More Newbies

their-first-sl-joyI was hanging about, doing some odds and ends when Shenlei IM’d me. She had some newbies who wanted to learn to ride. 🙂 Oh wow, twist my arm. An excuse to take time to go riding in SL? I am so there. So I tp’d into the gateway at Shengri La and met the newbies, Gaia and Annia. The 4 of us tp’d over to the stables. Shen and I were explaining SL nuances, assuring them both that all would be fine.

I realized as I listened to them how far I have come. I remember a friend saying to me that he wished he could go exploring with me because I got so excited and had so much fun. welcoming-gaia-and-annia-to-slThat he had lost some of that joy and excitement. I hate to say this but I think that perhaps I, too, am getting somewhat jaded. I listened to Annia and Gaia exclaiming and reacting, and I realize that I now take a lot of this in stride. I EXPECT there to be horses and carriages and animals and such. They were incredibly excited and pleased to hear the horses neighing to us. 🙂 I remember being that enthusiastic. Now I smile when I hear such sounds, but I am not stunned or delighted. I EXPECT those touches.

who-am-iThe thing that was truly disconcerting about this particular adventure was Annia. She chose the same default avatar that I chose. She went nuts over the horses. So much else of our conversation sounded as if I’d gone back in time and was talking with myself. Disconcerting because I “feel” the same inside, but I can see how I’ve changed. Annia is the Ahuva of 7 months ago. She looks as I looked, sounds as I annia-not-ahuvasounded, wants to do much of what I wanted to do then. LOL. Of course, I did manage to shock her, EXACTLY as *I* would have been shocked. After the ride, Shenlei and I were discussing the auction for Cancer Research UK and I was trying on outfits. Annia did not understand the auction at first. *grin* She thought I was actually auctioning myself off for well, I guess for nefarious purposes. As if. Shenlei and I both passed inventory to her: skins, AOs, clothing, hair. 🙂 It was so much fun to do for her what so many others had done for me. Paying forward yet again.

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

rhinestone-cowboyAlthough I am totally immersed in SL and am so at home here, I often feel like a newbie. I think many of my friends regard me as quite “young” still. To my great relief and happiness, my friends still mentor me and give me tips, hints, suggestions and clues for making my life in SL smoother and more fun. But compared to a REAL newbie – I am sooooo NOT a newbie anymore.

Shengri La is now an official SL Gateway (Fashion Research Institute). I often drop-in to help out, see who all is rezzing in. It is a mad house there. I had no idea how does-this-shirt-make-me-look-fatmany people rez in each MINUTE. Half the time I try to drop-in, I can’t get there because the sim is full. I’ve had to rez nearby and WALK in. LOL. But I do try to stop in at least once a week (and it really should be more often) and try to help newbies the way all the good folk helped me.

The first thing that strikes me each time is how grateful I am to have an AO. Remember back whenever in the fall when my friend mentioned I looked “stiff”? Okay, she wins. (Actually, she ALWAYS wins but that is a completely different story.) I LOVE my AO. Sure, there are 2 animations of which I’m not overly fond, but I’m more lazy than I am displeased so I’ve not removed them yet. But watching newbies walk queen-for-a-dayabout and stand – wow, stiff dweebs. I’m sorry – that’s just the truth. (And why I HATE working in opensim. Which is also another story. But there at least I am working a deal to get an AO, skin and hair. LOL).

The second thing that I notice is the newbies’ total lack of comprehension. They don’t know where they are, that they are all new, why they are there, or what they should be doing. Ah yes, I remember that well. Most of you reading this probably joined me some time along my adventures, as I met you in SL. But there are a few readers (/me waves hi to M and B, who have been reading since day 1 – Hi guys!!!) casual-attirewho remember how I got started here. I did my research BEFORE I signed up. Not only did I read up on SL and try to learn about it, I even contacted people who were already in-world, lining up my support team, as it were. Okay, not everyone has that luxury. But really – if you don’t know what SL is, why did you sign up?????? Why are you here??? YOU must have had SOME reason. Of course they did…. the streets of SL are paved with sex and money. /me does search on the map to find that sim.

by-george-shes-got-itWell, I truly must be the most repulsive or most unapproachable avatar in all of SL. Despite hanging around with the newbs, and despite hearing such conversations around me, do you realize that STILL not one person has propositioned me yet????? /me shakes head in bafflement. I don’t WANT them to proposition me, really, but the fact that everyone else seems to be hit on could make me wonder what’s wrong with me. (Good thing the auction is still fresh in my memory.) My first day at the hatching farm (gateway *grin*) when I had to walk in, I encountered two newbies who had strayed from the shelter. I met the woman first and was trying to guide her back to the stores and welcome area. Then we encountered the male. Immediately the male was propositioning the female, and they were trying to figure out HOW to do IT. In local chat of course. I said to them both that it was a totally inappropriate conversation and that if they were interested in performing that action at this time, I was not interested in waiting about to help them. The woman was quite surprised and asked me WHY it was inappropriate. Sheesh. Didn’t your mother teach you ANYTHING???? /me shuts mouth before more judgmental remarks slip out. I headed into the Gateway, leaving them to try to figure out how it’s done in SL.

The Gateway is hilarious, as wellcome-here-often-little-girl as maddening. You can’t move without bumping into someone else, because there are so many people. And they bump into you. And everyone is talking in local chat and they haven’t learned any SL conventions yet. *grin* I wait til I hear a specific question, or I see someone standing by themselves. Then I cut them from the herd and try to talk to them. Often someone else joins in. I’m always pleasantly surprised by how fast some people catch on to IM’ing, moving, flying, inventory. I was so completely clueless for days. I know now that a great deal of my problems were due to the terrible hardware issues I was having. Once I resolved that, SL began rezzing quickly and properly and everything made much more sense. So often I wonder if there is a correlation between the people who “get it” quickly and their computer hardware.

gee-she-looks-very-familiarI love watching as they all get items in their inventory. Soooo many nice things for free in the Gateway, but you MUST be a newbie to get them. Sigh. The vending machines tell me that I am too old. Some of the outfits are quite interesting. And some of the people – gee, they look very very familiar somehow. 🙂

Pursuing the Subject

Sex. Love. Add fantasies.

My blog on sex and love (Difficult Subjects) has generated fascinating conversations in FL and SL. People really want to talk about these topics. No one wants to go on record and post to my blog (okay – there are two brave souls out there willing to talk about sex publicly) but everyone talks to me “off the record”. 🙂 This is not actually surprising to me. Look around you. What are the number one and two topics in books, magazines, music, visual art, performing art, commercials and news? Exactly. We need air, food, water and love.

We do without air, food and water in SL. (Correction. Without drinking water. I crave water and sand and waves as much in SL as in RL). But we need love. I’m using “love” in a very broad sense here. I mean that we all need a connection. We need to be validated by an other. When people talk to me about love and sex in SL, it often leads to fantasies. SL allows us to explore our fantasies. Things that maybe we never say or do in RL. We shelter behind the pseudo-anonymity of SL (see Botgirl’s blog if you want to understand why I say “pseudo-anonymity”). And as I listen and think and read, it seems to me that there are 2 categories of fantasies.

There is the very obvious category of physical action fantasy. Doing things that you can’t do in RL, or wish you could do in RL. That ranges from sex to surfboarding to horseback riding to shopping to walking and talking. But there is another kind of fantasy – emotional. Many people are yearning for a connection that doesn’t exist for them in RL. Again, this runs the gamut. So I think I’m beginning to get a partial answer to my question “Why cyber?” (LOL please note I have ‘corrected’ my terminology.) It isn’t the cyber per se. It’s the emotional content associated with the act. I suppose one could say – Big Duh, Ahuva. *I* knew that. But obviously it wasn’t clear to me. What I started to hear as people talked to me was that the cyber allowed them to switch their internal emotional paradigm. (Again – not for everyone, and not all the time.) I’m also sure that this has been researched and reported and written up in psychological abstracts. 🙂 This is my blog, however, and I’m allowed to post my discoveries, even if I am coming extremely late to the party! 🙂

There was a newbie last night at the NCI benches (okay – there is ALWAYS a newbie at the NCI benches!! that’s why the benches exist, after all!). He started out by asking what everyone did in RL. Sigh. I listened as everyone answered and told “the truth”. So I said “This IS my RL.” Most ‘oldies’ enjoyed that response. Obnoxious, I know. But for Ahuva – SL IS RL. Then he asked our ages. Again, most people played along, even if being a bit vague. I was still feeling rude so I asked “How old do I look?” (As a good friend pointed out to me – I am only as old as my avatar!) LOL. Of course D, who is always very quick with a funny or sarcastic remark, replied “10”. Hmmm. As I type that, maybe he didn’t mean my age. LOL. I’ll have to ask him if that was a reference to the old Bo Derek movie….. Anyway. Back to my point. If I have one. He also called SL a game. I said that SL is NOT a game. He asked “It’s not?” C jumped in at this pointed and explained that SL is a virtual world, not a game. I had been despairing of this newbie but then he redeemed himself. He at least dropped the word game from that point and accepted the correction. But we shall see.

We are all in SL for reasons. Simple reasons, complicated reasons. Whatever. I am developing another theory. I think that the people who come into SL and immediately start trying to define everyone by their RL aspect are probably people who aren’t going to stay in SL very long. They aren’t going to “get it”. People who come into SL and meet people as they are, and ask about their SL aspect, are going to stay. I have no issue with people who know each other in SL having conversations about RL. That’s not what I mean. (I’m not touching the whole immersion theory stuff. Go read Botgirl and Soph yourself.) I mean that people who come inworld and try to force SL into RL terms may not be best suited for a virtual world. Whereas those people who come in and accept what they see may flourish. And those people may find that their fantasies come true.