Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World in Second Life I: The Great Pyramid at Giza

When Moses was alive, these pyramids were a thousand years old. Here began the history of architecture. Here people learned to measure time by a calendar, to plot the stars by astronomy and chart the earth by geometry. And here they developed that most awesome of all ideas - the idea of eternity.

Walter Cronkite      

Lately, I’ve been blogging about a variety of topics in Second Life (SL).  Fashion, steampunk, sex, pirates, and friendship to name but a few.  (I’m nothing if not eclectic.)  However, I feel I’ve gotten away from my roots.  Originally, I’d wanted to travel across the grid to see new places and meet new people.  I think I’m doing pretty well with the latter but the former maybe not so much. 
So, I’ve decided to strike out and visit more places further afield inworld.  One group of places that I’ve always wanted to visit in Real Life (RL) and have been frustrated mostly by time and to a certain extent by distance is the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.   Given that only one of them still stands and that unfortunately seems to be surrounded by a swirl of political turmoil which looks like it won’t be ending any time soon, SL seems to be a pretty good bet to go looking for them.  (Significant Other also likes the idea of me not clocking up any more frequent flyer miles in RL.)
The ancient world has always had a certain fascination for me.  Maybe because I grew up in a country where we seem to have more people who are over one hundred years old than we have buildings and monuments has something to do with it. 
Working from Wikipedia’s list of the Seven Wonders, I was able to locate all seven within SL.  This was a good sign and I have my marching orders.  I’m going to visit all of them for my own sake and to bring the places and stories back to my readers. 
I decide to start with the Great Pyramid of Giza.  It’s the only survivor of the original seven, the oldest of them, and, probably, the most physically impressive of the lot. 
I arrive at the Great Pyramid of Giza in the Nile Valley.  I realize almost immediately that something’s amiss.  I’ve only seen the Great Pyramid in RL in photos (including one of an older relative sitting on a camel in front of it during WWII) or videos but I can tell that I may have to rethink my original objective of revisiting the world’s lost history in SL. 
Maybe it’s the glitzy pyramid standing in front of me that looks like it dropped in from Las Vegas or the sign saying “Nude Beach” but I don’t think I’m in Egypt, ancient or otherwise.  Given the relative ease of construction in SL (yes, I’m leaving myself open to criticism from scripters with that one) I’m a little disappointed by its size.  I know the number of prims is always a constraint but something better could have been done here.
Walking towards this dwarf pyramid, I see that further architectural license has been taken with the original design to allow for a wide open entrance that leads to a dance floor complete with bar and poles for dancing.  I’d obviously gotten the wrong tourist brochure.  (I need to find a really good travel agent in SL.) 
There is no one else around.  Not a mummy in sight!  There is a haunting, empty feeling about the place.  I walk across the dance floor and go out the rear entrance.  (Yes, even more architectural license!)  Sand dunes and a few palm trees are all that greet me.  Looking back on the pyramid, the shape is a bit more traditional but I’m still underwhelmed. 
This first visit to one of the Ancient Wonders of the world has me a little worried about my future expeditions.  I’ve visited other ancient sites, Alexandria and Rome where there is much more attention to period detail and the scale is bigger.  I hope that subsequent sites have more to them. 
I don’t want to be harsh.  Some poor guy builds a cool looking dance floor and bar based on the pyramids next door to a nude beach and I roll through looking for Tutankhamun and Howard Carter.  Looks like it could be a good place to hang out if a crowd happened to be there.  I don’t see any notices for parties or other functions while at the pyramid.  Or, maybe I’ve stumbled across another abandoned sim. 
My travels across SL have brought me to many different places.  Admittedly, many of these journeys were random.  Now, I’m setting out on a journey with a purpose.  (Scary isn’t it?)  I’ll be searching for the famous sites from antiquity. 
My reasons for this journey are twofold.  First, how much of the ancient world can I find inworld?  Second, how well has the ancient world been reconstructed?  My travels to date have brought me in contact with many residents who are either building worlds in SL or are living their virtual lives there. 
The Great Pyramid is the first stop on this journey and I have six more to go. Anyone who would like to join me for part or all of it, please reach out to me and we’ll work out the calendars.  I’d be glad for the company!  
I’ve included links to several pictures of the Great Pyramid that I took while there.  But check the site out for yourself.  Pictures, especially when I’m the photographer, ar never as good as being there. 
As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

     If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

Photo No. 2 Modern Times

Photo No. 3 For the Tourists

Photo No. 7 Rear View

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Among the Writers!

The ending is not yet written.


Since I began writing about life in Second Life (SL), please pardon the pun, I’ve read several books about SL and many blogs.  Many people are writing about virtual worlds.  So when a Real Life (RL) author reached out to me recently to talk about my recent blog on pirates I was pretty excited.  After all, I’m still trying to figure out who’s reading my blog besides a group of loyal followers.  (And, no, I don’t pay any of them!)  Meeting a real author is a big deal for me.  Meeting a real author who is doing serious research in virtual worlds is an even bigger deal for me.  (Don’t worry, I didn’t embarrass myself.  At least I don’t think too badly.) 

The author was Celia Pearce of Georgia Institute of Technology where she is an Associate Professor of Digital Media.  In SL she is known as Artemesia Sandgrain.  She is the author of several papers and books.  I have recently completed her Communities of Play, an account of a group of virtual world residents who attempt to stay together as a community as their home world is shut down around them.  How these people migrate across the Metaverse, keep their identity and ultimately meet in Real Life is a very interesting tale of how RL and virtual worlds are beginning to merge together in some ways.  Celia’s views on virtual worlds and the emergence of group identities is also well worth reading the book for. 

Recently, Celia with three other authors, Tom Boellstorff, Bonnie Nardi, and T. L. Taylor coauthored a book on the use of ethnographic tools and techniques in the study of virtual worlds.  All had written full length ethnographies about virtual worlds.  The book’s title is Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method (Princeton 2012).  The book has recently been published and is sitting on my virtual stack to be read later this year.  (Yes, I know the year is ending fast.) 

Celia was kind enough to introduce me to Tom, known as Tom Bukowski in SL, and they both agreed to meet me for an interview about their recent book.  Tom is an anthropologist at the University of California, Irvine.  Among his published works is Coming of Age in Second Life which is his account of his two years of study of residents in SL.  This is another book which I’ve read and can recommend. 

We all agree to meet in SL at Morgan Straits, a pirate sim where Celia operates a field station.  At the appointed time we meet.  Tom is dressed in the casual attire of a college professor.  Celia is dressed as a pirate complete with eye patch.  The room we meet in is well appointed with eclectic pirate spoils.  Unfortunately, a sea battle is underway and chat is getting killed by lag.  (I think someone is trying to recreate the Battle of Trafalgar.)  Celia recommends relocating to another field station of hers in Virtual Harlem.  We teleport over and our lag problems are a thing of the past. 

Since Celia has to get to a class after our interview, I start with my questions.  First, why did they write this book?

Celia replies that since all four authors had already written full length ethnographies, they had noticed in their travels that a lot of people wanted to do ethnographies of virtual worlds and needs some help.  They also noticed a lot of people were doing research they “claimed” was ethnography which really wasn’t.  The four authors got together initially with the idea of writing a collection of essays by themselves and with others.  But then they figured they had enough to say on the topic among themselves that they could author a single book. 

My next question relates to their earlier books when I got the sense that some academics dismiss this as a field of study and I ask if this influenced them. 

Tom says it did to some degree.  He finds the academic reception strange. It reminds him a bit of his ethnographic research on gay and lesbian Indonesians in the 1990s and 2000s for his first two books. He and colleagues doing similar research found there to be interest in the work, but also doubts if it was a valid topic, and many researchers did (and still do) have trouble getting jobs. So it's striking to him that ethnographic research on virtual worlds can also sometimes be seen as threatening, but also attractive to many scholars (especially, but not only, junior ones) because it draws in students and it is interesting stuff. 

As proof, Tom says that his books on SL have sold more than his books on his studies in Indonesia.  He laughingly adds not because they are any better.  He likes them all! 

Tom adds there is some fear and dismissal of ethnography especially around virtual worlds. Even in the communities of people doing technology studies, there is sometimes a tendency to see such work as valid only when it shows a connection to "real life," without really thinking through the many ways there can be "connections" in indirect but powerful ways, and when the things that happen online are also "real."

Celia says Tom has a good point but feels it has gotten a lot better.  When she started doing game studies in the late 1990’s it was “the medium that dare not speak its name.” 

Celia continues by noting an even bigger problem with the marginalization of ethnography itself which is that quantitative methods are in vogue right now.  Cultural domain expertise is not valued by many "quants" (her term) who believe that everything can be translated into numbers. However, she points out, cultural interpretation is required even to analyze back-end server data. 

I ask if they are doing studies of virtual worlds to validate their positions on qualitative studies or are they starting from virtual worlds and realizing the lack of respect.  Tom replies that it’s both but believes it really started from people asking “how do you do it?” and wanting to use the four authors’ experiences to explain the basics of ethnographic research in virtual worlds, which he hopes is useful for people doing other stuff too. 

My last question to Celia and Tom: Is there another book in the offing?  Celia says they are going to do some papers.  I’m surprised to learn that people really want to know about how the book was written.  The four authors were all over the world and used Google Documents to collaborate.  Tom says that unbelievably they wrote this book as one voice.  No one can claim ownership of a chapter or sentence.  Tom jokingly refers to the hive mind book.  (I’m thinking more of the Borg.)  They all own them. We may be hearing from the authors on this topic before long. 

Celia and Tom have to leave to meet with their students so I make my good byes and head home. 

This interview has been interesting for me for several reasons.  First, I met two people who move between virtual worlds like SL and RL easily.  Their identities are known to all.  Second, Celia, Tom, and their coauthors are bringing real world social studies methodologies into virtual worlds and coming back out with results.  The lessons learned are applicable to RL and not just virtual worlds. 

I’ve been writing about communities since I’ve been inworld and I’m learning that these communities are more than just a collection of individuals who don’t have anything else better to do.  Celia’s, Tom’s, and their colleagues' work points to something more happening out there.

For all those looking to better understand how communities are developing in virtual worlds, I recommend that you read Celia’s and Tom’s books.  Better yet, if you can afford to do so, please buy them! 

I want to thank Celia and Tom for their time and cooperation and I hope to see more work from them about SL and the other virtual worlds that make up the Metaverse. 

As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at  

If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life please click here.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

STEAM 7 – Halfway Home!

If some animals are good at hunting and others are suitable for hunting, then the Gods must clearly smile on hunting.

STEAM 7 is now past the halfway mark.  After the blast of a kick-off party for the event, I thought I’d check in on Perry Peterson’s, the organizer’s, Steampunk Hunt and see how things were going.  Not to my surprise, things are going better than expected. 
          Just a quick recap, STEAM 7, a steampunk themed Second Life (SL) hunt runs from September 1st to 30th inworld.  As usual the Hunt has a subtheme to main steampunk one.  This time it’s “Time & Space” honoring H. G. Wells.  Participating merchants are incorporating this concept into their gifts to the hunters.   

          Checking in with Perryn and a few participants, a few themes are becoming clear.  First, everyone feels that this is the best Hunt ever.  This has been a recurring theme over the last several years and reflects on Perryn and his team’s organizational skills and commitment.  Gifts are better than ever and only two shops dropped out at the last minute, a new record for low losses. 
          Knowledge Tomorrow, Curator of the Joy of Steampunk Museum, is participating for the first time as both a hunter and a merchant.  She believes the community is stronger now and the hunters are more social. 

          Noddington Schmooz of Land of Nodd says that the STEAM Hunts always seem to be a cut above and apart from the rest.   The gifts are consistently of good quality, and there is such a spirit of camaraderie among the hunters and the merchants. 
          One of the principle differences from past Hunts is hunters who are starting the Hunt at the end and working backwards.  This may also contribute to Perryn’s observation that the number of hunters is exceeding expectations especially for shops towards the end of the Hunt.  Sounds like hunters are developing strategies to beat the crowds.  Could STEAM: The Hunt for Dummies be in the offing?
          Traffic from STEAM 7 is up from previous Hunts.  Knowledge reports that traffic is “way, way up” for the Museum.  Noddington says that, happily for him, both sales and revenues are up.  Marcel ghostraven (no relation) has run off to a different sim and left his shop on auto pilot for the duration of the Hunt to pursue other building projects.  (One of the many wonderful things about SL!)  He believes his sales and traffic may be up.  Interestingly, Marcel is the only respondent who thought traffic might be off on this Hunt.  Kyris Upshaw says he has slight increases in sales and traffic.  Janeel Kharg of Ankh Morpork reports traffic up but not sales.  She’s not worried because she’s in the Hunt to raise the awareness of her sim.  
          As for the gifts in STEAM 7, a whole new level seems to have been achieved (and will be difficult to surpass in future Hunts but somehow I think Perryn and the merchants will figure out how).  What follows is a partial list which hopefully will encourage those of my readers who haven’t visited STEAM 7 yet will. 
          Knowledge was kind enough to send me a list of the mini-Hunt’s gifts and their creators.  Included are a personal hot air balloon (Noddington Schmooz), steampunk wall clock (Shigeko Tachikawa), NS6 Dusk Banshee (Nightshade Sixpence), Copper Sea Mine House (Albus Weka), Red Sea Mine House (Albus Weka), steampunk rocket (Lexx Bondar), steampunk bathysphere (Albus Weka), Visionary Quotes – Mechanical Eyes that Speak (Ceejay Writer), Black Sea Mine House (Albus Weka), gas discharge tube (Shigeko Tachikawa), steampunk submarine (Rebecca Bashly), steampunk chopper (Rebecca Bashly), and escargot-a-vapeur (Sextan Shepherd). 
          Marcel has created Inside the Machine, a representation of our Solar System; When the Land Masses Appealed, a volcano in the box; Is This Roswell?, a do-it-yourself alien sighting kit; a steampunk rocket station; a lunar styles steampunk space station; ST3000, a futuristic space shuttle with working weapons; and TM1, a time machine.  Kyris has built a “steampunky” fan that blows physical objects about.  Noddington, in addition to the above, has also fabricated a mesh version of H.G. Well’s time machine and a sculpted grandfather clock.  Janeel also based her gifts on Well’s time machine, as well as male and female Eloi avatars, jewelry based on 30 Million AD, and a versatile circular building. 
          Overall, I’d say that everyone has been very busy! 
          Finally, I’ve heard that hunters are getting better dressed every year and the Hunt may need its own photographer soon!  I met one hunter who was dressed rather appropriately to my mind as Sherlock Holmes.  Maybe STEAM: The Hunt could become an event like Mardi Gras or the Halloween parade held in NYC’s Greenwich Village.  Something else for Perryn to think about! 
          Merchants tell me that hunters have been overwhelmingly friendly and courteous.  Merchants and hunters appear to be forming a tighter community.  I wonder what this might portend for the future?  Some of the hunters seem to try rushing through to be the “first” to complete the Hunt.  Some worry if they really enjoy the Hunt when they do that and if they can really visit all the merchants. Maybe going slow and enjoying the Hunt might be good advice to hunters.  There is no prize for being first! 
          Also, some merchants have not taken the time as requested by Perryn to wrap and mark their gifts appropriately.  The gifts are still marvelous but a little packaging can go a long way!
I want to thank Perryn for his time and assistance. I look forward to visiting with the hunters and merchants during the remainder of the Hunt.  I would also like to thank Knowledge Tomorrow, Marcel ghostraven, Kyris Upshaw, Noddington Schmooz, and Janeel Kharg for taking the time to reply to my queries.  I would also like to thank Knowledge for her permission to use the pictures indicated below.
So, remember!  There’s only two weeks left in STEAM 7.  Please go and see the beautiful work prepared for it by the creators, meet the merchants and other hunters, and see all the work and effort that Perryn and his team have put into this spectacular and one of a kind event!
As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.
Below are a few pictures of some of the communities I’ve visited inworld, which at the time seemed a little humorous.  I hope you find them that way too! 
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

     If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

Photo No. 2 Perryn Peterson 
Photo No. 5 Personal Hot Air Balloon (with the permission of the Joy of Steampunk Museum)

Photo No. 7 Steampunk Wall Clock (with the permission of the Joy of Steampunk Museum)

Photo No. 9 Escargot-a-Vapeur (with the permission of the Joy of Steampunk Museum)




Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sex and the Single Avatar in Second Life II: A Visit to Paradise Sex Beach

Paradise Sex Beach, where the sand is HOT and the SEX is HOTTER!

Tiff Aristocrat

After my first story in this series, Sex and the Single Avatar in Second Life, a reader, Tiff Aristocrat, (Yes, someone other than me actually reads my blog!) reached out to me.  She wanted to know why I’d talked about sex resorts in Second Life (SL) but had neglected to mention her sim, Paradise Sex Beach which is one of the more popular sites inworld. 

My reason cum excuse was that the references in that story had been received by word of mouth and like most things associated with this blog had been done in a totally unscientific manner.  So taking advantage of the situation, I asked Tiff for an interview concerning Paradise Sex Beach to which she readily agreed.  We scheduled a meeting for an in depth look at Tiff’s sim.

For those of you who may be joining late, I’m a writer and explorer in SL.  I write about my travels across the grid and the people I meet and the experiences I have. (Usually with me in some embarrassing or ridiculous situation.)  My Real Life (RL) Significant Other greatly appreciates the anonymity of SL, less explaining to family and friends.)  This story is the second in my series, Sex and the Single Avatar in Second Life, where I explore human sexuality in SL which I’m finding is something of a growth industry inworld.  I’m also finding that there’s a lot going on with the emotional side as well.  I’ll blog more about that in the future.

I strive for standards, nothing tawdry or lascivious.  There’s always Literotica for that.  I always quote my friend, Glorf Bulmer, as she would say, this won’t become that kind of blog.  Me?  I want to be informative and humorous and I always keep Bette Davis’ words in mind when writing in this series, “Sex is God’s joke on human beings.”

           Now back to Tiff.  I teleport to Paradise Sex Beach (PSB) to meet for our interview.  Now, in preparing to meet her, I had to resolve one issue.  PSB’s dress code is either nude or swim suit.  How does one go?  Nudity and I are no longer strangers inworld but the places I go are usually nude only.

          So, what do I do?  I go nude.  I was already nude and I’m supposed to be having new experiences right?  I’m relieved to see that Tiff rezzes in nude as well.  (Please no comments about my being sexist.)  I comment on our joint state of undress.  Tiff says she’s too lazy to dress despite having a ton of beautiful clothes.  She claims au natural is always the best way.  (Which given the line of work she’s in is a very appropriate philosophy.)  We get down to the interview. 

          I ask Tiff what caused her to establish PSB.  She replies that there used to be a favorite sex beach of hers that she had visited all the time.  It was a really nice beach with really nice people.  Unfortunately, it closed and she missed it “soooooo” very much.  The owner kept saying that she would reopen it but after three months nothing had happened. 

          Tiff then decided to open a sex beach of her own.  After all, she knew how to run a business in SL and could do this.  So, she rented the sim, landscaped it, and had it open in two days. 

          Tiff describes PSB as one of the nicer beaches in SL with almost zero lag.  Several people just come for the beaches and aren’t interested in the sex.  (I sense another story with these people.)  They also come for the other people visiting the beach. (Who just happen to be nude and act like adults.) 

          I ask why nudity is optional at PSB unlike most other sex beaches and resorts.  Tiff explains that she wants people to feel comfortable.  If they’re comfy wearing clothes then great, if they’re comfy being in the buff then great too. 

          My next question is about how much of PSB is about her and her own lifestyle.  She laughingly replies that she doesn’t get to spend much time on the beach herself so she lets her partner play.  Her only goal for PSB is for people to come and enjoy themselves and feel safe while they’re there. 

          I want to know what happens at PSB.  Do people just come to the beach for some sun and maybe a little fun with someone else?  Tiff responds that sometimes people come and gather in the bar area, or the swim area (PSB has a big area for swimming), or some come to have great sex.  Tiff adds that she’s a DJ too and will throw down the stream every once in a while. 

          Tiff then takes a breath and then continues saying that’s not the reason why they come, many come just to relax because they feel safe and are not bothered.

          Tiff explains PSB’s popularity.  First, they are very friendly.  People actually talk to one another.  In my own experience, people respond when I greet them (No sarcasm please.) and many others just say hi as I pass by.  Second, PSB has “very, very” little lag.  Which, I can also attest to. 

          This subject of lag is important because I know of some other very nice sims, which will remain nameless for now, where lag is a killer and an enjoyable experience can’t be had.  Tiff says that she does everything in her power to keep the lag monster at bay which isn’t easy.  She doesn’t have vendors and commercialization and doesn’t even have advertisements for her own products. 

          I find Tiff’s approach also contributes to the very peaceful island paradise look and feel of PSB.  Palm trees and other tropical like plants cover the sand dunes which form the basis of PSB.  Waves crash on the beaches.  Except for a few instructional signs around the landing zone, PSB is commercial free.  What one sees that is not natural are furnishings and devices located for the pleasure and enjoyment of visitors.  (You’ll have to come over and visit for yourself to see how it all works.) 

          I’m curious about Tiff’s earlier comments about PSB being one of the most popular sex beaches in SL.  She explains that in SL searches for sex beaches PSB typically comes in among the top three.  Tiff is especially proud that PSB while only being a homestead sim beats out most full sims.  This is quite an achievement and Tiff can be justly proud of it. 

          Tiff goes to tell me that PSB typically earns enough in a month to make their fees and a little over.  Not a lot she adds but it’s still over.  This is another achievement.  I haven’t met any sims in SL until now where this is the case.  This past summer was hard but PSB is back on track. 

          I next ask about the sense of community among Tiff’s guests.  Do they view themselves as belonging to a community or are they just individuals who enjoy the beach?  Tiff replies that it depends on whom you talk to.  I ask if visitors feel they are nudists at a naturist resort.  Some do, she says, and some get mad when others wear clothes but are told that people are allowed to do what makes them feel comfortable here.  Apparently, there has even been a PSB wedding for two guests who met there. 

          When I inquire her plans for the future, Tiff says she wants to keep up to date with beds and animations (I hope I don’t have to explain this to anyone.) She tries to meet her guests’ requests.  There is a bucking bull, floaties at the swim beach, a dolphin, and an air hockey table.  Not exactly what one would normally expect to find at a sex beach but Tiff seems to be all about customer satisfaction. 

          That being said, Tiff and PSB do have rules.  Escorts are not permitted to solicit.  She is also very strict about banning children and childlike avatars.  Other than that, the rules are “very short and sweet” as she puts it and are really common sense. 

          Since we’re talking about customer service, I ask Tiff about PSB’s VIP Club.  She explains that the Club is for those who wish to enjoy PSB without the eyes of the beach on them.  (In case, anyone hasn’t figured it out yet, walking around PSB can come across couples, or various-somes, engaged in flagrante delicto.  I guess those looking may be considered voyeurs?)

          Membership involves a onetime fee of 501L.  Belonging entitles members access to three private themed rooms.  Members can also bring non-members with them which is unusual for such places inworld.  The themes are a hot tub room, a BDSM room, and a porn room.  Tiff takes me to see the hot tub room (BTW, the only hot tub in PSB) and to the BDSM room.  (With all the blogging on this subject I just had to look!)  The rooms are well appointed and show off Tiff’s love of textures.  Both rooms have beds.  The BDSM room contains a wall rack and a pole.  Tiff points out the intan in both rooms which contains over 170 animations that permit couples using its pose balls to go from dancing to sex wherever they may be on PSB. 

           We don’t visit the porn room as time is starting to run out.  Tiff tells me it only contains a TV with access to over 5,000 porn movies and a few rugs.  (Just the basics.)

          Tiff has one last place to show me, PSB’s secret spot.  It’s really not such a secret.  Visitors can teleport to it form the landing zone.  Tiff says it’s more out of the way than a secret and all visitors can access it.  We teleport there and I find myself under the sea.  Tiff shows me a carpet on the seabed called tenderlove.  She says it’s one of the most realistic animations in SL with transitions and everything else that a couple might need for a private and intimate moment away from prying eyes.  I won’t say anymore but recommend a visit. 

          I learn that Tiff has done all the building herself. She also makes tattoos and jewelry.  Her work can be found in Marketplace.  Her portfolio is extensive and of very high quality.  I recommend all to visit PSB and see it for themselves.  (Since swim suits can be worn, no one should have any objections to visiting.  Just avert your eyes if you see things going on that you think should be better left in the bedroom.)

          I thank Tiff for her time and hospitality and take my leave.  I enjoyed my visit and I learned much. 

PSB offers several advantages.  First, membership is not required.  Second, nudity is optional (for the bashful).  Finally, lag is nonexistent.  (I’ll stick my neck out on this one.)  The only difficulty is that PSB is popular and sometimes is full.  Just be patient and retry.  (VIP Club membership can get members into the private rooms if they’re not in use.)  It’s worth the wait.  Whether for the scripts and builds, the people, or the social activities, PSB is well worth the time and effort to go and explore.  You won’t regret it! 

          In future stories in this series, I’ll continue to write about these different aspects of human sexuality in SL.  And, yes, I do mean human because as many continually remind inworld there’s a real person with real feelings behind that avatar we’re interacting with. 

          I welcome anyone who would like to share their experiences or opinions of SL sexuality with me.  I’d like to include these in my future stories in this series.  I look forward to hearing from you! 

As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.

Below are a few pictures of the places in PSB that I visited for this story.  And, no, there is neither nudity nor activity of a sexual nature contained therein.  If you want to see that then you’ll have to go there yourself! 

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

     If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

Photo No. 1 Tiff Aristocrat

Photo No. 2 Landing Zone

Photo No. 3 Beach with Dolphin

Photo No. 4 Bar  

Photo No. 5 Funds Appeal

Photo No. 6 An Intan

Photo No. 7 Hot Tub Room

Photo No. 8 BDSM Room

Photo No. 9 Bucking Bull

Photo No. 10 Tiffy’s Island


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Academic Survey on Virtual Worlds - Request for Assistance

     A friend of mine who is a professor at the Georgia Institute of Techology asked me to post her request for participants in a survey on virtual worlds.

     It sounds interesting and helps the study of where many of us work and play.  Please help out if you can!

     The deadline is September 15, 2012.  Details follow:

Virtual World Survey

     You are invited to participate in a research study on the demographics, attitudes, and preferences of players in graphical, non-game virtual worlds. If you have spent a significant amount of time in Virtual Worlds such as Second Life,, Blue Mars, Twinity, Kaneva and others, then we are looking to learn more about your experiences.

     The Georgia Institute of Technology is seeking volunteers with at least 30 hours combined experience with these (or similar) Virtual Worlds to participate in exciting new research. Volunteers will not be compensated for this study and must be 18 years of age or older. The final results will be submitted for peer-review publication to become part of the growing body of research into virtual worlds. Participation will require one 10-15 minute online survey with optional free response questions, as well as the opportunity to participate in a follow-up interview inside your favorite virtual world or via email. Any identifying information will be kept confidential.

     Learn more:

     Visit our Facebook page:

     Or go directly to the survey:

     For more information, please email us at vw [at]