Back from the Wilderness (Part VII) – Back and Forth in Second Life

By – webspelunker – My Travels Across Second Life. Visit Back from the Wilderness (Part VII) – Back and Forth in Second Life for original post.

Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky   

I’ve been away from Second Life (SL) for a bit.

Well, more like in and out, a lot.

Folks have noticed.
My three loyal readers who seem to catch everything about me have been making inquiries.

And, many others, friends and readers, have noticed my absence.

Here’s my tale.

Significant Other and I are still dealing with the aftereffects of someone close to us who passed away last year.

These matters are never easy and we’ve had to spend time away from our usual activities.  (Significant Other is next to me nodding in silent agreement.)

So, not to worry!

We’re both fine, I haven’t left SL, and I’m still blogging!

Unfortunately, as many have me often say inworld, Real Life (RL) always takes priority and right now there are others who need us.  (Significant Other adds that I do come in handy at times like this.)

The good news is that this period is hopefully drawing to an end and we should be finished by late spring.  (Significant Other is nodding furiously in the affirmative right now.) 

Thanks to all of you who have inquired about my status, I greatly appreciate the concerns, thoughts, and prayers that you’ve expressed! 

You have no idea how much this touches me and reaffirms for me the true value of my relationships inworld!  (Significant Other also expresses gratitude to all!)

I’m trying to reply to everyone and this may take a little time.

My messages are being capped regularly so please if you’re trying to contact me use a note card inworld or my email address below. 

Also, to those whom I’ve had commitments on stories please bear with me as I try to sort out the effects of all this on my writing calendar.  (It’s been ugly.)

I’ll be back as soon as I’m able!  (Significant Other promises to send me back once I’m no longer needed.  It’s wonderful to be wanted isn’t it?)

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

            Open roads and kind fires!



Are You Anonymous in Second Life?

By – webspelunker – My Travels Across Second Life. Visit Are You Anonymous in Second Life? for original post.

Give a man a mask, and he’ll tell you deeper and darker truths. But he’ll also be more abusive, unaccountable, and demonic.

Cory Duchesne  

Ah, the joys of anonymity!

Privacy, freedom of action (AKA being uninhibited), and a lack of accountability!

How often have we dreamed of living like this in Real Life (RL)?

How many of us live like this in Second Life (SL)?

Of course, there are a few concerns associated with anonymity inworld but more of that later!  (Can’t get too serious too soon, now can we?)

I do it!

I’m anonymous inworld.

No surprise to anyone who knows me inworld.  (Once again, I thank my three loyal readers!)

Why?

Well, in RL, I’m a nobody.  (Yes, that may come as a shock to my three loyalists.)  I want to stay that way. 

Also, Significant Other, my RL partner, made anonymity a precondition of my wandering across the Grid.  (Significant Other nods firmly while shoulder surfing which also happens to be one of Significant Other’s favorite pastimes when not exercising editorial oversight.)

Finally, a lot of what I do inworld, I’d never do in RL. (Once again, Significant Other nods firmly.) 

But, what is anonymity inworld really all about?

Let’s chat about this for a bit!

There are the obvious reasons for anonymity in SL.

First, there’s privacy. 

Most don’t want their RL friends and family to know what they’re doing inworld.  Nothing wrong there. 

Next, there’s freedom of action.  We wander around nude and no one but ourselves and our similarly anonymous friends know about it.  Or, we experiment with gender, dress, sex, or whatever else catches our fancy.  There’s probably a different reason for every avatar in SL. 

Best of all, zero accountability! 

Who cares about this little, anonymous avatar running around inworld?

Here’s where the not so obvious aspects of SL anonymity arise. 

Some engage in bad behaviors inworld.

Fortunately, not as many as some RL media would have us believe but still too many.

Trolling, griefing, and stalking are some of the negative behaviors abetted by SL anonymity.   

Anonymity is also enhanced by the practice of having “alts” or multiple avatars inworld. 

Block an avatar and they come back as someone else.

            On the few occasions when SL deletes an avatar for egregious behavior, well, what

stops the perp coming back as an alt? 

            If you guessed nothing then you got it!

            (Yes, there may be ways to prevent this from occurring but it doesn’t a rocket scientist to get around them.)

            Another problem with alts, even if one doesn’t intend antisocial behavior, is who’s the real you? 

            When we can be any number of personas inworld then who are we?

            Who is the real you?  Especially when we factor in anonymity.

            I recently blogged about how we trust in SL.   

            What effect does anonymity have on our trust inworld?

            Can we have anonymous trust inworld?

            What do you think?

            Are you anonymous inworld?

            Why?

            Are your friends anonymous?

            Please drop me a line and share your thoughts with us!

            If I receive enough replies I’ll do a follow-up story!

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

            Open roads and kind fires!



How Do You Trust in Second Life?

By – webspelunker – My Travels Across Second Life. Visit How Do You Trust in Second Life? for original post.

All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan  

What is trust?

We probably all have our own definitions.

(Significant Other wonders I’m bringing this up now.)

Maybe it’s accepting someone at face value, believing in them, or having confidence in their words and action. 

But, how do we trust?

Ahh, now there’s a good question!

(Significant Other is now starting to pay attention.)

In Real Life (RL), we may use one or more of a variety of methods. 

Sometimes we use time.  The longer we know someone, the more we trust him or

her.

Or, we may rely on others.  They validate the trustworthiness of a person for us.  And, because we trust that person, we trust the newcomer. 

Another approach is to look at their credentials.  If someone purports to be a doctor or a lawyer, well, that’s easily enough verified. 

There’re appearances.  If they have a lot of wealth, it’s hard to hide. 

Of course, some people just jump in and trust everyone! 

(And, history has got some great stories because of this!)

Now, what happens in Second Life (SL)?

Here it’s totally different.

Practically everything that we use in RL to establish trust gets thrown out when we move inworld. 

How do we determine how to trust someone in SL?

Let’s discuss that!

There are obstacles to trust inworld that we don’t face in RL.

The first and biggest is anonymity.

(Come on now, do you really use your RL identity inworld?)

Little if any of what we are in SL has any ties to RL.

Is that woman or man really whom they say they are?

Many avatars are imaginary characters from science fiction or fantasy.

(Significant Other would like me to point out that many US politicians in RL may fall into this category.  But, I try to stay apolitical in this blog.)

Many avatars are animals or machines. 

See where I’m going with this?

(With the avatars not the US politicians.)

How do we validate the avatar standing in front of us inworld? 

Nothing is what it seems.

What’s real?

I have my own approach.

(Significant Other is shocked.)

I listen to how they sound.  Are they genuine?  Do they add value to the conversation?

How do they treat me?  How do they treat others?

Do they have “character”?

Then, do I enjoy being around them?

Do I learn from them?

Do they make me stop and think?

Most importantly, can they make me laugh?

(Significant Other indicates that after reviewing my list, we need to speak when I finish writing this story.)

Others whom I’ve met inworld have their own ways to determine an individual’s trustworthiness.  This can be a big deal for some. 

Some require RL validation.

This can be voice or video verification.

Or, a piece of RL information like age. 

Of course, a mechanism like the latter has its own issues with verification. 
Others look to character for trustworthiness. 

Whatever mechanism is used, many seem to have some sort of methodology.

Then there are those who couldn’t care less and just jump in!

(One of these days, I’ll do a story about these livewires!) 

What about you?

How do you trust others in SL?

Do you even care?

Please share your thoughts with me and if I receive enough replies then I’ll draft a follow up story. 

Or, here’s a new one…

Do you trust my blog?

(And, not just my three loyal readers.)

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

            Open roads and kind fires!



Among the Steampunks – STEAM XII in Second Life?

By – webspelunker – My Travels Across Second Life. Visit Among the Steampunks – STEAM XII in Second Life? for original post.

Steampunk is…the love child of Hot Topic and a BBC costume drama.

Gail Carriger   

This is a strange time of the year in Real Life (RL).

(I’ll ignore Significant Other’s query about when isn’t it a strange time for me.  Some of us just look for life’s potentials.)

Lent has started for those who observe which means hangovers from Mardi Grasrevelries for some.   

Presidents’ Dayis past in the US. 

Saint Patrick’s Daybeckons from afar.

And, most importantly, slightly further out, spring entices us with her warm imagery.  (As I write this, a horrible cold that I have makes the prospect of waiting for winter seem unbearable.)

Meanwhile, back in Second Life (SL), an old tradition begins anew! 

And, of course, I’m talking about the annual Mieville steampunk hunt, STEAM XII!
For those to whom this may be a new phenomenon in SL, STEAM XII is the twelfth (Hence the “XIi” for those who flunked Roman numerals in second grade arithmetic.) celebration of all that this is steampunk inworld. 

STEAM XII is, as always, hosted by the Mayor of Mieville and impresario extraordinaire, Perryn Peterson

The Hunt is a Grid wide event with dozens of merchants, all personally and carefully selected by Perryn himself, offering as gifts to intrepid hunters the very best of their wares.  Several merchants run their own mini-Hunts which adds to the fun.  Two hundred and five spots have been reserved for merchants this year so expect lots of great gifts!

Hunters look for clues and try to find the gifts which are free.  Some hunters gather into hunt parties and go out together.

Let’s take a closer look at STEAM XII.

STEAM is an acronym which stands for “Steampunk Travelers’ Event, Adventure & Megahunt.”  (Rather to the point if I do say so myself!)  STEAM was once a semi-annual event but the effort behind an event of this scale as well as all the other social activities on Mieville’s calendar have necessitated going to an annual schedule.

The theme for this year’s Hunt is Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and this is the idea behind all the Hunt’s gifts.  (In case anyone is still unaware, I’m a big Jules Verne fan!)

This year’s poster has been done by a new artist, the talented Miss Unalunaqat. 

The Hunt begins at Laughing Gryphon House in the Mieville Victorian Doyle sim. 

From here, hunters launch out across the Grid in pursuit of their treasures.  There are over eighty-five stops to visit in this year’s Hunt.

This year’s contingent of merchants is varied with some back after a long time away, and others brand new, along with the regular, stalwart backbone of merchants. 

Brand new merchants are Johannes1977 Resident  of Mahlberg Tailors, and Loki Alphaville of Steamy Fox Labs.

Back after a long hiatus are Oriolus Oliva of The Golden Oriole, and Sidney Arctorof Arctor Shipyards. 

The gear (pictured) marks participating merchants and also contains their hint to help

find their gift.

Historical Hunts, Ltd., the sponsoring Mieville organization maintains a blog with Hunt details as well as pictures of gifts.  This blog is also a great resource for future Mieville activities.  Another helpful site can be found here.  Be sure to check them out!)

While you’re at it, why not join the Group?  A Historical Hunts, Ltd. group joiner is located at the first stop.  Just click it for instructions.  If you do not join the group, you will miss out on much information including updated notecards giving all of the locations and any current problems plus their solutions.

STEAM XII is a wonderful and fun filled community event in SL. 

It’s an opportunity to sample the wares of the creative merchants inworld and to meet and hang out with other residents. 

I strongly encourage all to participate and, if possible, to purchase some of the other merchandise offered by merchants in their shops.  After all, a strong SL economy is good for everyone. 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Great Challenge of every Hunt!

Namely to complete the Hunt in its entirety, including mini-Hunts, in record time!

Who’s up for it?

See you at STEAM XII!

STEAM XII runs from March 1st to 31st so don’t miss out! 

And, don’t forget!  You’ll be voting for your FAVE FIVE merchants at the end of the hunt, so take notes!

I’d like to thank Perryn for his time and assistance in helping me prepare for this story.   Perryn is one of my oldest and closest friends inworld and I’m grateful for the time he takes from his busy schedule to help me.

I’d also like to thank The Companion for supplying the pictures used in this story.  More pictures from her visit to Doyle can be found here. 

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

            Open roads and kind fires!



Where’s Home for You in Second Life?

By – webspelunker – My Travels Across Second Life. Visit Where’s Home for You in Second Life? for original post.

Home’s where you go when you run out of homes.

John le Carré  

In Second Life (SL), I’m a wanderer and explorer. 

I had hang outs for the longest time in the beginning but never a home where I could hang my hat.

But, then I finally broke down, purchased a Premium Membership inworld, and ended up with a home in a place called Nowaki.    
All this got me thinking, how many of you out there have a home in SL?

In Real Life (RL), most of us are familiar with the concept of a home. 

Some of us have one, some of us want one, and some of us reject having one. 

Some get tossed out of one.  (Contrary to popular belief in some quarters, I’ve never been tossed out of one.  Further, I’m not some stray who followed Significant Other home.)

Is a home in SL really all that different from one in RL?

Why do we even have homes?

Isn’t it a place to be found, to be part of a community, to decorate? 

(I love decorating my home for the Holidays.)

At the risk of sounding sexist, we get fed by our mothers.  (Yeah, believe it or not, I did have one.  Although, she did ask that I not bring it up in public.)

Then there’s privacy.  (That’s my story inworld, I got tired of hiding in the bushes when I changed outfits.) 

What have I noticed about having a home inworld?

I’ve become attached to my home in Nowaki.

(To my three loyal readers, not to worry, I’m still going to wander and explore!)

Decorating for the Holidays is fun!

I enjoy entertaining friends.  (Significant Other arches an eyebrow.)

But, a few other points about having a home in SL. 

A SL home doesn’t have to be a building (which costs Lindens). 

A SL home could simply be your favorite sim where you hang out with friends or by yourself. 

Or, maybe someone shares their home with you?

What about you?

Do you have a home inworld?

Are you alone or do you share it with someone else?

Is there a small town somewhere inworld that you call home?
Why or why not?

Please drop me a line and let me know!

If I get enough responses, then I’ll write a follow-up.

Or, better yet!

Invite me over and show me around! 

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

            Open roads and kind fires!



What Have You Been Doing in Second Life Lately?

By – webspelunker – My Travels Across Second Life. Visit What Have You Been Doing in Second Life Lately? for original post.

There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people.

G. K. Chesterton

OK, the title to this story is not a trick question!

(Significant Other appears doubtful.)

With the Big Thoughts of 2017 and Sansar’s anticipated arrival any year behind us now, with all the other excitement of Second Life (SL) and Real Life (RL) behind us now, what do you do to pass the time?   

What’s good, old fashioned, everyday life like inworld for you now?

Take me for example.

(Significant Other snickers.)

I’m always exploring inworld.
My perennial quest is for new places to visit, new friends to meet, and new experiences to have.

And, I’d be lying if I said life inworld for me was an unending, hectic series of adventures. 

Sometimes, a little boredom inworld is a good thing I find.

(Significant Other adds that this explains a lot about our real life together.)

What about you?

I’ve learned a few things about some of you so far.

(Not to worry, I’m not going to name names or other incriminating details.)

Some of you are there for the social life.  Dancing, attending live music events, or simply hanging out with friends.  A few just sit by themselves and take in the view.

Others are there for the technical aspects of SL.  Building things and challenging themselves to test the limits of what’s possible inworld.

Roleplay occupies some.

And, my list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention sex!

Starting to sound a lot like RL doesn’t it?

I’m beginning to believe that many of us, after the initial orgy (I choose this world deliberately) of excitement of being in SL, drift into habits not terribly dissimilar from what we do in RL.

Scary, huh?

Do you think so too?

How do you pass your time inworld in the most ordinary ways possible?

Please send me your thoughts and if I get enough replies then I’ll write a follow-up story.

Let’s not take advantage of my three loyal readers and get a few new respondents!

Look forward to receiving your replies! 

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

            Open roads and kind fires!



Helping Others in Second Life IX – A Progress Report

By – webspelunker – My Travels Across Second Life. Visit Helping Others in Second Life IX – A Progress Report for original post.

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.

Maya Angelou

As my three loyal readers know, I occasionally blog about a need someone has in Real Life (RL) and tell everyone how they can help in Second Life (SL) if they’re both willing and able to do so. 

Most of these are one-time requests and I don’t often get a lot of feedback on what happens.  (The last thing people in need should worry about is getting back to me!)

However, I’m happy to be able to give a progress report on one of these requests for assistance.

XMarieX (Marie) Fairport is a woman living with diabetes in RL.   
SL has become somewhere she can go to cope with the distress and chronic pain that this disease causes her. 

A while back, I blogged about her efforts to raise $ 15,000US to acquire a diabetic service dog from Diabetic Alert Dogs of America (DADA) to help improve the quality of her life and to potentially save it as well. 

Recently, Marie has cleared her first hurdle in acquiring her service dog.  She’s successfully raised the down payment for her dog (To be called Musketeer.) and is now number 23 on the waiting list with DADA. 

Approximatively six weeks from now, Marie’ll be on the top of the list and DADA will begin to look for her dog (already named Musketeer Puppy) according to her needs and

lifestyle that have already been communicated to them.

When Musketeer Puppy has been located, DADA will send Marie a scent kit.  She’ll provide scent samples (spit) of her low, normal and high blood sugar levels. The scent kit will be sent back and the samples will be used to train Musketeer. 

While all of this will be going on, Marie’ll receive weekly updates, photos, and videos that she’ll be sharing of what Musketeer has been successfully trained to do, what he is currently working on, field trips he’s taken and how he did.  Seems Musketeer will get to go to Target, Wal-Mart, restaurants, etc.

Sounds like Musketeer’s going to be a busy dog! 

Now, for the best part!

How can we help Marie get Musketeer?

Here’s how!

First, contributions can now be made directly to DADA!

At the bottom BLUE part of the page, second from the right, click on PAYMENTS.

 Click BUY NOW. 

In the description, type MUSKETEER PUPPY, enter an amount and continue.  Verify the payment type (credit card, debit card or PayPal) and know that your help is greatly appreciated by Marie and her family! 

(Important:  You must enter “MUSKETEER PUPPY” in the payment description, othe wise those funds will be “lost”). 

Donations can ALSO be made via L$ to XMarieX Fairport.  

Also to any Wells Fargo Bank, let them know you wish to donate to MUSKETEER THE DIABETIC ALERT DOG.

The down payment is just the first step!  Half of the remaining balance is due the end of October. 

How else can you help?

Not everyone can always afford to donate even if they want to.

But, you can help in other ways!

First, share this story with it’s links to your friends and ask them to help

Next, keep Marie and her family in your thoughts and prayers!  These do help!

I know other people’s thoughts and prayers have helped me in my life.  (Significant Other nods in agreement.)

Marie will be keeping all of us up to date with any new information about this life saving Service Dog at http://mariesdog.blogspot.com/

Be sure to check it out! 

I’ll also be doing another update as we get closer to knowing who Musketeer is! 

Marie would like to thank everyone who has contributed, shared her story, and prayed for her!

If you’re ever inworld when she is, give her a shout out!  She’d love to talk with you! 

Thanks in advance from me for whatever you decide to do!

I’d like to thank Marie for taking the time to chat with me about Musketeer and I wish her every success in her endeavors! 

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

            Open roads and kind fires!



Calm Before the Storm in Second Life?

By – webspelunker – My Travels Across Second Life. Visit Calm Before the Storm in Second Life? for original post.

I like these calm little moments before the storm, it reminds me of Beethoven.

Gary Oldman

  

We’ll well into the New Year! 

The Holidays have passed and, hopefully, the hangovers as well!

The first page has already been torn off the calendar.  (Yes, Significant Other warned me that I may be ridiculed for admitting to still using one of those but I do love Snoopy’s and Woodstock’s pictures every month.)

Now, we get back to the ordinary pace of life, whether it be in Second Life (SL) or

Real Life (RL). 

Which brings us up against the 800 pound gorilla in SL this year.

Sansar (Or, SL 2.0 as some of us used to call it.) may soon be upon us. 

Of course, we still don’t have an official launch date and according to Daniel Voyager’s recent poll, most respondents don’t expect Sansar to be released to the public until sometime in 2018.  (Hey, Linden Lab has never been too forthcoming about SL why should things change with Sansar?) 

A recent article from Wagner James Au on his exceptional blog about all things virtual, especially SL, New World Notes, got me thinking about one of my old concerns about Sansar. 

Au started by quoting longtime SL resident and Metaverse aficionado, Gwyneth Llewelyn, who believes that ultimately Linden Lab will have no choice but to push people into Sansar.  Yes, she says Linden Lab has promised not to close down SL but how realistic will that be and for how long?

Ever the optimist, Au outlines a scenario whereby increasing Premium SL subscriptions could offset falling private sim revenues to keep SL going indefinitely. 

As much as I respect and admire Au, and plug his blog whenever I can (If you don’t read it you really should.) I’m going to disagree with him here. 

Here’s why.

Sansar represents a fundamental shift in how we interact in virtual worlds.  And, yes, I understand that means we may have a lot less than what we enjoy today inworld. 

From a strictly business perspective (I freely admit I’m probably one of the least creative residents in SL but I do know something about debits and credits!)  Linden Lab will be facing a difficult choice.

Sansar will probably cannibalize the SL user base. 

SL is an aging infrastructure which will require a significant overhaul eventually.  (I

have to believe that given all the recent hacking scares that Linden Lab is pulling some long nights just to keep up currently.)  This isn’t a put down, every platform faces this moment sooner or later. 

As Au points point, private sim revenues are falling and, while increasing Premium subscriptions is a good idea, I don’t see Linden Lab running the promotions necessary to draw in new Premium subscribers.  Furthermore, would more Premium subscribers create more demand on a system that may be already struggling under its existing load?

So, does Linden Lab split its bets and double down or just play one hand?  (Significant Other always laughs when I try to use gambling analogies which is a big reason why I don’t gamble in RL.)

I suspect that Linden Lab will have to make some difficult choices sooner or later. 

And, all this assumes that Sansar is successful.  What if it isn’t?

All bets are off then in my opinion.

My overriding fear is that Sansar will lead to the elimination of SL. 

And, before everyone sends me comments about change is good, inevitable, and necessary, I get it!  (To the guy who sent me a link to Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, many thanks!  Please don’t resend because I already had a hard copy edition which I’ve read.)

Let’s talk about what we lose. 

Unless Linden Lab does something very creative, the investment of time and money people spent creating wondrous builds and everyday objects could be lost. 

If this were to happen, how willing would these folks be to sign on somewhere else and do it all over again?  Would this precedent hang over Sansar like a dark cloud and hinder its own vibrant growth?

What of the communities that have grown up in SL and may come to a sudden and

final end?  Will they become a diaspora like the folks from there.com? 

Not to end on a low note, I do have hopes for the future.

I want to see Sansar succeed and I want to see SL continue to grow and thrive.

These goals are not mutually exclusive, they can both coexist.

All they require is planning and effort.

Also, more transparency from Linden Lab wouldn’t hurt!

Speaking of whom, if anyone from Linden Lab would ever like to meet me inworld for an interview to tell their side of the story, I’d be happy to do so! 

Also, James Wagner Au is running a poll to see when respondents expect Linden Lab to push people over to Sansar.  Check it out here!   

Let’s see what happens with SL and Sansar, I have a feeling that this year will

answer a lot of our questions! 

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

            Open roads and kind fires!



Sex and the Single Avatar in Second Life XX – Revisiting BDSM in Second Life

By – webspelunker – My Travels Across Second Life. Visit Sex and the Single Avatar in Second Life XX – Revisiting BDSM in Second Life for original post.

 Right on the edge of fear was where trust could grow. 

Cherise Sinclair

Here’s a first for me!

Two back-to-back Sex and the Single Avatar in Second Life (SL) stories and both are both are about BDSM! 

(Significant Other gives me that look that says, “Don’t start getting any ideas!)

Actually, this coincidence says less about me and more about the vagaries of my editorial processes and the prevalence of the BDSM lifestyle inworld.  

In today’s story, I return to the Devilhand Castle of Carnal Pleasure, or as it’s now known as Devilhand City.  I’m also going to announce some exciting news about a joint project between Devilhand and myself.  More details in a moment!

Yes, not long after, I first visited Devilhand, there was a rebranding.  (What, did you think that only Real Life (RL) did things like this?)

So, now that the smoke and dust have settled over there in Devilhand, I dropped by recently to chat with the couple who run it, Amaterasu (“Ama”) Silvercloud and Steve.  Both are practicing members of the BDSM lifestyle inworld themselves.    

Where, once Devilhand was a magnificent castle brooding over the countryside hinting at all sorts of nastiness and mystery within, now it’s a gritty, urban area in the style of 1920s Chicago.  Instead of one imposing structure that draws visitors in, one now has a maze of streets, frightening alleys, and buildings bordering a lake patterned roughly after RL

Chicago.  (OK, I know I’m going to get a lot of flak from RL Chigagoeans that this is nothing like their beloved Chi-town.  All I have to say in reply is to use a little imagination please!) 

The film-noirish look and feel of the new Devilhand hints at Prohibition, the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, and all the other sins of that era.  The themes are mobsters, gangsters, and crime of all sorts.  As Ama says, “It was a wild time!” 

Naturally, BDSM is still woven into the fabric of the Devilhand community.  Wandering around town, one can find small places for quiet, intimate moments of bondage. 

So, why the switch from medieval to Twentieth Century America?

Seems that Devilhand was experiencing a steady decline in visitors over quite some time, and they realized that the competition with the Gorean and other medieval sims was just too difficult to compete with. 

Hence, the 1920s were born inworld! 

Steve also feels that there are endless possibilities, the medieval sim was quite

limiting for various reasons, and now he feels that they have opened it up. Himself, he’s looking forward to being able to explore the seedy private eye role in the sim. 

 Devilhand is open to all residents but would like visitors who are familiar with the basics of role play or at least will respect those who are role playing.  There is a preference for humanoid residents.  Devilhand would like to see participants as opposed to just tourists dropping by.  Ama likes to point out that there is more to Devilhand than just mobsters and gangsters, visitors should explore all parts of the town.

Speaking of exploring, Steve encourages visitors to not just rezz into the landing zone, walk two meters outside the building and then TP away.  Spend time getting to know Devilhand and its residents.  It’s well worth the time and effort! 

I’ve gone walkabout several times in Devilhand and I keep getting lost.  (We’ll ignore Significant Other’s comment about why should SL be any different from RL.)

There are many buildings, streets, entertainment venues (I did manage to find the

burlesque house!), and other dark corners that will keep drawing you back.  (Hey, did I mention that I have an office here too?)

Devilhand is also expanding their social calendar.  There will be events, parties, concerts, dances, balls, tribute concerts (already started), and the occasional mob hits. Check the recently launched Devilhand website for details!  

As for the future, Devilhand feels that they quite settled.  So, development of that base is next. They want to make things better and nicer, and find what people want and how they can build a stable user group. 

Oh, and remember the original Devilhand Castle?

Well, it seems that it was brought back by popular demand and can be found here. 

Also, Steve and Ama now have additional help in running Devilhand. 

Nightbud (“Night”) is the mayor and Phryne is in charge of public relations and the Devilhand website. 

I’d like to thank all of them for meeting with me recently and bringing me up to date on all that’s been happening in Devilhand!

Now, for that big announcement that I’d mentioned earlier.

I will be writing a series of six short stories based in the Devilhand world.  They’ll be fiction but will draw on the characters and locations in the sim.  There’ll be a few fictional

characters as well.  The only way my readers will be able to figure out who’s who is by visiting Devilhand!  (Yeah, sneaky, I know but it works!)  The stories will be edgy and different from what I normally write.  I hope you’ll like them!

They’ll be posted every other month on the Devilhand website which can be found here and on my blogroll. 

So, drop by and check out the new Devilhand!  You can find it here!   

Do stay for a while and get engaged!

Better, yet drop by my office and have a cup of coffee with me! 

For more pictures from Devilhand City check out this flickr page.

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

            Open roads and kind fires!



Sex and the Single Avatar in Second Life XIX – Visiting a New BDSM Club in Second Life

By – webspelunker – My Travels Across Second Life. Visit Sex and the Single Avatar in Second Life XIX – Visiting a New BDSM Club in Second Life for original post.

No one looks back on their life and remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep.

Anonymous

Recently, I learned of a new BDSM sim in Second Life (SL). 

(Significant Other wonders why I keep finding these places.)

This one has an interesting twist.  (No pun intended.)

Unlike many BDSM sites inworld which are cold, dank subterranean dungeons, this one is more like a Gold’s Gym with a club and beach resort thrown in.

Intrigued by the concept (Significant Other’s eyes roll and lips say, “What else is new?”) I make arrangements to visit the site and meet the owners. 

The BDSM resort is called Sands of SinnZ and is located here.   
The owners and managers are a couple called Holle von SinnZ and Racheal SinnZ.  And, yes, they are lovers, engaged, and soon to be married inworld.  More on this is in a moment!  In addition, Holle is Rach’s mistress.

Holle and Rach are both longtime residents in SL with interesting stories about how they came to be. 

Holle’s background goes back to avatars prior to her current avi. Holle is a character from a book she was working on at the time in Real Life (RL), and was never meant to get any real time, but Holle was jumping into this avi to write while inworld, and the more she was away from the RL sorrows of her former main avi, the more at peace she felt. So rightly or wrongly Holle stayed Holle.  But in time the emotional train wrecks of her and Rach’s lives came to head as most things do bringing them together.  However, Holle would do it all over again to be here with Rach today. 

Rach came into SL over eight years ago, when her late sister introduced her to it.    Back then it was a very different world in SL, she used to just hang around with friends and got to know a few good ones whom she joined with as family.  Rach has remained close friends with a few of them.  In her eight years, she has done a lot.  Rach has designed and built sim layouts, has built motorcycles, and run clubs.  She’s also done DJing and photography.  Yet, somehow, it started to all become the same until she met Holle who gave her a new life and kick started her SL experience again.  Hence, they are now a couple with this beach and club. 

Holle and Rach met in a BDSM club.  As Holle puts it, “I spotted her.  But I was like WOW she’s HOT!…2 secs later she [Rach] IMED me and it’s been Wild in love from there”

Meanwhile, Rach says that she was just wondering and thinking of leaving SL and

she stumbled across Holle at that club who became her mistress and fell in love with.  She knew then that Holle was the one she wanted to marry. 

Needless to say, there is a very strong sexual component to their relationship!

Holle and Rach have never met in person in RL. Their relationship is exclusively through SL. 

When it comes to the BDSM lifestyle in RL, Rach seems to be the more experienced of the couple with Holle has only “played” with BDSM in RL but admits to wanting to tie Rach up if they ever meet in RL.  Rach has offered to supply the rope. 

Holle and Rach decided to open the club for two reasons.

First, the beach was the core idea, a place open to explore the BDSM lifestyle.  Second, they both love clubs.  They started throwing parties here and there so it all sort of just clicked for them. 

Holles believes that SL does not complement the BDSM lifestyle very much.  Some BDSM places inworld have it right, while others don’t, Holle likes to think they offer a happy mix.  Rach been part of the BDSM lifestyle in RL says that SL doesn’t really complement it.  It’s a different lifestyle in her opinion but they do have points in common.

When discussing how their club differs from its competition, Rach explains that they offer the BDSM life on a open beach with the club as an extra attraction.  The club could be

said to be in many ways like the competition but Rach would like for anyone to find a more relaxing and enjoyable beach BDSM scene.

Holle says that all clubs are basically alike but there’s only one club that has Holle and Rach, and they are trying to bring a harmony of BDSM and club life together.  Adding that it’s not easy!

Rach notes that BDSM and their club are one here and are not separated as can be seen with the location of the play room next to the club’s dance floor. 

As for clientele, Rach states that it’s open for people to explore the BDSM lifestyle in the club environment either the beach scene or the urban scene. 

Holle says that as they build and find new styles, they will implant them discreetly each time adding new experience for guests.

Sands of Sinnz is not looking for any specific client types, such as dom/dommes, subs, slaves, or nudists.  All are welcome and Holle and Rach want to be home to all the above. 

Visitors can have sex in the open and are encouraged to find their own balance at the resort.  (Rach adds that they can’t say no when they do!) 

Holle explains that BDSM isn’t about sex only but that’s where SL and RL differ she feels. 

When asked about what are their ultimate goals for the club, Holle says that she’d

like to see it grow.  This is their love and soul, so of course she wants it to grow and live.  Their ultimate goal is for Sands to grow and the people coming here to return because they have found what Holle and Rach see in it. 

Holle and Rach have learned several lessons from this project so far.

Rach starts by saying having someone you love with you while building was a dream for her which gave me the inspiration to get on with it. 

Holle’s lesson is to have your key elements in place before you start as in money, people to help, and that’s the big one – “ASKing”for help.”

Keeping it simple to start and not throwing too many ideas into the cooking pot at once. 

I saved the most important question for last, “When’s the wedding?”

Holle and Rach are looking at some time in 2017 but they both say the wedding will be when the time is right.  Which is a great answer!

(If I get invited I promise that there’ll be a follow-up story!)

Sands of Sinnz is a comfortably sized facility catering to BDSM, nudists, and others who want a friendly, open environment to mingle with others or to be alone with a partner for more intimate moments. 

BDSM equipment is located in the play room next to club’s dance floor while individual BDSM pieces are located on small nearby islands for private practice. 

Holle and Rach hold events regularly at Sands from 2:00 to 8:00PM SLT every day with the best activities occurring on Mondays and Thursdays. 

Overall, Sands of Sinnz is a great place to go and have a good time inworld. 

It can be found here. 

The staff are friendly and welcoming and the other guests are well behaved. 

I recommend Sands of Sinnz for anyone curious about BDSM or who is just looking to have a good time with others!

Tell ‘em web sent you!

Who knows, you may find me hanging out there!

I’d like to thank Holle and Rach for taking the time for this interview and for showing me around.

I also want to wish them every happiness and good fortune in their lives together inworld!

Finally, thanks to The Companion for taking the pictures used in this story and that can also be found on this flickr page. 

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

            Open roads and kind fires!