab tries to market not to the customers it has, but the ones it wishes it had.

Now… they are marketing to the actual people that show up at the door… and folks don’t like it, because most of the Second Life users are NOT from the same crowd that composes the Second Life commentators.

Commentators, critics, and bloggers want them to market to people who are here for “something greater”… But the very data we love to talk about and promote shows that we are not the viable audience for Second Life…

And that like it or not… maybe they actually are marketing to the right crowd now… at least from a ‘capitalist bottom line’ POV…

I hope my opinion here is not seen as mocking the ‘freaky’ people that end up in Second Life – as that is not my intent. I’m stating it like that above to be over the top, and to hopefully show a little of ‘this is how what gets said gets read’.

Plenty of people seek acceptance online from a world that rejects them offline. I know for a fact this is why many minorities ‘hide as white’ in platforms like Second Life. I’ve always been a fighter so that notion never appealed to me.

I actually am mostly fit and healthy for my age, and still seem to have my looks – despite the scraps I’ve been through.

So given a choice between a kick in the face for speaking up, or having a group hug by playing nice… I’ve always chosen the kick… I’ve got a dentist appointment soon because that is NOT an analogy for me…

I try to remember that about others too. That everyone needs a place to feel accepted and to explore – though I do fail at it sometimes because I tend to fight back and can end up misdirected.

Too often people are scorned merely for what they are, rather than who/how they are – I say that all the time about race, but it also very much applies to gender, physical ability, fitness, attractiveness, social class, and other ways people are unjustly biased against.

Second Life is a fantasy world that lets people find their own ways of skipping past that bias. Its also just a place to have some fun in – and each side of the fence here needs to get over its bias of the other because to the world outside of SL, we’re all 10x freakier than any of us might actually be.

It is a bitter pill to swallow when the fantasy the majority here seek is not the one oneself is seeking – but better to recognize that it is still doing good for people in letting them find their fantasy.

People who do not like that Linden Lab is now advertising to its actual users can consider the alternative… going the way of Blue Mars or Cloud Party – vanishing.

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