My House in Refugio
Branch light by silvia Mayo
-- it has options to change.
Bowl was the premium gift
in Sept by Colleen Desmoulins
-- it was really the only thing
worth putting out.
House by SkyeRyder Varriale.
Cabinet by Tara Tagore.
One of the reasons I never link to the Herald (besides its enabling of griefers) is because back in 2007, I recall responding in the comments to some article with a link to my own blog, and then I got a notecard from Pixeleen telling me that I had to pay for ads for my blog on the Herald (snort).
Of course, anyone else on the Herald could link to whatever, and linking to my blog from the Herald hardly would add to traffic significantly, and certainly wouldn't constitute an "ad," but Mark McCahill, the Pixeleen typist, was willing to "break the Internet" this way, despite having practically invented the URL...or something. What an ass.
I remember writing about Tenshi Vielle back then because she was hustling ads for the Herald then, including from the now-defunct Electric Sheep company, which essentially already sponsored the Herald, and had editorial control on certain stories about themselves, by paying Mark Wallace (later Wallace Linden), to write another now-defunct blog called 3PointD about the future web 3.0. Wallace was the publisher of the Herald. I don't know what that meant in real terms because I don't think he put his own money in, and he never wrote anything hardly for the Herald. But he would intervene to censor me when I wrote critically about the Electric Sheep.
Tenshi has always been a royal bitch -- one of those snotty Tableau types who runs a site called Shopping Cart Disco.
To hear her tell the story -- in her weepy tell-all about "SL Addiction" on the Herald -- this shopping site was a huge success and terribly controversial or sensational by publishing SL fashion industry gossip. Huh? I don't recall a single controversial story on SCD *at all*. I'd be happy to give it credit for sensations -- but I can't think of any, can you? They didn't cover Emerald -- except in a sort of half-assed way. They didn't cover Red Zone -- Sluniverse.com covered that. What sensation was ever covered by this flimsy ad vehicle and vanity recepticle for Tenshi called Shopping Cart Disco? I'm not getting this. Were we supposed to find the taped nerd glasses endearing and not a cliche? We didn't. Haven't you ever watched an SL fashion feed? About once a week some designer "gets an idea" that taped nerd glasses on a girl are going to be endearing and not a cliche -- and they're wrong every time.
I would forget to read SCD for entire years at a time. I do like to keep up, and sometimes I enjoy perusing fashion, but SCD was just boring. I vaguely have a sense of weepy Plurky self-revelation screenshots of a lot of big-hair heavily-made up avatars who were confessing to...something. Being males dressed as females? Something big.
I remember when Tenshi invited me to write for SCD, but it was what she considered to be an artful put-down. She said it was time for me to mature and stop writing my own scurrilous blog and graduate to the big-time with her site.
This occasion gave me a chance to do something I'd always wanted to do, write an email that went like this:
So...I'll tell you my take on this weird confession from Tenshi, where she lets us know that she had a horrible crappy real life and sought solace in SL: I don't believe it. I think the story is fake, and it's just another tabloid gimmick.
I think it's just misogynist mangina stuff, or something. Tenshi could be a man in RL -- avatars in the fashion industry often are.
I mean, it's just too weird -- Tenshi telling us all that time that she was typing her blog, and her snappy come-backs on Alphaville, while a newborn nestled at her feet.
I don't believe that story. Why? Because when women REALLY have newborn babies they have the full care of, you hear about it. They talk about their babies. They say "AFK, gtg, baby crying." They weave in stories about sore nipples or 3 am feedings or colic. To never hear a single thing about this baby all that time just seems...really odd. Oh, maybe there was a close circle of mangina gfs that heard about this baby -- but I have to wonder.
Then there's the other pieces of the story. Of course, Tenshi, who seems relatively intelligent, doesn't have a husband to go with this baby. He's a loser, he disappears, and she's left alone with the kid. That doesn't sound *quite* true, but, it happens. So there's no mom or dad in the picture, even though she's 20-something. No other relatives she can live with? And she becomes desperate and homeless and has to live with somebody else in SL even for a few weeks. Well, that, too, could be the case, but it starts to strain the credibility.
Then she tells us that so desperate was she to survive, and somehow wasn't able to go on AFDC for reasons we can't glean, that she goes to work as a janitor. Really, Tenshi?
And not only does she go to work as a janitor (!), she gets scabies and pink-eye and other infections, presumably from handling garbage. Scabies isn't that frequent in people that more or less live a civilized life and wash their hands. Since it is transmitted from skin-to-skin contact and contact with bedding, implying that it came from garbage pick-up seems dubious. Maybe she should have made herself be a hotel maid in the story? Maybe she should have made herself a hotel maid who turned tricks at the Ramada between shifts, too? Honestly, people need to make up better tell-all stories...
Of course it's all possible -- why, people have been known to fall in love with Pixeleen as they were writing their tell-all griefer memoirs, not knowing that Pixeleen was a man, then, unrequited -- as Pixeleen wouldn't have mangina love with them online -- go off to RL in search of men in sketchy gay bars, then contract AIDS, then die very quickly from AIDS due to refusing treatment. It happens! True SL RL story! Stranger things have happened around the Herald with its writers as we well know from the Deadly Codec story!
But, even so, skepticism is always in order with anything related to SL and the whole Tenshi thing -- hmmm.
So it sounds to me that that something else is at work. I'm going to make a hypothesis: the man (or woman, but more likely a man) behind Tenshi is getting tired of the shtick. It's hard to keep up the act. If part of the act included pretending you had an infant, and then a toddler, and then a pre-schooler, it could even get harder! So he is just killing off the character. He could have pulled another SL trick and pretended that, 9 months pregnant, he was killed in a car accident that not a single news agency of the world covered (remember that one? Rheta Shan). But that can be hard to put over and has been overused in SL, so Tenshi may have decided instead to do this tell-all thing, which accomplishes several things at once -- enables him to dump the character, and also enables him to take a huge dump on the SL community that has come to loathe him/her, and who he has come to hate, too -- by implying that they are all "addicted".
IF true, certainly Tenshi's sad janitorial-pink eye-desperate motherhood story does sound like a form of addiction or denial or...something...if she came online every day to sell Herald ads, push SCD copy and try to make $17.42 a week online with such activities while spending 16-hour days or more in SL.
Of course, Tenshi, whatever you want to say about her, seems educated and intelligent -- well, at least, more or less literate and capable. You have to wonder why she didn't go the route of data entry, medical transcription, work-at-home typing type of stuff that single mothers often resort to. Or graveyard shift legal proof-reading. Or some kind of drone web-related job in an office somewhere. Maybe she didn't live near a mall that had stores like Home Depot, and maybe even medical transcription at home seemed beyond her abilities. Perhaps she has "poor executive functioning" and should take ADD medications. I dunno. But there's something about this story that seems like a kind of terrorist act on one's own avatar and the community of SL, not really a true story. Oh, and of course, a big grab for sympathy.
Why do I think it's about being tired of the character? Well there's a certain kind of geek and/or designer that has that sort of attitude toward their avatar -- the kind of person who, as a child, probably tortured their dolls and threw them on the garbage heap with their hair all pulled out, you know the kind. "Oh dear, " says Mommy. "You've completely cut off all of Suzie's hair and burned her rubber body with a lighter. How could you!"
Such people over-invest and under-invest in their avatar with both self-loathing and narcissism. I can't help being reminded of Benjamin Duranske, who once said his avatar was like an email attachment (!), even though he also subscribed to that Singularity mumbo-jumbo about uploading his brain online.
And they have terribly ambivalent attitudes toward the online life -- now addicted hopelessly, now Puritanically renouncing it.
And interestingly, right at this time (maybe helping subconsiously or consciously) Botgirl Questi announced that he was giving up his Second Life blogging -- or his pose as an SL expert -- or something...dramatic.
Of course, Botqirl is someone I've long denounced as a phony -- he made much of his "coming out" as a man dressed as a girl in SL -- which I also viewed as a kind of misogynist act of sorts -- that outing of the persona as assumed, and able to be killed off at will. So now he's at another stage of his misogyny -- renouncing SL, which of course, is a feminine world and largely a girl's game (homes, pets and stuff for playing house and playing store).
Botqirl ran an entry, "The Last Entry in Botgirl's Second Life Diary" on his "identity circus" as he now calls the blog (having a transgendered avatar can only be a "an experiment" and a "circus" for this tiresome type), in which he tells us he will no longer "do" SL...or something:
This blog has evolved from a journal of ideas inspired by living in Second Life, to an artist's notebook exploring virtual identity outside of the 3D virtual world. My creative work is now just as likely to spring from atomic-world content as from virtual world visuals. For instance, the image above is a shot of a small plastic action figure posed in front of a physical copy of Gracie Kendal's "1000 Avatars Book".
So what business do I have writing a home town publication called "Botgirl's Second Life Diary"? None really. Therefore, I've changed the title of the blog to "Botgirl's Identity Circus" and hereby rescind my self-proclaimed status as a Second Life pundit.
Note: if your idea of "atomic-world content" is...a book about 1,000 avatars...perhaps you need a 12-step program...
And...Oooh, that's gotta hurt! "Home-town publication!" Like those of us who blog about SL are just writing home-town newspaper stuff LOL -- and that vaunted persona behind BQ is now going Big Time lol.
Say, I've got an idea: start a completely different blog if you want to write about other topics (like I did?) and don't bore the audience you collected about SL with those topics (except if relevant?) -- instead of trying to hold your audience/traffic hostage to your new "identity explorations" (yawn). I've found there's a huge audience for SL stuff. Way more than for my Internet policy blog or other personal blog topics like Russia. But if you expect that same audience to keep showing up if you lurch off to other topics -- they won't. They *like* reading about SL for some reason. Guess they're addicted!
Of course, like all grand renouncers, Botqirl is back immediately dumping on Tenshi's tell-all with a spoof in which he doesn't name Tenshi but it's clear it refers to her/him.
Botqirl's Last (or Second to Last, or Maybe 10th Last) Post about SL seems to have been precipitated by a nasty-assed thing from Fatty Mariner called The Crap Awards (and yes, he appears to have taken them down). Gosh, I thought everybody but me loved Botqirl, but the Rust-Bucket put her on the list of "crappy things in SL".
No surprise that *I* was on that (now gone missing) list -- but here's what's weird, there were other people that I can't figure out how they could have earned Grumpy's ire -- or what it's all about.
Skylar Smythe, that eyebrow-challenged (and now manless) Twitter-stalker advertising herself as a copywriter (see, Tenshi could have done that) -- who used to come to every single post I ever did on Crap Mariner and defend him in the comments (did she live in his island paradise maybe?), was put on the Crap Awards list. Huh? What happened?
Caledon -- as the continent -- not Desmond -- was put on the Crap list. Again, huh? Say what you will about the Smug Burgher -- and I do -- Caledon itself is an amazing achievement. I can't imagine putting it on any hate-list. Makes no sense. I don't want to *live* in Caledon but I visit it and respect it. Doesn't everybody? Maybe more people will realize that Crap is deranged now? Thank you!
I can't remember all the others on there -- but it was a very odd list. It had people that were obvious to hate like Jumpman Lane. And then all these people that I should think most people don't hate.
Anybody else trashing SL these days? Well, Neph is closing Pixel Dolls, Daniel Voyager reports -- a historic landmark in SL (although it was moved to an island, was it? Not on the mainland?) Probably because nobody shops there anymore and tier is a chore to pay without sales. Understood. She doesn't seem to be grandly renouncing SL itself, however.
I remember my first visit to Pixel Dolls in 2004 -- seven years ago! It was the first time I realized I could fly up inside a building and look at stuff on the wall as a means of shopping -- but I didn't like it. Funny how those old worldy habits die hard!
If Second Life were a word in one of those foreign languages that have masculine and feminine endings, it would have a feminine ending. Well, "life" is one of those words that I believe tends to be feminized in languages no? Certainly it is in French (la vie) and Russian (zhizn'). So...Leave Second Life alone!
Well, as for the addiction thing: I'm a big believer in the idea that every woman should have a room of her own, as Virginia Woolf famously said. Of course, it's often forgotten that she added, "and 500 pounds a year" -- i.e. to support herself, or to be coming from a situation where she could even have a house such that a separate room could even be created, if dependent on a man. Yeah, we get that -- and we also get that Tenshi's sad tale may have been real -- maybe she couldn't get a room of her own, maybe she couldn't get a job except as a janitor, and then for her, Second Life became that room. And it strikes me that it wasn't the worse thing, and indeed, there is no shame in it.
I started this discussion here -- why aren't Second Lifers supporting SOPA? They should.
The usual dopes show up to say the usual idiotic copyleftist things we've all heard a million times. There's the usual mindless regurgitation of other people's youtubes -- Joe Biden, for example (!) whom most people wouldn't cite on anything serious. Pussycatnip or what's-her-name says falsely that Human Rights Watch has opposed SOPA -- it hasn't made a comment on it at all that I can see, she's mixing it up with something else. Most mainstream human rights groups stayed away from it. It's not about censorship; it's about a struggle for property and a struggle for consumption, just like the fake "net neutrality" topic. It's a struggle for whether you have the social system called "communism" that nobody calls that, but calls "progressive" -- or the capitalist system. That's all. It's a struggle about power and property, and not about rights.
The left is trying to falsely convert it to a rights struggle -- that's what I find most obscene about the debate, truly. Internet censorship is when the government tracks you down and drags you out of an Internet cafe and tortures and imprisons you, or shuts down your Live Journal (Russia) or pulls the plug entirely on your servers. Internet censorship is not your inability to get your latest episode of Lost or Twilight pirated, or your inability to convert your Youtubes to songs for your i-pod. Pretending that this consumption/piracy/intellectual property issue is about "censorship" is truly vile. It's as vile as Fred Wilson, the "venture communist" saying that copyright infringment isn't theft. He funds all the start-ups like Kickstarter and Twitter and Etsy and Disqus and whatnot that all rely on ad-clicking and special sales to marketers as a business model, and give away their service for free, letting people upload content first, infringing or not -- they don't care -- then letting IP holders chase them with DMCA notices. So it's in his and their interests to erode the moral distinction about theft and make it seem as if copyright infringement is just a kind of bureaucratic obstacle in the way of "innovation" that platform providers can get through with lawyers -- not a nihilist force in society destroying business and livelihoods.
The infamous Chris Pirillo, known in Second Life circles as a real nerd dummy when it comes to the sophisticated life of the virtual man, looks really goofy here either pretending to be dumb about how a bill becomes a law -- or maybe actually *being* dumb -- so he brings in an expert, Brian Rowe.
I take it apart, line by line, here.
I explain why geeks are screaming about this -- the Google lobby, and the copyleftist shill we heard for years in SL until finally they had to get the third-party viewer policy. There's a lot of interesting things about the Second Life prototyping capacity of virtuality that we can look at to gain insights into why SOPA is justified and how it will work:
1. The content creating community of SL rejected Creative Commons utterly as it didn't serve them -- it didn't get them paid. There is no CC license for "take a copy but pay me" that is explicitly so and technically backed up. There is only the coercion to share and make everything non commercial with the hollow gesture that you get credit with your name mentioned. Big deal. Better to get paid, too.
2. The DRM that obtains in SL works -- sure it's circumvented from time to time by copybotters, but by and large it holds, and people use it to put their stuff for sale, not for free, and for copy but no transfer.
3. SL solved the problem technically, because of its virtual world nature, of giving the people the ability to make unlimited copies for whatever they needed, i.e. different locations or levels on their servers, but then also put in "no transfer" so that it can go on being sold, and so that distribution doesn't kill sales. Sure, this is an affordance of virtuality itself, but this very model of virtuality is fast becoming the Internet itself, or the smart phone itself, and so it becomes more plausible.
4. When a copybotter is found, i.e. a pirate, the Lindens can remove all copies of the infrinting content instantly, with one sweep through all inventory, because of the asset server set-up. So the person with only one copy isn't punished, but just loses the inventory. The person caught making the copies with exploits overriding the DRM or permissions system is the one punished with loss of his account or suspension. Sure, there are affordances of virtuality here, too -- the content is name-stamped and date-stamped in the system, it is rezzed inworld and points to an asset on the asset server and so on. Pretty soon I think we will come to see that the cloud is a virtual world and platform providers like Amazon or Google produce it.
5. There is the capacity to make punishments short of a waiting for a successful DMCA procedure that are indeed sometimes used. Some alt account found with masses amount of pirated material will normally, when complaints are made, be suspended without having to wait for the completion of the DMCA process. It can work faster. Again, the world makes it visible.
6. The third-party viewer program is basically like SOPA. It says that if you run a viewer that accesses Second Life servers, you must register them and warrant that they are not infringers, i.e. they don't have the copybotting functions built within them and don't incite infringement through their features, i.e. backing up sims for content that you do not own. Despite a lot of silly edgecasing on this by a tiny handful of educators who hyped the alleged problem of "lock-in," this by and large works to protect IP. This is how the Lindens have a political if not technical means to stop pirating. It's not a pretense that anti-piracy can be engineered; rather it tells engineers that if they engineer piracy, they cannot expect to last long in the community of Second Life.
So again, the third-party program functions not as a prior review or filtration of content of the sub-providers of content access -- the coders of viewers -- nor does it place undue burden for sub-providers to go police content. It says "don't run your operation as a copying operation or you can't play."
7. Linden Lab doesn't make prior examinations of content, or filter content, or filter accounts for possible infringing content. It responds to complaints from IP holders, and this has not placed an undue burden on them. Indeed, this is a sterling example of how phony the copyleftist claim is that chasing pirates is impossible or places an undue technical burden on platform providers. It doesn't. They get complaints. They research them. They deal quickly with massive, obvious piraters with loads of boxed stolen content -- it's not rocket science. They don't "place a chill on speech" by trawling through chat and banning residents who might have passed a SLURL (i.e. a URL equivalent) to stolen boxes. That's not what they do nor what they need to do. They go for the pirates. The pirates are the targets; the pirates are pretty clearly visible.
8. To be sure, some people get stuck in DMCA hell if they can't show their case for various reasons -- it's impossible to improve that some skin and makeup for an avatar was in fact ripped, and not just "inspired by" some other skin and makeup -- especially given that they have to use the same templates. But then they have other remedies -- peer pressure, blogs, media, land bans, boycotts, etc. The community has evolved lots of ways of dealing with people who steal others' designs and texturess.
9. While this can have its pluses and minuses, in SL, the commodities of content, the creative process, isn't separated from community -- you can see the people you are buying something from; you can see their process of creation sometimes right before your eyes; you are in a relationships with them. Creative Commons creates an uneasy, false commons and fake community of people coerced into sharing. What Second Life succeeded in doing -- which is one reason Mitch Kapor and other Silicon valley collectivist ideologues hate it so much -- is creating a community of commerce that connects content and commerce in that community so that people can get paid and have livelihoods directly tied to the creative process. The rejected the silly CC "licenses" as noted and put "no copy" and "transfer" and "price" on their creations or "copy" and "no transfer" and "price" on their creations *because they could*. The Internet is the way it is because we made it that way, says Jaron Lanier -- and Second Life *was made different* so that PRICE and PAY ME were linked integrally with permissions and a community. It is really the antithesis of the phony Creative Commons.
Now, you think SL is a toy, a game, some played-out failed exoticism. No. Press on it, and push the inside out, and you will see the future of the Internet, if we let it. Everything I have described here could be part of the broader Internet -- and will be, and already is, with some models like streaming music for paid subscriptions.
Now, if some content holder or provider could reach into your home hard drive and remove content at will if found to be infringing, wouldn't that be a terrible invasion of privacy or property? I think either it will come to be seen differently, or the media consumption space people have online will increasingly be so much in the cloud and online or on phones and not downloaded that it will cease to seem like a privacy/property issue -- in the same way your ability to hear a radio or watch tv in the old days was an activity that enabled you to consume media, but not own the commodity of the individual copy of the content.
The devices will drive this, whether tablets or smart phones.
There will also be some kind of micropayments system as ingenious as the LindEx. It will come.
Group Charter for the Baddest Bitch and Queen Bitch of SL
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Aside from everything else that's wonderful about this group, I'm pleased do see that not only people at Occupy Wall Street are mic checkaz.