Sunday, November 25, 2007

When will we stop blaming "the internet" for all the bad things?

I was browsing along on the interwebs today, like I do every other day, and came upon a story that I'd read about a few weeks ago, but there are some new developments in the story now that I think are worth discussing and questioning.

The story is about a 12 year old girl that committed suicide after her 'online' MySpace friend told her he didn't like her anymore because she was 'mean to her friends'. The interesting part of this story is that her MySpace friend was actually a neighboring adult who seemingly didn't like the 12 year old girl and decided to 'play around with her'.

Now, the 12 year old had a history of depression and attention deficit disorder, but let's face it.. she was also a 12 year old, pre-teen, pubescent girl. I don't know about you, but at that age I was lucky to get through a day without feeling like I had the most dramatic, horrible life and I would NEVER understand my parents, and how could anything be worse than this, blah blah, etc. My point is that 12 year old girls are a magnet for drama and are easily elated and crushed.. especially if affairs of the heart are involved.

I'm really not sure what part of this story bothers me more: the fact that some adult pretended to be a teenage boy for the sole purpose of toying with this girl's feelings, or the fact that the media.. once again, blames an 'online' relationship for this crime. Every time someone chooses to portray the internet as a place where only murderers, rapists, pedophiles, or 'naughty' people are, they do an incredible disservice to everyone else. I'm not negating that those people are online, but there are many more of those people living in our neighborhoods that we might want to be more concerned about.

I feel terrible for the family that had to go through this, and I feel even worse for the 12-year old girl, Megan, that was so devastated by this that she killed herself. I want to rewind time, sit her down and tell her that her world is not over if some boy is mean to her or says bad things to her. I want to be able to show her all of the things she has to look forward to and dream about. I want to tell her that not everything she reads online is true, and that sometimes people pretend to be something they aren't. I wish I could do that, but it's too late.

I'm about to share something that a lot of people don't know about me, but it's relevant here I think. When I was in elementary school and riding the bus to school, the older kids would block off all of the empty seats on the bus so I couldn't sit in them and they wouldn't let me sit with them either. With the bus driver doing nothing to stop them, and being the shy kid that I was at the time, I just went back to the front of the bus and rode in the stairwell to school. I also recall, in high school being taunted and harassed by some other girls who called me a "dog" in the hallways between classes and spent many weeks barking and yelling at me as loudly as they could to try and humiliate me. At this time, this was incredibly hurtful but I also knew that I was better than that and refused to let them upset me. My point is these sorts of things have gone on for ages, and choosing to say it was a "MySpace" friend doesn't mean that this sort of thing only happens online.

Megan Meier was a 12 year old girl that wanted some friends and had her heart broken by a mean, cruel-hearted adult that lived down the street. There is no excuse for that and I think that woman deserves whatever fate brings down on her. That being said, let's stop thinking that 'mean things' only happen to people that are communicating online when that's just not the case.


Friday, November 23, 2007

What really *is* sex in Second LIfe?

A friend of mine just recently did a podcast about sex in Second Life and she talks about touring a few 'sex' spots inside Second Life and mentions that she doesn't really 'get' it yet.

I started thinking about how people view sex differently and started to wonder what views and opinions other people have about online and virtual sex.

As you've seen me mention before, I've been part of online communities for years and years now, and even in the simple, plain, non-visual world of IRC chatrooms 'cybersex' was prevalent and 'hookups' were many. Now granted, this was all text-based and didn't have the visual element we have now with Second Life, but that didn't make it any less intense or 'real'. In fact, at times, I think the fact that it was text-based served to make it even more real, and I think that's what makes sex real in Second Life as well.

Sex in Second Life isn't about the poseballs. It's not about teleporting into a fetish dungeon and saying 'yes' to the first IM you get and then hopping into a sex animation with that person. That.. in my opinion.. is roleplaying and not 'sex'. The sex you can *see* in Second Life, isn't the real stuff, or the powerful stuff. The real sex in Second Life is happening behind the scenes.. in private homes, and in IM conversations. Just like in text-based chatrooms, the hookups, cybersex, and relationships are happening in a place not visible to the public.

I've had several people ask me, at times in a very condescending way.. if I think online sex is 'real'. I really love being asked that question when you know they already have their mind made up and will chastise you for whatever you say, even though they have no personal experience on which to base their rationale. Hopping on a poseball to have animated or simulated sex is as real as anything else you choose to do. This does mean, however, that I think all 'sex' in Second Life is based on emotional connection. It's not - not by a long shot. So what's real for you might not be real to someone else, and vice versa.

Second Life is a lot of things to a lot of people. There is very real 'sex' happening there, and very real relationships - intense, powerful, heart-breaking relationships. Just because you think it looks 'silly' to see people on poseballs in the middle of a 'free sex' room doesn't mean there aren't other people experiencing some very significant, life-changing relationships the next sim over.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's *good* to have an Obsession...

For those of you that are fans of BDSM and are familiar with "Bound and Determined" or "B&D" as we like to call it... you likely are familiar with Sefris Wendt, creator of the original B&D club. Sefris had B&D when it was a great hangout, when people felt comfortable there, and when I enjoyed going there.

If you haven't been to B&D recently, you're in for a shock. It's big, it's overwhelming, and it's commercial. I totally understand that the commercial aspect is there to pay for and support the club, but still.. ick. There's no love in that. B&D now is a giant warehouse of dorks and newbies and it's lost the charm for me.

The good news is that my dear friend, Sefris Wendt, is bringin' sexy back with his new club.. (and God bless him for giving me the scoop and letting me announce the name here first...) Obsession.

Sefris took me on a tour of the new place this evening and was kind enough to tell me a bit about his vision (which, by the way, I fully agree with).

According to Sefris, he's trying to, "find a nice fusion between class and BDSM", with the new club. In talking about the new feel and atmosphere, he also mentioned that, some of the things he likes sexually, probably more than anything else.. are "contrast and conflict.. like.. being here and wanting to feel the class,but having so much more right under the surface wanting to get out.".

One of my favorite spots at the old B&D was "Hard Alley", a rough-feeling 'street scene' with poseballs and 'sex graffiti' on the wall. Sefris plans to take this one step further with Obsession. Not only does he plan to have his own version of "hard alley", but his plans include actual construction of an alley behind the club so that you really do need to go downstairs, outside, and behind the club to enjoy this spot. I dig that.

Obsession is not your 'typical' sex club and I think we can all thank our respective higher powers there. Sefris hopes to attract a more 'upscale' or 'classy' clientele for this spot and I hope he succeeds. With shiny wood floors, comfortable furniture, and small rooms off the side, Obsession feels more like a 'home' than a sex club and I think that lends to the intimate, voyeuristic feelings I had while I was visiting.

When you're creating a sex club you really need to consider things like this. Putting in a fireplace and some bookshelves doesn't make a place intimate, nor does it attract intellectuals. It's about space, it's about scale and it's about style. Sefris has it right. He had it right with B&D before it was sold, and he's got another winner on his hands here.

Obsession is planned for opening next week, and keep an eye out for a group dedicated to the space as well. I know that several of you had mentioned to me that you were really looking for a new and classier hangout.. well, it's about to arrive.

You have a great new club in the making here, Mr. Wendt and I must say... I'm obsessed already.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Toxian City - Roleplaying Part #3

After my tour of New Olympus, Petite Pixie offered to show me around Toxia, or "Toxian City". Since I was eager to have a tourguide, I happily took her up on her offer and we were on our way.

The arrival at Toxia is on a pier and the first thing I noticed was the lag. There's some significant lag here so just be prepared for it. Don't think you're going to get yourself in a situation and then just run away really quickly cause that sure as hell won't happen. According to Petite, "Toxia is based on a city that had a major chemical and biohazard accident and people mutated or died. So a lot of creatures and things that go bump came and took over." A lot of the roleplaying areas also allow combat and Petite mentioned that the The DCS2 combat system was made by and for the owners of Toxia and is now available to any sim that would like to use it free of charge. She said it's is the best system in SL because it can be configured by the sim owners and it has a lot of options. I'll take her word for it, but if you're interested in fighting there's a DCS2 store located right near the entrance.

There's a library on the main street and I really liked this spot. It's warm and cozy and seems a lovely place to curl up with a good book. Toxian City also has all of the 'standard' thing that I'm starting to see at all of the roleplaying areas including different 'headquarter' buildings for the different groups and factions that exist. There was also an apartment building for those who want to live here, along with a hospital, church, graveyard and "porn" shop. In my opinion, the porn shop needs to get some more merchandise. If I moved to Toxia I'm afraid I'd go unsatisfied because the selection is fairly sparse.

My favorite place in Toxia, however, is The Haven. Haven is a bar or a 'safe spot' in Toxia where no fighting occurs and you can just dance, relax, and hang out with other people. I spent some time in Haven tonight and even though I'm not a Toxian Citizen and have only visited twice, I felt perfectly at home and completely comfortable. I guess the name is appropriate. It's always been my feeling that any community is only as good as the people and from what I can tell, Toxian City has some pretty fantastic people and seems abundantly tolerant of the different groups that call it home.

Petite mentioned that "the cool thing is all of this is out of pocket and not intended to make profits. You have to love what you're doing to have a roleplay and for profit malls and RP don't mix.". I have to say that I completely agree with her, and we see this over and over and OVER again in Second Life. When we're trying to create spaces and environments where we can interact and escape, and immerse ourselves in these worlds, the last thing we need is commercialism screaming to be heard. I think the mix can really work when it's done right and Toxia does it right.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Toxia and in all honesty, before my trip there this evening I was more nervous about being at Toxia than I was at Midian because it felt much 'darker' and more frightening to me. Luckily, I met some great people and now my viewpoint has changed. Gotta love the human aspect.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

New Olympus - Masquerade - Roleplaying Part 2

Now that Lillie's called this a 'series', I'm feeling like I'd better get my sweet ass in gear and do some more exploring!

So, since I'm still waiting for the Midian City #2 tour (if you want to help, let me know!) I decided to IM another person that was recommended to me and see what she could help with.

Petite Pixie was my tourguide this evening and was generous enough to give the grand tour of her new sim, New Olympus - The Masquerade.

This sim is also a roleplaying sim, so it fits in beautifully with my recent thread about roleplaying in SL. The Masquerade is a fairly new roleplaying sim having just opened two weeks ago, and Petite told me that this sim is focused solely on vampire roleplaying and based on the book RPG Vampire the Masquerade.

We started the tour in the Moonlight Cafe.. a diner that's open to humans by day, but vampires by night. Petite also mentioned that it's night 100% of the time in New Olympus, so all you humans might as well stay home. The tour continued with walks through the theatre, Petite's own furniture store, and a store with breakable windows (neat!). There's a bar, a prison that was converted into a dance club (with an amazing lava pit underneath), and a church with "bingo, cards, and bondage" underneath. That's my kind of religion. BINGO!

We continued our tour and saw the construction site, the park where a huge cargo plane had crashed, a garage, a hospital and some bathrooms.

As you know, I'm still very new to the roleplaying scene and I have everything to learn. It's fascinating to me to see these different areas and really start to think about the types of storylines that can develop here. Storylines that don't begin and end with just one person, but are built upon, over time, by an entire community of people dedicated to this project. Love that.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tour of Apocalypse - Midian Part #1

Thanks to the glorious Camilla Moore, I was able to get a tour of the Apocalypse sim tonight which is part of Midian City (Thank you Zaphod!! ;)). Camilla was incredibly gracious in showing me around and explaining things to me.. I must say.. I had *no* idea that so much was going on in this area. I'm beyond impressed.

All the roleplaying in these areas was something I really had no grasp on and was super intimidated by, but Camilla says everyone is actually very sweet, so that made me feel a bit less scared about it.

We walked all over Apocalypse and I saw the "Four Horsemen Bar" whose owner is apparently a 'very bad man' and a notorious rapist and sadist. Hmmmm. :) Camilla said every bar is ownd by some faction or group in Midian. Who knew!

I also saw the KAOS radio station (SO COOL) and the Legion Bunker and HQ. I was in the base people. IN THE BASE. Camilla said they do experiments down there to "midian victims". I believe her. I saw the autopsy tables.

There are rentals there, and I saw the park (and a secrety spot too!).

There wasn't time to tour the Midian City sim, but what I've seen so far has blown me away. The details of the build itself are just phenomenal and the different groups/factions/storylines happening in this sim are just beyond anything I'd imagined.

I'm incredibly impressed.. and this was just half the tour! Can't wait!


And a hunting we shall go!

Ladies and lovelies, I've gotten myself a tour guide for Toxian City. I'm super excited and thrilled that some folks have offered to show me around. I've been hanging out at Midian City a bit (and by hanging out I mean scampering along the walls praying no one confronts me) and I'm starting to dig it.

I need to work on my roleplaying though and apparently I need to have a pretty good idea of what my 'character's' story is. I'm having tons of fun starting to 'look' the part though. I think I'm lookin' pretty great..

I'd still love a tour guide/introduction to Midian City too so if anyone is willing to show me around, let me know!


Sunday, November 11, 2007

I need a tour guide...

If anyone out there hangs out regularly at either Midian City or Toxian City.. I need a tour guide to show me around those areas. Basically, it's because I'm a chicken and I'm scared to go there alone. I know it's ridiculous and I could just 'teleport' out of there if I had to, but I really respect the roleplaying going on in those communities and I don't want to just show up and not know what's going on.

I couldn't even play Quake in the 90's because I was terrified when people would run up behind me or tell me they could hear me breathing.

So! If anyone's willing to help me out and show me around.. I'd greatly appreciate it! :)


Sexstination #16 - The Lady Garden

The Lady Garden might be a gentlemen's club, but this girl was fitting in just fine chatting with the gorgeous escorts working there.

Located in Roosa, The Lady Garden is, in my opinion, one of the best escort clubs I've seen in SL. It's small, intimate and classy and the girls were friendly. The color scheme is refreshingly purple/lavender/browns with great lighting. I know a lot of you think that red and black really define 'sexy', but let me assure you.. they don't. The build itself is really done well, and you have a really defined sense of space. It's cozy and really makes you feel at home. It's a small crowd (at least when I was there) and that meant there was more time and freedom to really interact, flirt, and get to know the girls.

In the words of one of the patrons I met there, The Lady Garden has, "chill downtempo music, no crap like camping or sploder, and FUCKING AMAZING GIRLS.". That about wraps it up.

One of the girls, Terri, was exceptionally friendly and more than willing to talk with me about the club. When I asked her what she'd like people to know, she said that there's "a skybox full of outrageous fun toys, scrumptious threesome activities." I was also lucky enough to meet and speak with the owner, Caira, and she showed me the newest area of the club.

With the gorgeous build, fantastic atmosphere, and incredibly friendly people, I have no doubt that I'll be back to visit and hang out at The Lady Garden.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Advice for the Guys, Girls, and Guys pretending to be Girls

Ok so here's the thing.

I've been hanging around the SL sex spots a lot and I've been doing a lot of observing, and I've come to the conclusion that maybe some guys just need some help.

It's interesting that if you do a search for 'sex' and teleport to the first place you see, you will find a MILLION 'newbies' there using the 'free cock' just walking around praying to God they will find some newbie female willing to click on a poseball and make their online fantasies come true. If they're lucky, she might even be able to spell and will thrill them with some occasional chatter about how good he is, or how close she is to coming.

If you're willing to venture away from just the 'sex' search and you know to search for 'fetish' or 'bondage' or anything a step up from 'sex', then you'll find some spots with a much different clientele. You'll rarely find newbies in these spots - and by newbies I mean people that LOOK very much like a newbie with the default look. You will also, I've noticed, find a lot of people DESPERATE to look like what they think a "Master" should look like. Apparently when most people think "Dom" or "Master" they immediately think long black hair, lots of black leather, bling, and either no shirt at all, or a lovely black leather vest. These men attract women with the same sense of style.

You'll also find the occasional 'businessman' in these areas. Neatly dressed in a suit and likely hoping to attract the 'intelligent' girls. I met one of these men yesterday, and from personal experience, they also seem to have a bit of an attitude and an arrogance that makes them think you'll fall all over yourself to be with them.

From my observations and travels, I've come up with some advice that I'd just like to pass along to everyone wanting to meet someone else in a sex spot in SL.

1. Be different. If you dress like everyone else, you'll never be noticed.

2. Buy some good skin, a good shape, and some great hair. I know it's superficial, and I know that we shouldn't care about those things in a virtual world, but we do.

3. Guys.. if you want to be a "Master" or a "Dom", please.. PLEASE, adjust your shape so that you're at least as tall as we are. Girls just aren't attracted to guys that are shorter than we are. If you're going to want us to look up to you we kind of need to be able to ... you know.. look UP to you.

4. Girls. For the love of God, do not buy a no-mod shape, AND.. if you DO insist on doing that, please.. PLEASE do NOT buy a shape that makes you look like a praying mantis. No tall spindly legs and huge giant breasts with no hips. Come on.

5. Spelling and grammar. Please - make an effort.

6. Do not assume that just because we're standing there looking fantastic that we're waiting to have sex with you.

What have I forgotten?


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

random conversation

[17:43] Random Dude: *casually walks up to you from behind, grabbing your ass slowly spreading it apart as he reaches down between your legs* >:)
[17:44] Pixel Bailey: *casually spins around and kicks you hard in the groin and tells you to ask before you touch.
[17:44] Random Dude: :D thinks the kick in the face was a fair trade
[17:46] Random Dude: *shrugs* very nice btw


Sunday, November 4, 2007

It's not all about you

I was in a discussion group today about "What SL means to/for women" and it took place inside Second Life. Initially I wasn't going to attend because I usually get royally pissed off at discussions like that, but I decided to see what it was about.

I should have listened to my instincts.

You know, I have been involved in online communities for a long time now, and one thing I do not, and will never understand is the apparent constant need for women to continually feel like 'the victim' online. I'm freaking sick of it, actually.

I'm a feminist, and I like that I'm a female. I freaking LOVE being a woman. Love it. This does not mean, however, that I blame men for everything wrong in the world. If someone sends me a private message in SL stating that they like my breasts.. I'm not offended, nor do I feel harassed or stalked. I do not feel terrorized or threatened, and I sure as hell don't feel like I need to 'escape' the situation or report them. My goodness people, get a grip. There are stupid people all over this world and sometimes.. SOMETIMES.. it doesn't f'ing matter if you're a female. Idiots are idiots and sometimes it's not all about you or the fact that you have a vagina for God's sake.

The discussion started with statistics about how many women play WoW and how many women are in SL, and what explains that difference? To me it's pretty damned obvious, but ok I'll play along. Women don't like to go around killing things as much as men might, and so we prefer SL where we can be more social and shop like fiends. This is no mystery.

The discussion quickly turned to defining sex, and how do we really define who is and is not female in online communities. This then logically (*eye roll*) led to the question of whether or not we'd be offended if there was an 'abuser' hiding as a female in our discussion group. Well at that point there was no turning back for me.. I was pissed. Why the hell did/do discussions like this always lead to this sort of stuff? Why could the 'abuser' not just as well have been female and why do we immediately start talking about abuse, stalking, harassment, etc.

Lots of women going on about how they often feel threatened in Second Life. One even mentioned that she went to a GUN SHOP in SL to consider purchasing a gun for protection. COME ON. What the hell!?

This is really not advancing the cause of women here people. Stop being the damn victim, stop pretending everything is about you being a female, and stop whining around and acting as if everyone's out to get you. Do your thing, be strong, and ignore the bullshit.