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cyfishy: (Default)
The problem with threatening to rant about something in a future entry is the fact that it makes me reluctant to post anything else until said rant has been written.

This post is not that rant. I'll get to it eventually, honest, even though most of the kerfuffle has been and gone by now.

Anyway, in our quest for a secondary viewer that allows Beginning and I to spend quality time together, we have taken to using Imprudence. Beginning logs in via Imprudence and I log in via the Release Candidate Viewer (a habit I fell into when it proved more stable than the regular one on my machine.)

Thus far, we've managed to stay out for long stretches without too many encounters with the crashmonster. Beginning still uses the regular Second Life viewer when flying solo, though, since Imprudence does not yet provide sound for Mac users. It's not a problem when we're together--sound effects and streaming music can flow through my iteration, and Beginning prefers deafness to the blindness she experienced when she gave AjaxLife a try.

Thus far, we've been out dancing at the Blue Note and Quantum Fields, and fishing at Grizzy's Cafe (though we were stymied by the fact that our fishing poles needed to be updated, and came back later to take care of that.)

[livejournal.com profile] grizzygriswold also had another guest joining us fishing:

(Don't mess with the Grizz, folks, she knows people . . .)

I can't seem to come across a pair of poseballs without calling Beginning up and having her join me. The dance in the corner of the floor at Quantum is one of our favorites. And as we're swooning in each other's arms, I sometimes wonder what that's like for avatars who live in separate bodies. Are they flooded with the same sense of love? And if they are, do they, perhaps, project these feelings on the other, even if they don't know the other all that well? Is this warm glow merely an illusion, the way one is swept away by a romantic film? Or is there something true behind it?

Whatever it is, it remains balm for my fractured heart. And I suppose I can count myself fortunate that for once in my life, I depend on no other soul to obtain it.
cyfishy: (boyself)
We still haven't had too many chances to be in public, but we have had some lovely moments in private, side-by-side with the IMs going.

Beginning is the best listener ever. With her, I can vent at length about my errant business partner and my ex-lover (not necessarily in that order) and she will simply nod and encourage me to get it all out. I can whine about every insecurity I have and she will gently point out that I'm not nearly as pathetic as I'm making myself out to be.

I don't think there's another avatar in the metaverse who would be willing to put up with my crap the way she does and give me nothing but love and encouragement in return. I am so blessed to have that.

I'd be glad to reciprocate, but she doesn't appear to need it at this point. She seems to have gotten the higher parts of the twin soul we share, and is there to help heal the messier bits that wound up being my department.

I don't know if anybody else will truly understand the nature of this most peculiar relationship. But Beginning does, and that's all that really matters.
cyfishy: (selfport)
Well, when you host a discussion on the nature of identity in Second Life, I guess it comes with the territory, doesn't it?

My second little salon discussion at the Saturn Grill went quite well. I had a little more lead time to advertise and I at least tried to put out a Notice to the Quantum Tribe Laboratories Group, but was thwarted by the fact that I, personally, was not at that membership level, so I settled for a quick announcement in Group Chat and left it at that.

Cut for revealed secrets, circle-breaking and all that jazz . . .  )

Thanks to all who showed up and tune in next week! At GypsyDoctor's suggestion, this week's discussion will be about time in Second Life--how much time we spend in it and how much time is worth it. (I'll link to the Event listing when it goes up officially--I just posted it this morning.)
cyfishy: (allofme)
[livejournal.com profile] argent_bury posted a meme of sorts here, and asked:

If you are so inclined, give me a few rules you live by in SL, and a few things you get out of being here. Don't talk about your expectations on others, talk about you.

So, in no particular order, here are a few of mine:

Cut for much ramblage . . .  )
cyfishy: (allofme)
I am large, I contain multitudes.
--Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

So I've been pondering--a lot--about the nature of my Self in Second Life, particularly in light of the fact that I now have more than one self running about in there.

Cut for circle-breaking and a bit of tl;dr )

Addendum added, also cut for circle-breaking... )
cyfishy: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] sophrosyne_sl posted an entry in her blog that had me thinking once more about the nature of who I am in this world.

Soph's stance is one that the mainstream media isn't really sure what to do with. She maintains that she does not have a "Real Life"--that her fleshy self is a different individual than her avatar self. (She actually splits it three ways--Soph herself, the body that operates the keyboard, and the "Other Personality" who timeshares the body with her.)

On the other end of the spectrum are those who use SL as a communications medium, and therefore see avatars as extensions of the RL self. These are the people who get dreadfully put out when they find out that the hot babe they've been chatting up is actually being operated by a dude.

My place on the spectrum lies somewhere in between. Perhaps a little closer to Soph's end of it, but not completely.

On one level, I honestly don't want to know who the man behind the curtain is, so to speak. I definitely don't want to know if the person doesn't want to be known. But, at the same time, I've had really great conversations with people where Real Life details came out--memories of childhood recipes, venting about jobs and gaining insights into relationships. I can't bring myself to abandon that and cut RL out of the equation permanently.

I do, however, tend to be a bit hedgy about who I reveal what to. This isn't even necessarily a Second Life thing--the blog for my fleshy self (there's a link to it in my profile, if you're genuinely curious about The Real Me) is mostly public, but certain entries are friendslocked or filtered so that only a specific list of people can read them. I learned quite some time ago not to leave too much of myself hanging out on the Internet, because people can find you and sucker punch you right where it hurts if you do.

In other words, being a relatively private person in Real Life (well, relative to most Internet exhibitionists, I suppose--Googling my real name turns up nothing about me until page six, but Googling my various screen names gets me in one) it's understandable that I'd be just as private a person in Second Life. Though my secret ambition is to become a more, shall we say, public person and I'm not sure how I'm going to resolve my two lives if that comes to pass.

Perhaps my veering towards Soph's end of the spectrum is more a question of protecting my Real Life rather than emphasizing my Second Life. So there may be less separation between avatar and self than I realize.
cyfishy: (allofme)
My fleshy self was finishing up a novel in November, so time inworld was limited.

Miles is back inworld a little more frequently, but we won't be seeing each other in RL for I don't know how long. Not terribly important at this juncture.

Things have taken an interesting turn with the alt.

Which I am putting behind a cut, in the event that you don't want to know . . .  )
cyfishy: (boyself)
So, in an effort to get a feel for Life For The Newbie, I created an additional account about a month ago. I've run her through the paces of getting oriented, hit the freebie bins to get her outfitted and attended a number of newbie classes to find out what sort of questions were being asked and how well they were being answered.

It's been an interesting journey. It really does cement my belief that having someone around who can show you the ropes is one of the main things that can keep people from wandering off in frustration.

I didn't want to reveal her name too soon, because I didn't want people to treat her any differently. At most, she told people she was my friend and that I was helping her. I did leak the news to a select few in IM, because I'm terrible at keeping my own secrets.

And now, in this blog post, I reveal them to you.

Don't click if you'd rather not know . . .  )
cyfishy: (whitehair)
Mastering the skills needed to ascend from mere observer to creator in Second Life can take some doing. Like everybody else, when I started out I couldn't do much more with building and scripting than rezzing a plywood box and making it say "Hello Avatar!"

A little Googling pointed me toward many wonderful online tutorials, particularly Natalia Zelmanov's blog, which I continue to use as a resource. (She's added a few tutorials on sculpties, which I've been trying to follow, but Wings 3D isn't playing well with my computer right now, alas.)

Lately, though, I've also been taking classes inworld. They're amazingly easy to find--just go to the Events listings, select the Education category and all the casino ads magically go away and you're given a list of places to go and things to learn. I found a class on how to build neko ears and a tail, and I ended up wearing the results for weeks afterward. I took a class in animation, so I was able to learn exactly how to use that Avimator program that came with my copy of the Second Life book. And I ended up taking a four day course called "LSL Boot Camp", which was a very intensive set of classes on scripting. I'm still digesting everything I learned from that one.

I also wanna give a shout-out to [livejournal.com profile] kherber who taught a fun class on furniture building, though I learned that from the [livejournal.com profile] second_lifers community, rather than the Events calendar.

I've gotten a little more used to my appearance in Second Life, and then I went and put on a completely new one. While I wasn't able to make it to [livejournal.com profile] grizzygriswold's discussion of race and gender (she asked that people try on an avatar of a different race or gender than their usual one and talk about how people reacted to it) I was still intrigued enough by the notion to try on a male body for a while.

So went into Edit Appearance mode, did a Save As on my shape, pressed the Male radio button and ta-da--insta-gothboy! With girly slit still between legs. Hm. I decided to pull the male version of the CyberGoth skin out of the Library and try that on for size. It worked for what I needed, since I was only doing it as a lark at this point. I did a little slider tweaking on the shape, then threw on some freebie hair I'd gotten somewhere earlier. While it wasn't perfect, it, again, served for a mere experiment. I donned the Blaze tux I'd bought earlier and went out into the world.

Nobody actually noticed, it seemed. Miles knew, but only because we were, once again, in the same room in RL and able to shoulder-surf. We went to a beach party that DJ Lysander was spinning at, and none of the usuals made the slightest remark on it. Then again, my boyself and my girlself are both pale and skinny, so it's possible people didn't even see a difference!

Seeing 'myself' as male was a curious sensation. I did gain a measure of insight into those certain men who apparently play female avatars in the shapes of their personal fantasies. When I looked at my boyself my thoughts were something along the lines of "Damn, I'd hit that!"

But there was also a sense of detachment that went with it. Part of it may simply be that I'm not 'used' to being in that shape. I also had a bit of that when my female face was changed in ways I wasn't comfortable with.

Note the number of caveats I put on my remark about the motivations of men who play women--my point is most definitely not that all men do this, just that some, possibly, do. I also know of RL men who play SL women as a way of expressing aspects of themselves that cannot be easily explored in that thing we call reality, particularly when their biology does not match what they feel their gender to be. It's also possible that the reason for my detachment is that I don't have as deep-seated a need to 'be male' as other people might.

My perceptions of this may change if I'm ever addressed and interacted with as a male, which hasn't really happened yet.

I've organized some folders for my two different bodies and I think I'll be jumping back and forth between them for a bit. I do need a decent AO with a male walk--my sexywalk AO just doesn't work for my boyshape, but I can't hack it to change walks. I've picked up a few more freebies to wear, but I'd still like to find a decent male skin that has the impossibly bleached pallor that I'm accustomed to. Some things, it seems, I just can't bear to change.
cyfishy: (selfport)
One of the things that separates Second Life from that pesky Real Life (and, indeed, from many other online environments) is the degree to which you can manipulate your appearance. The moment you enter this strange new world for the first time, you are given a choice of bodies to incarnate into. And while you are assured that you can change your mind later, at least in my case, the body I chose seems to have influenced my appearance ever since.

I picked the CyberGoth option, because it seemed the most like how I felt on the inside, even if I don't look much like that in Real Life. The other human bodies were far too mundane for me, and the furry bodies, while an interesting possibility, didn't really appeal to me as much as they undoubtedly appeal to others.

So I became a Goth. After I learned how to walk, I poked at tweaking my appearance a bit and did my time on Help Island before emerging into the big wide world.

As time progressed, I figured out more about how to refine how I looked, such as how to make my eyes look like eyes instead of blank voids and how to get rid of that weird headphone looking thingy on my head. I made some very simple clothes, uploading a few .jpg textures I'd googled and just doing simple length and color adjustments on standard clothing. Picked up a few freebies here and there as well, but mostly I was DIY. I gripped tightly to the few Lindens I had because I needed them for upload fees and I wasn't on SL frequently enough to hold down a steady job anywhere.

I looked like a newbie, dressed in freebies. I did what I could with what I had and was largely satisfied with it.

Then I met Miles.

Miles Montgolfier actually signed up for Second Life about two months after I did. She likewise started life as a CyberGoth, but spent more time and more money to become a kind of Amazonian Goth Goddess. When we finally met face to face in SL (we already knew each other in RL at this point, but kept missing each other inworld) I told her I was vaguely intimidated by her appearance. She was quite impressive, with her fluttering primskirts, huge black wings and flowing hair. I looked quite plain next to her.

This is when I was still only in SL about once a week on the borrowed machine, so we made a point of meeting up and hanging out on those Sunday nights. Miles gave me slews of freebies, including some skins that I tried on for size. I settled on some pale white 'vampire' skin that actually had nipples and tattoos on it.

One of those nights, Miles took me to Deviant Kitty to look at prim hair. I tried on various demos, but sighed that I couldn't really afford to buy anything, since I only had so many Lindens to work with and no source of Linden income. (Lindcome?)

"Whatever," said Miles, as she gave me 200 Lindens.

So I bought hair. It's actually the hair I'm wearing in this particular icon. As Miles took me to a few more places, I admired the way the hair moved as I walked. I was hooked.

A few days later, I bought Lindens with my PayPal account. Four dollars and some change (I was trying to round off my PayPal balance to a nice even number) bought me over a thousand Lindens.

I bought more hair (and accidentally botched some of it trying to edit it) and invested in a Deviant Kitty skin for a mere 100 Lindens that has served me nicely for many months.

Then I started getting, I suppose, restless again in terms of how I looked. I looked fine from a distance, but up close I looked a little too 'rendered' compared to others. I wasn't happy with my nose, but wasn't sure what to do to fix it.

So a few nights ago, at another laptop session at Miles' RL apartment, Miles offered to adjust some hair that I had that didn't quite sit right on my head. The next thing I know, we went from adjusting my hair to shopping for a new shape and skin for me.

The way we achieved this was a bit odd and kind of amusing. We switched bodies. Since we were both in the same room in RL, Miles logged into my account and I logged into Miles' account on our respective computers. I 'shoulder-surfed' (Miles' term) to pick out a new body and skin and Miles had me buy them, try them on and make adjustments.

I hated the result. Not that it looked bad, precisely, it just didn't look like me anymore. I fiddled some more with it when I had my body again, trying to get it back to the way it was. I ended up putting the old skin back on--which now looked completely different on this new shape--and ended up adjusting things back to something resembling what it was.

I can't find my original shape in my inventory, for some reason. I've made a point of saving and naming a copy of what I'm wearing now so I'll have a backup. But I still look vaguely unfamiliar to myself and I'm still trying to deal to it.

*sigh* I want my old face back.
cyfishy: (whitehair)
Miles Montgolfier and Yours Truly have a curious relationship in SL, because we actually know each other in RL. Our schedules being what they are, we generally see more of each other in SL than RL, but once in a while I'll schlep my laptop over to Miles' apartment and use the WiFi so we can play and hang out at the same time.

Last night was such a night. We had a nice evening of beer, green tea and lip gloss whilst meeting and greeting in SL with Miles' various friends and acquaintances, who I am also getting to know. At one point, Miles' computer crashed, so I explained to her guests what had happened. BrightLeaf Gastel suggested that maybe she was afk and I explained, no, we're in the same room, I'm watching the computer reboot, she'll be right back, honest.

It was an odd confession to make, almost like I'd broken the fourth wall or revealed a secret. But it's not like I never speak of my RL in SL--I'll mention when I'm drinking wine or doing the laundry when I'm chatting in a dance club. I'll even mention what city I live in as long as somebody doesn't a/s/l me in an IM first thing without so much as a how-do-you-do. So mentioning that I'm right next to Miles in RL as well as SL wasn't, in the grand scheme of things, that much of a revelation.

Miles showed off some of the work she's been doing on her place. She uploaded some new textures that are based on photographs of the ceiling of the Biltmore Hotel. Some she actually put on the ceiling, others are currently hovering in midair on a cube she built to experiment with.

We hung out for a while at Miles' place with Sacred Singh, BrightLeaf Gastell and an old friend of Miles', Succuba Cerminara. BrightLeaf and I attempted to troubleshoot why Sacred wasn't getting streaming music in SL anymore (looks like it may be a firewall issue--we gave her a temporary workaround.) Sacred and Succuba had to leave, BrightLeaf went on ahead to Quantum Fields for DJ Lysander's set and Miles and I changed clothes and ended up having a chat with Miles' neighbors, Apelles Luna and Ciara Ashton. (They actually showed up at Miles' digs under their alts, but the names elude me and I neglected to screenshot them.) We invited them to join us at Quantum Fields and we all went to dance for a few hours. For some reason, they moved the dance out of the Event Center and onto the boardwalk in front. (The Quantum Tribe people have an odd habit of rearranging things on their island periodically, which makes many landmarks absolutely useless over time.)

Lysander handed the DJ duties over to Miles around 10:00 SL time and Miles DJed for the rest of the night. I'd had too much beer to drive home safely, so I crashed at Miles'.

So far, the update seems to be running okay for me, though the initial rough patches after the changeover were a little frustrating. We'll see how it shakes out over time.


cyfishy: (Default)

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