The other day, Strawberry Singh, whose blog I read regularly, posted one of her occasional challenges to get people to show off their Second Life avatars. It has been a while since I talked in detail about mine (if you’re interested in reading my previous post on my avatar’s evolution, you can find it here.)
I took the picture above at my private home. The chair I’m sat in is the appropriately-named Hypno Throne made by Dictatorshop. 🙂
I’m wearing the following:
Mesh body—Maitreya Lara
Mesh head—GA.EG Barbera 2.0
Shape—customised by myself, designed to be androgynous-to-fem
Spots—Rainbow Cheetah tattoo by Catseye
Hair—Kelia by EMO-tion
Ears, eyes, antennae, make-up—all from Stargazer Creations
First of all, apologies for the lack of posts this past month. I have been dealing with the legal and financial processes following my father’s death, and recovering from months of carer duties.
Last week, a call went out in the Gorean Whip Radio staff channel for DJs to cover some coming events in Second Life for the station. As it happened, I now have a bit more flexibility in when I can broadcast, so I offered my services, much to the delight of Lucy, the Whip’s head events organiser.
The first of those was this past Sunday, at the City of Besnit in Second Life. The brief was that they were going to hold a sword tournament, with a series of arena fights and prizes for the winners. After some inquiries on my part, I worked out that I’d need to stock up on rock songs to play during the event, and would be providing commentary to the listeners not present at Besnit.
I had some trepidation in the days leading up to the event, as I’ve not been to many Gorean sims in Second Life, and am aware that I tend to stick out due to being a blue, rainbow-speckled alien. One place I visited wouldn’t let me broadcast from within the city walls due to my appearance, and I worried that the same might happen again. But I was reassured by Irish, the head of DJ management, that I’d be welcome at Besnit and that they were relaxed about my appearance.
Before the event, I got some pointers from Tristan, another Whip manager, who’d broadcast from Besnit the previous day to cover their dance contest. It’s just as well he did, otherwise I’d have gotten lost pretty quickly.
Fighting in Second Life isn’t a natural thing. By default, the most your avatar can do to others is shout at them or push into them, although the latter can be disabled by the owner(s) of the sim you’re in. (There are some other ways of attacking people, collectively known as ‘grieving’, but those are strictly prohibited and you’ll find yourself turfed out pretty quickly.)
In order to do a sword fight, each combatant needs to have a meter attached to them, which registers when they are struck by a sword and indicates how much damage they took. The meter’s display is visible above the combatant’s head, showing green-yellow-orange-red depending on how wounded they are. Once they’re critically wounded, they are forced to the ground. There isn’t any gore or blood as such, apart from the swords showing blood on them after dealing damage.
Another aspect of Second Life that I need to explain at this point concerns the camera position relative to your avatar. By default, this is a short distance behind and above you, but it can be moved and panned around independently. It can also zoom in and focus on something other than yourself. And there’s a particular function that I needed to use, which was the ability to make your camera track another avatar. This was what I ended up doing so that I could track the combat and tell the audience how the combatants were faring.
As it turned out, I needed to do this a lot, because the contest proceeded very rapidly. Eight men started the tournament, with four preliminary rounds, two semifinal, a runner-up final, and then the grand final. Then there was a special round where all eight men had to fight it out at once, with a prize for the last man standing.
And I was doing the best I could to follow all of this, talking as I went. I ended up doing that for over an hour, and needed about 20 minutes after to get my breath back!
This picture was a screenshot I took at home in Second Life, of the outfit I wore to Besnit. I ended up ditching the veil, as it just didn’t fit my face right and I couldn’t edit it. While there are lots of stores selling Gorean clothing, not much of it is designed for blue, rainbow-speckled aliens.
Amidst all the hullabaloo of the last several months, I’ve not really talked much about my DJ-ing in Second Life, and my show on Gorean Whip Radio in particular.
It’s hard to believe it’s nearly 11 months since I first joined the station. It was very much a spur-of-the-moment thing. Kittlen had been approached by Irish Breen, the general manager, who’d known her a long while, and asked if she wanted to be a radio DJ. When I heard this, I decided it was worth a try applying myself. As it turned out, I was accepted very quickly—Irish practically hired me on the spot!
I like to think that I’ve improved my craft as a result of doing my weekly show on Gorean Whip Radio. The station owners and managers have been very helpful and supportive, and I enjoy hanging out in the staff chat discussing what’s going on in both the real world and Second Life. I’ve also had the opportunity to help create adverts and promotional material for on-air broadcast, and be one of the station’s voices.
The best experience so far was back in May when Gorean Whip Radio was the official radio station for the 2018 Second Life Sci-fi Expo. Both myself and Kittlen had a lot of fun with that!
The only real sticking point has been the fact that a lot of the sponsoring sims insist on visitor being in-character as Goreans. As a blue rainbow-speckled alien, I am exceedingly out-of-character in such a setting! Some sims do have OOC areas for parties, a few specifically for Gorean Whip Radio, so I can go there and do my stuff.
I’ve only had one instance so far where I’ve been frowned upon, and it does niggle a bit. But the fact is that the persona I present in Second Life is not only who I am, but also how I advertise myself on-air. Heck, my show is titled “DJ Spitfire Probes Your Ears” and I use the intro and ending music from Bernard Herrmann’s score for “The Day The Earth Stood Still” for the opening and closing of my shows and during voiceovers.
I also take comfort from the knowledge that I do get plenty of people tuning in when I’m on-air. While I’m not the biggest draw on the schedule, it is still regularly on a par with the largest audiences I’ve had for any of my DJ-ing gigs to date.
Around the time I was finalising my previous blog post, the shit well and truly hit the fan. Kittlen threw Penalt out of their home. Then she left a message in the family group telling them to protect me and left. She also left YouMustObey, removed all of her stuff from my land parcel in Second Life, and un-collared herself from me on there too.
Coming in rapid succession, I was walloped and left reeling for a while. Thankfully, other family members reached out to check on and comfort me.
The problems between Kittlen and Penalt had been brewing for a long time, but Coyote’s actions brought it to the boil. The last straw had been her collaring of Penalt without warning or consultation. Kittlen flipped out and told Penalt he had to choose between her and Coyote. He decided to pick Coyote. Continue reading “Separated”
Real life seems intent on throwing more curveballs at me. My mother had a breast scan which revealed the early stages of cancer. She opted for a mastectomy over minor surgery plus radiotherapy. So I’ve had to take out more time to support my terminally ill father while she recovers. As a result means that I’ve had to scale back my online time, which affects my ability to interact with Kittlen.
There is another curveball that I want to discuss. One that came at both Kittlen and myself several months ago, and whose effects we are both still dealing. This one has a name—Coyote. Continue reading “The Trickster”
Second Life is celebrating its 15th birthday (SL15B) at the moment. As part of that, it has been running a week of music events running across several areas. And my Kittlen was not only one of those invited to perform, but subsequently did several fill-in slots for others who couldn’t make it. I am so proud of her! Not only did she kick ass, but she worked with the support staff and other artists to help things run smoothly. 🙂
I remember the first time I talked on-air in Second Life; I was petrified about how people would react. I was still self-conscious about being a biological male with a virtual female body. And my voice is the most significant giveaway that I’m not a girl—definitely a G.I.R.L (Guy In Real Life), but not a girl. I have been broadcasting for a month or so at that point, and being able to play music I liked and share that with other helped my nerves. And my friends at the time weren’t fazed. But it was awkward nevertheless.