Wednesday, 30 July 2014

046: Kharissa Indigo sits on my deck

I've seen Kharissa Indigo -- Khar to her many friends -- numerous times on Thursdays at the Cock on the Dock event with Karl Kalchek and Jak Calcutt DJing. It seemed like every time I was at Second Pride dancing this summer, she was right there hosting and making people feel comfortable. I've been wanting to sit down with her for quite a while and do an interview and -- tonight was the night!

[17:22] Rusty Redfield: *click* Okay! I'm here with Khar -- Kharissa Indigo
[17:22] Rusty Redfield: Welcome to my deck!
[17:22] Khar (kharissa.indigo): Thank you for having me
[17:23] Rusty Redfield: my pleasure! Well, I saw you at Second Pride every single time I went dancing there, and I thought, "That lady works HARD, let's talk to her about it!"
[17:23] Rusty Redfield: you were the -- what was the title?
[17:23] Khar (kharissa.indigo): Second Pride Events Director
[17:24] Rusty Redfield: there you go.  And I'll say it again, thanks for all your hard work to help everybody enjoy themselves.  Much appreciated!!
[17:24] Khar (kharissa.indigo): it really was my pleasure
[17:24] Rusty Redfield: ours too, believe me.  Okay -- my usual six questions ...
[17:24] Rusty Redfield: 1. Why do you stay in Second Life?  What keeps you here?
[17:26] Khar (kharissa.indigo): After being here for almost 7 years(rez day is Aug.3) I can say the reason I log on  every day is because of my friends
[17:26] Rusty Redfield: oh! Congrats - I just had my 4th, although this isn't my first account
[17:26] Khar (kharissa.indigo): I have meet a lot of people here but I have a few close friends that keep me coming back
[17:26] Rusty Redfield: I definitely know how that goes
[17:27] Rusty Redfield: if you want to do any shoutouts go for it LOL
[17:27] Khar (kharissa.indigo): LOL ok Hi Doc, Larz, Baz Otto and Tad!!!!
[17:27] Rusty Redfield: hahah perfect
[17:28] Rusty Redfield: on to #2 then
[17:28] Khar (kharissa.indigo): sure
[17:28] Rusty Redfield: 2. What are the qualities that attract you to people in Second Life?
[17:30] Khar (kharissa.indigo): The same as they are in real life...Honesty ...having a good time...playing games or just sitting around talking
[17:30] Rusty Redfield: those are good qualities here to be sure
[17:30] Rusty Redfield: what games do you like to play?
[17:32] Khar (kharissa.indigo): hehehe..greedy ,skippo, bowling, cards against humanities  ...and I'll try any thing at least once
[17:32] Rusty Redfield: I'm just learning about Greedy and I'm significantly terrible at it LOL
[17:32] Khar (kharissa.indigo): my advice is be a good loser it makes you a humble winner
[17:32] Rusty Redfield: but they just put in a Greedy table down the street so I think I'll get some practice LOL
[17:33] Rusty Redfield: oh good advice!!
[17:33] Khar (kharissa.indigo): cool or you can come play at my place
[17:33] Rusty Redfield: great!
[17:33] Rusty Redfield: thank you!
[17:33] Rusty Redfield: now, the next question I put in so people could blow their own horn without worrying about it -- feel free to be shameless LOL
[17:33] Rusty Redfield: 3. What are you working on, as a form of artistic expression or in order to earn money, or both?
[17:34] Khar (kharissa.indigo): well at the moment I am taking a break after the Second Pride Festival...that takes a lot of hard work and time to put on by all the members  but
[17:35] Rusty Redfield: I saw it from the audience, so, yeah, I know it took a huge amount of work
[17:36] Khar (kharissa.indigo): I have a small furniture store called Sophie's Choice and  there is a dance on our sim every thursday called Cock on the Dock which we took over after the Riviera closed
[17:36] Rusty Redfield: and that's where we met I think!
[17:36] Rusty Redfield: I didn't know aboout the store -- what kind of furniture?
[17:36] Khar (kharissa.indigo): Doc Spad and I loved that party so we invited Karl  and Jak to have the party there every week. It's been a real blast
[17:37] Khar (kharissa.indigo): mostly deco
[17:37] Rusty Redfield: heh heh this is probably the first time you've seen me with my clothes on ROFL
[17:37] Rusty Redfield: oooo I LOVE deco
[17:37] Khar (kharissa.indigo): I am fascinated by that period
[17:37] Rusty Redfield: okay, I'll get a SLURL** and throw it in so we can all check it out (added later; the Marketplace store is here and the SLURL is here)
[17:37] Rusty Redfield: me too, it's so elegant and restrained and just beautiful
[17:38] Rusty Redfield: I did a whole deco house here a few years back, I imagine you have too
[17:38] Khar (kharissa.indigo): actually no this last year is the first time I owned a house in sl and I did that one more country  it fit the sim more
[17:39] Rusty Redfield: fair enough ... yes, deco wouldn't fit here either, I know what you mean, it's tempting but we have to fit in with our neighbours! LOL
[17:40] Khar (kharissa.indigo): two years ago I did a Inaugural Ball for Second Pride and the whole theme was Deco it got me started
[17:40] Khar (kharissa.indigo): what I couldn't find I made
[17:40] Rusty Redfield: I have a couple of Suzy Cooper pieces in real life, that's what got me started
[17:40] Khar (kharissa.indigo): and that started  tghe building of furniture
[17:41] Rusty Redfield: I'll definitely be checking out the store!
[17:41] Khar (kharissa.indigo): :)
[17:41] Rusty Redfield: okay, next one --
[17:41] Rusty Redfield: unless you have more enterprises you want to talk about?
[17:42] Rusty Redfield: 4. If you could give advice to your earlier self in the first month that you spent in Second Life, what would you say?
[17:42] Khar (kharissa.indigo): Well DJ Wesley  and I might be starting up a friday night thing once a month but we'll see
[17:42] Rusty Redfield: aha! Well, I'll spread the word when you do
[17:42] Khar (kharissa.indigo): ok
[17:43] Khar (kharissa.indigo): now on to your next question
[17:43] Rusty Redfield: yes, sorry, I tend to be a bit scattered LOL
[17:45] Khar (kharissa.indigo): well I think the first thing I would tell myself is to not go with my usual trust people until they break that trust....In sl everything is so different and you can see people's faces or always hear their voices so you have to be more cautious
[17:45] Khar (kharissa.indigo): oh typo you can't see their faces is what I meant to say
[17:46] Rusty Redfield: Oh, I hear you on that one.  I'm the same, trust people until they break the trust, but -- I have lots of scars
[17:46] Khar (kharissa.indigo): as do I
[17:46] Khar (kharissa.indigo): but we live and learn
[17:46] Rusty Redfield: yes.  well, I gather I have lots of newbie readers so -- listen up, this lady knows what she's talking about!! LOL
[17:47] Khar (kharissa.indigo): I would also tell myself to explore more
[17:47] Rusty Redfield: oh yes.  I agree there.  Other than learning how to get dressed, I see so many newbies just doing the big three -- dancing, shopping, fucking
[17:47] Khar (kharissa.indigo): after Pride this year Larz and I made a deal to spend more time going different places SL has so much more to offer
[17:48] Rusty Redfield: and I had a similar epiphany -- when I started blogging.  I had to actually find interesting places and people to bring to my readers!
[17:48] Khar (kharissa.indigo): well I can't say I don't like all 3 of those but life is so much more then that
[17:48] Rusty Redfield: there are thousands of people here designing and creating things for other people, it seems a shame not to experience as much as you can
[17:49] Khar (kharissa.indigo): the destination guide  can be a great  place to start
[17:50] Rusty Redfield: yes! And bloggers work hard at finding stuff too -- I'm not great at destinations but if you find a good blogger stick with him/her
[17:50] Khar (kharissa.indigo): agreed
[17:50] Rusty Redfield: Eddi Haskell for instance
[17:50] Khar (kharissa.indigo): I love bloggers
[17:50] Rusty Redfield: anyway! almost done ... two more questions
[17:50] Rusty Redfield: 5. What do you like most about the way that your avatar looks?
[17:51] Khar (kharissa.indigo): well most of it but then I took a long time to look this way ...I didn't just buy buy buy ...the shape is the one I had in rl when I was 24
[17:51] Rusty Redfield: whoa!
[17:52] Rusty Redfield: um, I'm gay and you are enough to turn me into a lesbian! ROFLMAO
[17:52] Khar (kharissa.indigo): I love the skin because of it's coloring I  have olive colored skin in rl
[17:53] Rusty Redfield: yes, it's a chance to try out other -- ways of looking
[17:53] Khar (kharissa.indigo): and the red haor well what can I say if I pop my own color by 2  this is what you get
[17:53] Khar (kharissa.indigo): hair*
[17:53] Rusty Redfield: <grin> that's so good, I also try to look like myself but "more so"
[17:53] Khar (kharissa.indigo): well here we always fit in our clothes:)
[17:53] Khar (kharissa.indigo): can't beat that
[17:54] Rusty Redfield: <laughing> very true! no zits, no eye bags, got to love that!
[17:54] Khar (kharissa.indigo): sure do always have a good morning in SL
[17:54] Rusty Redfield: yeah, no matter what -- or who -- you did the night before
[17:54] Khar (kharissa.indigo): exactly
[17:54] Rusty Redfield: last question ...
[17:54] Rusty Redfield: 6. What’s your favourite place to spend time in Second Life?
[17:55] Rusty Redfield: (this is my sneaky way of getting recommendations on fun things to do LOL)
[17:57] Khar (kharissa.indigo): honestly I enjoy staying on my sim more then any where else ..We have put so much into it and even built the house from first to last prim and I love it.......but the places I do go to every week are...Mawl at 3bears on Mondays......sometimes I go see Zann on tuesdays at Blu....Wednesdays I see Shep if he's playing...thursdays is Cock on the dock....Sunday I go to Cocktails
[17:58] Rusty Redfield: LOL I'm scribbling madly here in RL -- thanks, good hints! (Readers, Khar knows a LOT of hot guys)
[17:59] Khar (kharissa.indigo): LOL and most of them are gay
[18:00] Rusty Redfield: that's all my questions, but I try to offer at this point a chance to say anything you want -- philosophy, advice, anything you want.  Is there anything I should have asked you about?
[18:04] Khar (kharissa.indigo): well I think your question do tend to cover most things and I thank you for asking....What I would like to say to your readers is....You came here to have fun and try something different ....maybe do some exploring or just exploring yourself....remember that when the times get tough or drama rears it's ugly head and go back to's not hard to do .....there are real people behind the avatars and the computers...treat them how you would like to be treated ...which is not necessarily how you treat yourself.....and last but not least...don't forget to turn off your computer and go for a walk in the real world
[18:06] Rusty Redfield: Thank you! Thanks for your time -- it was great to actually sit down with you and I hope my readers will take your advice to heart, you've been here a long time and I think everyone respects your community service
[18:06] Khar (kharissa.indigo): Thank you again for asking me and it has been my utmost pleasure to serve the community
[18:07] Rusty Redfield: we'll look forward to seeing you in person at Pride next year!
[18:07] Khar (kharissa.indigo): hehehe I"M sure it's going to fun

[18:07] Rusty Redfield: so --I think that's it ... where's the darn stop button on this *click*

**Later that same night: I'm having trouble finding the Sophie's Choice store on the grid, but I want to get this post up, so I'll add it later ...  (added it!)

Thanks, Khar!! Great to talk to you and I'll see you soon!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

045: Cupid (Cupidity Resident) sits on my deck

I was at a hot new club the other night, The Vault -- my post about it is here, and here's a SLURL if you're not doing anything next Monday 7-9 SLT. I thought their idea of barring gestures was such a good one that I had to find out more about the people who came up with it, so I asked DJ Cupid for an interview and he said yes.  Here's the result!

By the way, I figured if I was going to interview people on my deck I'd better get some decent furniture with some decent poses -- this is the result. Still testing it out, but so far so good.

[21:05] Rusty Redfield: *click*
[21:05] Rusty Redfield: Okay! I'm here with Cupid -- Cupidity Resident, right? -- who has kindly agreed to sit on my deck and be interviewed, thanks Cupid
[21:05] Cupid (cupidity): My pleasure, Rusty
[21:06] Rusty Redfield: We found out the other night that we're both from British Columbia, in Canada -- but about four hours' drive apart, this is a big country here! LOL
[21:07] Cupid (cupidity): LOL It's a small world sometimes. I meet people from Canada all the time, but rarely my corner of it.
[21:07] Rusty Redfield: Nobody from my rural corner, that's for sure!
[21:07] Rusty Redfield: Anyway -- if I may get teh ball rolling ...
[21:07] Rusty Redfield: 1. Why do you stay in Second Life?  What keeps you here?
[21:09] Cupid (cupidity): The people keep me here, mainly. To be honest, I came from another social media platform called Red Light Center. From there, a group of my closest friends decided to check out Second Life, We never looked back. I have met many people since then and have grown my social circle. I like SL and all it has to offer, but it doesn't mean much if you don't have connections and the ability to make new ones.
[21:09] Rusty Redfield: I've heard of Red Light, never been there -- it's all about the sex, right?
[21:11] Cupid (cupidity): It can be it you choose to take it there, which a lot of people do and I certainly did, but just like here, having sex all the time gets old. In the end, it's about friends and true connections to people.
[21:11] Rusty Redfield: I couldn't agree more
[21:11] Rusty Redfield: and that's actually a brilliant segue to question 2 LOL
[21:11] Rusty Redfield: 2. What are the qualities that attract you to people in Second Life?
[21:13] Cupid (cupidity): The main qualities I guess would be different for everyone, but for me one of the best qualities people I like to hang out with to have is the commitment to have fun and staying positive. We all know that drama happens and sometimes it's necessary and unavoidable, but I gravitate towards people who accept who they are, acknowledge their mistakes, and move on quickly.
[21:14] Rusty Redfield: I really like the way you put that
[21:14] Rusty Redfield: Yes, drama occasionally happens ... let's get it over with and put it behind us
[21:15] Cupid (cupidity): Absolutely. Honestly, and kind of bluntly, if you're not having fun here, then you're doing something wrong. And that onus is on you.
[21:15] Rusty Redfield: yep
[21:15] Rusty Redfield: I don't hang out with people who aren't happy unless they aren't happy
[21:16] Rusty Redfield: Well, now question 3 is where I give you the opportunity to do some promotion LOL -- go ahead, toot your horn, everybody does and it's why I set up these interviews
[21:16] Rusty Redfield: 3. What are you working on, as a form of artistic expression or in order to earn money, or both?
[21:19] Cupid (cupidity): There's both a public and a private artistic expression for me. My public expression is as a DJ. People hear my voice and my choice in music, which can be deeply personal. I truly feel that people's taste in music reflect a lot about their personalities. Granted, there a lot of songs that I love that I would never DJ, but all the ones I do I genuinely love. Maybe not all the requests, but the ones I put in my playlist I've screened, listened to, and personally enjoyed.
[21:19] Rusty Redfield: I know you DJ at the Vault, that's where we met -- I blogged about it a few days ago. Are you DJing anywhere else?
[21:20] Rusty Redfield: LOL I just got this new furniture -- I see you're having fun with it!! LOL
[21:21] Cupid (cupidity): LOL :) Yeah. I guess I can't sit still for long. I like trying out different positions on furniture.. and I guess you can interpret that anyway you want:)
[21:21] Rusty Redfield: ROFL
[21:21] Rusty Redfield: THAT's what keeps us in SL
[21:22] Rusty Redfield: I want to hear more about the Vault -- I'm wondering where the idea came from to not allow gestures, which I think is a fantastic idea
[21:25] Cupid (cupidity): The other owners, Miss Peaches and Russ Callahan, and I have been talking about it since before SL. Peaches taught me how to DJ and we both helped Russ out when he was interested. It's been a dream of ours to just open a club where we could hang out with our friends. A place where people can go when they just want to talk and hang out, where there happens to be music playing. We looked and had trouble finding anything else in SL with that same philosophy. I'm sure there are some. SL is a big place, but all the places we knew of had sploders and contests and those trivia balls
[21:25] Cupid (cupidity): We put a lot of thought into that and debated whether we wanted any of that
[21:26] Cupid (cupidity): Then we got to talking about what pissed us off most in a club. In the end, it game down to gesture
[21:26] Rusty Redfield: I admit to a certain fondness for trivia balls, but what I really like -- and what I come here to do -- is talk to other people
[21:26] Rusty Redfield: and you KNOW how I feel about gestures ROFL
[21:27] Rusty Redfield: so I think you guys are definitely on the right track and I hope people find out about it, because I think they'll agree with us
[21:27] Cupid (cupidity): LOL. We totally get it. I don't mind the trivia ball either, but if we do decide to play a game, we have actually just do it ourselves. Peaches is great at that actually.
[21:28] Rusty Redfield: Well, I think it's fantastic and I hope you expand to more nights than Monday.
[21:28] Rusty Redfield: Okay -- on to #4 ...
[21:28] Rusty Redfield: 4. If you could give advice to your earlier self in the first month that you spent in Second Life, what would you say?
[21:28] Cupid (cupidity): Let me just say this about gestures first, we understand that some people use them as communication and forms of expression, but... not us. We want to hear real words that people took the means to type than premade jabber.
[21:29] Rusty Redfield: absolutely!!
[21:29] Rusty Redfield: and, readers, here's a hint -- if you want to talk with someone, telling them they look good is a nice way to break the ice
[21:29] Cupid (cupidity): Flattery never hurts. Ever.
[21:29] Rusty Redfield: there isn't an av on the grid who can resist answering "Who made your hair?" ROFL
[21:30] Cupid (cupidity): LOL People tend to be fond of their shoes as well
[21:30] Rusty Redfield: I know!!
[21:30] Cupid (cupidity): Hee hee :)
[21:30] Rusty Redfield: <grin>
[21:30] Rusty Redfield: I like yours BTW ROFL
[21:30] Rusty Redfield: old fashioned shitkickers
[21:30] Cupid (cupidity): Aww.. you are a peach. I love your hair!
[21:31] Rusty Redfield: LOL just developed a receding hairline
[21:31] Rusty Redfield: anyway -- sorry, mutual admiration society for a minute there ROFL --
[21:31] Rusty Redfield: 4. If you could give advice to your earlier self in the first month that you spent in Second Life, what would you say?
[21:32] Cupid (cupidity): I would probably say take your time, don't spend money on anything unless you absolutely love it as first sight, and for god's sake organize your damn inventory as you buy stuff.
[21:32] Rusty Redfield: hah!! perfect!!
[21:32] Rusty Redfield: yeah, I can't tell you how much money I wasted in my first six months
[21:33] Rusty Redfield: and this is something nobody has said so far -- so my newbie readers thank you!
[21:33] Rusty Redfield: almost done
[21:33] Rusty Redfield: 5. What do you like most about the way that your avatar looks?
[21:35] Cupid (cupidity): To be honest, he's 100% custom made and tailored to fit what I think is attractive. He's not a cookie cutter and I needed that most of all. I change the look up now and then but not the skin itself.
[21:35] Cupid (cupidity): I think everyone should model their avatar after what they think is attractive, not what they think SHOULD be attractive
[21:36] Rusty Redfield: I think you're wise, when you find something that suits you, keep it
[21:36] Rusty Redfield: <grin> very true.  I tell people that perfection is the base state here -- it's the easy way out.  Looking imperfect is way more difficult and attractive.
[21:37] Rusty Redfield: and looking like an individual is the hardest thing of all.
[21:37] Cupid (cupidity): Agreed, plus you can't please everyone, so having an avatar your like and are proud of at least pleases you, which is kinda the main goal.
[21:37] Rusty Redfield: exactly
[21:37] Rusty Redfield: very true, you can't please everyone.
[21:38] Rusty Redfield: okay one last question
[21:38] Cupid (cupidity): Shoot :)
[21:38] Rusty Redfield: I added this one because I wanted suggestions on cool places to go! LOL
[21:38] Rusty Redfield: 6. What’s your favourite place to spend time in Second Life?
[21:39] Cupid (cupidity): It's not necessarily a where, but a with who. Russ and Peaches both brought this point up and I agree, in that we don't care if we don't get numbers into the Vault, so long as we're having a good time and everyone shows up does as well.
[21:40] Rusty Redfield: there you go.  So it's where your friends are?
[21:40] Cupid (cupidity): I could be sandbox with anyone, and have fun. It's all about the people you hang with
[21:40] Rusty Redfield: yep yep
[21:40] Rusty Redfield: there's tons of great things to do here but it's much more fun doing them with someone you like spending time with
[21:41] Cupid (cupidity): But I like to mix the activities up as well. Sometimes I want to dance, sometimes I want to play Greedy or other games. But none of that makes a difference if you're not hanging out with people you trust and care about
[21:41] Rusty Redfield: we're at the end -- but I always offer a chance for people to say anything they want.  Maybe philosophy of Second Life, or advice to newbies, or ... whatever.  Anything I forgot to ask but should have?
[21:44] Cupid (cupidity): We covered a lot of ground. I would just say that this is your second life, not your first. This is a place where we could have anything, do anything, and meet anyone. There are so much possibilities here, so... explore them. Create them. Find what works for you and doesn't. Fine people you connect with and keep them. And never rely on anyone else for your own fun. That's your own responsibility. All we can do is share it with others.
[21:44] Rusty Redfield: Very well put!! Thanks so much for your time Cupid -- I know we'll see each other again.
[21:44] Cupid (cupidity): I hope so, It's been a pleasure :)
[21:45] Cupid (cupidity): Thank you, Rusty
[21:45] Rusty Redfield: I'll just shut off the recorder *click*

Friday, 25 July 2014

044: The Erotic Engine (Sexytimes in Second Life)

Title: The Erotic Engine: How Pornography Has Powered Mass Communication, from Gutenberg to Google
Author: Patchen Barss
Publisher: University of Queensland Press, 2010
ISBN: 070223866X, 9780702238666
Length: 310 pages

A book with an interesting idea at its core, which I missed the first time around, but found a reference to in another article -- and found a copy in the library.

The author's primary thesis is that the desire to communicate sexual ideas and material increases the speed of introduction of new communication technologies. I could agree with that, if he'd expressed it that way; unfortunately Patchen Barss likes to add a moral dimension and choose loaded words like "pornography" to describe sexual materials and activities of which he doesn't approve, as opposed to "erotica", of which he does approve. Nevertheless, he has done some interesting research and talked to people who are far more interesting than he apparently finds them, since he squeezes their observations into the slender boundaries of his viewpoint. I constantly wanted him to get out of the way and let them talk about the topic, but he didn't.

And, yes, there is a chapter on Second Life and references to it throughout the book. I note that this book was published in 2010, so that means his limited experience of SL took place perhaps in 2008 or 2009; that explains why his experience of SL is perhaps so limited. I think what it boils down to is that he just doesn't understand Second Life or why people would want to have sex there, although he gives it a valiant try. His key informant is one Chaz Longstaff, who designs sex mats and things like elevators, but apparently Barss didn't find anyone with whom to have sex. Which, frankly, in Second Life is ... difficult. Barss must not have been trying very hard, I suspect, or found the whole thing icky. It's difficult to write a book about virtual sex and/or teledildonics if you can't bring yourself to have sex and report about it -- the most erotic thing in the book is a snippet of text-only sex harvested from a long-ago MUD. I'd say he was a pussy, but there's none of that in the book either.

This book, in fact, reads like a Time magazine article that's meant to convince elderly people that, yes, things are just the same as when they were kids, and, by cracky, all the crazy hijinks that these youngsters get up to are just the same as whatever dimly-remembered hijinks from 60 years ago might come to mind, it's just that they use this darn technology stuff. I rather thought he didn't really understand most of the technology about which he was writing, or he didn't manage to communicate anything about it in a way that made me believe he grasped it; this is pretty bad for a science writer. I understood what he was getting at because I've read about it before, and experienced quite a bit of it, but the average Time reader wouldn't get it at all.

All things considered, there is not much here that the average sexually-active resident of Second Life hasn't already grasped, and there is quite a bit missing due to the time gap that it would have been interesting to try to fit into the core thesis -- like Grindr, for instance. The principal theme is that "Pornographers are early adopters", and there's chapter after chapter showing that when people want to sell sex in new and exciting ways, they create new technologies and then non-sexual sales fill up the bandwidth. In SL terms, what this seems to indicate is that providing ways and means for people to have sexual experiences in Second Life is a primary economic engine that powers SL and keeps it thriving; I am pretty sure this is the case. Sexuality seems to underlie everything in Second Life that isn't purely connected with women's fashion, and the blurred line between the two means to me that, yeah, it's pretty much all about sex.

What this book left me with was a desire to convene a discussion group with some of Barss's key informants (but leaving out the pusillanimous Mr. Barss himself, since he can't bring himself to talk about virtual sex or have it) about what technological advances are likely to be possible in the recently-announced upgrade to Second Life -- what I'm calling Second Second Life (SSL).

For instance, I'd like someone to re-think the whole manner in which virtual penises penetrate virtual bodies; pretty much I want them to disappear "inside" the other body rather than poke through awkwardly. I'd like it to be much, much easier to create whatever SSL will use instead of pose balls, and animation sequences, and ways of embedding them in objects and being able to use them in places where you can't rez things. I'd like to be able to experience a lot more foreplay rather than moving directly into penetration. But I suspect that I have somehow limited my own viewpoint by casting things in terms of how they work in the current version of SL, and that whatever comes together in SSL will astound -- and possibly delight -- me and my partners.

What shall my readers want to see from Second Second Life in terms of how we have sex? Your comments are welcome, and since I have the adults-only boundary firmly and annoyingly set in place to restrict access to this blog, go ahead, use your grown-up words. Your comments will only be moderated in terms of spam.

PS: None of the images displayed here is my own; I harvested them from a few trillion pictures I found when I typed "Second Life sex" into Google Image.

Monday, 21 July 2014

043: The Vault -- a dance club with a major difference!

It's always fun to go out and spend an hour dancing -- or, rather, listening to some good music while my av dances and I occupy my time in other ways. Obviously if any friends are there, we catch up and chat; if interesting strangers are there, sometimes we get to know each other. Or if all else fails, I'll listen to music and sort inventory. Yes -- it's true. Sometimes when you see me in a club blissfully dancing away, and I am slow to respond to your IM, it's not because I'm discussing philosophy or sex with a handsome stranger. It's because I'm trying to sort brown and black boots into folders complete with the right alpha. Ah, the giddy madcap lifestyle suits me so well. ;-)

The one thing I do NOT do, though, is listen to the public channel at a dance club. Because (a) it drives me crazy, scrolling by so fast, and (b) there is only rarely any content. Between audio gestures ("HOOOOOO LALALALALA I love this TUNE!!!") and visual gestures like words that your chat window has to be set to about 1/3 of your screen real estate to read -- usually banal words like WHOO -- there's nothing going on, and in a very distracting and annoying way too. I call it "lowest common denominator" communication, and I've always wished that there was more of a focus on actual comments in the public channel. People feel more at home when someone actually speaks to them in complete English sentences that are easy to answer -- "Nice night, isn't it?" is easier to respond to than an audio clip from an old movie -- and I've often wondered why more clubs don't make an effort in this direction.

 Which is why I was so pleased to find The Vault (click for SLURL) while I was out and about this evening. It's a nice little skybox, nothing huge, on an intimate scale. The music I heard tonight, from DJ Cupid (Cupidity Resident), was eclectic and fun. Russ Callahan was the host (Russellcallahan Resident), and I'm told that DJ Peaches (Apples Adamski) was unable to attend tonight due to RL issues but provides an equally kicking set when she's in charge of music. Those are the three principals, and then the place had a nice number of handsome strangers.

AND -- no gestures. Policy of the house. They want to promote conversation and people actually relating to each other. How that works out in actuality is a kind of running cocktail-party level chatter with people joking and making puns and teasing each other and, you know what, it's actually a lot of fun. Mind you, that's possibly because I like that kind of wordplay, but I think lots of people do. Anyway, the lack of gestures in the public channel is really refreshing and pleasant, and I actually talked to handsome strangers. I'm Canadian -- we tend not to talk to strangers until we've been introduced, much though we'd like to sometimes. So anything that breaks the ice is much appreciated; makes it easier to meet people.

Right now they only have an event once a week, Mondays from 7 to 9 SLT (both times I've been, the DJ just kept going at 9, although no guarantees). There is no contest board, no sploders, and I never missed either of them for a second. But the idea that there's no gestures was so pleasant and refreshing that I'm sure to be back.  In the meantime, I'll show you some pictures of the nice-looking guys who were there to tempt you into joining me next Monday.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

042: Normcore -- yes and no (mostly no)

Normcore first came to my attention as a fashion meme a while back. It's hard to pin down exactly what people mean by it; opinions vary. Some people suggest that if you're dressing normcore, you look like a tourist in your own city; weirdly mismatched clothes, kind of like all that's left clean in your suitcase at the end of a two-week vacation, comfortable athletic shoes and a kind of "I chose these clothes and I don't care" vibe. But then there's people who insist that the selection of the clothes themselves is what's important, and point to Jerry Seinfeld's "dad jeans" and bland oversized button-downs as being the optimal normcore choice for either sex; a kind of deliberate removal of any fashion vibe from your outfit. Some people think of it merely as "anti-fashion" and their idea seems to be that you buy ugly utilitarian clothes, like white nursing clogs and off-brand knock-off meshback baseball hats, and make them into outfits with bland ordinary clothes like cheap white T-shirts and inexpensive jeans and K-Mart fleece hoodies.

I gather that this trend started in Manhattan, where hipster kids decided to mock the tourists who invaded their trendy neighbourhoods -- by buying poorly-fitted jeans and ghastly oversized T-shirts from faraway unhip touristy destinations, and laughing with each other over $9 Americanos about how charmingly horrible they looked. I expect this would have died out quickly as being a waste of money, if nothing else, except that New York Magazine got hold of it and did an article. Unfortunately I think what happened is that the columnist conflated two things. One was the mocking hipster kids, and the other was something that happens to all of us; being seen in clothes that don't necessarily express your personality but utilitarian necessity. Sometimes you just need to run down to the store for a loaf of bread without checking to make sure that you're wearing the right number of rubber bracelets and that the sleeves of your Armani jacket are zhoozhed up enough to show them. And that's when the Patagonia fleece that your cousin gave you two Christmases ago comes out of the closet because it's handy and raining. Dog-walking clothes; heavy jeans with big functional pockets, off-brand black sneakers that you bought for $6.79 in a factory outlet store because when they get dogshit on them, you toss them. Or, as Bette Davis said in Cabin in the Cotton, "Oh, this old thing? Why, I only wear this when I don't care what people think of me." The columnist took the hipsters and the utilitarian dog-walkers and put them together and normcore had a name and a presence. And a philosophy that immediately broke into a dozen schisms.

When I first got interested in normcore, I went looking for it in Second Life on Marketplace. And the most interesting thing I found, the thing that fascinated me immediately, is that there is nothing.  N-O-T-H-I-N-G. As of 7 AM SLT on July 20, 2014, not a single item on Marketplace has a description containing the word "normcore". Now, I just thought that was pretty amazing. I mean, this is Second Life, dedicated to the proposition that there is no nuance of clothing, hair, makeup, shoes, shape, and skin that is too tiny and subtle to put into the fatpack. You can dress like a football player or an ancient Roman matron or a large-breasted German shepherd, but most especially you can dress like any page from the most recent issue of American Vogue if you know where to shop. (I once bought a gorgeously textured and painstakingly accurate SL reproduction of a Jean-Paul Gaultier puffy about three months after it had been seen on the runway, and it was marked down; I guess the cool kids were on to other seasons.) If you Google "Second Life + normcore", you get this clever and funny blog post and a few other people talking about it, and that's it. The blogger walks you through the main schisms complete with hashtags like #seinfeldcore, and all in all I don't think she is seriously suggesting that anyone in SL actually try to dress normcore. In an environment like SL, that is a bubbling cauldron of fashion innovation far beyond the abilities of mere humans, no one is trying to sell me normcore. And that's really interesting.

I'm open to discussion, but I presently suspect that the very fact that SL is a bubbling cauldron of fashion innovation is what makes it anti-normcore. Part of it is a kind of retailer's paranoia that says, "OMG, if we encourage them to wear ordinary clothes, they'll never buy anything new again!" Well, no. Perhaps in RL, although mostly what brings that situation on is advancing middle age, but not in SL. SL is where people go to find out not only what they might look like in a copy of that MiuMiu day dress but to pay the financial equivalent of the cost of a stick of chewing gum to have the experience. There is a financial impetus to bring the copy of the MiuMiu to the SL retail level, whereas no one is exactly clamouring for a digital knock-off of a pair of grey Kmart sweat pants. And when you add in that, really, there is no such thing in SL as running down for a loaf of bread, and you can change your outfit to be perfect by clicking a button, and that rain, snow, and dogshit will never impact your clothing choices -- normcore is never going to catch on in Second Life unless it's a three-week thing and then on to the next. There's no physical reason for it to do so and it's much more fun to make your av sexy and attractive than dull and ordinary.

There is one positive thing I took away from all this. A lot of the philosophy that surrounds normcore is hard to follow and some of it is quite contradictory. (Again, I think it's about the split between the mocking hipsters and the functional dog-walkers.) One piece of the philosophy I did find sensible and useful, though. In RL, if you're out and about in a $14,000 couture white leather jacket by Proenza Schouler, it's unlikely that you'll agree to take part in an impromptu game of touch football. RL high fashion can set you apart from "ordinary people" if only for the reason that you can't run in heels, and in general by embracing high fashion you rule out ... well, you can't participate in things around you as readily. This is something I see all the time in Second Life; we're surrounded by fascinating artworks and technical achievements that would be impossible in RL, and we can't spare the time to visit them because we're too busy dancing, shopping, and fucking.

So here's the idea that I found to have a SL application:

Normcore was about dropping the pretense and learning to throw themselves into, without detachment, whatever subcultures or activities they stumbled into, even if they were mainstream. "You might not understand the rules of football, but you can still get a thrill from the roar of the crowd at the World Cup."

In RL, if you're dressed normcore, you can have fun doing something without worrying if you'll ruin your expensive jacket. In SL, that's not an issue -- but our detachment can frequently keep us from enjoying fascinating things and people around us. If dressing normcore in RL helps people drop the pretense in SL, I'm for it. But just considering normcore as a philosophy has helped me drop my own detachment and do more fun things in SL, and I recommend that approach to you.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

041: The perfect male avatar?

I've referred my readers to Iris Ophelia's point of view before in this blog. She's a well-known and hugely experienced commentator on both Second Life and other virtual realities.  A piece she published yesterday is highly complimentary of the photographic work of Second Life artist Nomak Nyoki whose Flickr feed is found here; I've lifted his beautiful photograph that you see to my left from her post, to encourage you to see his Flickr for yourself. She says he's quite a stylist and I completely agree.  He really uses props very cleverly to contribute to the atmosphere of his pictures, the lighting is great, whatever Photoshopping there is (I'm terrible at noticing whether or not there's been Photoshopping in a picture, but this looks so darn complete, I think it has to have been touched up) contributes to rather than detracts from the emotions he's evoking with the pictures, and I agree with Iris Ophelia that he's "a force to be reckoned with in the world of men's fashion in SL", although I think I would differ with her about just how much and in what way.

It was the title of the piece that caught my attention, though. "The Perfect Male Avatar Might Not Look exactly Like Nomak Nyori, but it's Probably Very Close". Iris Ophelia suggests that if you wanted to do "a head-to-toe male av makeover" his Flickr stream should be "your number one source of inspiration".

I think the first thing that crossed my mind was exasperation. Frankly, if I met the above young man in real life, I wouldn't be applauding his perfection; my first instinct would be to take him out and get him a sandwich; next would be the number of a good personal trainer. And that's because my tastes run to guys who have spent more years in the gym than this guy would have been alive, had he existed outside SL. I'm definitely aware that there are gay men in SL who would regard this ephebic type as the nearly perfect av of Iris Ophelia's dreams; I tend to not hang around with them and my sense is that they don't make up the majority. When I see an av that looks like this in my usual hangouts, he's usually trying to trip me and hit the ground under me, if you catch my drift. I don't really want to have sex with him and I absolutely don't want to look like him. (Nothing wrong with being a slender bottom; just not to my taste.)

So it's clear that when Iris Ophelia says this guy is nearly perfect, what she means is, "from a heterosexual female point of view". To the best of my knowledge, Iris Ophelia is a heterosexual female and she gets to express that point of view. Gay men of my acquaintance would probably disagree, but that's not the reader for whom she's writing.

What it makes me think, though, is two things.

The first is that -- well, what I thought of was an old Simpsons episode in which Lisa is reading a thinly-disguised version of "Tiger Beat", with floppy-haired adolescent singing stars on the cover talking about what qualities they liked in the girls that they dated. Lisa Simpson's magazine, though, was called "Non-Threatening Boys". And that's what I see all over Nomak Nyoki's Flickr stream; non-threatening boys. Wide-eyed waifs like the one above, complete with purse dog. Epicene fashion model boys. Boys with edgy tattoos styled to look "street", but with precise and precious hair and accessories that suggest to me that if street violence was imminent, we'd hear a high wailing noise as the owner of those high-tech headphones headed for the hills. What it all boils down to is One Direction with a couple of extra tattoo layers.

Now, I'm trying to be funny about it; really, there's nothing wrong with liking non-threatening boys. It's just that, in the context, it's kind of like going into World of Warcraft and complaining that it's too violent. In the realm of men's fashion and accessories, Second Life is beautifully focused upon making male avs who look like muscular street thugs, and I see it everywhere I go. In fact, the more I hang around in non-gay spaces, the more I see it. Guys in SL, straight and gay, like to be eight feet tall slabs of rippling muscle, with long unruly hair and biceps that could crush a beer can. Or, as Iris Ophelia's only commenter (at this point), one Pussycat Catnap, says, "the usual T-Rex arms I see on male avatars". Which the lack of, in her view, boosts him "10 notches on the respect dial"; apparently her arm candy shouldn't have, you know, actual arms.

So, there's a serious dichotomy here. Guys gravitate towards looking a certain way in SL, and women apparently want them to be -- exactly the opposite. They don't want a man who looks strong enough to change a tire, they want a guy who carries a shoulder bag and a Boston terrier. Trouble is, there are tons of stores where you can buy rolled-up T-shirts (and the requisite biceps to go inside them), and not all that many malls filled with designer beanies and bucket hats. Men are voting with their wallets to look like what they want to look like and, believe me, it is very, very rarely that a man's consideration of personal appearance include how well his tuxedo's boutonniere will match his girlfriend's evening gowns or toe polish. Ain't gonna happen.

If Nomak Nyoki gives styling information for the stores where he got that antique flight jacket or filigree necklace or hair with the tire tracks shaved into the sides, I'm thinking that those stores are not selling a lot of stuff to male avs. They're possibly selling more to female avs who give this stuff to their male associates, hoping that they'll upgrade their look instead of wearing the same outfit over and over and over. I have to chuckle, because I think many straight guys think that the ability to wear the same outfit over and over is a benefit; they don't like shopping and once they have a look they like, there's no need to tamper with it, is there?  So that's why Nyoki is a fashion force to be reckoned with; I think he's selling lots of stuff to women to give to men, or to audibly wish that men would buy and wear. But Iris Ophelia uses the phrase "head-to-toe male av makeover". I suspect that the reaction would be a lot different if men were asking women to have head-to-toe makeovers to please them, starting with those big fake boobies and hooker heels I see at a lot of parties.

My feeling is that if women in SL are looking for non-threatening boys to take to social events, what they should do is collude in pairs, create a slender, well-dressed, and non-threatening male alt and take turns being the other's male escort. Which is a weird idea, if you come to think of it, that the only way a woman can get a man to act and look like what she wants is if she gets a girlfriend to dress up like one. Is it that what women are really looking for, is another woman with a convenient penis? That is a discussion I cannot even undertake, being woefully philosophically unequipped; I'll defer to any woman's interpretation. But it's interesting to think about from the point of view of a gay man.

The second point is more tenuous. When Iris Ophelia tells me that I need "a head-to-toe male av makeover" so that I can look like a gaunt, twee, and overly-tattooed teenager -- with the understanding that straight women will "boost me 10 notches on the respect dial" if I do so -- well, I can chuckle and move on; I don't really give a shit what Pussycat Catnap thinks of the size of my arms. But I think what's going on here is complicated. What I'm hearing is the subtext that female heterosexuality is the dominant paradigm in Second Life, and if you don't meet straight women's expectations of your looks and sexuality, then you need to change until you do.

Which is, of course, what straight and gay women have been putting up with for years, I gather, and in real life is responsible for a thriving breast implant industry, billions of dollars worth of cosmetics and dyes, and the Jimmy Choo empire. The thing is, though, that Iris Ophelia is a thought leader among men and women who want to see virtual realities change to be more accepting of women on their own terms. She likes to play various violence-based RPG-style games on an equal basis, and, to paraphrase, she wants to be the player who rescues the helpless male just as often as she is rescued by him, no fear no favour. And I applaud that; I think all games should be welcoming to all people, no fear no favour. She also wants women to be treated with respect within the game environment and in the spheres of comment and analysis that surround it; again, I'm with her. She's an insightful analyst of games and her voice should be heard equally and without sexist cat-calling. She wants equality, but this kind of article is telling me that she doesn't return it; she can be herself, and I need a makeover.

The tenuous point for me here is that there seems to be a vague underlying assumption here that SL is somehow a "women's game", and that what women say goes; male avatars are subject to the female gaze, and if they don't meet expectations, then they've somehow transgressed and need to be "made over" -- and, as near as I can tell by the visual differences between my av and Nomak Nyokim's, emasculated. I have to admit, I might be reading too much into a couple of paragraphs of commentary; it could be that Iris Ophelia merely wanted people to look at some interesting photographs and chose her story hook poorly. It's been known to happen. But it's often when we are careless and unguarded that we express our inner truths.

I think it's clear that SL has a higher percentage of female players than RL, and I think that the economy of SL is based on women buying virtual hair and clothes. I think that because there is no violence in SL, and more of a focus on creating an attractive avatar, it has some perception in the non-gaming world as being a "women's game" in the same way that World of Warcraft is perceived as a "men's game". But I know that Iris Ophelia will tell you that World of Warcraft is not a men's game, because it's actually about the skill-sets of the players and the social interactions necessary to make things happen as much as it is killing monsters. Well, it works the other way around too; Second Life is not a women's game, because it's actually about the skill-sets of the players and the social interactions necessary to make things happen.  I'm not taking this point further than I think it deserves; I don't really think that a lot of people within Second Life think of it as a men's game or a women's game. I don't like what she said, and I don't like what it implies, but I don't want to beat it to death when it may have been less than fully thoughtful.

So at the end of this trail of logic, I'll leave it to my readers. I was going to ask for input about what makes an avatar "perfect", but truly I think that has almost nothing to do with what the avatar looks like and everything to do with the human behind the process. And in that respect -- we're all perfect.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

040: Walking around ... 3Bears Resort

The idea that I can just go somewhere in Second Life and walk around and take pictures and think about what I'm seeing is not revolutionary. It's not even very organized, frankly. I envy my fellow SL bloggers with more experience; somehow they seem to be more organized than I am. The "walking around" method is what I'm stuck with, so I thought I'd see if I could learn how to do it better by -- doing it. I think it's a good way to find things in SL landscapes, or to experience it in a way that it was probably designed for, rather than being told what to think in advance. So to inaugurate my "Walking around ..." series, I thought I'd start close to home.

My home is on a group of sims called 3Bears Resort (Terra Ursa Major), run by a group of hunky gay men. The 3Bears themselves are Galileo Michalski, Duir Mayne, and Stefan Box, and although I don't know all the details, I know my friend and neighbour Joseph Nussbaum arranges things to do with art exhibitions. 3Bears is focused on being a place for gay bears: there's places to live, shop, relax, a nice beach, a couple of nice residential neighbourhoods. It was recommended to me maybe 18 months ago as being a nice place to live; I came and looked around and, by golly, it was. I found a nice lot with a little waterfront and I've been there ever since. (I'm not sure I should have to mention this, but what the heck -- they're not paying me to say any of this. No one ever has, and I don't expect anyone ever will; if they do, I'll say so.)

The thing that really appealed to me about 3Bears was that the guys really have a big commitment to the arts, especially performance and visual arts. They have a very cool sculpture garden; as of what I could find this afternoon, they have two separate gallery spaces that are showing the work of three artists. Tomais Ashdene and Boris Twist are showing portraits of men, and Nikolai Warden is showing landscapes. There might even be more galleries, it's a big area.

The centrepiece of the public space is what's called the Lotus Dome, to the left. The scale is hard to judge, but I remember seeing at least a couple of large gatherings and parties in that space, it will definitely hold that sim-crashing 50 people. You could certainly do a large-scale concert there, or a big party, or a ceremony. Right now it has two smaller structures under the Dome, each displaying one of the portraitists I mentioned above.

The plaza with the circular design, in front of the Lotus Dome, leads to a nice gathering area and then a little grid of buildings; the ones that face the plaza on the other side include the other gallery space, currently showing Nikolai Warden's landscapes, and an interesting kind of gallery crossed with a meeting room, where you could attend a lecture and then have a look at the art on the walls more closely. To me this is not a commonplace kind of space in SL; people are fairly ready to offer you things to look at, to listen to, or to interact with, but they are strangely reluctant to offer you space where you can do what you want to do. I think offering this amenity shows a level of thought about what the SL community might want that is well above the others; part of the reason I like this place.

I have to warn you in advance, I didn't even manage to walk around 10% of what's there. There is so much more -- I've been to quite a bit of it already. I've seen the nude beach and the gym, and I've shopped in the stores (there's some useful stores if you happen to be a gay bear!). There have been some fun parties on the sim; I blogged about one a while back. There are various sizes of apartments available in the shopping district but, when I wandered a little further, I learned two things.

One is that there is a frickin' water-based monorail that I'd never experienced (it doesn't travel to my residential neighbourhood) -- it scared the hell out of me when it pulled up! The other is that within easy walking distance of the plaza, there are a couple of very attractive houses for rent dirt cheap. L$360 a week for 180 prims in a small house that you don't have to supply yourself is a really attractive solution for someone who doesn't want a big establishment, just a bachelor pad, a place to call Control-Shift-H. You know, a pose stand, some erotic art, a freebie sofa, and a bed that cost as much as it would to rent a sim for three months. (I'm kidding.) Actually I had a look at the empty one. It looked like an intelligently divided space that would let you have fun decorating the three interior rooms with your prim allowance, and the basic Cape Cod on pilings design will give you a design push if you're not decoratively inclined.

Overall, I think it's the way that I want to live in SL -- to be part of a community that has a space for public interaction where you would actually want to interact. I know of many, many residential sims that are lovely but fairly empty -- people TP in and out of their homes, and nobody walks around. 3Bears tries really hard to simultaneously support the artistic community, and give its residents a reason to leave their houses and go over to the "downtown" plaza and see what the gallery or the stores have that's new.

039: Best roller coaster ever!

After my interview with Jak Calcutt the other day, he introduced me to a great roller coaster -- I have to say, this is the best ride I've ever seen in SL. I haven't had the opportunity to ride a lot of them in RL so I have few experiences to compare ... I sure wish I could ride one this big in reality!

I wanted to tell you more about it but it's just kind of there, with no explanation; it's called the Cyclone, and it takes up an entire sim boundary on Soho New York. The owner is a resident named followmeimthe Piedpiper, and the associated company on Marketplace is Sweetbay Designs. Sweetbay sells things like railway stations and railways and houses; large architectural features. Interesting store.

But the roller coaster is wonderful! It's the kind of thing you have to see for yourself. Here's a SLURL.  Ride by yourself or take a friend or two (hint: try sitting in the second car and check out the gestures!). I had fun; you will too.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

038: Jak Calcutt sits on my deck

When I was running around looking at the Second Pride sim (my piece is here), I ran into Jak Calcutt, who designed it. He's kind of a neighbour; he and his partner Karl Kalchek (great DJ who plays at a number of clubs, including an excellent set this afternoon at Rumpus) live in a beautiful estate next door to my little log cabin. Well, I liked the Second Pride sim, said so, and we've been trying to get together for an interview ever since. Finally managed it this afternoon ...

[18:09] Rusty Redfield: *click* there we go.  Okay! I'm here with Jak Calcutt
[18:09] Rusty Redfield: who is actually my next door neighbour, but quite a distance away LOL
[18:10] Rusty Redfield: I ran into Jak at the recent Second Pride build, found out he did it and figured I'd get an interview!
[18:10] Rusty Redfield: Welcome Jak!!
[18:10] Jak Calcutt: Thanks, Rusty
[18:10] Jak Calcutt: good to be here..
[18:11] Rusty Redfield: my pleasure -- let me just set up my interview document
[18:11] Jak Calcutt: sure..
[18:12] Rusty Redfield: Perfect, thanks
[18:12] Rusty Redfield: okay, ready? Question one:
[18:12] Rusty Redfield: 1. Why do you stay in Second Life?  What keeps you here?
[18:13] Jak Calcutt: My love of building, and exploration of this amazing place. Meeting the interesting people I do, from all over the world....there are not many barriers to people you never would have met and shared expereiences with. ....and of course my partner in sl and rl Karl Kalchek......
[18:13] Rusty Redfield: that's rare here to be partnered in both worlds -- did you meet here?
[18:13] Rusty Redfield: sorry, I'm just that nosy guy LOL
[18:14] Jak Calcutt: We met here in SL and ultimately I moved to live with him in RL.
[18:14] Rusty Redfield: wow, amazing
[18:14] Jak Calcutt: yes it does happen.....
[18:14] Rusty Redfield: and that segues beautifully into question 2:
[18:14] Rusty Redfield: 2. What are the qualities that attract you to people in Second Life?
[18:15] Jak Calcutt: A willingness to talk and to listen, without any expectations from one another. I have friendships with some really great people and we may not speak for a few weeks but we can pick up where we left off, without feeling we are being neglected. A sense of humor, creativity and just knowing how to have fun.
[18:15] Rusty Redfield: <grin> I hear you. It's hard to believe that people come here to not have fun
[18:16] Jak Calcutt: Yes ..... it is such a fun place...
[18:16] Jak Calcutt: how can you not.
[18:16] Rusty Redfield: exactly!
[18:16] Jak Calcutt: ...and the men are Hot :)
[18:17] Rusty Redfield: good heavens yes -- I could just sit around and stare LOL
[18:17] Rusty Redfield: Now, this next one, I encourage people to blow their own horn
[18:17] Rusty Redfield: so don't be shy LOL
[18:17] Rusty Redfield: 3. What are you working on, as a form of artistic expression or in order to earn money, or both?
[18:18] Jak Calcutt: I host to earn money to fuel my artistic expression and shopping. I love to create and build in SL.... maybe someday to make money; but my satisfaction comes from the process as much as the finished result. Oh yeah and to pay my tier and shop....
[18:19] Jak Calcutt: I seem to have the need to constantly be building....
[18:19] Jak Calcutt: and creating..
[18:19] Rusty Redfield: what kind of shop do you have? is it like a building workshop?
[18:19] Jak Calcutt: I don't have a shop, I Love to
[18:19] Rusty Redfield: OH duhhhhhh you want to pay your tier and to shop
[18:19] Rusty Redfield: DUH, sorry
[18:20] Jak Calcutt: I have a build platform
[18:20] Rusty Redfield: a platform? like a skybox, but for building?
[18:20] Jak Calcutt: Shopping is my downfall
[18:20] Jak Calcutt: yes mostly just a homemade platform
[18:21] Rusty Redfield: so what sort of assignments do you want people to give you? I loved the Second Pride sim, as you know
[18:21] Rusty Redfield: that great chapel building
[18:22] Jak Calcutt: Well those were for the public and the chapel was a personal endeavor that I wanted to create since last year... it just took a while to figure what I wanted to build and do it.
[18:22] Jak Calcutt: Most of what I do is personal...
[18:23] Rusty Redfield: you did your house?
[18:23] Jak Calcutt: Though lately I have been asked to do some things..
[18:23] Jak Calcutt: Yes I did.
[18:23] Jak Calcutt: I built it on the spot to fit the land
[18:23] Jak Calcutt: ....and the view..
[18:23] Rusty Redfield: wow, well, okay, my millions of readers, please don't crash our sim, but it's big and gorgeous and you should check it out LOL
[18:24] Rusty Redfield: and the view includes a shipwreck, which I love, and the northern lights at night
[18:24] Jak Calcutt: haha...
[18:24] Jak Calcutt: yes
[18:24] Jak Calcutt: well the shipwreck is for the club down below
[18:24] Rusty Redfield: oh, the not-to-secret club? LOLOL
[18:24] Jak Calcutt: I have a small Jazz club below...
[18:25] Jak Calcutt: lol...
[18:25] Rusty Redfield: wow! something else I didn't know
[18:25] Rusty Redfield: very cool
[18:25] Jak Calcutt: I see I need to give you a tour... :)
[18:26] Rusty Redfield: yeah! because I totally haven't pervecammed the inside of your house or anything ROFL
[18:26] Jak Calcutt: I have been so busy with Pride that I have spent very little time at my own house
[18:26] Rusty Redfield: it looks gorgeous. I'm obviously on the wrong side of the tracks LOL
[18:27] Jak Calcutt: nah...
[18:27] Rusty Redfield: well, we'll set up a tour, I hope.  Okay -- number 4:
[18:27] Jak Calcutt: your tracks look fine to me...
[18:27] Rusty Redfield: 4. If you could give advice to your earlier self in the first month that you spent in Second Life, what would you say?
[18:28] Jak Calcutt: That's a great question and I would not change a thing... every choice I have made and the people I have met, have led me on the path to where I am today. I met Karl my SL & RL partner.... every choice I made brought me to him. I would not change anything.
[18:29] Rusty Redfield: yeah I think you hit the SL jackpot.
[18:29] Rusty Redfield: so -- what would you say to OTHER new people in their first month?
[18:30] Jak Calcutt: Take it slow and learn the viewer and building tools. ...and ask questions of people.
[18:30] Jak Calcutt: I was very fortunate...
[18:31] Rusty Redfield: fair enough.  I should say that everyone I talk to is ready to help new people, and new people all think we're scary and unapproachable LOL
[18:31] Jak Calcutt: I learned a lot on my own but I also had someone help in the beginning.... just don't be afraid to accept it.
[18:31] Rusty Redfield: good heavens yes.  I learn best when someone explains things to me.
[18:31] Rusty Redfield: okay! getting close to the end
[18:32] Rusty Redfield: 5. What do you like most about the way that your avatar looks?  
[18:33] Jak Calcutt: Jak is the same avi he was when he was about 4 or 5 weeks old. I can make cosmetic and shape changes and still look like Jak. Sort of like RL. I have not changed my skin since then, only my shape and tattoos... and besides Jak is hot... :)
[18:33] Jak Calcutt: lol
[18:33] Rusty Redfield: you said that and I thought it was pretty amazing.  I don't think many people are basically the same as they were at 4 or 5 weeks, so you knew you'd gotten it right! (and yeah, he IS hot LOL)
[18:34] Rusty Redfield: I mean, jeeze, I just about look like a different SPECIES than I did at 5 weeks
[18:34] Jak Calcutt: I found Belleza....
[18:35] Rusty Redfield: there you go! Yeah, that's an excellent skin place
[18:35] Jak Calcutt: spent the change and never looked back
[18:35] Rusty Redfield: so I'm guessing you think the group fee is worth it! LOL
[18:35] Jak Calcutt: group fee?
[18:35] Rusty Redfield: if you pay -- I think it's like L$500 -- you get a free Belleza skin once a month or something
[18:36] Jak Calcutt: oh no I never did that...
[18:36] Rusty Redfield: ah okay -- I've talked to some new people who did that until they hit the skin they liked
[18:36] Jak Calcutt: just bought my skin and maybe went back for a more tan version...
[18:36] Jak Calcutt: and never looked back.
[18:36] Rusty Redfield: yep yep, exactly
[18:36] Rusty Redfield: and the rest is refreshing it every once in a while
[18:37] Jak Calcutt: I still stop in now and then
[18:37] Jak Calcutt: just to see what is new.
[18:37] Rusty Redfield: new ink, new hat LOL
[18:37] Jak Calcutt: yes love hats...
[18:37] Jak Calcutt: in SL and RL.
[18:38] Rusty Redfield: LOL this is my haircut in RL -- I shaved my head this morning in both worlds LOL
[18:38] Jak Calcutt: cool... I like crews... have one in rl
[18:38] Jak Calcutt: and beard..
[18:39] Jak Calcutt: Thought is a goat in rl.
[18:39] Jak Calcutt: though*
[18:39] Rusty Redfield: I'm just about this hairy myself so I just wait a couple of days and shave out what I want that week LOL we're almost there.  Last question, which I added recenlty because I heard from people who wanted recommendations about places to go from experienced residents ...
[18:39] Rusty Redfield: 6. What’s your favourite place to spend time in Second Life?
[18:41] Jak Calcutt: I love to travel and explore, so I have no one place and many places I go, ....there are some places I repeat visits to frequently.... one is a certain Roller Coaster. One of the Best in SL.
[18:42] Rusty Redfield: oo oo ooo can you share? is it busy? or one of those wonderful things that just sits there waiting to be discovered?
[18:42] Rusty Redfield: I have visions of getting an angry note from somebody whose sim just crashed because I printed the address of the best roller coaster in SL ROFLMAO
[18:42] Jak Calcutt: no and yes... but I will share with you later and leave it up to you whether you share... :)
[18:43] Rusty Redfield: haha perfect.  well, everyone can find their own damn roller coaster.  Get out there and look, you lazy slugs! hahahaha
[18:44] Jak Calcutt: LOL
[18:44] Rusty Redfield: Listen, I have to thank you for your time, you've been great
[18:44] Rusty Redfield: anything you wanted to be asked, but I didn't? Or any piece of philosophy or guidance you want to share?
[18:44] Jak Calcutt: Thank you Rusty...was a great pleasure..
[18:45] Jak Calcutt: if you have time we can go seet the Roller Coaster.
[18:45] Rusty Redfield: ooooooooo interview over! HAHAHAHA
[18:45] Rusty Redfield: if you have philosophy, I'll add it in later <laughing>
[18:46] Jak Calcutt: I do.... Be kind to everyone.
[18:46] Rusty Redfield: I like that.  Simple and useful.
[18:47] Rusty Redfield: thanks Jak Calcutt and I'll refer everyone back to my pictures of the great Second Pride build
[18:47] Jak Calcutt: aww.... thanks Rusty... it was a labor of love.
[18:47] Rusty Redfield: Okay we're going rollercoastering!! *click*

The first line of this article has a link to my article about Second Pride; thinking back, I think the part that stuck with me the longest was the chapel, and I hope in retrospect that finds a home somewhere. And we DID go rollercoastering on the coolest SL roller coaster I have ever seen.  I took a ton of photographs and I'm going to put them up separately; I need to research a little more about its story so I do it justice. But here's a teaser picture!