Shopping Expedition

I realize there has been a looonnnng delay since my last post. Can I claim that I was resting on my laurels? 🙂 The truth is that sometimes, no matter how strong the siren call of SL, FL is first. And that’s what this week of silence means. So I want applause for my sense of responsibility, keeping my priorities straight and all those other things some of you think I need to remember. 🙂 And when I tell you I went on a mega-shopping spree on Saturday to get ready for Shenlei’s Rave Saturday night, I don’t want to hear about it! I spent mega-hours and mega-L$. I had a blast!!!!

So Shen’s invitation says “Theme is universal (interpret as you wish – science fiction, space odyssey, steam punk)”. This is simply too embarrassing. I know what science fiction and space odyssey are. Steam punk??? Clueless. Whatever did we all do before Google??? According to Wikipedia “Steampunk is a subgenre of fantasy and speculative fiction that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. ” Okay. So what is steam punk fashion??? Googled that as well. According to the NY Times Steam punk fashion is “an adventurous pastiche of neo-Victorian, Edwardian and military style accented with sometimes crudely mechanized accouterments like brass goggles and wings made from pulleys, harnesses and clockwork pendants, to say nothing of the odd ray gun dangling at the hip”. Hmmm. I started searching inworld on Steam punk. I really wasn’t having much success. I found one possibility, but it didn’t really thrill me. I tp’d from place to place, store to store. Met hardly a soul and found almost nothing worth marking. I was beginning to think I’d have to go back and settle for the red outfit that didn’t thrill me.

Bona Fortuna smiled on me. Shenlei logged in. I IM’d her and told her I was looking forward to her party but had NOTHING to wear! She sent me some LMs and told me about SLexchange. is a site where you can search for SL items without being inworld. I followed her LM to Steam Forge inworld, to the store Legacy. Check out the landscaping – gets you into that Steam Punk mood, does it not? I immediately found an outfit I liked (I had help from my significant other picking out the outfit – thanks Hon!). But it was only a top and a skirt. I still needed boots and accessories. I was searching away on SLexchange for Steam Punk. I found belts and boots and wings and all sorts of fascinating things, many of which were on sale in Steam Powered Nuts, a store in Steam Forge. So I wandered over to SPN and browsed about. What cool stuff!!!! I did see an intriguing ray gun or two. 🙂 But I really didn’t see boots that fit my mood.

So I tried to buy boots through SLex. Do you remember one of my very first posts when I began this adventure? My coworkers who had done SL kept telling me “it’s easy”. NOTHING about SL is easy. Have I made that clear?? LOL. Perhaps it’s me, but nothing nothing nothing in SL is easy. 🙂 And nothing related to SL is easy. I had to register and enroll and activate an SLex account in order to be allowed to contact the boot vendor. This meant that I had to give email information and get an activation code and go inworld and find an SLex terminal. What a colossal nuisance!!!!! So I did all of that and located a terminal and tp’d there to activate my account. 🙂 And who should be sitting outside the building with the SLex terminal but Shen!!!! LOL. I explained my problems with trying to buy boots and yet again Shen rode to my rescue!!! So thanks to Shenlei I have the coolest boots!!! I got confirmation later that day that these boots were indeed cool. C, one of the NCI team, always has fantastic boots and jackets and accessories. I love how she looks. So when C complimented my boots and asked for the LM, I was quite pleased to share it with her.

I had my outfit, I had my boots, I knew where I was heading for a choker. I decided that I needed new hair as well. Checked the bank balance – yep, still had something left to buy hair. 🙂 Now here is where I broke from the steam punk genre. My every-day hair was probably better suited to steampunk than what I bought. But I couldn’t help myself. LOL. Have you noticed I have very little self-control when it comes to indulging myself in SL??? Following more of Shenlei’s tips I headed to Analog Dog. Guess what – it WASN’T easy!!!!! 🙂 I’d gone skin shopping a few weeks ago with I so I knew about demo’s. I’d totally forgotten how one buys an object that also has a demo for sale. The demo is hilarious. I bought the demo hair, wore it just as you would anything. But there is this big huge wavy box above your head shrieking DEMO to the world! With the skins – the word “demo” is plastered all over. No shoplifting allowed in SL! 🙂 I IM’d 2 women standing in the store and asked for help. One of them kept asking to bite me (yes, sigh, another vampire) but helped me inbetween bite requests. The other helped without asking to bite me. 🙂 I finally figured out from their comments and my memory that I needed to click on the color palette for the hair, not the picture of the hair. The hair comes in 3 different palettes. So I selected one, handed over mega L$ and now I have really fun hair for special occasions!

Boots, clothes, hair. Accessories!!!!! I fell in love with a treasure hunter’s belt. 🙂 How could I not?? A sextant, a periscope, a flintlock pistol and a little mouse in a red pouch! Who could resist that purchase? Certainly not I. Fell in love with a collar that had lots of gadgets attached also. Interestingly enough, neither was at Steam Powered Nuts or Steam Forge. They were both in a fun store, an old junk factory, on Le Petit Prince (/LPP/223/69/31 for anyone who may be interested).

Now I had it all! TP’d back to NCI where my friends were all having a fishing contest and showed off the outfit. They gave the NCI seal of approval. 🙂 I was all set to party! And that, my friends, will be it’s very own blog. Because I have NEVER been to such a wild and stimulating party!! I never knew I could dance like THAT!!!

Custom-Made by Ahuva

I finally acted on one of my promises to myself. I made an object in SL and attached my very own script to it. Hmmmm. Okay – my conscience and I just had a battle and the “good angel” on my shoulder won. 🙂 It isn’t REALLY my very “own” script. 🙂 I had help. Oh please – it has been FOREVER since I wrote code. I looked at the LL scripting language and understood the concept. I remembered Boolean logic and if/else and vectors (arrays) and stuff like that. You know what I completely forgot??? Defining variables. Integer Side. Vector Color. I kept looking at the code samples thinking “what the heck is that all about?” So many, many thanks to B (yeah, the same B who nudged me to create a video way back in the beginning with my first prim). B is very good at explaining things in terms that are relevant to me. So B and I sat down together and wrote a script. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

First, I had to make an object. (Hint – look at my right wrist!!) That was my weekend assignment. Create something. What something? I wanted something I could use. Jewelry, I can ALWAYS use jewelry. 🙂 I figured most jewelry would be way beyond the scope of Build 1. But a bangle bracelet – that seemed eminently do-able. I thought at first I was going to take a sphere and drill a hole through it and shape it accordingly. I was quite disappointed to discover that one of the prims is a Torus . If you don’t know what a torus is and you are too lazy to click on the link, let me enlighten you. A torus looks like a bangle bracelet. 🙂 Bigger, fatter, but in essence, a bangle bracelet. So I rezzed a torus and shaped it to the right shape and size.

How do you rez a prim? By clicking on an environment hat allows you to rez a prim. So I was at NCI beach. I touched the sand and right-mouse clicked. A pie menu appeared and I clicked Create. That gave me the edit menu. Notice all the prims along the top. The 2nd row, 1st item is a torus. I clicked on that, touched the ground w/ my magic wand (top row, 2nd from the right) and there it was – my torus. It was way too big in all dimensions. So I sized it.

How do you size it? A lot like the way you size things in 2-dimensions. You grab a corner and stretch it out or in. Notice in this screen shot that you can click on Stretch to move into the mode to resize the item. So I played push-me pull-me with my torus until I had it the right shape and size.

Next I needed to change the angle. That meant that I would switch from Stretch to Rotate mode. Rotate mode gives you something that looks sphere-ish. LOL. Great technical description, right? I didn’t make a screen shot of this. You’ll have to trust me and use your imagination. Anyway, there are 3 colored lines in a sphere-ish relationship. You move the object along those lines to rotate it and change the angle of orientation. So my bracelet started out flat, but I rotated it to a vertical position. So I had a bracelet floating in space in front of me. I needed to get it on my wrist. That involves Position. Again a little confession. 🙂 I needed to send off an IM inworld to remember about Position. I’d been watching videos before I began creating and KNEW I’d seen how to move an object. I was too lazy to go back and watch the video again. It is definitely a good thing to have friends who build and script!

So when you want to position the object, you have 3 colored lines for orientation. I slid my bracelet along the red line (I think) until it was sitting very nicely on my wrist. 🙂 Tah-Dah!!! One bangle bracelet as desired!!

I still had my script from my Intro to SL class way back in July. (Remember my first prim? rotating, changing colors?) So I attached the changing-color automatically script to my bracelet and off I went to a Grace McDunnough concert, with my brand-new bracelet!!!! I was quite proud. 🙂

The next day I decided that I wanted to try to write my own script to change color. I googled SL scripting and found a site with all the functions and rules and stuff that you need to know to program. Even small examples. I drifted down the hall to get a refresher course in terminology from B. I’d have been shocked at how much I’d forgotten if I weren’t equally relieved at how much I remembered. 🙂

We started discussing how to structure a simple color-change script. And as is the way with us in our office, we went from talking to doing. We started typing out code and because we are both very nit-picky, we couldn’t stick with pseudo-code we started writing proper syntax. 🙂 Well OF COURSE I thought we may as well TRY it. After all, we had what looked to be perfectly good code. It should be tested. LOL. Just like that – all my years of support washed away. Sucked back into the mire of programming. So we added a new script. You can see in the screen shot that we had the original script there (but turned off). We also wrote a script that prompted you to click on a menu option to change the color (also turned off). But our final version was a script that changed the color when someone touched the bracelet. It looked like it should work, but it didn’t seem to work. This confused us. So I sent off some IM’s to inworld friends. They both agreed that the script should work. And indeed, when I tried it again, it did. B and I think we know what was wrong. LOL. It’s the kind of error that most of my early blogs mention. The kind of thing that is so well-known to the SL resident but not always intuitive to the newbie. 🙂 Suffice it to say, our script works, my bracelet changes color when I touch it and I am very very pleased.

We are now taking suggestions for Lesson 2!!!!


I am incoherent with joy!! I haven’t been riding in years. And that was a controlled experience – trail rides in Bryce and Zion National Parks. But last night I was in heaven. Shenlei Flashheart was having a riding party to demo her free horse rezzer. (See Shenlei’s article here. )As soon as I heard “horses” I wangled an invitation. 🙂 There we were in beautiful Shengri La. I didn’t think anything could be more beautiful than Shengri La but I was wrong – Shengri La with HORSES!!! I got up on the saddle rezzer, “wore” my horse and was transported. We had our choice of saddle style, blanket color/pattern, gait, wings and more. We walked and cantered and galloped and flew. I could hear my steed’s hooves thundering on the turf as we charged across the hillside. We galloped across the land, splashed through the surf, flew across the water. Then when we finally “tired” we stood in the beautiful swirling water, resting our faithful mounts, chatting with friends. Oh Shenlei – thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing me to ride your horses. Such a wonderful, fantastical evening. I am beside myself with happiness! For everyone else who wants to go riding, see Chestnut’s wonderful write-up of our ride.

Riders Up!
Riders Up!
Ready to Fly
Ready to Fly
Cooling Down
Cooling Down
In Heaven
In Heaven


Let’s talk social etiquette. This is one of my pet peeves in FL and I can see that it will be an annoyance in SL as well.

We’ll start with the Prime Directive: Remember that there is a real-live human being with feelings and thoughts behind each avatar. I heard one of the official NCI welcome crew say this to a Newbie the other night. You would think this piece of advice wouldn’t be necessary. After all – aren’t YOU a real-live human being with feelings? Unfortunately, people can be as stupid in SL as anywhere else. Let’s go back to 30 BCE-10 CE and Hillel who said: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.” Do you really enjoy strangers walking up to you and propositioning you in vulgar terms? Do you enjoy being shut out of conversations, ignored? Do you like being dropped because someone else more interesting has walked by? Do you like having people question your life choices? Do you like someone standing in your face?

Perhaps you can tell that I find the above behavior distasteful. As I mentioned in a previous blog, two dear friends of mine got married in SL. As it happens, they are both women. Maybe that upsets you, maybe it doesn’t. But guess what – it’s NOT your business, it’s NOT your problem. Anyway, as we all sat about laughing and chatting and celebrating and being happy together, a Newbie (only a few hours old) came and joined us. He saw the labels above their heads and heard the conversation. He said to one: “But you’re a woman.” And she said to him “yes, and so is my partner.” And he said “can you do that thing?” Okay, part of me is laughing out loud even as I type it. But part of me is still very annoyed. Would that person REALLy walk up to a group of strangers, listen to the conversation, and then ask one of them about how she has sex???? Please tell me that is NOT what happens. That is the first thing he wants to know about SecondLife – Can they do “that thing”??? On the other hand, as a very wise friend keeps telling me – “It’s all about sex”. I disagree with her. I DON’T think it’s “all” about sex and I think it’s incredibly rude to come inworld and approach strangers and start asking about their sex lives. So there.

Now let’s go to a gathering inworld. You’re hanging about with your friends, chatting, making plans to go and do something together. Suddenly another person TP’s into the room. One of the friends spins about and takes off to join the new person. “Bye, see you, gotta run.” Poof. Gone. The rest of you all look at each other. Again – you ARE all laughing. But you also are all a bit annoyed. “Excuse us, what are we? Chopped liver?” Yes – you DO get a pass for being newly in-love or for needing to touch base with the other person or probably for some other reasons as well. But you can only do that so many times to your friends before they get annoyed. No matter how in love you are, no matter how pressing the reason. There are real people behind those avatars. If you want it to be all about you, you are ultimately going to be very lonely.

Making Friends. This one is tricky. My first few weeks I never asked anyone if they cared to be friends. I felt as if I were pressuring them – that they would feel obligated to help the newbie. Even now I find I am somewhat hesitant to initiate the offer. I’m getting better. I did meet a lovely person back when Kate Linden was rescuing me. That person started the conversation, read my groups list, offered me land marks. We talked about many topics. I offered her friendship and she accepted. That is a bit sudden for me. But I’ve had people come up to me and say “Take Friendship”. Um, thanks, but maybe I don’t want to. So I changed my profile to say “I’m looking for friends but we need to know each other first.” Which I suppose is not strictly true, as I’ve made some snap judgments. But telling someone to “take friendship” is bad form.

My next one is probably silly. And way too picky. I don’t care. I’m allowed to be silly in my blog. 🙂 I really disliked people standing too close to me. Like everyone in FL, I’m very aware of the boundaries of “my” space. If you cross that line, I will try to back away and fix the distance, But if you persist,I become irritable and edgy and mean. 🙂 Some acquaintances simply have not figured this out yet. This carries over into SL. I understand when someone moves too close to me. No question that I still have difficulty on occasion moving myself about. I’ve bumped into people. Sort of sat on people. Even walked through people I believe. It happens. But once you are standing and chatting with someone – hey! back up a bit. You really CAN’T look down my shirt in SL no matter HOW close you get. I feel cornered and pressured. Yes – I am well aware that this is my problem and I take full ownership. LOL. But maybe next time you stand too close to someone, you’ll remember poor neurotic Ahuva and you’ll back up a little!!! 🙂

And lastly, the most obvious one. Big sigh. Do you REALLY walk up to strangers on the street and ask them to participate in sex acts with you? For most of us, that is not part of our job description. Go away. Leave me alone. Trust me. If I want to have sex with you, I’ll let you know. But otherwise – why don’t you think about WHY you have to ask strangers for intimacy? Perhaps it has something to do with your social graces or lack thereof.


Some stray thoughts that didn’t fit in other blogs….

I’ve been promising a picture of one of my favorite friends. And I’m finally keeping my promise! I think she is one of the most beautiful people I’ve met in SL – inside and out!!

And I’ve made some other, more unusual friends as well. 🙂 I was a little concerned for this friend’s well-being on the beach, but he assured me that he would be just fine. You do meet the most interesting people in SL.

Two of my SL friends got married yesterday – in SL. So I need to go back to my blog on July 3 (Scratching the Virtual Itch) and eat my words, so to speak. I was taken aback at the notion that anyone would ever formalize a partnership in SL. I’ve come so far since then that now I wonder how I could have ever written those words. LOL. My friends are SO happy! They are simply radiating joy to everyone around them. Obviously getting married in SL can be every bit as important as it is in RL. Of course every party has a pooper and that role was played by another acquaintance who remarked: “In general my impression is that monogamy usually works spectacularly badly in SL, for whatever complex reasons.” Let’s hope that for my two friends, that’s not the case. Everyone can use some happiness, wherever they find it.

But that does raise an interesting question. Do SL relationships flame out more than RL relationships? I suspect that may be true. I think the reasons probably aren’t all that complex. In RL, relationships are mostly pre-defined. By that I mean society has trained us all to think that “marriage” entails conditions a, b & c and responsibilities 1 to n, and so on. Everyone we know in RL has learned the same rules about marriage. So even if the couple wanted to change the rules, society is pressing in on them, enforcing the relationship. I haven’t seen that kind of societal pressure at work in SL. It may be that I am still too new. But I think that people form relationships in SL without clarifying the terms beforehand. If they are operating from different assumptions and there are no external forces keeping them together, the relationship flames.

Here’s my last fragment: I want to buy land. I needed some time alone to think and stare at the water and chill out. I tried to do that from “my” beach chair, but someone kept hitting on me. Sigh. So I fled to a friend’s house and sat on their beach. I want my own beach with my own view of the water. So where should I be looking? What should I know?

Dancing Under the Sea

This blog is for YOU, Dave!!!

I made a new friend this weekend – Dave. We met on the boardwalk (where else?). On Saturday afternoon I was hanging about. I’d gone shopping with some friends earlier and gotten a beautiful pair of wings. You’ll see them in the pictures – they change color! I was cleaning up the clutter that is my inventory and practicing my new AO controls. Dave came by and said Hi. There are some people you meet that cheer you up the moment you see them – high-energy, good-natured, fun. I am sure that in RL when Dave walks into a room the whole room lights up. Even in SL, an incredibly bright and cheerful place (at least in my experience), Dave’s presence makes you smile. He’s got a dynamite mohawk, gorgeous wings, fascinating tattoos. And he’s cheerful!!

So I was sitting pensively, staring at the water and the sand, sorting folders. Dave said “Let me give you something to look at”. The next thing I knew he was running about in circles, arms waving. It was a riot! I asked him WHAT that was all about. It’s something he wrote to amuse someone else (Dave – you said I could use your name and pic but I never asked permission to discuss anything else). Dave gave me a copy. I jumped down onto the sand, said Onigokko! and the two of us began running about, our arms waving. I know it doesn’t SOUND funny, but trust me – it was hilarious to watch.

Next Dave produced a bee. Not just any bee. A BIG bee. 🙂 A REALLY big bee. It flies. Dave flew the bee about us and over the water. I needed an AO that would drop me to the sand, laughing uncontrollably. I LOVE the bee. I begged Dave to get back on the bee and pose it for me. And being the generous fellow he is, Dave gave me a bee also.

We weren’t done playing. I’ve been hanging out at the beach for WEEKS now. I love it there. Dave has been inworld maybe a week. He said to me “I found this place, you want to see it?” Now in RL I might hesitate to follow. But in SL, sure, I’m game. To my surprise, Dave walked INTO the water and continued until he was completely submerged. I followed and found that there is a whole world under the water. It was gorgeous. Dave showed me the treasure chest, where I got a pearl. We danced under the water – merfolk celebrating. I will have to find a better way to make a movie so that you can see how utterly lovely and graceful and special it is to be a mermaid (or merman as the case may be). There was lovely music playing, the lighting changed, we looked so graceful. It was idyllic. Our wings moved with us under the water. We did back flips and dives and turns. Several weeks ago I was reading a blog on “50 First Dates in SL”. Dancing under the sea needs to be on that list. I was filled with such joy watching the beauty of it.

And STILL we weren’t done. We walked to another part of the underwater garden. There were more poseballs here. While Dave danced the macarena under the sea, I selected the multi-dance poseball. As we danced, colored light streamed through the water around us. We were surrounded by colored bubbles. I loved watching all the colors, watching my wings move, imagining how great it would be to actually feel the water.

Then Dave taught me yet another new thing. We flew up and up and up – out of the water and as high into the sky as we could. Then we stopped flying and fell back. The resolution is so good on this machine now that I could watch as i fell past the buildings back into the water and back to the ocean bottom. And it didn’t hurt a bit!!!!! It was totally silly and so much fun.

I may very well have a new favorite spot. I love sitting in “my” beach chair and looking at the water. But I’m going to have to allow time every day to walk beneath the waves and dance.

Thank you Dave!!!! I’d never have found it without you! Thanks for an absolutely incredible wonderful day! Thanks for being my friend!

Concerts and Dancing

What a fantastic weekend! So many good things have happened that I can’t even include all of them. I’m not sure I even REMEMBER all of them. From which you can infer that I spent a lot of time inworld. LOL.

Thursday night I again had the pleasure of hearing Grace McDunnough sing live. I’d been on the road most of the day, got home, took care of FL chores and logged it to see who was around. I got tp’d to the park where Grace was singing. I stretched out in a chair and relaxed, listening to her beautiful voice and chatted with friends. LOL. That’s yet another good thing about SL. We can chat, but since it’s text, we don’t interrupt the concert and we can hear too! After the concert I logged off and crashed. Isn’t that a wonderful change? I now crash AFTER I logout, not while I’m still inworld. 🙂

Friday I was able to login during the day. Hung out for awhile on the boardwalk, chatting with friends. Got some instruction on AOs, got a new sitting pose, indulged in “girl talk”. Logged back in late Friday, after RL dinner. Friday night is party night on the NCI Boardwalk. I was sitting in my favorite beach chair, waiting for party-time, IM’ing with friends. I received an IM invitation to a live concert in progress. It sounded very interesting so I accepted. I’m still very slow about remembering to take landmarks, to get information about where I am and what I’m doing. And I’m very sorry, because yet again I was listening to a singer with a lovely voice. Not only did I like her voice, I really liked her selections as well. Anyway, I had another “first” at this concert: my first dance in SL. Oh yes, I’ve danced before at the boardwalk and at the clubs. But this was REAL dancing – with a partner ! We waltzed to the music and it was wonderful. I love to dance in FL and I especially love to waltz. Once M explained to me how to get started (do you think I will ever understand how to use the various pose balls????) it was simply heavenly. I’m sorry I didn’t think to take a picture. But M got a picture of us relaxing afterward. Be sure to look at the other picks from the concert. You can see Tamra singing. And don’t miss the dancing zebra . She was extremely graceful! 🙂 It was a wonderful time and I was sorry when it ended. Thank you M!!

I wasn’t sure if the NCI party was over yet or not, so I tp’d there. It was going full blast. I’d missed the toob race (rats!) but there was a large crowd still dancing and the Lucky Chairs were still calling out letters. I touched the (correct) dance ball and joined in the fun. The Lucky Chair called an “A” and I won an adorable outfit. I’d show you all but it’s mostly lingerie and this site is rated GP. 🙂 There were a pair of jeans as well, but I don’t think they do much for me. LOL. I also won wind chimes. So now of course I need a house.

The party lasted until quite late. A friend had tp’d in to join me. We ended up talking into the wee hours of the night, discussing the kind of weighty matters that seem made for such times. Post-party seriousness. 🙂 Anyway, it was a blast. Two people that I like and respect added me as their friend. That also made me very happy. And that only gets me through Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon is a whole adventure in and of itself!!!

Spending My Allowance

I got my first Linden allowance yesterday! Whee! I figured this was akin to my first RL paycheck – it should be spent immediately before it had to pay for something sensible. 🙂 But what to buy?

I was supposed to meet a friend inworld to quaff some beers and hang out. I rifled through my closet trying to figure out what mood I was in. Apparently I was in a Beautiful in Black mood. Slipped on my jeans and shirt, dug out my leather motorcycle jacket, found some funky jewelry. But I had nothing to wear on my feet. Shoes are VERY important you know. Someone once described shoes as jewelry for the feet. 🙂 Works for me. I had black stilettos, but they really didn’t work. So I tp’d over to the Freebies dungeon. I wandered about there, but didn’t see anything.

So I tp’d back to the boardwalk. Someone there had dynamite black boots on. I asked where she had gotten them. She told me but added that boots were everywhere. I mentioned I’d been being cheap (because it WAS cheap, not frugal) and she said that good boots would run me $L200-300. Ah Hah!!! My allowance!!! So I did a search on boots. I read the list of stores, picked one that looked suitable, and tp’d over. No question that the boots and shoes in that store were better looking than the freebies. I wandered up and down the aisles enjoying all the possibilities. Finally I decided on a low-cut pair of black boots for $L200. I handed over my money and changed shoes right there and then! Nothing like a new pair of shoes to perk me right up!!

In the meantime my friend logged in. Seems we couldn’t get together until later that evening. Uh oh. I was sooooo tired. There are only so many nights in a row I can stay up til 2am in SL before I crash in RL. Last night was crash night. I did TRY to stay awake. I updated the “My Notes” page for all my contacts. I organized some inventory. But it was useless. I stretched out in my beach chair, closed my eyes and logged out.

The Great Avatar Debate

There are certain topics that will aways draw a response from SL aficionados. Even as a newbie I have realized that. Several posts ago I mentioned the conversation on money and economics in SL. Apparently avatar appearance is even more controversial. There seem to be two camps – the people who want avatars to be as reallife-like as possible versus the people who think avatars should be as fantastical as possible.

Digression: I really hesitate to say that there are only 2 camps. I googled the question “Are bananas berries or fruit” the other night. That seemed simple enough to me – berry or fruit. 2 camps. Well. How wrong can a person be?
Berry and fruit are basically interchangeable terms.
Bananas grow as giant herbs
a banana is an herb, aka a spice
“Spices” and “herbs” are culinary divisions
Not a simple question….The tree is an herb.
Get the picture?

Anyway, back on topic…. For me it kicked off on Sophtopia with a rallying cry of No Realistic Avatars. This generated and is still generating (as I write) comments. Those against the realistic shapes were many with reasons ranging from “you should be using SL’s tools to create an avatar that’s better, Create your digital selves as your ideal, whatever form that might take” to “it’s a LABORATORY and we should be experimenting as widely and as vigorously as possible” to “The thing that worries me is that people may be taking forms that are unthinkingly modeled after ideal FL forms” to “Can I have both, please? “. The opposing view (which isn’t so much of an opposite view but more of an angled view) ranges from “Let’s face it: [greek mythical gods, movie stars] are the stuff of myth, a lot more so than, say, a giant pink-striped eggplant with six wheels and tentacles” to “They might be trying to tell us that they are quite at ease with their atom selves” to “they might be using SL as a meeting place rather than an area for self expression”. There were many more, this is a mere sampling.

I commented that I thought that a lot of the posters had lost sight of what it is like to be new in a virtual world. Not all of us jump in and immediately drop all our FL habits and harness. It so happened that I was hanging out with a friend over the weekend. She showed me her kitsune ears and tail. I LOVE that look. I want to do that too! But when she took me to the store and I saw all the detailed shapes available – some of them creeped me out totally. And I’d really have to be in the right frame of mind to wear fox ears and a tail. It seemed like a fantastic idea then. As I sit here typing this, the whole concept of having fox ears seems less appealing. Wings, on the other hand…..

As is often the case for me, I found that Botgirl Questi’s comment really summed up the issue for me: I think people (human and virtual) can take almost identical actions for very different reasons. So from where I sit, I can’t really see anything inherently positive or negative in any particular choice of form just on its own merits.

And yet – I find that despite agreeing with Botgirl and with Chestnut I do have a certain bias against certain shapes and forms. Dale had that comment on Chestnut’s blog: On the other hand I think a (what?) milder form of judging is entirely valid; if someone looks a certain way, it’s reasonable to conclude (to judge?) that they’re someone who wants to look that way (since they have so many other choices).

I’ll accept that we can conclude they want to look that way. But where I think I miss the mark is when I judge them on the appearance. I need to remember Botgirl’s point that people can take identical actions for very different reasons. So just because I know why I would have chosen that shape and I regard that choice negatively, that does NOT mean that the person chose that avatar for the same reason I would have. If SL really is a laboratory and it really is a chance to do better than in FL, then I need to do better mentally, not just physically. If your avatar is less fantastical than I might prefer, it does not mean that you are lacking in creativity. If your avatar has physical attributes that carry certain connotations for me, it does not necessarily follow that those attributes denote who you are.

So my promise to myself is that I intend to do better with my avatar by being less judgmental, more open. And maybe next time you see me I’ll have a tail! 🙂

Post Script added the next morning:
So much for my resolutions. I was hanging out on my favorite boardwalk bench with friends. A new person joined us. I looked at him and JUDGED. Sigh. It’s true, I did. I IM’d one of my friends and asked WHY would ANYONE pick THAT name and wear THOSE clothes?????? My friend replied that maybe this was someone’s alt, maybe they were trying out a new concept. I was ashamed because of course that could be the case. Even more to the point – that scenario is “acceptable” to me. But maybe that person chose that name and appearance for whatever reason worked for them. And maybe they were sitting there looking at me thinking “Good grief, why would anyone want that name and those clothes?”.

So I’m going to have to try harder. Maybe I’ll set myself a goal. If I can go a week and not judge other, I can earn my ears and tail. 🙂

Beach Party

What a great weekend! SL is so much better when there’s no packet loss! I was able to spend several hours inworld, seeing friends, shopping, partying. And I had FL fun too. So all my lives were cool!

Friday started quietly. I was organizing my inventory. I was getting tired of my jeans and looking for something fun to wear. That’s “fun” as in “girl fun”, not “fun” as in “new shape/gender” fun. 🙂 I didn’t have any party dresses. Oh, I have several long gowns and ornate outfits, but nothing for dancing. I love to dance! I love having my skirt twirl about me as I spin. No such thing in my SL closet. I decided I needed to go shopping.

Where does a gal with limited disposable income go to shop? Why the Freebies Dungeon in Deva Loka, of course! I’ve been there several times. I was sure that somewhere I would find a dress for dancing. For those of you who have never been to the Dungeon, I’ve included a glimpse into one of the myriad rooms. You can find anything and everything in there. Yes, I really do mean anything and everything. Certain rooms would not have been suitable for photographs. 🙂 Sometimes when I wander into a new room I am quite shocked. To buy something, you right-click on the photo (or the box – there are also rooms where there are cases and cases piled about). A window opens up showing you the items that make up that selection. You can either click on “buy” or cancel. Nearly everything costs $L0. Of course, my bad habits have followed me into SL. I found the room where the dresses cost MORE than $L0!!

But I fell in love with a dress that looked perfect for dancing. I decided it was well worth the expense: $L1. LOL. Yep – one dollar. So I picked up a few items, put on my new dress and headed back to the boardwalk. There were a few friends hanging about but I wanted to show my new dress to someone I thought would appreciate it. I noticed M was online so I IM’d and asked if I could model my outfit. M tp’d to join me. She decided that was a nice dress and a good price so we tp’d back so she could pick up some dresses too! At that price, who could resist?? Not us, obviously!

It was nearly time for the weekly beach party so I headed back to the boardwalk. The dancing had already started so I touched the party ball to join in. Except – I touched the wrong dance ball. LOL. Have you noticed a trend here? Just when I think I’m so cool and I know what to do and I’m going to fit right in, I pull a newbie move. 🙂 I touched the dance ball for the Tinies, not the dance ball for the – what are we, Not-Tinies?? LOL. Anyway, I was all squinched up and contorted. I looked pretty silly. But the LO (Land Officer) IM’d me and set me straight. I touched the tiny ball to stop dancing tiny style and touched the dance ball. Look at my beautiful new dress – see how nicely it twirls!!!

There was a lot of chat going on and then someone mentioned the (apparently) key phrase “Toob Race”. Everyone started racing to the water. I asked A what a toob race was. He decided a picture was worth a thousand words so we headed on down to the water. We touched the green toob balls and presto! an inner tube appeared. A was resplendent in his tux and I was in my new dress but that did not stop us!! We hopped into our inner tubes to join the race. You can see me in my multi-colored inner tube, lining up at the starting line. I don’t know how I got such a beautiful inner tube, but there was no question in MY mind that mine was the prettiest! You can see the course outlined on the board in front of us. There aren’t dragons in the NCI toob race – there are giant squid!!! Big orange squid!! Two of them. And they eat inner tubes!!! So if you paddle (use your arrow keys) too close to the squid – you are walking home. 🙂 The countdown began – Three, Two, One! And we were off! I was left bobbing in the wake as I tried to figure out how to paddle the tube properly. It’s very hard to paddle an inner tube when you are screaming with laughter. I am proud to say that I made it all the way around the course, inner-tube intact. (oooo – those squid are mean!!!!) I came in 10th out of 11, which I figured was just fine for my first race. NEXT week i’ll wear clothing that won’t slow me down (I’m SURE my dress was creating drag….) and I’ll be edged up closer to the starting line!

A and I and everyone else put away our inner tubes and headed back to the dance floor. The party was much fun – door prizes, Lucky Chairs (lucky chairs call out a letter, and if your name starts with that letter and you sit there first, you get the prize. I got a beautiful strapless green and black gown. Hmmm, I’ll need to find someplace to wear it!). Unfortunately, one of those annoying vampires showed up. He IM’d me offering a bite. Gross. I said no. The LO saw him offering bites and warned him and then bumped him from the land. It’s very hard for me to feel any pity for the vampires. There are signs posted all about NCI now warning them about the rules. I don’t need any vampire bites in my neck, thank you very much.

We continued dancing til the wee hours. Finally it was over. So I tp’d to a friend’s house. I was too tired to even kick off my shoes, so I simply stretched out on the bed and went to sleep.