The second life scrapbook: Liz goes into Second Life..

I like pictures, but they take a lot of time to make so I wanted to write some posts about my (and other people’s) experiences in Second Life without some definite purpose and perhaps post some shoddy pictures while I am writing. It will be a scrapbook that might make for some amusing reads, for when you are with a bunch of friends crashing at some place and the dvd/video player just broke down.
What follows are the experiences of Liz(a name that covers more than one person) who entered this world a few days ago and made some notes regarding her experiences. I rewrote the whole to make it a bit more coherent.

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Avatar selection: Default(Mesh) avatars, Vampires(?) and classic.

 

Before I entered Second Life I  had to pick an avatar(a representation of yourself in Second Life: see above) and then I appeared at an island that was ran by Governor Linden. The bot that has this name gave me some basic instructions and then it was off to explore the island or Second Life. Besides me there were two other people at the beach I started. One was called something like Gaaaaaaaaa and the other called G5processor or something.
My avatar looked like this grungy tattooed female with large hands, a heart shaped face and big glasses, and without a proper animation I looked and moved like a silly cartoon. I was struggling with my avatar when Gaaaaaaaaa  came up and started to talk to me in what seemed to be Italian. Since I learned my Italian from the Mario brothers and the local Pizza dinner I wasn’t able to make much sense of what he was saying and I told him so in English. He seemed to understand this because he said ‘Si’ and then sauntered off. A few seconds later he send me a friendship offer, which I declined. Perhaps I am nasty for doing so, but I think that it is totally pointless to be friends with someone you can’t understand and learning Italian wasn’t on the list of things to do. Or even getting close to be put onto the list.

 

My starter avatar.
My starter avatar.

Next, I was chatted to by a girl, who was called something like Judy25, and she asked if I could help her out as she got no frigging clue how to get around or where to go. Since nobody gave us directions I figured I needed to get her some help, preferably provided by the kind of people who like to help.  Does it sound like I wanted to get rid of her? It probably does.
It was a toss up between White Tiger Island or Caledon. White Tiger won. Funny enough, White Tiger Island  renamed and now called New Resident Island(NRI). Had they not popped up in the search anyway then I would have tried Caledon or NCI(New Citizens Inc.)
NRI did have two mentors  standing by and one of them, called EO, took care of Judy25. EO looked dashingly better than us noobs, as she was wearing some very nice mesh winterclothes – a matching set – and had a very nice looking avatar. She told us that our avatars were made of mesh and thus we couldn’t change their looks. Many thanks to Linden for providing everyone with avatars that you can’t change. Brilliant! (Actually, you can choose classic avatars when you start, but who does that? Classic sounds like old and boring.  Besides, they offer you the mesh avatars by default so I didn’t even know there were other options.)
So the first thing to do is getting rid of the mesh avatar and change to a classic avatar. Mesh avatars can look great, but at the current there is not yet a way to make it as personal as the basic avatar, so most people still prefer those. In the future it will probably change as even the mesh statues now look better then the classic avatars and smart people hop on the mesh bandwagon and are creating cool mesh avatars. Of course, these cost money so in the near future you probably get a kind of gap between the poor non-mesh classic avatar users and the rich mesh avatar users. A visible gap in riches.

My new look.
My new look. The skin was a gift, but the rest I got for very cheap. The hair cost 1 linden and is from Discord. The eyes, the nails and the tats I got for free on the market place. The jewelry is from the Free Dove. The clothes I got partly from the Free Dove and partly from the market place.

I skipped the shops at NRI and got a good skin and clothes with the help of  the friends of Red Jenney(actually Dreary arranged it: Dreary is a kind of guiding spirit)  A nice way to get things is to go to the  Second Life marketplace  website and just search for things like promo, gift or freebie. You can also try an filter items based on the price, but this might still result in a ton of hits, because almost all demos will show up. Well, if you want to be cheap, you have to work for it I guess. Oh.. another way to get good stuff is to go to one of the bigger shops like Gizza or Vero Modero. They usually have a collection of free gifts. Most not half bad.
I also visited one of the few decent inworld freebie shops, called the Free Dove because the big freebie places are hangouts for almost any scumbag that wants to take advantage of new people, such as the pathetic bloodline vampires, trolls and sex seekers. I dislike the bloodline vampires the most. Not because they prey on newbies, – it does not surprise me at all that they do – but because their role-play is half-assed.  They are mighty vampires preying on the puny humans but they never need to fear daylight cause in SL everyone can control their own night and day cycle and so they live in their own private perpetual darkness.. And of course, mere humans have no power against them in SL, so they can’t be staked, chased away with crosses, shot to pieces or what ever. In other words they have all the advantages of vampires but do not suffer from their weaknesses. It is half-assed role-play. At least, if you want to mess with other people(who by the way are NOT into your role-play), make it a challenge.
I was about a minute in the Free Dove when I was im-ed by a dude called Hadrian. Hadrian told me he was misdirected by mistake to this place and he was curious and wanted to help me out because I was a noob.  Such a nice gesture! I told him to hold on while I im-ed Dreary. Dreary said I should im the nearest other girl in the place to see if Hadrian had been chatting to her as well. It was jackpot on the first try.. Right! A profile check told me that Hadrian was six years in SL. While that means not much, it at least told me he wasn’t some kind of innocent guy who happened to end up in the Free Dove by mistake. By sheer coincidence the owner was also in the shop so I told her about Hadrian. I understand from Dreary that the owner dislikes people like that, and it was true: she banned him forthwith. By now she must be very experienced with the kind.  Just sad really that they keep on trying. Double sad because SL is not short on places to meet people. Perhaps they have such a bad reputation that they need to pray on the newcomers? Who knows.
So what to do next?
Well.. Dreary send me off to a place called Corvus to get her some tats and see if there was anything I liked. Corvus is a funny place as it has these clothes that you either love or hate.  The style is a deranged mix of goth and punk, but not so weird that is isn’t  main stream. The clothes might be revealing, but I don’t find them explicit sexy. It is more like pepper and salt, or vinegar and sugar. Black and white. But weird.
Here are some screenshots of me and of some of their products:

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The maker of the corvus stuff  seems to like weird and provocative texts. Like the tat I had to get for Dreary which says: Destroy that which destroys you. or: I hate everyone(Dreary says they should add equally: I hate everyone equally. Dreary likes to come up with strange sentences. I try to get some posted below.)
Here is a picture of Dreary. The shirt is van Corvus as well.

Dreary: Needing a bigger one.

Beach scene: Corvus Silver Classy Dress.
Beach scene: Corvus Silver Classy Dress.

Oh… I was going to tell something about that  lesbian palace.. Well that is for the next post.. sorry. Yeah, cheap cliffhanger.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring gender and sexuality in a virtual world: composing your avatar.

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Waiting for prey..

 

I was reading this post made by Marilyn Roxie.

I somehow felt compelled to add some of my experiences to this post and this is the post I am trying to do it. This is not an attempt for me to be smarter then Marilyn, but as long time citizen of SL and also as someone who wanted to explore precisely my gender and sexuality I thought it might be a nice way to add to her post my vision. Not because I deem it to be better, but mostly be cause I feel a certain way. I had originally wanted to be short and to the point, but because I felt I need to cover more I expanded

The post by Marilyn Roxie is about exploring gender and sexuality in a virtual world. She specifically talks about second life, which is a great place to go and precisely do such a thing.  It is not only people who are gender queer who can experiment, but it offers this possibility to many who describe themselves as transgender, femboy, sissyboy,s shemale or  gay (and any other descriptions I did not name).  During my almost five years in Second Life I met a lot of people who found Second Life a safe way or even the only way to explore gender, sexuality and even identity.. The latter being one of my interest( see my movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=II4tv1nRFAo)

The challenge with Second Life is that you need to find a community to belong to because if you do not .. you’ll be a loner.. and if you are fine with that there is no problem.. but if you want to a community to belong to you will have to search hard.

The first time spend in  Second Life is often decisive. I think that a lot of people spend maybe a few weeks or months and then leave. Then there is a smaller group of long time avatars.. Some as old Second Life itself. My idea is that almost all these older people have a specific goal to be here.This could be because they want to make art, make items, run roleplay game or want to live a way they cannot in real life.   Other are probably here more for socializing or ‘hanging out’ or because they are ‘bored’. The latter reasons seems for me the least enduring because SL is a limited place for that and because there are so many other places that offer the same thing and probably better.

Regardless of anything I think that unless you have a kind of drive  for something specific then I think that SL is not an easy world to find a place to belong simply, because it is not easy to find that place. I spend my time  at Empathic Eccentricia, which is a kind of builders art place run by Veleda Lorakeet, to make things. EE has now moved to OS grid, although I maintain a kind of Second Life presence.  It took me two years to actually find such a home. I think I am not alone in this and that most eventually find one or, give up on SL.

Where not to go…

How hard it is to find a place can be shown by the below picture of the search box.

Type in freebies and below is the result I got. As you see the second and third hit are not special freebie places, the second is an porn place and the third is an escort place. I have visited both places and indeed they do have a meager set of freebies, but they are obvious there to draw people to their places by offering a small sample of common cheap freebies.  What this shows is that based on the search you will probably not find what you want to find.

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A more refined search gave me strange results. I ticked out moderate and adult and this was the result.

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See the G in the right hand top corner? But the wet kitty is a moderate place(see the big M near location.). Apparently the search is a bit shaky. I find the wet kitty a strange place to show up at all.  But the wet kitty might define itself as M but…

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Maybe I am  old fashioned but are naked events not adult?

You might say.. well do not moan.. these events are only held as special events and otherwise… But even that is not true.. the guests are naked at various times regardless of what events are held.
Not that I bothered by it. I am perfectly happy they have clubs  where people can be like what they want to be. My concern is more that  if you do not stick to some rules, someone  might stick the rules to you. If you say you are moderate but hold adult events.. then there is a danger another place might do the same.. and eventually Linden has to crack down and close down sites simply because someone might sue them for not upholding their own rules.  So if you want to organize adult events.. turn the place in an adult place just so you can keep on doing it?

What I do find a pity is that I was unable to find any freebies at that place. It clearly says they have freebies, but the landing zone is a shopping area and there is no mention of where to get freebies. This is their teleporter..

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Now i start out with freebies because a newcomer that has no money or has not much to spend or does not want to will want to find free items.  The natural reaction is to type freebies in a search bar. The result you see above. Adult places want to draw people, even by offering freebies… but the places that are freebie places are not that great either.

This is one concern about popular freebie places:

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Waiting for prey

All these freebies places are haunts for those who prey on others. The most obvious and annoying are those who play a vampire game. Some of those in these distorted pictures. have very beautiful avatars, but that outward beauty hides a nasty inside as they still are there to take advantage of others for their own self gratification. They are preying on others.. and they know it and they accept and even revel in it.   But there are also less obvious vampires. Those who take advantage of others because the other feels alone, uncertain or is impressed by the other.

Interestingly enough I noticed that they leave me alone. Not sure why, but it suspect it has to do with the fact that I am obviously not a newcomer, but then again it might also be because I do not stay that long.

So where to go?

The only way I can help out is by pointing you to the freebie places or ways I think that offer a far better selection.  See for examples below!.

Fabulously Free in SL(http://fabfree.wordpress.com/)

The first place I mention is not even a place in SL.. it is a website. This website shows you on an almost daily basis which freebies are there to get, where and how they look. It is a great way to find the stuff you want to have instead of hoping you find something you like in SL.
List for under 30 days old offers:
http://fabfree.wordpress.com/fabfree-30-days-list/

The marketplace (https://marketplace.secondlife.com/)

Go over to the marketplace of sl.. it is a website. Log in with your avatar.. pick a category and (apparel for example) and select as price: 0 to 0. You get a load of freebries, gifts and, alas also demo’s. You just order them and they are delivered to you in sl. Often you can get more freebies or gifts by going to the shops location.

Hunts

Hunts are organized  so shops and places can promote their goods. The places give your something for free so you go to their place. Their hope is you will buy something and other just like to give away things for free.. Hunts can be found via websites:
http://huntsl.com/tag/second-life-hunts/
http://slhunts.wordpress.com/
http://huntingsl.com/

Teleport Hub(http://www.teleporthub.com/)

A general site for freebies, gifts and hunts.


Normal shops in sl
A few of the bigger shops give away items.  Examples of these shops are the following. Usually it requires to become part of their group. Which is often free to join.

Clothes
Gizza — high fashion-haute culture kind of place has gifts in front of the store.
Vero Modero – high fashion. Lots of gifts inside the store.
Sassy – sexy clothes both on lucky chairs and for grabs. (Sassy has a whole sim which also host other places including 1 Hundred. This shop has a lot of links to freebie groups, hunts)
ADN Designs (has freebies and a lot of lucky chairs in which you can get an item when the first letter of your avatars name shows up and you sit down. Has also a few other shops on the sim currently that offer more lucky chair items)
BlakOpal – Steampunk and victorian clothes. A few freebies.. Not much but nice to start out with.

Hair, Eyes
Amacci – Hair, Eyes, jewelry.
Lala Moon –  Hair

Skins
Good free skins are not easy to get, but for female skin this is relative easy compared to male skins. The market place is one source, fab free another. And of course hunts. Good free male skins are extremely hard to get.  The best way is to pick one up at a freebie place and then wait for a hunt or a website like fab free to give you an idea where to get a better one.
A good place for quality freebie skins is Mother Goose’s. The skins you have to get via  a board of letters and when the letter of you name appears you can click on it and take it. However she has like 50 of these boards and they swap every few minutes so it is easy to get a decent skin in a short while.
Now Mother Goose’s is hard to find. In fact you can not find it in a search.. the only way to find it is to look up the owner Milok Hermit and find in her picks where Mother Goose’s currently is located(shops travel around in sl)(currently it is here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Turpentine/225/141/21). She has her own blog.. only it is korean(i think) http://tamako4.blog.me/

Examples follow below.

Freebie places
The free dove. As small place offers usually better freebies. Many of the freebies give you links to places where you can get more.
This is the only freebie place I know where the staff will actively remove pests like vampires. Also nakedness is forbidden so you won’t be confronted by dudes showing their enlarged manhood to the public. You can also join various hunts and groups that are posted on their boards.

The Oxbridge university of Caledon(see below)

Newcommer help places.

Any newcomer that like help with find their way in sl is advised to go to a new resident place.
Basically there are three:
-NCI.. NCI has various locations around SL.

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– White Tiger(see in the picture above)
– Caledon Oxbridge university. Which also is a way to enter one of the oldest and most civil of communities in Second Life. Caledon is a steampunk place.

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Some examples

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Mother Goose’s
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Mother Goose’s
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Avatar made using skin, hair, clothes and ao from Tuty’s.Eyes are from Amacci. Only the shape is mine.
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Avatar made using skin found via Fab Free. Shape is from the inventory. Clothes and hair from the Free Dove.
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Avatar made using a gift skin and clothes found at Vero Modero and Gizza. Eyes are from a general freebie set.