Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Joe Miller of LL:

we were to grade ourselves in how we've done, I'd probably give us maybe a C+/B- for how we've been able to embrace the Open Source community and incorporate patches at a rate that we'd like.

It needs to get a lot better. We have open patching, but not really open source.

View from Orbit

ORbit is a temporary installation to show off building over 768M.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Inner Sea
Canto III

Rising pheonix ashes found
all my walls smote and humbled.
Your spear, my ground, my sacred earth.
Was it always to come to this?

Was I always to be Helen in her Troy,
destined to one again a King's own toy?
Am I nothing more than this,
this aching in that pulls taut across my belly,
within which is a fertile field,
that quickens beneath you.

Mars is god of planting and of war,
God of holding and possession,
lord of taking and aggression.

Is this what I am, your conquest to destroy,
to crumble my sense of self and wrap my legs,
shivering cold in the night.
To cry I need you in my sightless sight.
Is this what I am to be, and nothing more?

But your tide expended and your woe be gone,
I see another face that is licked by coming
coming of another dawn.
Her rays impart the crags of your hardened face,
soft wrapped shadows in another place.
The stark plain of your cheek to compliment,
a rosy smile on your lips of dreams content.

As you came to me to wage bodies war,
now you are like lost mariner drift on to my

A Page from Men: The Missing Owner's Manual

I was asked about why men would give up sex in a relationship. There are two groups of answers I think, one is that he has found some other direction to put his energy: career, hobby, or other relationship. The other is that he's been unmanned in some way: medical, personal, or worldly. I'm going to talk about the second here.

In the first article of this series I made a reference to beating a man's manhood out of him. It can be done, but the cost is, well, what makes him a man. Sexual functioning is part of that. The most common culprit for beating a man's manhood out of him is... himself. Followed by the world and the women in his life. Often it is a team effort, where man makes bad decisions, the world makes him pay for those decisions, and then the women in his life never let him forget it.

That means that there are things that you need to be looking out for.

On thing is something simple, look out after his health. Men are not very good at this in general. Part of it is toughness, part of it is they don't see details, and part of it is the worry that the medical system makes them less in control. And part of it is being lazy. Not all men are like this, some are the other way too much, and some are good at keeping an eye on weight, not smoking and drinking in reasonable limits.

That's the easy one. Now let me get to a harder one. You know, in three thousand years of literature I've studied, I've never run across a text that was called In Praise of Nagging. On the contrary, anti-nagging bits are found in some of the oldest works we have. A few things are clear. If nagging worked, then we'd live in a cleaner world. If telling people to stop nagging worked, there wouldn't be the constant reminders not to do it.

So it's something we have to live with, but it is also something that is clearly toxic when it fills too much of a relationship. That's why I am not going to say not to nag. You won't listen to that any more than he listens to you when you nag. Nagging makes you sound childish. It disempowers. So when is the time to nag? When you don't want to be listened to, and when you want him to come in and rescue you when it is all done. Seriously. Only nag when you want to seem more helpless, and you then are going to ask him nicely to do something after admitting that, well, the big oaf put something on the top shelf and you can't get it. Really. What I am saying is that nagging is something that is like venting. We all do it, we all need to do it, but it doesn't accomplish very much by itself. The way to make nagging productive is to look at yourself through his eyes. In those eyes you are less adult and less attractive when you nag, so the thing to do is to be attractively sweet and vulnerable afterwards.

Nagging over the course of days and weeks can get things done, but it has high costs. It's a trap early, when things are easy, the sex is hot and frequent, and the dreams are big. But men are trainable, and you train yours. Train him to believe that walking through the door means nagging first, and he will dread the door, you, and anything you describe as "communication." Think about it this way, would you want him to come home, and instantly tell you that you look fat? I don't know anyone who likes this kind of thing. So don't start with it.

Then there is the world. This is really hard.

You see, no matter who you are, unless you are so fortunate that the waters part before your feet in the morning, there will be ups and downs. There will be days when he will be corrosively angry, and spewing such pain and rage that it will be impossible to even think of the other side. Then is not the moment to tell him it is his fault. Never side with the world first.

The best way to deal with this is avoid it, and avoiding bad decisions means being educated about money, since this is the source of most bad decisions by both men and women. Fear in excess of risk, and greed in excess of potential gain. When your man has a money idea, then the thing to do is not argue with him or play "devil's advocate." This is because the more you argue the devil's advocate, the more he will be committed to it.

Instead, use the Together principle: do things together in a way that engages his masculinity, and leads to results that are good for both of you. In this case, go to the book store, dig in. Constantly ask him to explain things, apologize for being slow to understand. Find the killer arguments in the books, present passages and say "what do you think of this?"

Because, often, the difference between a bad idea happening and one not happening is research, and as often the difference between a good idea and a bad one, is how you do it. In this it is important to remember that with money, be goal focused. The more you focus on process, on requirments, the more you will seem fearful, and the more he will brush off your objections. The more you are goal focused, the more he will have to engage them. Let's say he wants to quit his job and start a business. This might be a good idea, but if you both don't know about it, it is almost certain to be a bad one.

Tell him over and over again that you need to understand "so that we can do this, and I can help you and support you." Even if you are bent on killing the idea before it gets going, let the facts and the numbers speak for themselves. Maybe it can work, maybe it can't. But if you are not open to being persuaded, if there is persuasion there, then he will close his heart to you.

On the other hand, there isn't much money to be made in dipping yaks in chocolate and selling them on the street in San Francisco. Stopping these kinds of stupid ideas is,h however, going to be a kind of enlightenment: it comes from within, and it flowers slowly.

About the men who have poured their energy into something else, there is not much to be done. But about the men who have been unmanned, there is a lot you can do. I don't think I need to remind you to look at the scale in the morning, if you want to know where some of his attention has gone. But there are many ways to be attractive, and weight and looks are not even the most important. The most important is making him feel that you respect and cherish and admire those things that make him feel different among men.

So if you are wondering where your man's sex drive went, first look for signs that he has found another place to put his energy, but then, look to whether he feels he is a man. Often the first was caused by the second.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Vision from Orbit

As you can see, Henri's latest build is, almost, a success. This means that people can now teleport to, and build, up to 4096M without using an unstable release candidate. The links are on the side of the page. One bug... if you log out above 768M, then the client will log you back in at 768M.

There are also bugs in the general client, some listed in JIRA, others being worked on internally. One of the annoying ones concerns the water disappearing at 1000M, and eing a kind of grey blur at altitude. Not very attractive.

But it is here, the full volume. I am hoping that LL people will push spreading out through that volume to reduce client and server lag using a campus system.

So message: 4096 is here in a release that you can use. As usual: clear cache, download original, download patch, back up old version, install new version, run patch. Best to log on first time with settings at minimum.

Thank open sourcers, this is a wonderful thing you've gotten going. Now to make use of it.

SL Banlink back to normal operation

At the usual URL.

A good time to consider starting to pay for banlink if you use it, and to review your trust list.

The Vanishing Point
Empathy and Alienation in Popular Democracy

Across the wide plain came sweeping the storms,
their black clouds crushing down across a far horizon,
and pressing the earth, the rich and living earth, to shame.
The storm was a horseback, and carried the whirlwind as its seed.

But yet that seed, though sown with devastation,
was not without its fruit and harvest,
for that freedom fire of riding desire,
is sire to what we know.

Glenn Smith names what we have "elite democracy." He describes it this way:

Today, the elite democracy view is embodied in top-down political practices that diminish the franchise and excuse voter suppression, advantage the wealthy through legal fiat that makes wealth and speech equivalent, reduce citizenship to passive consumerism, and maintain a class of political consultants and pundit elites who believe themselves a cut or two above the people they pretend to represent.

We, that holy word, is the basis of all democracy. But who we are, is always the question. I don't know about why th past made the world as it did, I can only say that it doesn't work for me, and it does not work for many people. Not just in America, but through out the developed world. My view is as a person who sits at the bottom of the vast top down mountain that Glenn writes about, and sees the detritus raining down.

You see, the elites top down on their henchmen, the henchmen on theirs, and so on.But down at the bottom, are people who then have no one truly below them in the scale and they know only one kind of relationship. They are whores of the system they are part of,one which seems to have existed for ever. So they know only treating other people as whores in return. That's the engine of violence.

But what about the many people who do not participate in this engine of violence? What of them? Their fate, also one I know because they come to me, is an enfolding acceptance of the wonders and fantasies they have locked with in.

Second Life is a testimony to both, to the screaming need to grief and terrorize and inflict harm on others, and to the bubbling urge to create, and do, and join. It is this first which tells me the world I live in is very ill; it is the second that shows me in myriad ways that there is a brighter and more powerful world waiting for us.

When I write about the first part, the toxic urges to impose, I find something very simple. Men hate me for it. I get insulted, attacked. They only call you a whore, when you won't be their whore. It is the attack that comes from someone who has a secret addiction that gets him or her through the day. It's wrong, they know it is wrong, but they won't give it up. The worst people are people who are tempted to behave that way, but know it is wrong, and fight it with all their might. But they still need to have it remain shrouded and secret. And I am ordered, harangued, and pressured not to talk about them. Every time I write about how badly men can behave, it is my soul that is put on trial.

If it were out of a motivation for good people realizing that bad people can ruin the gossamer air in which intimacy can breath, or erode the rich soil from which love grows, they would not attack me, or my morality, or my perception. But, instead, they would agree. But they don't.

From this I draw a conclusion, and that is that while there are many people out there who bear under the pressure of the top down system, who maintain some sense of humanity, they also know they cannot live without touching at every point the inhumanity, and that for that inhumanity to go on, then the dehumanized behavior must be allowed to continue. It is like living in a slave society, but not being a slave owner: there is no way to do it. Sooner or later society must enforce all property, and to that extent, everything that a society says that one person owns, everyone must act like an owner in their stead for. Just as we must all be willing to act as parents to the children of others.

Thus the top down system that Glenn writes of, is a vast storm system, that rains down blood and pain, and that pain settles on those who cannot avoid it. On the poor of many nations, on the weak, on those who are too young, to helpless, or too harmed. It creates a waterfall of people who are searching for either a place to escape, or a target to vent, the crushing that they feel.

This is why his call for empathy as a crucial component of democracy, of any democracy, is one which needs to be heeded, and heeded quickly. Because the system as it is now is producing a bottomless sea of sadism. It is in drawing buckets of loathsomeness out of this sea of sadistic impulses that George W. Bush led us into a war we did not want or need. It is by harnessing this sea of sadism that developed countries willingly inflict the pain of their bad decisions on the hungry of the rest of the world. And like the brine of the ocean, it increases, rather than quenches, the thirst of people who drink it.

What I see is this. We thwart people from being happy, we place barriers to their getting even the most simple animal things that they need, and we stuff them instead with substitutes that we can produce. Instead of love, or even sex, we give titillation and pressure of frustrated chastity. Instead of food, we give calories, instead of home, we sell speculation, instead of politics, we present soap opera. The reason is that love, sex, food, home and politics all come from the play between people who are people, where as titillation, frustration, calories, and dra-ma are all things that can be provided out of a system. I know a creep who is being well paid to make sex bots for Second Life. Women who actually do cybersex? Not worth paying even a starving wage. Substitute for women to engage in cybersex? Brilliant!

This thirst for pain, and immediate gratification, are present because time is what can be most effectively sold. We frustrate people, and thwart their impulses, and block their quest for happiness, and then the few are allowed to charge for access to that paradise on earth which is a stable job, an orderly living space, and a passionate love life. We create a maze through which people must run, and a few people are allowed to be the guardians of the access.

This system isn't working, instead of rewarding people who are the best at making people happy and creating abundance, it rewards the people who are the most successful judges of how much pain they can inflict. Instead of empathy, anti-empathy.

Brain scientists like Antonio Damasio have shown that reason requires emotion. Emotions are rational. A person unable to experience emotion or recognize emotional states in others is unable to act rationally. Reason without emotion is inhuman. Torture, for instance, might be logically justifiable by unemotional reason. In the true human universe beneath our single sun, it is ghastly and insane.

The physical root of this is in a series of adaptations that human being shave. One is the ability to mirror. We see another, and our brains fire the same nerves, in the same order, as doing them. This allows cross-transference, we imagine, then, what the other individual must be feeling, what feedback their body must be sending to them.

Mirroring and cross-transference are as physically incorporated as reason is, they are as rigorous, as reproducible. They have all of the qualities that are used to argue for the superiority of rationality. They also have the danger, that of being able to run away from everything else.

One reason for the power of Second Life, is that we mirror our avatars. One can tell a person who has not reached this point of immersion, because they don't "get" dancing and cybersex. Their avatar is an email address, a squiggle, a screen saver attached to their chat. Second Life, by creating mirroring with an avatar, can then lead to cross-transference. However, as with first life, these traits can be as used to produce anti-empathy, the desire to know that we are inflicting pain and frustration, as empathy.

The roots of humanity lie then in this dual nature of this basic mechanism of producing a inner virtual reality, and an inner trans-humanity. Pain and pleasure are joined, and so to are torture and treatment.

What then distinguishes them? What distinguishes the military interrogation from the doctor's visit? It is the capacity to set distance. Glenn speaks about autonomy coming from the boundaries of bodies. But really autonomy is more clever than that, it is about the ability to manage that distance. To be far enough at sometimes, and close enough at others. To be able at some moments to be absolutely synchronized with another self, and at other times distant enough to know that their immediate sensation of pain or discomfort is not our own. We punish and teach, both activities which are uncomfortable for their object.

Top-down society creates only two modes, either the other person is so identified as to be indistinguishable, and thus denied agency, or the other person is completely an object, and therefore chattel to be controlled, or a danger to be destroyed.

The imposition is what leads to the hysteria of theocracy. In a theocracy other people's actions are no different from ones own. Marriage between members of the same sex becomes a literal danger, because it is no different from the individual having done it. Other selves are not autonomous in this instance, because the fingers are part of the hand. The alienation is what allows us to starve others so that we can continue to stack triple decker hamburgers without thinking about it. Other selves are not autonomous, any more than the scalpel or pencil is.

The top-down society embodies this metaphor. Either another person is the hand that holds the instrument, and thus not autonomous because wholly subordinate, or the other person is the object that the hand holds. Without the ability to create a spectrum of distance, there is no sense of autonomy. We must both mirror and cross-transfer, and we must envision an otherness.

This is the analog between two dimensional thinking, and three dimensional thinking. It is only by creating this third dimension of empathy, where other selves exist at in a richly textured world, that we can have autonomy.

Glenn writes that torture might be justified by reason without emotion, but, there is no such thing. A being that has no ability to engage in anti-empathy might be able to kill, but it cannot torture, because it cannot know what will produce pain, nor can it maintain the balance required of life. Only a being capable of knowing what pain and agony mean, can conceive of torture.

It is from this that I argue, then, that the difference between top-down society, and another kind of society, is not a conflict between reason and emotion. Reason would not have sent us to Iraq. Reason cannot torture by itself. Instead it is the conflict between oblate anti-empathy, which participates in empathy only with the intent of flattening other individuals down to basic drives and simple actions and reactions, and depth of perspective which produces empathy in its full nature.

The full form of empathy then has perspective. It is lack of perspective which allows people to see beyond the immediate need and immediate impulses. It is perspective however, that consumerism of the old form must lack, because it's economic and political theory require that people only react to what is in front of them right now. The consumer must buy, today, based on the prices that he or she sees today, and the want she has today.

I will argue in my next part that this is a contradiction, and cannot be resolved within the current world view.

Good writing on D/s in sl.

D/s relationships of this kind are common in SL, and it is lovely to see someone write so clearly and capably on their experience with them as a self-confessed loving Domme.

You are not normal, nor am I, nor is anyone

The New York Times reports on a growing slavery scandal. I mean, that is what we call using people as chattel. I'm not saying this about any one party involved. The people taking the picture wanted to trade off of the actress' fame to sell magazines, the people who want to control the actress by saying "parents should be concerned," want to control the actress.

What's been forgotten is that Miley Cyrus is, at 15, a young woman, and as a young woman both her sexuality and her availability are part of what she must trade on. Being an actress, they are virtually her stock and trade. The tension between the role and the person is precisely what draws people. "Who is she?" Men ask. "Why does She have the hold over men she does?" Women ask. She is gendered, because that is the presentation.

The reality is that 8 year olds should not be being asked to be 15 year olds, but a 15 year old should not be being asked to be an 8 year old either. Especially not a 15 year old who must behave as an adult in order to be capable of surviving in the entertainment industry. Miley Cyrus can talk to girls as they cross over into the first veil of womanhood, there are others that she has not crossed yet. This is no small thing, that first collision between self and what will be a live riding waves of hormones is no small thing. Men have their own transitions to make, but plea for gender equality though we may, nature had other plans in place. What we need is not gender neutrality, nor even equality, but personal place. The variations and the mean must be understood.

Variations? Mean? I suppose I must now talk about what I think to be an important, and misunderstood, idea. That is that in common thought we have "normal" and "abnormal," and sometimes we admit of things as "borderline." This is the wrong way to think about this issue.

In any population, about almost any trait, there will be central clusters that can be seen as "mean" or means. There will, around them, be variations. Mean and variation exist in relation to each other. The mean does not deny the existence of variation, and variation does not deny the mean. The mean of human sexual intercourse between people is heterosexuality. The variations are numberless. However most erotic behavior exists in a monosexual context. We are erotic with ourselves far more than we are erotic with another person. This too is a mean, sexual intercourse with another person is, in fact a variation on the long running erotic life we have with ourselves. That's why relationships are such work.

From the stand point of nature, normal and abnormal are wrong. Instead there is the mean of the moment, which is normal. There are variations which are clearly non-adaptive, most of which perish quickly, in fact, so quickly as not to be noticed in most cases. But then there are variations which might be adaptive, or are aspects of adaptive behavior expressed in other ways, or even more adaptive than the present "normal." I've searched and read, but found no good discussion. The word that I've heard a few times, and am going to adapt, is "perinormal." Peri means "around." The "perimeter" of a square is what you get for measuring "around." Perinormal variations are then, not abnormal, but they aren't normal either.

So, what we call rl "homosexuality," with my caveat that I think rl labels are not good descriptions of norms right now anyway, is not normal. But it is by no means abnormal. The genetic cocktail that makes a man attracted to men, or a woman attracted to women, and then causes them to express that as their identity, consists only of traits which are present in the norms, but in different combinations. These traits, in the combination that make up what our society expresses as homosexuality are, perinormal. They form means around themselves that are just like the dominant or prevalent mean of the moment. There's nothing wrong with a gay man, or lesbian woman. It's not a disease to be cured, nor a condition to be endured, but a variation to be lived.

Some variations which are genetically stable are not acceptable in the context of our society. Pedophiles are abnormal because they are parasitic. They take a condition in our genetic nature, namely that children take a long time to develop as sexual beings, but have sexuality present, and exploit it as a weakness. The pedophile destroys the group by destroying its future. The trait is abnormal not because it will die of itself, but because the group that allows it will fall apart. Such traits can be described as "anti-normal," in that they are destructive to the formation of a norm around which a group can survive.

Variation being what it is, if a person consists only of mean traits, that too is strange. Everyone is mean in some ways, and departs far enough from the mean in other ways. This is the resiliency we need. Because the mean of the moment is the most fit, for the time when it's individuals were born. But conditions can change very fast. The rabbit that breeds quickly maybe best off in the clover days, but the one who husbands resources may be the one that survives the winter. The mean of the moment, can become perinormal with the single burning of an epidemic of a disease, or the turning of the climatic screw.

So why start out with a fifteen year old actress? Because the change from childhood to sexual adulthood has means, and it has variations. Both must be taken into account for a person to emerge on the other side. Breasts develop early, breasts develop late. Some women develop large breasts early, others are smaller until the develop more later. Image so often hangs on this, and yet so much is based on what your genes tell your body to do. There is a local race to puberty, but the reality is that race is largely determined by genes, and by body fat index. And it isn't healthy to either delay unduly, or accelerate unduly, that moment. Dancers tend to start menstruating late, because the discipline discourages the accumulation of body fat, girls in households that eat more junk calories reach puberty early, because their body accumulates fat earlier.

A fifteen year old actress, almost whatever her diet has been, is probably on one side of the biological line, and is certainly expected to behave as she is, regardless of whether menarche has been reached. She can't be a role model for 8 year old girls, who, mostly though there are exceptions, aren't there yet. But will be soon. And no one can be a total role model.

What angers me is that there are some adults who want to force a role model on their children, rather than seeing their children as they are. They want to enforce a false mean, which is, anti-normal. Societies cannot long survive attempting to amputate parts of their children's psyches in order to have a doll which rationalizes and justifies the parents decisions in life. That goes both ways. Sexualizing to early for the sake of selling some lipstick, or attempting to desexualize for the sake of misinterpretations of what are texts from a brutal and sexist age, and yes, I am speaking about the Bible, are both wrong. They do violence to the girl, and to the woman she is becoming, and will be as an adult.

That is why the whole affair stinks. Look at each party manipulating the situation, from Disney with its faux-wholesomeness, (Can that be a portmanteau? Fauxomeness?), to the parents groups who want 15 year olds to be 8 year olds, to the magazine, who is exploiting the fact that men much older that 15 want fresh virgin flower, at least in their monosexual lives. Look closely. None of them are concerned for the mean or the variation. All of them are concerned, instead, with pressing hard at some button they can press, to extract power or fame or money. They want to reduce the variations down to that one response, of lust, greed, or power.

I've come to the conclusion that one thing that has to be really dramatically altered is consumerism. I don't think consumerism in its current form can survive, and still have a feminist future. Consumerism eats at us. It pushes old evolutionary buttons very hard, but in doing so it genders where there is no need to be gendered, it reduces our identities to chick culture, and to a round of gathering nuts and berries off of clearance racks. And chattering about it. And I love to shop.

When I was helping a friend search for a computer to buy, I was struck how "man-centric" the presentation of the material was. It isn't that computers are only used or owned by both genders, it isn't that we don't both, in the end, want the same thing, a machine we can use to do the things we want, but will be able to do the things that we don't quite know we want to do yet. It is that the presentation of the material was unholistic, without taking into a good account things like style, visual and ergonomic appeal. My hands are not your hands, the keyboard that works fine for you maybe way too large for me. I struggled with a hand me down keyboard, whosekeys required far too much force to press, and which was far too large for me to reach common key combinations. It was a horror, and I hated every word I wrote with it.

Yet this was about the thing that the stores made it hardest for me to select in replacement keyboards... none of them were hooked up to actual computers. I had no idea what the response of a machine would be to my typing.

The Miley Cyrus flap is an example of how this process of reduction to a single button goes wild. In the urge to make it so that only one kind of information is available about something, positive, and within the little target, the players involved have tried to turn all of us into birds trained to peck for seeds.

It's not right.

It's not normal.

It's not working.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Metal Verse

I heard you once, voice dead.
It was words that flowed from fingers distant
an echo dancing of the dancing of your tips,
the pulled the puppet, me,
not the image that you made. For that is you.
Bright desire flooded forth.
And it is I.

And this you caught a glimpse of my evening star.
Set stark against the galaxy of my breasts,
that were then ripe.

Do you remember the blur of my first skin?
Or the problems with your first shape?
It was so long until we had faces.
We were not made, and also not yet unmade.

We sent pictures spare of pixels,
and blurred by the poverty of light.
But then, when we met, it was always winter night.
How I wish it was then.

I heard you once, voice distant.
A cheap microphone made you tin,
the king of my world,
and I,
and I am copper.
We allowed are shining bright bronze,
a mirror that reflects the brightest shine,
in my eyes.

And this you became my morning star,
placed tight in moments before the waking of the others in my day.
That other life.
From which all things vernal sprang.
But now, it is only for you
ever that soft season, when descending upon my picture,
are your soft showers.
And these you, show to me.
My petals flower, to greet that intimate salute.

I do those duties with half quiescent spirit,
pouring cornflakes and coffee for touch and go
companions of convenience.

I once called them my family, but they share nothing with me now.

We cannot speak long, but low and hushed,
I dare to moan as you type the dance of seduction,
which some how you made with your deduction,
made erotic induction.

It is now the picture of my inner life.

I heard you once, clear as voice,
crystal clarity, your daughter's sweet sing song,
guiding the echoes, in the background.
Where once you were the minstrel of romance,
now you speak of your daily sorrow.
I understand of what mettle you must be made to withstand such heat.
What temper you must hold,
that you need to quench it,
a dream union,
that is oh so real between my thighs.
The seat of my house of the holy.

Could you survive as real to me?
Could I survive with my faults forward in your ear,
my quivering not just from desire, but fear?
My quavering all from need?

What wires strand invisible,
drawn of etheral metal?

Upon your pillar it looks as stone,
it is where I am lead and your are found,
Him of the sect of Saturn,
that joviality of olde,
where jewels jests are told.

Therefore lo this pillar
is not the seeming see,
but that sense that plunges
into my waiting frame.
Iron the metal that mars is,
which is the god of battle.
But molten is the poison that you pour
into my craving ear.
And it's burning turns my wheel.

It is such a pretty poison,
that is sweet upon my tongue,
and it paints the world a wash of white,
that blinds my seeing eyes,
but opens the sixethed sense.

I heard you yesterday, voice brilliant,
the memory playing the parts that we did play,
the clarity of air between us gone,
more crystal than the flesh allows.

Our images movements are more real
than any metal royal could cloak.
Our sights are as we would be,
if only our ages and age would have matched us.

I hear you now voice live.
My fingers cannot move quicksilver,
my lips cannot be more languid.

I am open for you,
as from that first time,
as for the next time,
as for all times.

For we are here, and there, and together,
at thus and so and once we began.

I heard you then,
without a sound,
and now with deep connection returned,
I love you more now,
with all that I have learned.

If only this were virtual reality

The griefing of a nation. The real thing can't come fast enough.

SLBanlink hit by DoS Attack

SL Banlink, the user run shared banlist system, was hit this morning by a DoS attack from inside the grid. Ban outage was short, but the website is running from a back up URL while Mera and Travis investigate.

New Coolviewer... may break the 768M barrier....

Barney has a mac build of the latest coolviewer. He says that this one allows building above the 768M line. I will test it today. If so, it would mean that the open source community has shipped a key feature before LL's 1.20 release. (Henri's base build is here, and links are at the top of the Seconds Away list.)

I'm hoping the Henri, Barney and the gang, as well as the Godfather of open source clients, Nicholaz who got this one going with his first round of patches to 1.19, have done it.

Remember if you have a patched client, it is best to go back to the official base release, it is also best if you clear cache before logging out to patch the viewer. and I would advise keeping your current patched viewer in case a new patch does not work for you.

[Barney says the map fix was missed, but will be done soon. So I get to smile and be the first kid on the block with a full patch, because I've got the skin files that fix it on my machine...]

[Barney says the patch is in... so it is time to test...]

Notes on Notes from the new world

I have finally sat down to do the inevitable: write on Wagner James Au's book, The Making of Second Life. He has been very kind to me in his words, and I am one of his notes from the New World, so there is really no question of me writing a review, or pretending objectivity. Instead, this is something written as a writer who knows, in some strange sense that this place gives us, the writer.

Let me also say is that Hamlet, as I think of him, and Gwyneth Llewellyn were the two writers who got me looking at Second Life in the first place. If Gwyn ever writes a book, then it will have the same magic as reading Hamlet in print, but little else could. It is about the magic.

One part of that magic is that Hamlet's prose is invisible, and I mean that in the highest compliment you can pay to a non-fiction writer, in that your eyes just fall over it and through it, cascading downwards. This is noticeable in that it is not noticed. It is a hard magic to weave, because it means nothing is out of place, nothing sticks out and trips the eye. As my journalism professor said, it is the magic of having an unexpectedy expected word in the expectedly unexpected place. To write just like everyone else is to be banal; to write, as I am wont to do, with a cadence out of old books and old movies and old poems and many lands and languages, creates a hill and dale of rhythm that calls attention to its foreign origin. Hamlet is like the dancer whose foot is always where you think it will be while executing a move that you didn't think would happen.

This leads into the next gift of the book. I've heard people criticize Hamlet for his having too big an ego. It's not so. Just as his writing is conspicuous for its legerdemain-graceful pulling rabbits out of the air, so too is his personality conspicuous in not getting in the way of his story, but in what story he chose to tell. Every guy in my creative writing class wanted to write like Hemmingway; Hamlet writes in that same vein. Think on the title The Old Man and the Sea, and how it says everything about the writer, and yet is all about the story. That is the twist, to make the truth appear while everyone is looking for the trick.

Let me take an example from page 41:

Their offline reality, however, was quite different from the vision they had for themselves. At the time, Mandala was managing a gas station in the Midwest and floundering in college. Tyrell's leader (appointed after a coin toss) was a bald giant named BuBuhCuh Fairchild, in real life a student who signed up for SL's Beta program after realizing he was about to fail a class in quantum mechanics (even though it was his last requirement for graduating college with a double major in art and physics). "At which point," Fairchild remembers, "I was unemployed, applying for jobs at fast-food places, and not getting them because I was over qualified…basically maxing out my credit, doing some temp work. Starving, not able to afford my apartment." The perfect person, in other words, to lead the pioneering effort.

I almost typed that from memory, even though I had only read it once. No it isn't the best writing, or most cogent point, in the book. It isn't the killer tune in the show, it's just a bit on its way to another bit. But that's what makes it good reporting, like a good Second Life Build, it works even when you look under things. The end is both snark, and cogent observation on how the people who are perfect for a new world, are a bit too big to fit in the old one.

There are people who wanted a bigger, thicker book. I'm glad this book isn't bigger or thicker. There are people who wanted a book about the meaning of Second Life. But then, the answer to that is 84. I'm glad Hamlet didn't write that book either. There's no pontificating in the book, he's not running for Moses, or Buddha. He ends up being more like Lao-Tzu. The book is filled with the Tao of metaverse. It's points come and go, and take no notice of the academicization of the search for Second Meaning.

Over and over again there were moments which struck me as authentic, like the Tyrellian story just quoted from. Or the bit on page 97 where he talks about honey pots in Second Life ... I've gotten just that offer to be one. Or how he weaves references to the past, and points them to the future in the last chapter.

A friend of mine jokes that to pass as a woman in second life, all a man needs to do is wear prim shoes, and never talk about his graphics card. It's a matter of naturalness. This book is the same way, Hamlet never plays with the hardware, nor forgets to put on his shoes as he goes about exploring. It is a matter of naturalness that he talks about a resident who was paralyzed and typed with his feet as the gemlike observation that showed the iridescent ways that residents came to use this place.

My criticism is not really a criticism, but a description of the book I would write. In many places, I wanted prose that had the same feel to the eye that Second Life builds can have, or that the sense of motion can create. I wanted stores that wrenched and ripped, rather than described. But that's not this book, nor should it be this book. In the end, any thing I would say as criticism, is really a criticism of my not having finished a book on this place, not on the book that is in my hands. There are things missing, of course, because Second Life is too big and too sprawling. Like the moment in The English Patient when the mapmaker quips back that he has spent a very long time, and failed to know only a little bit of the vast Sahara. Better this bit so clearly mapped, than a mere box into which is shoved everything. I'm not sure I belong in this panopoly, but perhaps, it is best to see me there, as being as stand in for all the members of the sisterhood, who've come into this place, and done what we do, because of the exploding moment that entering into the willow world produces. That's best, it's not me there, really, but all of us, and it is good that he saw that too, in its place, among all the other things.

What that means is that Hamlet, and his book, tell you what it is like to be here, and there, in world, more than a more fluorescent prose style, florid thesis, or floorboard size would do. It gives way to those moments of pure recognition. This means this book is not some soon to be tossed aside bit of technovangelism, but is a more powerful testament, a kind of gospel of the founding of Second Life. It means that Hamlet is simply an evangelist, but for humanity projecting its way into a new world.

Other people wanted Dvorak's 9th Symphony, rather than this more slender song cycle. Or a Sistine Chapel that portrays the whole of Genesis, rather than this sketch in perfect hand. Or A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, rather than this, volume that will sit next to the tight travelogues. Hamlet has not written our Democracy in America. Not did he set out to do that.

He stares into a heaven, and down into a hell, and it stares back at him. We have met the future, and it has met us. Neither of them will be the same again.


The Land Debate again

Harper started this one off with...

Back to this "land" thing. It's kind of a misnomer to call it land. What "land" owners have "purchased" is actually the set up of a server with their tier payment going towards "maintenance" (like the electricity to run the server, the health insurance with the increased co-pay, Philip Rosedale's hair gel). It's not a lot different than someone renting space on a server for a web page. In fact, it's nearly identical.

Crap says that it is more than that, it is application hosting. But that may change the value of what is being charged for, rather than commodity webserver, wiki, database things, it doesn't change the fact that this isn't "land," nor does the "land," metaphor work. Prokofy Neva belches forth another one of her self-interested and idiotic tirades in a comment on Crap's post, which is pretty much conclusive that he's either wrong, or hasn't communicated very well.

He argues for all the other services that LL offers, and for their monopoly position, which isn't a reply to Harper's main point that we aren't buying anything and we aren't residents. Nothing that Crap says dislodges that we are paying for a service, one which leaves us with nothing if LL chooses to disconnect us, whether for a good reason, "any reason, or no reason at all."

It also does not in any way support that there is a reasonable expectation to make money speculating on set up fees. It's reasonable to expect to recoup set up fees as a reseller, which is why LL ought to have done a better job managing the price change.

(I will also say that I think Harper gets something wrong. The cost for island fees went up to $295 a long time ago, from $195. Grandfathered sims pay $195, and mainland pays $195. Land barons on mainland may, or may not, do anything. Estate owners have an even wider range of prices and services, because they have far more control over a sim.

Many land barons simply flip land, others do a minimum to rent, mainly returning objects people who are over their prim count. There are many different types of land baron, but since almost everything is race to the bottom, most offer minimal service, and charge the same price. This is not, in itself, unreasonable, since people are denied the information to make other decisions easily.

For this reason I think that baron is a term better applied to mainland, where the potential value add from the owner of record is low, and earl to sim renters, where there is a greater range of possibility.)

Whether the service is worth what LL charges is something that the market will work out, right now the answer is really "no." They have the power of monopoly pricing, it is true, but the difference between what people think the service is worth in a competitive market, and what they are charged in a monopoly leaks out as the virulent unhappiness of resellers and partners of LL in places like their forum. This means that what they are really doing is monetizing unhappiness, which only works for so long. Basic web hosting runs a few dollars a month, less than what a person would pay in tier on all but a small plot (I will check with our web guy on this, but he said something around 10 USD for email, our collaborative tools. I don't know what services are in place.)

Crap's bank analogy is, well, crap. The question is "is what LL sells like Land?" Banks aren't land, and the service one gets from a bank, especially with free checking down here on the bottom of the food chain, isn't like land in the least. Nor is it like web hosting. So his "application serving" rather than "bare bones web hosting" is a good analogy to explain why LL can charge what it does, but it the bank analogy adds nothing to it. Nor does the application server argument change the fundamental point that software and computer hardware get cheaper with time, and people who "buy" an "island" from LL don't really have any more reason to believe that they will "sell" this at the same or higher price, than they have a reason to believe they can "sell" their web, or application, hosting, or their laptop for a higher price a year after owning it. Nor does the bank analogy go to the differences between commodity hosting of web servers, versus a premium hosting of applications. However, things like are far more comparable, and they don't charge what LL charges by a wide margin.

Broadsheet Gets This One Wrong

I've lived a relatively sheltered life. Before I came to SL, I really didn't have a good idea about alot of what went on through most men's minds when it game to how their libido worked in thinking about women, and I came from an environment where it didn't take no to mean no. However, since then, I've made thousands of contacts. Many are logged, with exchanges, first come ons, how long it took to be asked for what, and the kiss of remarks. This gives me a kind of mini-Kinsey look at how men in Second Life, and by extension men around the world, since it is no limited to America, or even English speakers, engage in pushing for free cyber that they hope will lead to free meatmeet.

And this is why I don't think Tracy Clark-Flory has it right.

Here is the story as she tells it, a recent study lead researcher Michael Motley, who specializes in interpersonal communication tactics, looked at how women tried to extricate themselves from sexualized foreplay, by direct and indirect means. He concluded that many women used indirect means, and men thought that this was part of foreplay, or not a request to stop or even slow down. His conclusion that men where engaged in "incorrect introspection." This means, basically, that they didn't think what the woman meant by her indirect statement, things like "It's getting late," and instead took anything short of full direct refusal as permission to continue.

Tracy says that "steam" is blowing out of her ears over this, because it is "unfair" to blame men because of the cultural coy script that women need to at least make some attempt at stopping what is going to continue.

The reality is that she's missing the other cultural script, and that is the "crazy bitch script." When a woman is too blunt about saying no, even not very too very blunt, men are prone to say "You are a crazy bitch." I've had this happen hundreds of times, because often even direct statements are refused. And even relatively mild direct refusals can be met with the "You crazy bitch" response. And it is often exactly those words.[1]

A short experiment in an orgy room got 15 come ons, including blind voice call requests, that is a blue dialog box appears and you are asked to start talking voice to voice, and one request for sex cam. On the first line of chat. One person took five exchanges of no to realize that I wasn't going to be his first free SL Sex whore. For peopel who think that what I know is only "clients," I will state directly quite the reverse, I learn far more about how badly men handle women from people who are not, and never will be, clients, but are instead bumbling oafs looking for gratis whores. I say whores rather than sex, because they want all the control over the situation they would get from a whore, just they don't want to pay for it pay for it.

In all,just one male accepted a single direct refusal, "No," or cancelling a blind voice call. No does not mean no. Generally one needs to get to something around insulting to get to no.

Now, human sexual progress is complicated and prone to variation. Human beings in the grip of hormones aren't meant to be thinking clearly, because thinking clearly would lead to a great deal fewer pregnancies. This means that even for the same couple, the same words are going to mean, or send, different signals at different times. This is especially true where non-verbal signals, such as body language, scent, and timing, are not being recorded. One day's "It's late" could mean anything from an offer to stay the night, to a request never to darken this doorstep again.

This means that there are at least a few forces pushing against using some direct form of communication immediately.One is that given the cultural script of a man using the threat of verbal, or even physical, violence should he become upset, it is also no surprise that many women don't want to upset him. Also, given that no can mean not yet, and it isn't the best idea to upset someone who you want to go farther with, just not at this particular moment. As well, upsetting people in general is something most of us, men or women, try not to do if we can avoid it. Different people fall on different parts of the empathy scale, but most people aren't all around jerks.

Even if Tracy is right about the cultural script of men push, women must make some show of stopping or she is a slut, is right, it's still the man's responsibility to find the most, not the most expedient, way of separating the possibilities. More over, and I think Tracy should have thought of this as well, if a man can't take an indirect hint, is he really the man you want around when you aren't feeling communicative about something?

So the reality is that we can't all decide before things get going where they are going to, and it isn't easy to convey all the nuances in a situation where nuance detection is a bit on the low side. The phrase "faulty male introspection" is probably unfortunate. I think "limited male introspection" would be better.

I also think, given the huge outpouring of men saying how wonderful she is, that Tracy is also playing a cultural script, that of the sexually welcoming female, who absolves men of sexual responsibility. It's a play, and I can't help but wonder if it is calculated move, or just part of her act.

Ultimately my triangle is in play: a negotiation between desire, possibility, and social acceptability is in progress. Each one of the three is pressing on both parties, with desire having the kick of hormones, and the possibility for women having both the charge and the peril of pregnancy, and the perils of a more complex series of social consequences. Given that the risks fall more heavily on the woman, it does not seem unreasonable that the man should, therefore, be expected to be more gallant, and learn to pause at critical moments and weigh what is being said. He's risking less, and therefore has a greater burden not to impose to his advantage.

[1] For example, this exact communication:

[3:32] kaan Kurmin: come here baby
[3:36] Lillie Yifu: No
[4:00] kaan Kurmin: hey come here
[4:04] Lillie Yifu: No
[4:07] kaan Kurmin: fuck u :)

The prophone wave is growing.

The phone sex professionals have discovered SL. From the beginning of this project I have believed that the rites of old SL, cyber, animations and a literary take on sex, were doomed before the raw needs of the porn industry, and it would be phone sex that would take over. 20 year industry veterans are coming into SL in increasing numbers, and the simple math of it is this: a prophone girl can charge 200L to 250L a minute. That is what an average cyber-escort makes in tracking down a customer, in the space of 3 minutes of cooing into the microphone. And the average cyber escort is lucky to convert one session an hour of dancing. Itself a bit of concentration.

What they do is park avies in orgy rooms on pose balls. They program in 15 gestures at a key stroke, and keep more than one avie going at one time. When a man jumps on a pose ball, they pitch the phone sex. One prophone girl does her homework, about once every 3 minutes hits a key. That's 45 minutes before she's even looped once, and "mmmm" doesn't need to be programmed. If she gets one 10-15 minute session an hour, her reported average to me, that's 2000L-3000L an hour. More than almost any cyber escort can do. She studies the rest of the time, and spends nothing on content. She doesn't care, because her avies are just billboards, and are only there to attract horny guys. If they aren't willing to pay, it's not even worth her time to type and pose for 15 minutes. Let them have "push it in you so deep!" cyber sex, from her perspective.

This is the raw reality of proton pushing and prophone. It's going to replace "escorting" with pose pumping and pushing product. The demand is enough that a student can make money, low drama, while doing her chem homework. Mostly women, but I've met at least one guy who is taking roughly the same approach.

Since people aren't willing to pay much for literotica and machanimasex, at least not enough to really be worth it except for a very few, then it is going to be replaced. Prophone services, from well known to one person shops, are recruiting through out SL, and they are offering rates that make being a prophone escort a good second job, with no commuting costs, and no need to wear nasty polyester pink collar uniforms. Or pay taxes, in many cases. Take Paypal, no VAT.

Work from home. 300 dollars a week. No costs, no commitment.


I learned a concept from SA. That concept is ignition. Ignition is the point where an economy or community becomes self-sustaining, and new people need only plug into it with a specific small innovation. Living in The Metaverse asks why more people aren't on Open Sim.

The answer, I feign (I was thinking of that word in the shower as the soap oozed over my nipples and down my front. BTW guys, if you have a girl coming up to visit you... make sure you have her favorite toiletries, they are confiscating anything liquid at the airport for all practical purposes... Dial soap. Blech...) is that Second Life's economy is at ignition. The reason not to go to OpenSim is that development doesn't work very well, the price for building is as high as it is in SL, and the tools are more primitive.

I'm going to say that most of the content industry on SL is doomed, because it is the result of a temporary problem of tools. The tools for making content in SL are not good, and they don't carry anyplace else. When the tools get better, while many current designers are fabulously talented and will still make and sell great things, there will be many more people who right now just don't think it is worth the time to learn a woogely UV map and fiddle with joins by hand. When standard tools upload in standard ways, then the price of content is going to shift radically. OpenSim needs to realize that what it needs is not just an Open Sim, but the basic content engine.

Now to get people to work without a direct payment system, you need to give them something else. Like the chance at making money later, or fame, or sex. OpenSim, if it wants to ignite, needs to make it possible to do that. Right now, at the price, it's not compelling.

Want ignition in a gift economy? Make it so that the content has follow on use out here in the real world.

Yes My Blog Troll is a Slow Stroll. But you've got to look at...

The picture by Chestnut Rau that Esteban over at Myg has posted...

Stop That!

Ben is making sense again. Why is it that he has to go messing up all the confusion, ignorance, and disinformation out there? Can't we all just be quasi-literate about legal issues?

More seriously, this is a single blog post that answers some basic questions about law and virtual spaces that people thinking of doing business here should be asking. So if you love to learn everything the hard way, don't read it! Ben's blog will prevent you from experiencing hours of exquisite agony and avoid the rippling ecstasies of potential law suits.

And that would be no fun at all, right?

Natalia Visits the Maps

Specifically the Rumsey Maps.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Compass Points South

Hattip to Gwyn for Massively's story on Orientation Island.

Flunk Ben Stein's Movie

And win!

Don't Make Excuses

One thing I find distressing about how commentary on SL goes, is that there are people who are hyper-critical, and people who make far too many excuses. It needlessly polarizes discussion. I've been reading excuses from several very silly quarters (note to self, never trust a blog that makes a big deal about being "common sense," because people who have common sense don't need to advertise that fact. That's just common sense.) about how LL's employees are hyper-specialized like ants, and that every single aspect of LL's product is a completely stove pipe operation. Let me be direct. That's ... well you'll get it in a moment.

When Katt Linden made her blog announcement, she said she had two objectives, to facelift the forums, and to listen. Now, Katt's time is not unlimited, and her attention is not best used divided. Yet I read excuses saying that the facelift does not interfere with other tasks. This is nonsense, it directly contradicts the statement from the individual in question about time allocation. Directly.

Then there is the issue of Frazzled™, the "new" interface, read "skin," for the viewer. This too interferes in changes to the viewer, in that bugs that it creates must be tested and fixed. More over, maybe LL's employees are so specialized that all they can do is change buttons, but out here in the real world, someone who can change buttons on an interface, can also do things like say, fix XML files. For example, the one that truncates teleport at 768M. They can also do things like call the 2D Media Browser... the 2D Media browser, rather than "official Linden blog." They can do things like put the Debug option that has the search URL and format in the Preferences menu, rather than hiding it in the recesses of debug. They can add resize to search, so that we can see things clearly. They can fix a host of size bugs. In short, either the people making excuses are saying that Linden Labs hires people who are unqualified, incompetent, and unable to be redirected to the simplest of tasks, such as testing UI properly rather than changing UI (and do you really want people changing UI that can't test?) ... or they are saying that LL has management problems so severe that it would preclude any sane person from buying their stock at IPO. There is no third alternative.

Next there is the long standing problem of LL and money. LL's model is to have resellers and partners package their service and add value. LL sells raw server space, and let's resellers break it up into pieces, add financing, or build on it. LL, itself sells server space in relatively large expensive chunks. A server costs about as much as a car. It has pretended that it is selling a rental investment. However, this is not the case, it is selling the ability to resell. Sim "owners," are not. Instead, we are resellers and partners, and we should be communicated with in the same way that resellers are communicated with, so that we can make reasonable decisions about how to recoup start up costs, add value, and maintain consistency of product.

These things should be obvious: pixel pushing is not so specialized a skill as to preclude genuine improvements in interface, nor is it without collateral effects on more pressing needs in the client; Katt's time isn't unlimited and community relations, not pixel pushing, should be the priority; and LL and it's resellers need to have a better relationship going forward.

(For evidence that people at LL should, and could, be focused more on how to bring more stability to the Grid, read about management procedures at LL.)

Back home sort of.

I'm back home, sort of.

It is sort of strange to be in a room that I worked in a great deal, and now have not visited for months. It is sort of strange to see things that once were part of my daily existence, and now are not.

It is very strange, because it smells and feels different. I am not a regular of this place, any more. I have spent hours talking to someone face to face who used to be a regular part of my daily life, but is now strange to me. His face is different, he's changed. He was a bit thinner last I saw him, and a bit less haggard. The days have not been kind to him.

He's working on things, I know this, but some how I don't think the pressure is good for him. He should spend more time in world, it would do him good.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Page From Men: The Missing Owner's Manual
Why Good Guys are Still Guys... And what to do about this.

Have you ever wondered why, so often, one of your fabulous friends is going out with a guy who is... Less?

Have you ever wondered, if you are a nice guy, why your female friends are so often going out with guys who are... Less.... and you don't have a girlfriend despite being the emotional support for several?

Let me answer this question bluntly. Good guys, are still guys.

The difference between a man and a guy is that a guy hopes to get lucky, while a man makes his own luck. And, well, a flawed diamond is better than a perfect brick. A bad man, someone who makes things happen, will, however temporary and interchangeable they might be, have companions of his preferred genders. A guy, has to get lucky. Sometimes making your own luck means trampling on some flowers.

But this isn't advice for good straight guys, though you can read along. This is advice for women, and for gay men who like men. Let me tell you that it is easier to turn a good guy into a good man, than it is to turn a bad man in to a good man. Lots of us make the mistake of believing otherwise. It just doesn't work out that way.

There are two distinct parts of getting a relationship. The bad guy messes up this step. He does things like go to orgy rooms and says "wanna fuck?" And tells you you are a crazy bitch if you don't. While the real world does not put it quite so bluntly, there are equivalents. That leering smile of "Hello :-) <----8" is something we get irl. It's the leer that does it. Hello is probably the most effective opening line in a converstation. The leer kills it. It turns "Hello," into "Is your cunt wet yet?"

The good guy often understands that in the beginning of a relationship, not making these kinds of moves is a good idea. Why is it a good idea? Because... hmmm... let me offend the screaming bullies of SL again... house breaking a guy is a chore. A guy who has no control over his hormones... is just all kinds of trouble. If he's leering at you, the logic goes, he'll be leering at the next potentially slippery hole as soon as he's visited yours. I'm being crude, I know, but so it goes. There are all kinds of times when a male needs to think of the woman first, and his gonads second. Men who can't do this for 30 seconds on the first impression, well, let's say they imply that the next time you are felling crampy and bloated, aren't going to think of you first then either.

The good guy however, doesn't get, or doesn't know how, to push the boundary when it comes to the second part. He gets, some how, that pushing at the wrong times or in the wrong ways is bad. But instead of pushing at the right times, he gets insecure. He thinks badly of himself. He's worried. This means that he gets passed over.

We, pass him over. In favor of the bad man, who knows to pop the question, push. Now the bad man is just forever pushing, and hoping to get lucky, he's just a bit better at it. He sort of like the dog who is smart enough to sniff before sticking his nose in a hole, but he's after the same thing.

So here is the advice from Lillie. If you want a good man, then you have two choices. One is to attract a good man. The other is to find a good guy, and teach him how to be a good man. That's right, you need to lead him on a bit.

Now why don't more people do this? Because there is a hazard. Sending the signals of leading on is something the bad men are very attuned to. They can smell it, I think, or even more, sense it. Even in SL, it only takes a twinge. The successful bad man may not be attuned to much, but he's learned to focus on those signs of a potential partner who is exposing his or her vulnerability.

That's why there is the dance between men and women, or more generally between those who propose, and those who dispose. The people who dispose do not want to be surrounded by too many proposals. Why I know this is because escorting turns the tables: there are lots more women who want to be escorts, at any given moment, than there are guys willing to pay for one. Guys willing to pay would love to get it for free, and if they are shopping for sl sex for pay, they want offers of the right kind and in a quantity they can sort through. So they get cagey. They do it in a male way rather than a female way, but the objective is the same: send of a signal that the right potential proposers will get, and follow up on, while getting none, if possible, of the wrong kind.

The dance of the proposer is to get draw the disposer out. The counter of the disposer is to find out exactly what the proposer is proposing, and perhaps to get the price to come down.

So here is the problem with the good guy, and that is, that the positions are reverse from many normal circumstances. Casius, in his single days, and some of the other good men of my acquaintance, know how to turn waiting into an art form. They dangle something, a je ne sais quoi until the woman who is used to disposing of offers, finds herself making one. The difference between the skilled man, and the good guy who does not get any sex, is in that the suave man is actually proposing, merely he's proposing something subtle. The good guy would like to do this, but doesn't quite have the skills.

So here is the trick, and it is a key one. If you want to turn a good guy into a good man, you need to teach him how to turn waiting, into anticipation. This solves both problems at once. It's no longer the case of sending out a general signal, to draw in the flotsam and jetsam. You are sending a signal to him. It also means that you are turning your good guy, into a suave man. That's a good thing.

It's also a skill that you need to learn anyway. For lots of reasons. First, because you are different. Repeat this a thousand times a day if you need to. Your emotional, erotic, and sexual landscape is different from everyone else. Man, woman, whatever. However, men, are a bit easier to read, the signals are external, and they have less training in keeping them hidden. They also are more direct about communication, in general.

So whatever your partner, who ever he is, however much he knows, however many women he has been with, there are going to be times when he is perplexed by your needs, and you are going to have to be the temptress leading him down the garden path. The wise man will know when he doesn't know what you want, and will send the signals that he needs and wants you to take him by the hand and lead you, just as he will, on other occasions, offer his hand, grin a naughty grin, and make you know that something wicked this way comes.

The skill of leading a man on to better things is one that everyone who wants to be partnered with one needs to learn then, because to be the disposer is to hide what you want. This means you need to do more than drop hints in many cases.

So what's the difference between the suave man who dangles that something, and the good guy who just dangles there, struggling with himself? Well part of the difference is confidence, but that is the result of the suave man knowing he has a chance, and the good guy not realizing that he does. Confidence comes when signals are sent, signals are received, and actions taken that show that the circle has been closed. The difference is this. A man has an inner life, and he draws you into that inner life by listening to yours, a man draws out your inner life, and makes you reflect on yourself. A guy, let's you vent and bitch, but never makes that crucial turn, where you are aware of the wonders in his mind, nor turn and reflect on your own. A man shows you another world in himself, or let's you glimpse it, or he turns you around to face the vista of your own emotional landscape.

This moment of turning is the difference. The good guy only gets there by accident, or when you are ready anyway. The man knows it is there, and seeks to put the conversation on the path to that peak, where, a chill air blowing bright red to your cheeks, you can look out over your own lush valley, and look forward a strange land that you have never visited. In this moment there is change, and it is that change which produces the attachment that becomes passion and, perhaps, love.

They skill with the good guy then is two parts, one is to get him to do something he fears, because it is wrapped within him tightly, and shrouded with the darkness of his fears. To do this you must heal the wounds that have made him that way. The other part is to show him how to turn you around to face yourself. Like teaching him how to dance, you need to show up the moves that invite your turn, and thus complete the move.

So how to heal? How to invite?

They both come from the same thing. That thing is to think about the other person for a moment. This may sound strange, but let me explain.

The next time you are venting about your relationship to Mr. Less, stop. Think about something. Think about the fact that they guy you are venting to is, at least, a bit better than the male you are with. Think about that for a moment. By thinking about him, it changes what you are doing. Venting is about ME. Right? We all need some me time, and often what makes Mr. Less Mr. Less, is that he gobbles up all of the me, all of the we, and leaves only him. So one reason we don't recognize good guys as potential good men, is because we are busy taking out our problems with Mr. Less on him.

So the next time you find yourself going on about how the man in your life leaves a trail of destruction across your self image, stop and think about the man who is listening.


Say something simple. "I'm so terribly sorry for going on like this. You look like you have things on your mind too." He'll deny it a few times. Maybe several. Maybe he won't begin to open up then. Let your voice get soft, drop the nasal, and say "Really, I want to hear about them." He will quite probably say that this will happen some other time. Tell him, "Alright, but you've been so sweet to me."

Give him a kiss on the cheek. He'll be floating. Really floating. He'll think about nothing other than that next meeting.

Here's the hard part.

The toxic man cycle is that you go to your good guy friend, dump on him, recharge enough to go back to Mr. Less. And forget all about your good guy friend.

He knows it, it hurts him terribly, and it gradually poisons your relationship. Jealousy, anger, and resentment build up. One day the two of you have it out when you thought you were going to recharge on him. You get puzzled, how did such a friendship go sour? All men are pigs, you say to yourself. Out of your life walks the best guy you know. Bad moves.

Instead, make the next time someplace where there aren't that many other people around, or people don't have permission to intrude. Wear something white. Be soft, not too much make up, but a hint of pink. Bookstores, bookstores are great for this kind of thing. Be there first, instead of late. Have some books you like picked out, on the table.

"This is one of my favorite novels, what do you think about it?" The book should be one that features passion and commitment. It will take some time, you will need to ask some questions. One good tact is to open to the part where the two lovers first make the spark of connection. Read it, looking up at him with each sentence.

See what he says. Don't over sell, don't over flirt, don't vamp. Be virginal. If it isn't going to work, then you are just two friends discussing a novel.

If there is no there there, then you know. However, if he has something upstairs, then he will expose that, or he will counter with his favorite novel, or his view on how people meet.

And there you go, he's got his first positive signal. Each step, the same way. Set a way for him to open up, give him every chance to open up. And then see what flower comes of it.

Time's running out, I can't promise when I will pick this up again.


Openspace sims are now orderable

New land store. No.

New prices. Yes.

We are taking orders.

Prices are either 95 USD a month, no obligations, or 325 USD in advance, with 79/month fees. Payable in USD or Linden Dollars. The second option gives you naming rights, the second gives you naming rights if you agree to a 12 month lease of the openspace sim. Fees are fixed, except for changes in LL costs, for 12 months.

Co-location in the Yedo complex is available, or open space sims can be located anywhere that LL allows. This means in a slot on the grid, or next to another island with the owner's permission.

Hurry, the backlog is going to pile up quickly.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

You know I think...

Elusyve is blogging some of the most luminous pictures from second life these days... this post for example...

A short letter to men

Dear Men,

You have between your legs a marvelous instrument which is the channel of life. It is capable of delivering great pleasure, and capable of being a connection between two people in hedonism, affection, and even love. However, many of you swing it around, metaphorically, virutally, and actually, in a clumsy and offensive way. You are often abusive to women in order to pound us down. People like John Grohol are professional bullies, and dozens and dozens of men have passed through my second life existence thinking that any woman who is not their cum bucket is a crazy bitch.

Can't you see how self-destructive this is? Maybe society accepts it, and I can see that it clearly does, because many of the most abusive of men are coddled, praised, and protected. But it leads to unhappiness. The more it is allowed and tolerated in society, the more unhappy the men and women in it are.

One problem is that many of you act as if your selves are extensions of your cock. This is almost a sure way of making yourself odious to all but a few women who are desperate. Perhaps you think you want that, the desperate woman who will abase herself for your cock, real or otherwise, but really, it is not a good idea, and it leads to things like ... divorce. I had one male friend tell me the joke that "Divorce is the screwing you get for the screwing you got."

I'd like you to think about it a different way. Instead of thinking that your cock is the attractive thing, reverse this. Your cock is a conduit for your essence, in rl, biologically, but in virtual worlds, metaphorically. A relationship with another person makes your cock attractive, because it becomes that symbolic key, that link, between what makes you special as an individual, and as a man. The more that manliness is attractive, the more that inner essence is attractive, the more the thing from which it's spark jumps is attractive.

This means that the size of your cock is a great deal less important than the shape of your character, and the content of your mind. This means that the first orifice that you should try and enter, is the ear. People who might well have convinced me to do things with them, often don't, because they don't want to persuade me, they just want to pound my face down to their cock. Whether people like John Grohol, or others too numerous to mention.

Just a thought. Your mileage may vary, as the expression goes.

But it probably won't vary by much.

I get asked

why I spend time in orgy rooms.

Let me answer that.

One reason I came to Second Life was to study the undercurrent of sexualized rage which is part of our global environment. By going to those places which promote the illusion that women should be treated as autolubricating fuck holes for the use of infantile homophobic jerks, that's a good way of knowing what is really the, as Ten Book puts it, rectal temperature, of the civilization.

The other reason is to help newbies ready to move up and out. Can you think of a better place to find clueless people in need of help? I don't know what percentage of the male population passes through an orgy room, but it has to be pretty high.

The orgy room culture is the undercity of Second Life, and as such, it needs to be studied. In no small part it is a culture created by Linden Lab and it's incentive structure. With the rise of bots, regular camping is almost extinct, and with it when the people, no one knows how many, who camped to get a bit of spare change to pay for content. Free camping, aka promising "free sex" is a great way to getting stupid horny neo-adolescent guys to hang out in your sim. And buy the generally overpriced junk content that is there sold.

The irony is that what we call "orgy" rooms on second life are not. In real heterosexual orgies, I am told by people who know, single males are not allowed. No female partner, no admission. What we really have in Second Life don't even rise to the level of chat rooms, because there's no chat in about 70% of all approaches.

LL may say that it doesn't want to promote hateful actions, but really, as long as the current form of camping exists to promote cock dumps, it is doing so.

Would I ban orgy rooms? Not at all, in fact, if we had some good ones, I might even go play there, and I would certainly take clients. What I would change is the traffic system, which gives people an incentive to have cock dumps, rather than well, actual orgies.

We all pay for this. I'm glad these perverse incentives exist, though, because it has allowed me to learn things that really cannot be learned any other way.

[19:35] Odissey Rossini: hello :)
[19:35] Lillie Yifu: Hello
[19:36] Odissey Rossini: how are you?
[19:37] Lillie Yifu: I am well
[19:37] Lillie Yifu: how may I help you?
[19:38] Odissey Rossini: maybe we can help both? :)
[19:39] Odissey Rossini: are you still here?
[19:39] Odissey Rossini: ?
[19:40] Lillie Yifu: I am here
[19:40] Odissey Rossini: do you are a escort?
[19:40] Lillie Yifu: What is it you are looking for?
[19:41] Odissey Rossini: sex
[19:42] Odissey Rossini: you?
[19:42] Odissey Rossini: then?
[19:43] Lillie Yifu: money
[19:43] Lillie Yifu: you pay me
[19:43] Lillie Yifu: we can have sex
[19:43] Lillie Yifu: how's that?
[19:43] Odissey Rossini: ahahah
[19:43] Odissey Rossini: i don't pay, am sorry :)
[19:46] Lillie Yifu: well then I don't have sex with rude smarmy guys like you
[19:46] Lillie Yifu: sorry
[19:47] Lillie Yifu: and dear, there's no such thing, as free sex
[19:48] Odissey Rossini: ahahah ok call me rude ONLy beacause i don't pay you...if i payed i would be a prince eh? ...silly girl!
[19:49] Lillie Yifu: if you were to ask a sim owner for free land
[19:49] Lillie Yifu: he'd call you rud
[19:49] Lillie Yifu: if you were to ask a vendor for free shoes
[19:49] Lillie Yifu: he or she would call you rude
[19:49] Lillie Yifu: yes you are rude
[19:49] Lillie Yifu: and you are making trouble for yourself
[19:50] Lillie Yifu: I advise you stop
[19:50] Odissey Rossini: get lost you are only a bitch upset nbecause i don't pay and i wasn't rude until now to be rude like you are!

I post these because it seems to me to be the only way to underline that Second Life's current incentives to create nasty men looking to abuse women for free cyber sex leading to real sex, is something that must be repeated over and over again, so that the outside world will know that Second Life is currently a cesspool, out of which crawls behavior which is not acceptable.

People come to second life to be atrocious. As long as there is economic incentive to cater to this kind of thing, Second Life will be looked upon as a lesser place.

Reaching for another idea

I've been working on a large project, one that I have not told people about, because it is a long and winding road, and I don't want it to become a pressure, it will be something good for second life, and good for art. These two things matter to me.

What also matters to me is that people need to understand the nature of the gift economy. It seems on Second Life, and other places, over and over again, I find people seem to believe things about the gift economy that are not true.

The important thing to remember about peple who give their time is that they want something back. That thing is to feel good, either by knowing they have accomplished something, or by meeting other like minded people. Often both. The gift of time is something that is often taken for granted, but is, in fact, one of the most precious things that people can do. This means that the social dynamic of a volunteering is delicate. All to often this delicacy is ignored. I see people who run groups behaving like they are running a for pay organization.

One of the crucial differences between the paid and the unpaid, is that in a paid environment, dealing with obnoxious people is part of what you are paid to do. Even then there are limits, but the more one is paid, the more one is expected to be tolerant of faults, ranging from the annoying to the unforgivable, to the criminal. Volunteers do not put up with these things, they aren't there to be abused.

Another crucial difference is in the importance of feeling that there is a cause or reason for their work. Take this away, and they can be angry or frustrated. They will feel betrayed if individuals seem to act for self interest rather than the cause, or allow the cause to fall apart in order to advance their self-interest.

The last important thing to realize about the gift of time, is when it isn't really. Many things that are given, are given in to promote a cooperative space, and not really as a pure gift. Often people's activity which is for a common good is then treated as if it were a pure gift, and the result is hurt feelings and anger.

I've seen all of these mistakes over and over again in SL, partially because many things, like the direct sex industry, are based on taking people's fantasy time, and trying to turn it into money. I've seen all kinds of abusiveness go on in this realm, where "business" operators push and bully their "employees." This economy turns around and feeds the content providers, who are quick to demand their rights, and then some, but then pretend that the abuse of other rights, no less clear and no less enshrined in law, are things that they are to be carefully ignorant of.

Over and over again I see people in paying positions trying to extract free work out of others, to then turn around and get credit for being paid fr. People who are bineg used like this resent it, and sooner or later they stop.

If Second Life is to be effective, then sooner or later the gift of time must be treated better by Second Life society. The mentors, and teachers, and guides, and a host of other people giving of themselves because they believe, are so under appreciated. It's something that occurs to me each time I help someone out... how much of retention in this place is based on the gift of time and knowledge.

Am I proposing something, not really. I can only do little things with my little efforts. But something more needs to be done, though at the moment I am not sure what.

Who we are

We are not who we are,
but what we let live to thrive in gardens of neglect.
We are not the words we speak,
but those we suffer to be spoken to the others in our place.
There are many least of them,
but what is done unto them is by our hand,
if it is by our leave.

I walked today and heard a young man
screaming every word that should not be heard,
at the woman that he said he loved.
I shifted my fingers and cast a spell,
for no force that I could mount would withstand
the blows his burly hands commanded.
I stood and watched, until summoned
others cleared the row.

But what happened at home between them,
we all know.

I saw their car pull away,
and looked at the still droplet of blood that had collected on the ground,
from where, I later found, she had spat
after he had struck her face with his fisted keys.

We are not who we are,
but what we give leave to grow,
in gardens of neglect.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"There Is No Sex, In the Champagne Room."

A friend of mine sent me a YouTube link to Chris Rock's video

"There is No Sex in the Champagne Room." And you know? The song could be done for SL. I'm not clever enough to do this absolutely well, but... I could hear in the back of my mind:

Ladies and Gentleman of the Second Life™ Class of 2008, I have one piece of advice for you:

No matter what a search engine tells you, there is no rl sex, in the orgy room. Oh there's SL Sex in the orgy room. But you don't want sl sex. And there's no rl sex, in the orgy room.

Don't go to parties with weapon's policies. It may feel safe, but what about all those Patriot Nigras who are going to grief it? They know you ain't got one.

If a woman's profile says she's 22, and she acts 22. He's at least 32.

If a woman's profile says she's 30, and she act's 30, she's 55.

Take off that silly ass bling.

Linden Labs couldn't possibly be responsible for all these bugs. Microsoft did some of that shit.

Women, if your pumps don't fit exactly right. Let it slide. Why spend the next 20,000 Linden of your money, finding a better one because the back sticks out.

Threesomes, ain't nothing wrong with that.

No matter what you think of what I 'm saying. There is No RL Sex, in the orgy room.

If a newbie has a funny tag. They aren't a real newbie. Real newbies are still having too many problems finding the right click self menu, to be funny.

If a girl has a pierced part. She'll probably suck your cock.
If a guy has a pierced part. He'll probably suck your cock.

Here's a horoscope for everyone:
Aquarius, you're gonna crash.
Capricorn, you're gonna crash.
Gemini, you're gonna crash, twice.
Leo. You're gonna crash.
Scorpio, you're gonna to crash fucking.

No one asks about MSN for chat.

If you have been partnered with a guy for more than four months, and he hasn't talked about buying a plane ticket, he is not rl single.

Some of the stuff I've said may not apply to you. Some of the stuff I am saying may offend you.

But no matter what Linden Labs may tell you, there is no profit in selling to newbies. Says Lillie. None.

The reason I am thinking of this is I just read Don't Blame it On Rio. It is a short breezy book with comments and interviews about African-American men who go to Rio to live the life and get sex. Many of the comments that applied to the situation of going to Rio, that you can get anything you want here very cheaply, that people who are downscale can live upscale, that people who are upscale can live downscale. But most of all, there is the respect that seems to be lacking in day to day lives. Yes the interviews talked about sex, but even when they were talking about sex, the undercurrent was respect.

A big part of Second Life, is that it takes very little to be respected. Steal people's Linden, and they will be sort of angry at you. Show them disrespect, and they will hate you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Brittle Life

I never found farting jokes funny. Sex jokes sometimes, my South Park phase lasted about a month, but flauti, never did it for me. So when I heard that comic Ben Stein was doing a movie called "Expelled," I thought that it was a movie that was going be eminently stupid and avoidable. If only the world were so lucky.

No, Stein's magnum opus is on how the Evils of Darwinism lead to the Nazis, and that the salvation of Intelligent Design will save us all from this. Now, one can make a case for all sorts of things leading to the Nazis, the period is a stew of misbegotten ideas, and Hilter was a goose who crammed down occultism, vegetarianism, Wagnerism, Nietzschean will to power, and a hoard of other ghosts of ideas past into his concoction. But in the end, Totalitarianism was what made the Nazi machine one of the worst imaginable.

PZ Myers, who appeared recently on Virtually Speaking collected his three favorite responses to the movie. One of which is a long two part post by Troy Britain which looks at how this is another example of the old Young Earth Creationism born again to question Darwinian theory. But really, all of the scientific revolution, because there is no aspect of our existence as scientific beings, which is not tied together. No objection raised to Natural Selection, cannot be, with simple changes, raised about all of modern science.

You might ask what this has to do with Second Life, or Virtual Reality in general. I think I can answer that. One problem of our simulations of the outside, is that they are brittle, and not adaptive. There are many lessons in Second Life, one of them is that human systems are brittle, centralized, and directed. Natural ones are more flexible, in part because they do not have the same directedness. We want Second Life to look like something, nature does not care what creatures evolve out of a system. God, if there was one, is as likely to have made a world that fell apart, and like software, would need constant intervention. From this, I think, I can draw the lesson of VR to biology, to argue for supernatural intervention once, is more or less to argue for it over and over and over again.

Psych Central, Trusted source of professional information, endorses calling women "Whores"

Over on Hamlet's blog several people have decided that vicious attack is the thing to do. It has now become something very public. Where a psychologist calls me "a whore." Now if that's the word you want to use, that's up to you. I will be called worse this week. But this is in a supposedly professional setting. He pretends to use references, though none of them are germane to his woeful misreading of my original post. However, you do have to ask, would any woman go to a man who blows up and calls her a whore because of an argument?

This is now an RL controversy, and as such it is wise for me to be careful, but no reading, however generous, of the word "whore" fits with any professional standard of conduct in the medical health fields. John M. Grohol, Psy.D, clearly believes that it is professional and acceptable to characterize people that way, so that is what we must conclude that Psychcentral believes, that people who dare to disagree with them must be called whores and abused.

Tell me, which countries is this considered good therapeutic practice in? Since Dr.Grohol is the CEO of psych central, there is no point in complaining to the management. Here is the advisory board of PsychCentral, and to each of them I have to ask publicly and on the record, whether calling people whores is accepted practice in an academic or professional setting in the places where they are licensed to practice.

* Holly Counts, Psy.D.
* Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.
* Gilbert Levin, Ph.D.
* Daniel Z. Sands, M.D., MPH
* John Schinnerer, Ph.D.
* John Suler, Ph.D.
* Clay Tucker-Ladd, Ph.D.
* Bonnie Wiesner, Ed.S., Ph.D.

I say they have endorsed this because, according to their editorial policy:

Psych Central’s publisher, John M. Grohol, Psy.D., sometimes in consultation with our Professional Advisory Board, decides which topics should be included on the website. A goal of our editorial process is to provide consumer mental health information that will address the most frequent inquiries. New topics are chosen based on consumer interest, new developments that influence current practice, advances in prevention and the prevalence of conditions.

Newly created material may originate from Psych Central or a staff or contracted writer, or a Professional Advisory Board member. All text pieces, graphics and tools are subject to a standardized review process.

So this use of the word "whore" as a way to engage in professional disagreements has their approval and has been reviewed, since it is a text piece.

I learned something my first week in Second Life. They only call you a whore, when you won't be their whore.

[Teissa posts an Amazing defense of me... I can't thank her enough. I've read the papers and books in question, and they don't support his argument. Which is why his post is doubly unprofessional, citations are used to be able to check the work, and his citations don't back up what he is saying.]