Saturday, March 21, 2009

Return of the Fatale and A Little Speed

We all take hiatuses from SL from time to time. I think they are healthy and give you some perspective about what you like and don't like about being in world. I had my little sabbatical recently and feel 100% more happy with my SLife. But I am not the only one.

You see, dear friend Nexeus Fatale has returned to spin the Thursday Night Dance Par-tay. (I think I just like saying par-tay. I like the way it rolls off the tongue.) And I couldn't be happier about the move.

Last fall, DJ Tarsis and I concluded our regular gigs in world as new things were happing for the Alterntive Classix in RL that required more attention. That, and well, Tarsis wanted to have an actual life with his wife. ;) Me on the other hand, I was on sabbatical and had other responsibilities to which I had to attend. But, the decision ended not just our weekly Friday night gigs, but also our Wednesday night Bossa Nova Beach Party which, interestingly was not on a beach but at the high - Nexeus'old digs.

I went from three regular events to nothin. Nada. Zip. Zilch. And until Nexeus' return to the TNDP, I had no idea how much I missed it. I missed it so much in fact that when talking to Tarsis, he took the words out of my mouth when he said we needed to get back to SL and spin a party soon. This is when I did my happy dance. This looks a little like the snoopy dance but with elements of the Cha Cha Slide and a sort of Soldier Boy edginess. En pointe.

What was super cool is that when I returned to SL, I was essentially homeless and aquaintance GoSpeed Racer stepped up and gave me a landing spot to call home. So, a DJ's manager now resides at the home of Kona Radio. With two DJs. On the land of the idiosyncratic Crap Mariner. Needless to say, I've learned to keep my head down for incoming missles.

Speed, Rav and Crap have become quick friends. My mentoring has stepped up again. I am making gigs from time to time. I have managed to support a few friends in their SL efforts. I have rediscovered some of my long lost sarcasm. I even changed clothes a few times although I am still frustrated with the lack of really REALLY snazzy shoe styles in world. And I enjoy my time again in SL.

Here's to returns, alternate realities and a bright bright future!

Rails Bailey Saved my Second Life

Probably over a year ago, I reached one of those frustration points in a mentor's life that made me want to not just walk away from the program, but throw a lot of shoes at the program managers heads. Heavy shoes. With really pointy heels.

Working with some of my colleagues had become stressful because of a very small set of people who were unable to get along with the wider group culture. This caused Linden Labs to eventually (too late in my case) crack down with the "If you guys cannot play nice then we will take away the swing set privileges" threat. While I still disagree with the resulting rules, I do not offer blame as I am not sure I could have come up with a more viable solution (better yes, but better does not mean viable).

It was then that God brought a guy into my life who, frankly, no words can describe my gratefulness.

You see, Rails Bailey saved my mentoring job.

I love helping new folks out and I love digging around for answers. Am I good at it? Not really. Do I get frustrated navigating the wiki? Yep. Do I rely on my other mentors too much? Probably. But they are good people who put up with me. Rails is the avi who gave me a little perspective and offered me a mentor home with Mental Mentors. Not just a home but a place where I belong. And even better, he gave me time to calm my sorry butt down because I was HOPPING MAD.

One of the things I love about this guy is that he gives his knowledge away. Rails is not a political, power, or money hungry hack. He's the real deal. He loves SL. He loves mentoring and helping people. He is able to see what is really important. And he is wise enough to get the job done. His passion for mentoring is obvious - he receives no compensation for spending most of his time on mentoring projects. He is available to everyone. Period. No questions asked.

All that said, Happy Rez Day my friend. And thank you for saving my Second Life. And thank you for setting the example of the kind of mentor I hope to be.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Down with Adult Content!!!

Today, Linden Labs released their plans to address the issue of "adult content" in world. Three major steps make up this plan and include moving adult content to one area on the grid, creating a mechanism in search to filter out adult content, and the idea of toying with age verification for adult content access which may or may not include particularly bloody (or particularly violent) games.

Several bloggers have commented on this topic but two SL heavy hitters stand out to me: Nexeus Fatale and Crap Mariner.

Let me make this clear: I object!

I find it frustrating that people "need" someone to censor their behaviors. I have been in SL for a long while (two years in April) and never once have I voluntarily set foot inside a sex palace or any other place of "adult" content. (I must admit however that I was once sim hopping and accidentally landed in a Gorean sim and I also, at one point, stumbled into a rather risque position while shopping by sitting on a shower pose ball.) Despite these occurrences, for nearly two years I have self censored my travels and avoided all things "sex". I also firmly believe that while I may have an opinion about such things, not everyone agrees. Forcing my standards on another is disrespectful of their soul and right to make decisions and in no way inspires "better" behavior (as I see it). In fact, it instills in people resentment which often leads to more anger and more less desirable behaviors. Again, my personal opinion, one I realize in which a lot of people will disagree. They are entitled to their own and I respect their right to have it. (I just hope it is well thought out!)

Nexeus makes two excellent points about this: what exactly is "adult content" and what about privacy? LL has stated that only 2-4% of content on the mainland is classified as "adult". This is the content which we are discussing, not "mature" and not "PG" rated entities. I applaud efforts to reorganize certain content to one grid. And I am delighted that I might be able to soon filter my searches to keep out what I consider to be smut. I am also broken hearted when I think that theoretically, without verification, I would be unable to visit in the future many art galleries, sculpture gardens and other artistic expressions depending on how LL chooses to apply the new regs.


Censoring anything, which the age verification regulation will do, is a slippery slope. Make one change "for the good of all" (or to "protect" all or to "help" all) and the next change towards stricter rules is accomplished with much more ease and much less resistance. History tells us this is how fascism begins - making changes to "protect" us from ourselves and supposedly, others. It is because of this reason that I have VERY mixed feelings about the new verification standard.

Luckily LL is welcoming your two cents. Visit Upcoming Changes for Adult Content to weigh in.

What Mentors Do Behind the Scenes

The mystery of mentors behind the scenes is solved. This* is what we do when no one is looking.

Mentor 1: Did anyone get a notecard regarding Science week? Or is it just on the website?

Ribbons Whitfield: Oooo Science week! *Swooning*

Mentor 2: Science Week?

Mentor 1: Yes starting tomorrow through next week, got a notice in email from [insert emailer here]

Mentor 3: Part I - The Science of Cement and Baking

Ribbons Whitfield: Part II: Chemistry - blowing things up in the virtual kitchen

Mentor 2: Part III -- Baking and Setting Fenceposts: Keeping it Real

Mentor 2: oooh! I want to take the blowing up class!

Mentor 3: Part IV - Rock Candy - an Alternative to Gravel in Architecture

Mentor 3: Part V - Gingerbread Houses and Green Energy Construction - learn how cotton candy can increase the R value of your insulation

*Disclaimer: Mentors who wish their name to be included here, please contact me in world or via email and I will make the appropriate adjustment. Regards!