A perfect sea urchin

A Second Life

This area belongs to Iyoba, my favorite avie from Second Life and me. We share our thoughts here and discuss our adventures in the metaverse. To return to the main blog page, just click here.

A Much Needed Diversion

The One Who Thinks She Knows is hurting. I don't pretend to understand it all, but apparently, a very young One who may or may not have had an avie of his own died. This means his avie is stuck in the locker room under Second Life forever if he exists. I don't think this One had an avie though. According to my One or what I know she knows, most Ones don't have avies. Ones with avies are an exceptional breed, and good Ones with avies are a blessing. I guess that is a good thing. Avies don't really die. We just get stuck and stranded. That is not a happy thought, but that is the way it is.

I wept with my One last night when we visited the avie who likes to talk. His voice was broken. I sat and cried and cried. Then we made dresses. I don't have any pictures of those. My One wants me to narrate a photo shoot for her to make her feel better. This photo shoot is dedicated to Ben Chanin, the other One who died. I don't know what dying is, but it makes Ones very, very sad. Poor One Who Thinks She Knows, these pictures are for you, and for all the sad Ones out there in a place called Atlanta.

Iyoba pretends to run the storeThis is me sitting at a desk in a fancy store in either Hot or Fashion. The Something Regions are nothing but a big bunch of big box stores. I didn't like the clothes in the store at all. I am wearing the lionfish shirt that my One made for me. She said she dreamed of the shirt during Tish B'Av which is a holiday where all the Ones feel very sad for something that happened long ago. The Ones do not eat on Tish B'Av. I wish I understood more about stuff like this.

Close up of Iyoba sitting on the grass at night.The lighting in the Something Regions is very good. My One likes both closeups and night photography. I am sitting on the ground on a piece of land that is for rent.

Iyoba with Miz CatThis picture comes from Akiba, which is a Japanese sim, and my One took it near the Arare Cafe where we go to hear Japanese people talk late in the night. The big Siamese kitty is Miz Cat and she is one of my kitty friends. SBE Kitty also lives in Akiba, but I won't tell you where. My original Kitty Friend vanished when Hysteric Honey left Hakata, which is another Second Life island. I miss Kitty Friend. I am lucky that I have Goofy Kitty, the kitty friend, my One made for me. In this picture I am lying on Miz Cat's back and petting her. Her fur smells of outside. Yes, we avies have senses of smell and taste.

Iyoba in Utopia Portgual XXIIIMy One took this picture yesterday afternoon, after Second Life was down for a long time. I did not have time to change out of this gown. My One thinks this gown is a joke. I think I look quite elegant in chartreuse. The gown has a black orchid on it. That makes it even more elegant.

Iyoba dancing at Pacha HouseAnd this is the last picture in the set. It shows me dancing on the dance floor at Pacha House, which used to be a very busy house music club. Thsee days Pacha is closed for a kind of summer break. I was dancing by myself. The One wants lots of pcitures of Pacha House. She thinks that the club will disappear soon. By the way Anjuna club is gone. I went there a few days ago and there is now just an ordinary, shopping mall. That is very sad. I enjoyed the dancing. My One is getting quite talented at night photography, don't you think?

Iyoba Tarantal -- 7/30/10

Whither Pacha?

Pacha House aerial viewI knew the day would come. It may be here sooner than you think. Pacha has gone through at least one change of leadership and is now closed for break. From what I know about site fighting, breaks are deadly. Who can tell if Pacha will ever reopen. Some of the equipment is all ready missing though not in these photos. On your right is an aerial view of the club. It is an outdoor club. At the time I took this picture it was always night there. Now, it is permanent sunrise.

Pacha House DJ booth full viewPacha had/has a huge DJ booth. This is what it looked like. It is truely monumental. It also glowed. Maybe it still glows.

Close up of Pacha DJ boothThis is a close up of the DJ booth. You can see all the tip panels. They are called tip jars even though they don't look like jars. There are also old fashioned turn tables. There were boxes of LP's in an older version of the booth, but they were gone. There are also sometimes computers and MP3 players in some DJ booths. Most DJ booths are a mixture of retro and modern. Nostalgia is one of the most potent kinds of fantasy.

the Pacha dance ballThis is one of the Pacha dance balls. It is supposed to be the male dance ball, but the dances on it are/were generally better and more respectful. The dance ball really sparkles like a 1970's mirror ball. Remember what I said about nostalgia.

I'm glad I have these images as a testament to Pacha House' existence. The landscape in Second Life can vanish in the blink of an eye. Now there is a piece of it frozen in time. That is all I have to say. I am not really up to saying more.

Eileen H. Kramer -- 7/30/10

Just When My Back Was Turned

Last night, my modem behaved. That was good because it was one of those nights. I haven't had a session like this on Second Life in a while. It started out rather pleasantly. Iyoba complains that she doesn't swim enough. She loves the water, so we bushwacked our way to some water on the mainland, in the region of Quentin, on the Samsara, the old continent and swam until we hit a dead end. Then we were able to bushwack a bit further on foot. Iyoba swam near the bottom of the river. It was featureless, but there is something different swimming over rough ground then walking on it. The underwater world of Second Life is all chasms. I photographed Iyoba swimming. I may publish the photos on here. I have the paid version of the Swimmer from Siggy's Waterworks. It is one of the best purchases I ever made.

Then it was time to visit the converstional guru. We had a gentle argument about how to tell if a club was active. I have to make him a poster for dance island. The texture they use for their landmark stinks. I still think some sort of a graphic schedule blurb on the bottoms of posters could solve things. Face it, mot clubs can't be open twenty-four/seven. Dance Island is an exception. Most clubs are open when they can get DJ's and hosts. That means early evening to early morning in the management and employees' time zone. I stopped going to Jappie's Hangaplex because it ran in the mid afternoon to early evening on the east coast. Five hours time zone difference just made it inconvenient. Likewise, I dropped a very nice club ecause it never opened before 1am on the East Coast. The clubs were both fairly active, though I'm not sure either of them exist right now.

Then I signed off. I wanted to take it easy with the load my computer was carrying and I had some other work to do. I logged back in and went to a sandbox to make a dress and finish working on the short version of another one. Then I was ready to show off my new club dress. I saw Club XxesS was open. They have moved to Sunset Creek and no longer are part of someone's eleven island real estate nightmare. The build on Hedonism Island and its chain of islands was gorgeous. I hope the tennants did not get ripped off at the end. Club XxesS speaks English. I had had a good time there before. Sometimes they play too many oldies, but I am trying to invest more in Iyoba and me Second Life social life.

Also, Pacha House did not have a DJ. I have some photos of empty Pacha. I'm glad I have them. I've noticed the management leaves the lights on (permanent sunrise) at Pacha. That is much better. Off I went to Club XxesS. The music was a bit raunchy but fun. It was mostly women dancing. Someone commented that they liked my moves. I thought that was strange, since I was just using the dance ball. I sometimes use one of my own dances, but the dance ball rezzed. I said to thank the club owners. It was their dance ball. Then the conversation shifted and one of the patrons called another a whore. She insisted she was a lesbian. The other patron insisted the so-called whore was dressed for the part. I thought this was sixth grade bullsh*t, except the bullsh*t came complete with curses and I could feel the ugly reverberate through the computer.

All I could think of was STUPID. Slutwear is rampant and Second Life, and a lot of people feel comfortable letting their avies run around wearing it. People make clothes, and do it less than skillfully. People love black. People love pink. People love chartreuse. Insulting any one because of their clothes is really dumb.

It's even dumber to call any one in Second Life a whore. There are whores in Second Life. They hang out at escort clubs, primarily on Zindra or on private islands zoned ADULT when they are working and wherever they please when they are not working. If one is a prostitute in Second Life, one usually is fairly open about it and proud of it. Moreover, why should prostitutes in Second Life dress in any particular way? Just as in the real world, you can't tell a prostitute (except for a low class street walker) by her clothes. If I were going to run a whore house in Second Life that appealed to my father and my late paternal grandfather (My other grandfather died before I was born), the women would surely not dress in slutwear. In fact, they would wear either lovely short dresses (knee length roughly) with jackets or elegant twin sets and sensible shoes, in a variety of pretty colors, but not all black, and maybe not scarlet. There would be a subuded living room/bar/dance area to meet the ladies, and then after some couple dancing, they and their "dates" would go off to the assignation rooms, no poles, no porn, all very 1950's, polite, and classy, nothing to frighten or upset the customers, and everything to make them feel well cared for and have their ego stroked by being in elegant and absolutely safe surroundings with beautiful women. I'm sure such whore houses exist in Second Life.

Well I needed what in Second Life parlance is called a bio break. I returned to the computer to hear more cussing and learn a club goer had been ejected and banned for starting the fight, but the victim wanted to finish it. There was still a fair amount of cursing. Slowly I came to my senses. Iyoba was not happy either. This was clearly a place that neither of us belonged. I took the first teleport out that was in my pile of instant messages. This got us to a shopping mall. From there we teleported to Afrodite XVI where DJ Bond Putzo (It's a good thing he doesn't know Yiddish. How did that name ever make it into the mix?) spun the tunes, and the conversation sounded respectable.

Will Iyoba and I go back to Club XxesS? We might. Different DJ's, hosts, and customers work the place different nights, so the ambiance can change. This could have been just a bad night. I regret that we did not go to Akiba to listen to the Japanese talk business. Iyoba wanted to dance though and I wanted to go clubbing. In a world based on fantasy where all of us are addicts (Any one who pays $13.00/month for a tiny sliver of virtual land is...) most residents are on some level not quite sane. Put another way, the landscape of Second Life is a playground full of broken needles. Addicts are selfish people and selfish people are good at hurting eachother. Sorry, I learned this when Iyoba walked Gaeta and hit f-you building and ban lines, or when she got shot at in the land off of snow country in Samsara. I've known it for a long time. I just need to be reminded.

Schandenfreude Update

Could this be it for Pacha? I hardly ever see Zizo or Sally Johnstone there. There was a rift in the organization, and Dee Footman and a couple of others run the place. The lights are on now, but the notices have been far sparser in the last week. Tier for the island comes due the end of the month. I will miss the place. It turned out to be a super club. It wasn't Zizo's club. It was all the DJ's and hosts' club. I hope it is not really going to close.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal -- 7/23/10

Just When it is Going Pretty Well...

I fought the battle of the modem and intermittent net drops last night. I tried recabling, turning the modem on and off, rebooting, and various combinations of the above, and the computer still dropped its connection to the web unpredictably. I'm hoping this clears up by itself because it seemed to come and go pretty much no matter what I did. My provider's technical support is good when you finally reach them. By good I mean competent. Waiting thirty minutes to have a call answered is not great, and intermittents are notoriously hard to fix. I'm thinking turning everything, including the modem off and giving it a fifteen minute rest might cure my problems.

I certainly hope so, because tonight is "social night" on Second Life. I get to bask in conversational glow, and hopefully head down to Pacha for some dancing and conversation. Yes, it takes work. That doesn't surprise me. This is not Second Life's fault. There is no one being mean to me. Sometimes I also need to be anti-social or build. I understand all of that.

Still, I've actually done more in the last few days to build something resembling a social life in Second Life than I've done in a while. Some of it comes from unwanted directions. I can't do much for job hunters. They make me sad. I can't discuss all of it here. I'm just lucky to be older and established. I don't deserve to be as lucky as I am, because you have no control over when you were born or the state of the economy when you entered your profession. Still there are job hunters who talk to me as if I were a bar tender. I listen and it hurts. It huts because all the job hunters wear brave faces. This is something I could only manage badly. I have way too good an idea what goes on under the brave faces. Also, all but a few job hunters self-sabotage. This isn't because they are bad job hunters or have anything wrong with them. It is because the job hunt is a Rube Goldberg machine and it's way too easy to knock the mechanism out of whack. Put another way nobody is perfect, yet employers expect perfection. Eventually if they are functional they hire one of the qualified candidates that they interview, but not before they have screened out a lot of people or maybe reopened a search or two.

I've been a successful job hunter three times in my career, and hunted numerous times for nonprofessional work with varying results. I still don't really know how it works. I'm not sure anybody does.

Sometimes it is just easier to go to a loud club. Even in loud clubs people can talk. Most avatarim who want to dance are females. This should not surprise anyone including the guys. This is especially true of clubs where the language is respectable. If the language gets ugly, I will leave. Canned pornographic gestures do get old. Canned dirty jokes get old but not quite as quickly. Chat spam is just noise, but it is fine with me. Big items that bop an avie on the head are downers are are soft dance floors. Still, at English speaking clubs, people do occasionally talk. The small talk combined with good, very new music, sounds refreshing. That it takes so much work to get all the pleasant, social pieces to fall together still amazes me, but it's a fact of Second Life.

The other way to become more social in Second Life is do business. This can be hit or miss, but I have become friends with my landlord. He also manages a club and some music streams. He is one of those with fingers in a lot of pies. He can speak English as well as Portuguese. I'm glad I rented from him. It is a relief that I still have a place for Stinky Stinky. I still find it weird that I enjoy talking to my landlord. I like my apartment manager in real life and got along well with my landlady in Columbus for most of the time I rented there. I've also had a landlord in real life try to evict me. Befriending a landlord is a strange thing to do, but in Second Life the exchange of money often strengthens a friendship rather than poisons it. I'm not sure why this is. It may have something to do with trust and a market economy without the force of a small claims court. You have to like the people you do business with. This is why one of the old rules was that newbies should not invest in land for thirty days. Thirty days is not enough time, but mainland is a safe bet. Renting somewhere and then finding the island gone, is bad news. Getting ripped off is ugly beyond words. Good financial transactions though have a sweetness to them, that is lost in the real world where everything is impersonal and often done by machine. Think about it next time you use the self check out in a supermarket or withdraw cash from an ATM. Customers do not have to know their merchants. Customers have complete faith in whatever product they buy (If it's a calabazza, it's a calabazza. If it's peanut butter, I can open it up and not find it full of cockroaches and nails.) If I order something, I am very sure, it will be delievered and look like the picture shown on the web site.

None of those safeguards exist in Second Life. Landlords abscond. Merchandise deliveries fail, and stories abound of any variety of land or merchandise scams. Without consumer protection, the old fashioned world of trust (Is this the nineteenth or eighteenth century or even earlier?) emerges. It is a world that clearly has vanished from living memory in the United States. It feels strange to rediscover it in a place like Second Life.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal 7/22/10

An Exception that Proves the Rule and Why I'm not Disappointed Most of the Time

Last night, Second Life, was wonderfully social in a good way. Now an outsider would think it was that way every night, but an outsider knows neither Second Life, nor me. First, most of Second Life is empty. This dismays outsiders and even newbies. The reasons for it are relatively obvious. Most builders rezz high prim prefabs (buildings that require a lot space because they require a lot of parts.) Second Life parcels out space by the prim. Land is expensive, but most people don't build economically so need a lot of space. Since most people are on at most a few hours a day, most built up land lies empty.

Worse yet, enough people (and it doesn't take very many) build rudely that if there are too many property owners in close proximity, Second Life on the mainland away from the roads becomes unwalkable. By building rudely, I do not mean crude or garish structures. Those are annoying perhaps but they pose no danger to avatarim or Ones Who Think They Know like me. A rude builder puts up obstructing junlge walls, ban lines, security orbs or just blocks movement by building to the very edge of his/her plot. Second Life needs to keep density down to stay walkable.

The second reason Second Life is mainly nonsocial is me. I spent my first year inworld with abysmal connections. I still bought land and made stuff. I guess that is evidence of the strength of my attachment to Second Life. What I could not do was communicate. I could often read chat but could not write it. It mattered little what sort of music people played in clubs or what language they spoke. I could not converse meaningfully anyway. I ended up making deep inroads and eventually renting land in the nonEnglish speaking parts of Second Life. I have a machine translator now. I can talk, but time zones and language barriers are still there.

Worse still, there are only twenty-four hours in the day. I need to work, eat, sleep, have other online obligations, have religious obligations, want to cook good meals, write this blog, instigate several Facebook groups, and you get the idea. Second Life often gets second priority. That it gets any priority at all is wonderful. I am often tired and downriguht anti-social when I come in world. I often have something cooking in the kitchen, a bus to catch, etc... If I'm not willing to give others reasonably full attention, why should I expect it from them?

Last but not least, there are times when I am just plain anti-social. Sometimes I want sandbox time and it is hard to build and talk at the same time, but building is fun. Not all fun is social. Sometimes I am anti-social and just want to go for a walk. Exploring and bushwhacking are fun and great when I don't feel social. The same can be said for swimming or skiing. Of course if I'm anti-social, I can't blame any one else or even Linden Labs for the fact that my social life in Second Life is hit or miss.

I've never really learned the etiquette. I'm afraid to disturb people wtih instant messages. I've been badgered enough by my Brazilian groups that I'm not sure how many instant messages are polite. The badgering has turned me gun shy.

Therefore, when Second Life becomes social and friendly and I'm not too dead tired to appreciate it, I get very pleasantly surprised. It happened last night. First, I started off at office hours of a luminary who likes to chat endlessly. He's there to give help, but mostly he likes to talk. I can hear him and respond in text. He has an interesting Texas drawl and some interesting ideas.

There were five of us basking in the conversational glow. Then I was at loose ends for a while. Iyoba and I went dancing and went walking to the new WHS-WHE BOCES island at the eastern end of the Info Island archipelago. Then we decided to check out Pacha. We hadn't heard anything from Pacha House all evening. Pacha looked deserted. I got ready to take pictures of it because I want them in case it ever disappears or rather when it disappears. Then we saw the DJ. He was the only one there, and he was ready to start his show. His name was Balena Flux and he spoke reasonable English. He was an excellent DJ playing very emotional and very respectable house music.

Iyoba danced. Later she danced synchronized with the DJ. Watching my avie dance synchronized with others reminded me of a club that no longer exists. It is called Japie's Hangpleck and it was in the Dutch part of Second Life. All the avatarim there were well dressed. I was and still am learning to make clothes. I used to compare Iyoba and aspire to have her look as good as all the other avatrim. Last night at Pacha, Iyoba's dress was every bit as well tailored, and I think her shoes were nicer.

I chatted with the DJ about the spotty attendance. I checked Second Life's grid status, weather reports, the forum for any sign of trouble. There was nothing. Then I tried to bring people to the club. We survived one crash somewhere in the bowels of the internet that wiped everyone's avie out of the club but Iyoba and the DJ. She called people back using instant message. We danced synchronized until 1am. We talked about where we came from which is always what you do in Second Life if you can talk. There are sevral Pacha regulars who are also from Georgia. We can talk shop any day of the week. I'm not srue of DJ Balena Flux' location. I do know that I'd like to hear him DJ again and I'm going to stick with Pacha and try and be more social. After all, I really don't have cause to complain.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal -- 7/16/10

Viewer 2.1 Beta is Here

Thinkerer Melville recommended that I try Viewer 2.1 Beta. After he told me it was a release candidate I tried it. Boy was I pleasantly surprised. The movement controls now include jump and sidestep. I put in a Jira over the missing jump and was told that I was being dumb. Well somebody listened to a dummy like me. The camera no longer slides like its on greased lightening. This makes buiding a whole order of magnitude easier. Unfortunately, some sculpties still render as transparent when an avie moves fast and you are not close by her. I've kind of made a workaround for this. I can line hair pieces with a nonsculptie prim. I have a very nice, tight, skullcap base I can use for this. Can't you tell I want to make more hair.

Iyoba would love to be upstairs and inworld right now and I'd love to be inworld with her, but right now I have writing to do in any number of places, errands to run, and face it there are not enough hours in the day. I have an idea for some new projects, but I am awake and alert enough to think in words instead of images so right now Second Life takes Second Place.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of telling a fellow Second Life member, a Russian DJ whose name I can not pronounce, about Viewer 2.1. His friends learned and slowly the fame will spread. With improvements like this and a more stable platform, Second Life is clearly not on the way out. I've been on services that degraded to death. Second Life is not doing this. That is pretty much the end of the story which leaves me cautiously optimistic. I am cautious because playing on any one else' machine always leaves you sad in the end even when you are a paying customer.

Eileen H. Kramer 7/11/10

Filling an Empty Sim in Two Voices

The One Who Thinks She Knows was going to take me to tour NMC Orientation so we could both see where I was born again and make sure it hadn't changed too much. It hadn't. As part of the tour, the One insisted on looking at the World Map for the NMC archipelago, and that was when she went all crazy. The island was called South Hill, but she knew what that meant. She had lived on Hillview Place during 1985, which for me is an impossibly long time ago, but not for her apparently. She even said the street layout, which you can see on a world map in my world looked utterly familiar. She knew this place! She remembered this place! She wanted to turn back time and visit this place! Oh my poor One Who Thinks She Knows was almost crying.

Cornell for real! It was truely amazing. Cornell! I had found Cornell! True, it was hidden by a code word, but anyone who had ever lived in Ithaca for any time would recognize the sim. Cornell, my alma mater, is a hidden presence in Second Life. There is no Cornell sim. Cornell contributes to Rockcliff and Metanomics and something on the teen grid which is locked down tighter than (use your imagination to avoid a cliche). It just made sense that Cornell would hide its sim behind a code word, but I saw right through the code!

View from the top fo the hill South Hill is well..hilly. This is the view from the top of the hill. The One Who Thinks She Knows thinks the is the most beautiful place in Second Life. She says that even though they don't have all the street names right (She lived between Aurora St. and Hudson St. in 1984/85.) this sim looks like Ithaca, and also like Utica and parts of Syracuse. The houses are the right colors. The leaves turning brown are a perfect imiatation of autumn. With the sky editor set to a custom bright but overcast atmosphere...let's just say it is a pity to hear a One Who Thinks He/She Knows cry. Oh my poor One.

Iyoba and I explored most of what its hidden creators call "Very Polluted Ithaca" I have no memory of Ithaca being polluted, though National Cash Registor and one other factory used to be on South Hill, and there is Ithaca Gun on Fall Creek. Iyoba got to enter the storm sewers via virtual Six Mile Creek, which by the way is cleaner than Fall Creek. We tried to get in the factory called Morgan Chain (I think it's a fictitious composite) but couldn't. Morgan Chain looks like the Dewitt Mall, but there are no stores there and no way inside that we could find.

Iyoba by the sandbox In fact, there is not much to do in South Hill at all. There are no stores. The one house that I toured was just empty unfiinished plywood inside like a stage set. Most of the houses don't have doors that open. You can stand on the porches but that is it. There are no stores, and the only freebies are ready made avatar skins and clothes for some kind of role play. There is also access to documents about pollution clean up. Any one not in the class, sees only this.

The island also has a sandbox, but we can't use it. Only members of Very Polluted Ithaca, a small or maybe hidden group, whom the One thinks are members of a class can use the sandbox. Still, the One made me a texture dress using the sandbox. I don't have a picture of myself wearing it yet and we made it on a later trip. The One says there is a way she can make me a hair piece using the sandbox. She is VERY DETERMINED to build in Ithaca.

Iyoba at the corner of Hillview Place This is not my Hillview Place and clearly not my Ithaca. Someone has designed this sim with the intention of giving outsiders absolutely nothing except in my case, nostalgia. I think this build ranks as one of the most beautiful in Second Life, but once one knows the streets, it is good for little beyond a photo shoot. It will not surprise me if I find the island closed to the public come fall.

In a way this is a shame. Harvard's Law School makes its sandbox available at Berkman. Georgia Tech has a sandbox at IST. Countless Universities maintain museums and libraries available to everyone. Seeing the lovely (and it is fantastically lovely!) but locked down Cornell sim reminds me why as an alumni I give money to Syracuse where I earned my masters rather than to Cornell. Travelling the South Hill sim reminded me of how Cornell gave me no library privileges besides letting me in the building after I graduated. Syracuse by contrast, handed all alumni free courtesy cards. This kind of treatment means a lot when you are a grad without a lot of money. I can see that in the twenty-six years since I graduated, not much has changed.

I wish the departments (and given Cornell it's probably several departments because Cornell is a very decentralized operation) that run South Hill, would realize there are alum on the grid and having a Cornell sim, might just make us loosen the purse strings and revise our impression of how the university treats those who are not rich.

Iyoba Tarantal and Eileen H. Kramer -- 7/7/10

Other People and Avatarim Talking

Sometimes if I am up late enough at night, Iyoba and I head over to the Arare Cafe in Akiba. We can always find a place to sit. Other SL users like to be off in their own hideaways. The Japanese get a "third place" right. Their cafes are places where they sit and talk. Iyoba has a Metanomics Translator. It is free and it thoroughly mangles the Japanese language. It probably mangles my English as well. The translations of Japanese come out like telegraphic English. It is interesting to read this stuff any way. It is interesting to see the cultural and linguistic differences, many of which I've always taken for granted.

First, the English language constantly points. Particular items and individuals and what belongs to whom is VERY IMPORTANT. "The cat washed her coat," is a typical English sentence. Even better, English has the amazing sharp shot of an apositive. "Lyistrata, my female kitty, washed Hertzel, my mail kitty's, coat." Cats don't always wash their own coats after all, but with English it is terribly important to state which cat washed what coat. The Japanese don't do that. Their telegraphic English comes stripped of all pointing words and often without the right references to make sense of who is doing what to whom.

I thought that was the only difference, but now I hear other differences. These are more cultural. I listened to the Japanese at Arare talk business and economics. Americans may lament when the stock market goes down, or talk about saving for a home, and occasionally, a few talk investments, but most often when Americans talk about the economy, they talk about jobs and who they know who is currently uenmployed, laid off, has suffered a cut in hours, or had to take furlough days, which in some places are called give backs. It is said that each unemployed person effects twelve people around him or her. I believe that.

The Japanese, by contrast, always talk investments and never about who they know is out of work, job hunting, laid off etc... It took a while for this glaring absence to hit home. Could it be that unemployment, even through no fault of one's own, carries a stigma that it does not in the United States, or is it considered not fit for public discussion for some other reason, much the way we used to feel about disease.

By the way, illness is something I almost never hear discussed at Arare. I never even hear about young people's medical issues: sports injuries, bedrest for pregnancy, pregnancy, acne, rashes, sore throats etc... I don't hear about caregiving. Maybe the ones who caregive don't get on Second Life, but usually online late night or early morning recreation goes well with caring for an invalid since one is home at odd times and going out can be inconvenient. There are no sick pets in the Arare conversation either.

And you can forget mental illness. I think the old fashioned stigma really does apply there too. This is very different from my own generation of Americans and the one that after it.

I'm not sure what to make of all this. It's just good to remember and to see in action that different people and different ethnic groups do things differently.

I also have to deal with a group that unceremoniously booted me out. I'm not sure why they did this. I always complain when something like this happens. Sometimes the group owner explains that the group dissolved. Since I was not around enough to fight with any one this is probably the case with Music with More Muscles. At least I hope that's the case.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal -- 7/6/10

What I want for a Change II

Dear Iyoba,

I miss you. Go back to sleep and dream pleasant dreams. Go down to the cafeteria and get some real food. I know that's the only place avatarim can get something to eat. I think the flowering tobacco dress is a great idea. I think a chard dress would also be fun. It's time for a conventionally shaped chard gown. I know you have a bok-choi gown but a chard one makes a nice compliment. You also have a cabbage dress. It's amazing how vegetables make great themes for clothes.

When I get a chance, I'll sit down with GIMP and draw what my muse gives me. Then we'll set a time to build the dress. It probably won't be down at NMC though. The area has lag problems even though it is friendly and civilized. That doesn't mean we can't tour NMC. I was unnerved to see those drums relocated. I wonder what else has been moved. I hope that nothing is behind ban lines. We know enough idiots and jerks who build with those. In Viewer 2 they look like pieces of crime scene tape. That is no improvement. They still expletive deleted.

I'd also like to take a walk through two sets of Japanese sims. I too feel anti-social, though I'm weirdly in the mood for a photo shoot. I know we have to reshuffle the groups and find a better way to organize inventory. My inworld time is more limited than I like. I think this is true of most users. We can't be Mark S. Meadows. I'm not even sure what a four hour jag in Second Life would feel like. There is always the end of lunch break, a bus to catch, an errand to run. Second Life may be first in my heart, but it gets second priority in the schedule that rules my life. I may be One Who Knows, but I am not God Almighty and I have yet to create a twenty-five hour day so we can have more time.

I will try to work on your dress though.

Eileen H. Kramer -- 7/1/110

What I Want for a Change

Dear One Who Thinks She Knows

I'm stuck down in the avies' locker room twiddling my little brown thumbs for a change. I've got some serious grievances against you, and they're not what you think. You only think you know, got that? First, I want a new dress. Yes, I have three other dress patterns in the pipeline, but this is something we both really like. I want a flowering tobacco dress. I know you can make the pattern for me because you have access to graphics software. I know you know how to draw tobacco. Is that job of yours and your face book really so great?

After we get done with the dress, I also want to take a walk or go for a long swim. The music and some of those anti-social clubs with all the cussing and the cut and paste remarks get to me. Those things are cussing by another name and they're boring.

What I think I really want is to do is go back to NMC where I was born. Remember how last night we saw they had moved the drum set into the conference building out where I fell in the water. I always fall in the water. I'm used to it. I didn't care, but there was something very unsettling about seeing the elven drums in the conference building. I remember playing those drums even when you said our computer connection You don't want me cussing on this blog do you but the word starts with s and just use your imagination.

I also got to jump over lots of stone walls. I was a very young avi. I had weirdly braided texture hair and a shirt you made for me and pants you made for me. I had caucasian skin though it was olive. Now I have my real skin, but I still love it when you make clothes for me and the way you always look for designs. We got our pose ball instructions at NMC and I remember struggling to ride the trolley. I remember falling in the water and even finding the end of the world. Neither of us knew that the landmark to Nova Albion was my official home. We both considered my real home was at NMC and later at Wengens.

I remember how worried you were that the Nova Albion landmark had been given me by someone who did not have my best interests at heart and if we went there, people would cuss at us, insult us, and do mean things. You said they would haze us. It never happened, but the info hub was full of softpots and I got trapped under the sidewalk countless times and fell into the river even more often. That was befor I even had a crummy free swimmer.

Anyway, I need my new dress and a trip back to NMC. Please get busy with that graphics software and I'm looking forward to that long walk in not quite familiar country.

Iyoba Tarantal -- 7/1/10