Saturday, December 20, 2008

Adventures in Second Life

In the spirit of Lady Godiva, Alastriona and Wilder (Trent's alternate avatar) went horseback riding in the nude. I must say, even in a virtual world, that was quite liberating and fun. An advantage to riding nude in a virtual world is that one doesn't have to worry about such things as chafing or, worse yet, an arrest for indecent exposure.

When we got stuck at the top of the castle, (see pic) we simply flew our horses down to the bottom of the mountain. That's not exactly something one can do in real life.

My virtual friends and I find ourselves envious of the advantages of our avatars quite often. When one got separated from his wife in a throng of mall Christmas shoppers, he yelled out "Just tp me!" In SL, tp is short for teleport. She, of course, had no idea what he meant.

In the other picture, Wilder and I are dancing at Sinatra Falls, a favorite dance spot, where they play the great crooners...Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Nat King Cole, to name a few. It's just one of a few great places that Trent found in his explorations. For those unfamiliar with Second Life, the pink and blue balls in the background are poseballs, which animate the avatars to dance, have sex, and sit/lie in various positions.

I mentioned in my first post that I would explain SL sex. As with real life sex, there are many variations, according to preference. The avatars hop on the poseballs and enter into their own virtual state of bliss, complete with multiple positions and even facial expressions. The avatar owners can simply watch and enjoy or interact with each other through chat as in cyber sex or, for the bold, voice chat, which is much like phone sex, with the addition of visual stimuli.

I've heard a group of men polled on SL rated the sex here as ten times better than the best porn they'd seen. I suppose the advantage to SL sex is that you get the visual with the bonus of a real person on the other end. If you're fortunate enough to interact with an intelligent person who has an incredible imagination, then you are in for a highly stimulating experience. The possibilities are endless. There are poseballs for threesomes, foursomes, orgies, lesbians, and gays. A common theme on SL is BDSM. One only has to go to Xcite (a popular sexual animation shop) to hear various Master/slave fantasies being played out, as avatars shop for genitalia. I'm not sure I've been in there without witnessing a submissive/slave attempting to please their Dom/Master.

Now this is one area where real life has the advantage. In the real world, most of us come equipped with our sexual parts and have no need to shop for them. We are also most thankful, in the real world, that men don't have to attach their sexual organs before the act. Of course, the advantage in a virtual world is the absence of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. No condoms are needed there.

Everyone is different when it comes to sexual preferences, but I've found that I prefer getting to know the person behind the avatar before hopping onto a poseball with them. Just like her owner, Alastriona lost her virginity with a relative stranger, out of sheer curiosity but she wishes she'd waited to share it with someone more special.:)

More than once, I've found that Second Life can be a mirror to my real life experiences. That is why one must treat this as more than simply a game. As I've said before, the experiences here can be powerful. Be careful how you treat others and, most importantly, yourself in this amazing virtual world.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Exploring Second Life Again

So now that I'm a free spirit again, I've taken to exploring the lovely and fascinating creations of others in SL. For those unfamiliar with this virtual world, everything you see in SL has been created by a member of SL. The realistic scenery and attention to detail never fails to leave me astounded. I understand only the basics of computers, and seeing that someone had added scripts and graphics to a round ball that will make one's avatar dance in a realistic and enviable manner is something I still haven't tired of.

Just as in real life, many of my friends in SL are male. I enjoy their energy, masculine viewpoints, and yes...attention. Most of them, when they discover that a woman has been hurt, will make more than a valiant effort to erase that hurt.

The first person I thought of to cheer Alastriona was Trent, a friendly, intelligent, humorous, and sometimes impish guy I met through another avatar I'd created. We met while lying on camping towels on the beach. Camping items in SL are designed to help one make lindens, though at a relatively low rate. Most pay a couple of lindens per 10-30 minutes spent on them. Most also require that you stay with your avatar in order to stay on them and that can get quite boring without someone to chat with. Trent and I chatted at length, until we got kicked off of the towels without pay. We later learned that this particular Sim had disappeared. SL is ever-changing, which is a bonus for explorers.

After that I went back to Alastriona, my original avatar, but I missed Trent. When I came across him in the coffee shop I frequented, I introduced him to Alastriona and we've been great friends since.

So last Sunday, he took me exploring again, something we did often before I got so serious with Eli. Trent is, without a doubt, an explorer on SL and he finds the most amazing places. On Sunday, we went to an underwater maze and dressed as mermaid and merman. We swam the maze, getting lost more than once and marvelled at the little details, like sea creatures, seaweed, and sunken ships. We took pictures of ourselves and chatted with a photographer who happened upon us in that maze and was just as lost as we were.

We went back to Tempura Island, one of my first discoveries in SL, and he showed me hidden spots I'd never discovered. We danced in a field of beautiful pink flowers and cuddled in the top of a tree.

It's good to be a free spirit again. I've missed exploring with my friends. The adventure continues....

Second Life Addict

I suppose I'll kick off my blog by exploring the activity that consumes most of my time of late: Second Life. Before my boyfriend told me about it in early September, I was blissfully unaware of its existence.

I've never been one to get hooked on computer games. Sure, I've played my share of Solitaire and Text Twist but spending hours at a time on games of any sort has never been a favorite pasttime, at least not until I discovered the amazing virtual world of SL (Second Life). Of course, some would argue that SL isn't really a game and I'm not so sure I view it as such anymore.

I was hooked from the very beginning. I quickly shed the awkward, newbie look of the plain-Jane female avatar sporting a polka-dot dress and created a more sophisticated outfit from a basic jacket and pants in the inventory library. I adjusted the face and body to my liking (why can't we do that in real life?) and set out on this glorious new adventure.

Initially, I was enthralled by the sheer beauty of the scenery in-world. I explored places I'd like to visit in real life, such as Ireland, Japan, and England. I began chatting with other avatars during my explorations and found that meeting people from all over the world, even if only in a virtual world, was the most exciting aspect of this new hobby of mine.

I met an amazingly friendly guy from Sweden who gifted me with a new skin, complete with a sexy walk and new clothing. I tweaked this new skin a bit, shrinking the big boobs and adding long black hair, something I've always wished for in real life. Why not give my avatar the physical features I'd choose if I suddenly had the option of "Editing Appearance?"

Thus began the journey of Alastriona Braveheart, one of the coolest, hippest newbies ever.

It wasn't long before I upgraded to a paying account which gave me Lindens, Second Life money. It was then that I decided that shopping for clothes in a virtual world is perhaps more fun than in the real world. There were plenty of freebies and cheap, yet chic, clothing to choose from. As in real life, I became a clothes horse, snatching up snazzy, young outfits to clothe Alastriona in style. My avatar could wear clothing that her 40 year old creator couldn't easily pull off, such as the ever-popular school-girl look or a short t-shirt, barely covering the boobs.

Within a couple of weeks, Alastriona had three boyfriends, something else for her creator to envy. One was strictly for sex (I'll explain SL sex later), one was great fun to hang out with, and the other was a combination of both.

In Second Life, as most people will tell you, relationships begin and often end very quickly. I was determined to remain a free spirit and not "partner," something that I found puzzling, to say the least. A month or so into my journey, however, I met Eli.

We met in a coffee shop. He asked if I had a MystiTool (an object used to protect one from griefers...those annoying people who come on SL to make everyone else as miserable as they are) and then offered to teleport me to a store where I could buy one. One thing led to another and, before I knew it, I was actually partnering with him, something he'd vowed never to do as well.

We didn't officially partner. Partnering on SL is somewhat like a marriage and you have to pay to get out of it. We did, however, move in together. We were quite domestic for awhile. We even had a dog (Meg), a black lab named after his real life lab. We had a big screen television and even media. We never got the luxury of watching movies together, as we were always so busy fixing up his club. I did take it upon myself to watch "Shrek" one night when no one else was around. I even put Elmo pajamas and slippers on Alastriona.

Eventually, he bought his own Sim (land) and we set about fixing it up. He made me manager of his club, as well as the hotel. I shopped for and decorated our house and had it looking very cozy.

As I said earlier, SL relationships often end just as abruptly as they begin and this one was no different. I won't get into the reasons, partly because I really don't understand them myself. Suffice it to say, it hurt just as the demise of a real life relationship does.

So, as I'm still a little tender from my SL break-up, I'll now dwell on it. Believe it or not, I'm a very sensible person in real life. I'm still amazed that I let this happen to me, especially when I said from the very beginning that I'd never travel that road in SL.

For those out there considering exploring SL for the first time, be forewarned. The experiences can be very powerful. It's not merely a game. There are real people and real feelings involved. Unless you're planning on being an explorer or builder and not socializing at all, be prepared to get involved in people's lives somewhat. The anonymity of SL makes people much more open about their personal lives than they ordinarily would be. I've heard about marriage woes, potential infidelities, and war stories from an ex-German soldier, to name a few. And I've been on for less than three months.

Second Life is what you make it and I intend to make mine an adventure. So far it hasn't let me down.