A writer I know once suggested that adulthood can be gauged by exactly how much of one's personal morals and ethics are compromised. The higher the compromise, the greater the adulthood. I like that sentiment, and of course by saying I like it, I mean I loathe its truth.
A hundred years of school later, I find that my bubble of life, the free-thinking freelance journalist, is in mid-burst. I am now doing marketing for a firm I dislike that practices a certain branch of law I cannot stand. And I can be proud now. At 27 and 2 months, I have achieved adulthood. All I need to do now is start selling jewelry, pump out some offspring and practice a plastic but inpenatrable (sp?) smile and I will be set for life. And by saying life, I mean a living death.
Not writing articles seems to have slowed down my inquisitive nature, as well, as my adventures in Second Life have slowed to a crawl. Also, each improvement to the viewer makes my own computer a little bit more obsolete each time, so now I'm crashing more than Mickey Rourke's career in the 1990s. I am getting on long enough to check out, say, the gallery of Jenn Villota (you'll have to find her on your own, which you can through google or flickr). Jenn's work is brutal, bloody and sex-charged. I find, the worse the economy here in Writerville gets, the more I find I like Jenn's work.
I say it's bad, but it's not sooo bad. One cannot become a freelance journalist and then count on the next story to buy one's dinner. The next story should, instead, buy the dinner you plan to have in a year. And that's where I am at present.
I haven't seen much of Clifford lately. After a bit of interest, he fell into the role of Paranoid Guy and was convinced I was out to get him. After talking him down, I found myself a bit too exhausted to persue any e-lationship with him. If I am going to be someone's mother in-world, I will go to one of the adoption agencies.
Not that the other guys I run into are much better. There's one who keeps IMing me when I am offline to ask if he can collar me. I keep writing back, 'does that mean you'll give me what a good captive should have? Place to live? Clothes? Amusement?' He does not reply to that. I'm hardly going to be online just to be the pole greaser for a fuckstick with no responsibility.
Eh, I'm babbling now. What? You knew that? Well, of course you did. Thanks for listening...
So I hang out with this boy. I'll call him Clifford.
He is plagued with feelings on inadequacy. He carries a pall of sadness around like a cloak. He knows big, honkin' words. So we get along quite well. Plus, he's pleased to see me, which is a nice little bonus.
We met in a 'sex' sim, where I was testing out my new dress. It's a daft little ritual I go through; I buy a dress and then see how appealing it is by going to a sex sim and seeing how many boys and girls are drawn to me. If they are obviously talking to someone else and stop their conversation to chat me up, I know I've got a good dress. Clifford was chatting up another girl, and it was going very poorly for him. Not that the girl wasn't appreciative or interested, but the broken English made it almost impossible to make out what she was trying to convey. I teleported him to a ballroom and forced him to dance with me. "You're too much!" he said at the time, but he was content to go along for the ride. I liked that, too.
It was Clifford who I mentioned in a prior blog - the public fellow who shouldn't be found wandering sex sims. And it was Clifford who I advised about this, and it was Clifford who was quite shocked by my investigatory skills. And it was Clifford who now IMs me when I'm not online just to say hello.
Clifford and I are like people who meet on the train, both heading to distant and different destinations, who get along like a house on fire. I think he's brilliant; he thinks I'm funny. That can go a long way. Second Life does definitely help pare down the small talk and get on with the business at hand (you can't just type 'um' or leave pregnant pauses all the time or else you risk the other person getting bored - such is Generation A.D.D.). The only problem is that, although you can share great laughs and profound statements, you cannot prove a lick of them. Some of the people I follow deride those who put up a wall between RL and SL; I can certainly respect that, in some ways envy that, but I *have* to keep a wall up. If I went into why, most people would understand, but then I would have breached my own levee, so to speak.
Anyway, I just wanted to write a little bit about Clifford, the man who finds me funny in this short part of our long journeys.
Things are things, there's no doubt about it. And things in moderation are usually alright. Things to the extreme are usually harmful, or, in a worst-case scenario, really stupid.
The stupidest thing I've come across lately is the painful need of people to talk in absolutes. Examples abound in your own head, I would guess, but let me illustrate some fine examples: "omgz that's the best!!", "I feel you completely!!", "you're the best!", "I have the best friends!", "This weekend was perfect!"
I know you've heard things like this, cuz, you know, UR THE BEST. Proclamation without elaboration. A cartoon in the Louvre.
A statement that says, 'please like me because I am making a definitive effort to make it sound like I like you!', or in the alternative, 'please see how gregarious, happy and peace-filled that I am!' Where we may part company is that, when I hear something like this, I automatically and without reservation think it's bullshit. Like the bloke you don't know who insists on puncuating his speech with 'trust me', it's used-carsalesman philosophy. Say it enough and it must be true.
Admittedly, some of my negative feelings about this absolutism is that I am unable to do it. I can't get away with latex boots in real life, so it is my natural inclination to dislike latex boots. I also can't get away with Burberry scarves and... well, the list goes on. But I digress. I find myself absolutely unable to absolutely think anything is the best. Even when I look at myself, I can only consider myself the best I can be at the moment - there's always room for exploration, development and maturity. The world is almost infinite with possibility and promise; to label something the best would bring any journey to an end.
And I'm afraid I just don't want to end any journey just yet. Why are so many people so anxious to?
On a related note, I'm not all that fond of people who send me emails asking me questions and ending with 'thanks', as if I've done what they've asked already. In fact, in my journo-world, 'thanks' does not mean thanks at all anymore; it rather means 'I'm ending my email now.' Does that make sense? Thanks.
I have really had it with Bloodlines. Not only do they interrupt the regular play of Second Life - no matter if I'm at Orientation Island helping new folks or at a ballroom doing a foxtrot with a random boy toy - but they are pompous and blithely ignorant about it.
Today, I was invited to be bitten by a woman named Karin. I asked her how she felt being part of a group that was rapidly becoming the most hated group in SL. She was shocked to hear such a thing. She was further surprised to learn that the nickname her ilk had inspired was "spampire." I followed her back to Warwick Village and conducted interviews with some of the people hanging around. The king of the village, a fellow named Mgcjohn (I assume that means Magic John, which puts me in mind of a self-cleaning toilet) and his sidekick, named Wild, seemed completely unaware that Bloodlines was an irritant to regular gameplay. The more I asked of Mgcjohn, the more incoherant his answers became. Wild, on the other hand, got irritated with my continued questions. At one point, he asked, "What's with all the questions?", to which I replied, "It's how I learn things."
During the interviews, I came up with an idea that I think is well worth pursuing. Since not a single Bloodliner I've interviewed has a problem with playing their game in every sim they can get their pale asses into, I asked Mgcjohn and Wild if they would mind, say, fifty furries wearing particles showed up in Warwick (which is beautiful and stark, by the way). They both agreed that visitors would be welcome; I countered by saying that such a clan would not be there to visit. They'd be there to flash particles, dance, play music and ask the vampires to join their clan.
Neither vampire seemed too awfully wild about that idea.
And, for me personally, I think fifty particle-wearing music-playing furries (or the like) in Warwick would look horrible and compromise the integrity of the sim. But fair's fair, right?
A third vampire I interviewed later said that SL is all about RP anyway and I should chill out. I disagreed, pointing out that when I have been RPing as a domme, I don't show up at the Universal Church of Christ. And when I'm feeling all Neko and wearing ripped hose and torn blouses, I don't tend to turn up at Avilion Ballroom. And when I'm shooting zombies and decked up with guns and combat gear, I don't turn up in, oh I don't know, a vampire sim.
So, I went on, if I can be that respectful of everyone, what's wrong with Bloodliners that they can't?
As with every Bloodliner I've had the fortune - or misfortune - to encounter, he didn't have a really good answer either. He bandied about some rationalizations - the training is bad, I could wear garlic, I could just say 'no' to being bitten, etc. - but nothing he said suggested that he could understand that RPers should confine their game to their specific sims.
I would not wish to put too much importance into any facet of SL - it's there for a laugh, after all - but I'm seriously considering spearheading some sort of virtual movement against Bloodlines, an organization that is known for simply sucking.
I have a mate in-world named Mirsha. She's just one of those people I clicked with almost instantly, and now we are prone to having very silly and very funny chats in the middle of masses of people who are simply trying to have a good time. For Christmas, I thought I'd do the copy-and-paste trick and give you perhaps a gift of a giggle or two.
This took place when I visited her at the place she works, which naturally enough, is all about dancing and sex.
Mirsha Loudwater: what'cha looking at? Madelyn Writer: taking a short tour of the upstairs with my camera Mirsha Loudwater: ooh, I see Madelyn Writer: oh good, you have a 'fisting' option on Bed One. Madelyn Writer: nothing i like more than five fingers up my cooch. Mirsha Loudwater: I've never been into that... Madelyn Writer: i prefer footing. same principle. you just have a bloke bury his leg up to the knee. Mirsha Loudwater laughs Madelyn Writer: if you get a small enough bloke, you can have a reverse birth Mirsha Loudwater: tried that once... Took a while and one of his friends to get him out again Madelyn Writer: oh dear. did they have to use a cro bar? Mirsha Loudwater: no, they attached hooks and stretched so he could climb back out. Madelyn Writer: good. at least it wasn't painful. Mirsha Loudwater: now, if only he hadn't been a reporter, I wouldn't have to hear from it Madelyn Writer: reporters are lousy lovers. i had this one fellow who would NOT put down his microphone. "this is chuck stevers, live from Madelyn's bed" etc. Mirsha Loudwater: better than weathermen. oh, I hate weathermen Mirsha Loudwater: the term 'looks like it's going to be wet and slippery' gets real old, real quick Mirsha Loudwater: then he started bitching about dry seasons. i'll never sleep with my dad's friends again. Madelyn Writer: i got lucky. i had one once and he went on about a high pressure zone moving in from the south. of course, he was 50/50 when it came to predicting. Mirsha Loudwater: oh, I had this traffic reporter once, he ended up blocking both exits Madelyn Writer: better than having a restaurant critic, though. those fellows are never happy. kept stopping to write notes. Madelyn Writer: kept talking about ambiance. jeez. talk about pressure. Mirsha Loudwater: you should try a wine taster Mirsha Loudwater: 'this one has a big upper body, but weak legs and a shallow lower body' Madelyn Writer: i did once, i think. showed up, had a sip, left. i was put off. Madelyn Writer: that's why i'm off your dad's friends, too. Mirsha Loudwater: dad himself is pretty good, though... Madelyn Writer: i'll say Mirsha Loudwater: he's unemployed, so he can focus, at least... Madelyn Writer: he is? he told me i gave him a good job.
Whether used as escapism or exploration, Second Life proves that old addage from that terrible movie 'The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai': wherever you go, there you are.
While continuing my Never-Ending Aimless Tour, in which I plonk a random word in SL's search engine and go wherever it tells me, I met a nice guy. Good attention to his clothes and appearance (even the eyes appeared to be the result of shopping, not stumbling a box of free eyes in the middle of a cornfield). An astute sense of humour - including fairly enjoyable bad-joke exchanges regarding angles (involving "obtuse questions" and "acute avatar" - groannn) and actuarials being the only people on Earth who could make accounting interesting to the regular world. A willingness to be lured away from a couple of stumbling noobs for a short dance with no chance of it going further than that.
And my first thought, as it is in RL, is: OK, what's wrong with this guy?
UPDATE -- I later found this fellow in real life - the hows and whys I will not go into. My journalistic instinct suggested I keep the information to myself. However, my personal instinct won out and I contacted him and told him how I found him, etc. Because he has a public position with authority, I advised him to get a different avatar if he wanted to pursue personal relationships (as he had intimated). He was a bit shocked by this revelation, and I admit to being a little concerned over how he would handle it. By the end of our chat, he appeared willing to consider a second avatar - one that would have no contact with his main one. I felt dead awful for scaring him like that, but better me than an associate of his.
Like a virtual version of HIV, you have entered and spread through Second Life. Like HIV, you contanimate and offer nothing in return. Like HIV, much of your behaviour can be linked to assholes. Like HIV, life is better without you.
When I show up at a ballroom, I don't want to see a dropdown menu asking if you can bite me. When I go shopping, I don't want to see a dropdown menu asking if you can bite me. If I'm at a coffee shop with mates, I don't want to see a dropdown menu asking if you can bite me. You get the idea, yeh?
And when I get a dropdown and you ask me if you can bite me and I say, "Sure! Can I shit in your mouth?", don't cop an attitude. It's you invading my space and interrupting my time that inspired my retort. I am just as short if someone would ask me for my shoes or ask if they can put a tattoo on me for their own benefit (and, in effect, you do, as the only thing a victim can get is a crappy looking pair of holes to wear on one's neck).
Whatever you get from going around "on the hunt", as you lamely put it, I suspect it's only marginally more than what your victims get. You "own" 500 souls? Whoopie mother fucking doo, mate.
And if you accuse me of "being young", as Whatevah Antfarm did, and your boyfriend decides to orbit me when I refuse to be bitten, as Wandering Antfarm did, you transcend stupid and go directly to retarded. You get reported, fucktards. Now you'll have something else to tally up that's meaningless.
In short, please, please, for the love of God, fuck yourselves.
One of the most spectacular things about Second Life is being able to meet and interact with people from all over the world. It is only here that you can effectively meet a 64-year-old retired police officer from Brussels or a 17-year-old woman from Quebec within a few virtual feet of each other. Or, if you're amazingly lucky like me...
[5:11] Nicolas Cerise: hi [5:11] Madelyn Writer: hey nic [5:11] Nicolas Cerise: how are you? [5:12] Madelyn Writer: not bad, yeh. how's your travels today? [5:12] Nicolas Cerise: good:) [5:13] Nicolas Cerise: i look at exciting places:) [5:13] Nicolas Cerise: and you? [5:13] Madelyn Writer: i look at whatever can interest me [5:14] Nicolas Cerise: let me show better place at this? [5:14] Madelyn Writer: wow. i have no idea what that means. [5:14] Madelyn Writer: :) [5:15] Nicolas Cerise: :) [5:15] Nicolas Cerise: let me show it? [5:15] Madelyn Writer: i'm sorry? show what? [5:16] Nicolas Cerise: you would eat better place [5:16] Nicolas Cerise: nice, exciting [5:16] Madelyn Writer: eat better place? [5:16] Madelyn Writer: i'm sorry. i am not understanding you very well. [5:17] Nicolas Cerise: sorry [5:17] Madelyn Writer: no worries. i think i'll be moving on now. [5:17] Nicolas Cerise: I am not very good angolbol yet [5:18] Nicolas Cerise: where moving on? [5:19] Madelyn Writer: i have no idea
Yes, if you're lucky like me, your chance conversations tend to look like outtakes from the movie, "Borat."
I do confess I often stoop to the disdain for newbies that baffled me when I was new.
In the old days of my newbiedom, when guilty of little more than not knowing how to walk [or perhaps having expertise in running just into the side of a doorway], I would flounder just long enough to incur the wrath of someone who had been in the game for a long time - especially if there was a group around to impress. I would take all the insults, then slink off to derisive laughter and a chorus of insulting wav files.
"What are they being so uptight about?" I would think to myself, but I kept otherwise silent. Standing face to face with a Borg-looking dominatrix with wings, while I had little remarkable about myself than a jerky walk that made me look like I had early-stage Parkinson's, did not suggest there would be a good ending to any fight. Plus, I had the foresight to realize there was much I did not know - and as I discovered guns, orbiters, distorters and the like, I realized I was correct - so to engage with a person of experience could be up the ante on the Humiliate-o-meter.
But to flash forward, I do, as I said, occaisionally snipe at newbies in the same manner (sans the nasty wav files, which I've never gotten into). Perhaps this is just a reflection of my school days (and probably yours), where the upperclassmen always took the piss over a juniorclassman and his ignorance of the way things were. Or a reflection of my current job as a freelancer, which is its own little irate community in and of itself, with people with a hundred articles published or feeds drawn on tend to snarl a bit at those with only ten or are just starting out.
In truth, I am aware of this rather silly habit of mine, and try to temper it with at least some good advice (ie, 'buy some shoes, no one want to smell your feet') so I don't come off as horrible as those who picked on me. I hope this softens the blow for my muppet-looking victims, and isn't just a justification in my own mind to be a twat.