Monday, September 28, 2009

Sexy beasts


OK, if I do say so myself, I look SMOKIN' in this new Jesse group gift skin from Belleza. I might have to go buy some other makeup versions. That'll bring the number of skins I own up to about 305.

Maybe you're wondering about some other elements in that photo. Like that blingy ring of . . . um . . . male genitals behind me. It's like one of those "Can you guess what this picture is?" games.


It's a dinosaur collar!

HELL NO, I didn't make it. My friend-slash-landlady put that thing outside my yard, which is cool because my prim allowance is too stretched to put out my own apatosaurus right now.

Let's all say the word "apatosaurus" together, kids! It's currently in the Midnight Mania board at Neon Frog! Sorry I don't have the SLURL handy, but it's easy to find in Search.

And maybe you're wondering about that slightly veiled look in my eyes up there. That's because they're covered. With a veil. Which leads me to the question:

Have you ever spontaneously spent 600L on an outfit, only to put it on and think, "What in holy hell was I thinking?"


Bish, back up off my shiny gold superhero self!

I'm not telling where I bought this ensemble. It's from a very prestigious store. It looked hot on the mannequin. I got caught up in a moment.

I'm gonna go hang out at RFyre later and try to pick up long-haired guys in velvet.

(That wasn't sarcasm, actually. I was being dead serious. Those RFyre guys are hot.)

Speaking of SLove and SLex, I set up one of those new-fangled Blind Date machines over on Emerald's Chicken Wonderland:


Note that there are still no chickens there, nor is it a wonderland. I haven't done anything with that place yet. I'm trying to master the art of building three walls.

Anyway, about that machine: Touch it, pay it 25L, and it'll ask you your gender and species and what gender and species you're looking for. Then apparently it'll pick a blind date for you and send that person your name. You'll get this message:

[8:12] Blind date network: Congratulations, a blind date was found! This person was sent a blind date request. This is no guarantee of course this person reacts for all different reasons. Just wait a day to see, if not, try again!

And meanwhile, your name goes in the database, so you'll eventually get sent a blind date's name too.

I did it. It didn't tell me who was the lucky recipient of my name, and I haven't heard from the guy yet. But the possibilities are endless and exciting! (laugh)

GO OVER AND SMACK THAT THING! I'll collect your blind date stories and share them anonymously here in one glorious and hopefully hilarious blog post! (And yes, I get a commission off your hefty 25L payment. WOO HOO.)

Speaking of blog posts (yeah, I'm big on the "speaking of" segue), I haven't posted in a while and I feel bad because people have sent me review copies of things and they're almost all fabulous but lately I just haven't had time and as such I am wracked with guilt and yes this is probably the longest sentence in a blog this week, takes a bow.

Last week I was living in a hotel while interviewing for a job. And that's the thing I like about Second Life: These days when I'm traveling, I tend to get those homesicky "I'm lonely in a hotel room and I don't feel like going down to the bar and picking up a one-night stand" feelings. (As opposed to my Wild 20s, when that sentence sometimes just stopped at "I'm lonely in a hotel room." Woo!)

But this time when I got kind of antsy and disoriented, I could at least log in at night and find comfort in my little Second Life house and my friends who were in world. (There weren't any pay-for-view movies in my hotel room.)

See! No matter where you go in the world, you can take your Second Life with you! That statement would sound pathetic and frightening to "outsiders," but I discovered that there was something really reassuring about it last week, particularly because I was STRESSED and in a TRIPPY place.

I'm tired of interviewing for jobs. But I have another one (over the phone) at 3 p.m. today. So I guess I'd better go jot down some notes.

[Insert catchy closing phrase here.]

Tuesday, September 22, 2009



Sorry I haven't been blogging much. I've been haunted by inner turmoil. I have a huge decision to make. Maybe I'll hit you with a philosophical question later.

Anyway . . .

Some days I log in to SL and say, "Today I'm going to do everything that Beanie Canning tells me to do."

I love her Beanie Loves Japan! blog so much, I would be lost and crushed without it. And I'm so so so so so glad I read her post about the Gatcha Gatcha Festival at Cioccolata in Albero because that fest is now officially one of my all-time favorite things in Second Life. Period.

I hope they do this thing every year, and I'm so damn happy that this one lasts through Oct. 31. The festival is HERE and I want more gatcha prizes!

Maybe by now you're asking, "What the hell is a Gatcha Gatcha Festival, Emerald?" Well, a gatcha is a random prize machine that looks like a gumball machine. Even today, in my RL Flirty Thirties, I can't resist gumball machines with toys in them. So imagine how yay-inducing it is to have this everlasting childhood love manifested in such a celebratory way in Second Life.

That's why I love Second Life. Unicorns, wings, steampunkety stuff and gumball machines, oh my!

So picture acres of gumball machines, each one sponsored by a fantastic and fun creator (more than 60, actually, listed over on Beanie's post). Take that photo up there, for example. That's me pouting next to the Pididdle gatcha. I want those tank tops. Unfortunately all I have right now are about 50 brooches and hair dangles instead. So if you'd like one, holler at me PLEASE! I'd love to give one, two, or 14 to you.

Here's another one of my favorites, the Rebel Xtravaganza gatcha:

(I look so damn excited.)

Get those dollies, either in standing form or as a necklace, in that gatcha.

Oh, and another important thing about gatcha prizes — they're trans. So you pay usually 10L to 30L (although some furniture- and high-end creators are charging 100L) for a random prize. If you get several of the same prize, you can give them to your friends. For instance, I just dumped about 10 katat0nik Kitty Pop purses (15L each) on my friend Aisuru Rieko.

And speaking of Aisuru, it was her birthday this weekend and we had an Asian-themed party for her, which is why I'm dressed like a geisha. You know me, I love to buy clothes, and then once I get them on, I hate to change out of them. I'm "That Girl Who Always Wears the Same Outfit Four Days in a Row."

That's about all I've been doing: having gatchorgasms and plodding through hunts. I'm probably not going to finish the Twisted Hunt (unless someone drops me a cheat sheet, hint hint) and I've been working my way through the Pretzel Hunt because there really are some decent prizes in that one.

Oh, I got booted (albeit with a very fashionable boot) out of the Vain group for making a joke about some talking nipples on a Midnight Mania board, but I'm not bitching about it. I did break the charter by mentioning an MM board in group chat, so I deserve it, and I accept the consequences of my nipple-tootin' actions.

But speaking of Midnight Mania boards, here are two that you need to slap the hell out of. It's probably too late to lock them down tonight, but try tomorrow. I'm going to. So now for a part of my blog that I like to call, "SLAP IT LIKE YOU NEED IT!"



YES! I want to bang the drums like Ringo and you secretly do too! You know you do! This drum set comes with animations, and we all need to GRAB IT before SL yanks it for The Beatles copyright infringement! So slap that board HERE at Guitar Palace!



Ever since I saw this board in the Toastyville Mobile Park (awesome place BTW), I've had this wild fantasy of running up to people and THROWING CANDY AT THEM! We need this in our lives, if only for the LOLOLOLOL factor. So PLEASE HELP! (And hey Prad, I totally would've bought this thing and not begged for the freebie, but I couldn't find it.)

Slap that b*tch-candy up HERE!

Getting back to the whole Vain topic: Before I got kicked out, a lovely lady in group chat offered to sell her 512 mainland parcel (did I get that lingo right?) to a premium member for $1L, provided that person wouldn't sell it.

Hey, that's me!

So I bought it. I've kind of kissed my Chicken Disco Art Installation fantasy goodbye for lack of talent, but I started to set up the parcel so I could at least try to sell my miraculous chicken eggs there, if anyone's still buying them. I have some gorgeous scarce eggs and a bunch of ancient ones. So I gave it the all-American try, and wow, my little parcel looks fug with that badly layered winter backdrop and no eggs in sight yet:


I really need a builder who can help me put some wintery walls around the thing. Otherwise, it just gets crammed in with all the other little parcels. *sends out smoke signals for help*

All that aside, I'm eventually going to put up a little house there, I think, once I'm done trying to sell my eggs. Not for me, but for whoever might need to pop in and use it.

And in the meantime, I want to invite all my blog readers to use that parcel for rezzing things, changing clothes, hiding from stalkers, chilling out, or whatever else you may need it for. I've set it to public access. Just clean up after yourselves please, and if you're SLexing there, please wipe up all bodily fluids. I'll make a land group, once I figure out how, so if you homeless people need to set it to Home, you can drop me a note and request membership. And if my creator readers want to set out gifts there, let me know. We could transform it into a hip and happenin' little spot someday.

Visit Emerald's Chicken Wonderland HERE and please don't laugh at my initial and total FAIL attempt to do something with it. It's a work in progress.

I have to go work on my portfolio now, for a job interview in another state later this week. As such, here's my RL deep question: In this economy, when times are tight and bills are piling up, would you rather a) take a six-figure job at a swanky resort in a lonely, desolate, celibate desert town where you've already sort of crashed and burned once from sheer social isolation earlier in your career (which is why you originally left that place), or b) continue living in your childhood bedroom in your parents' home at age Flirty Thirty-something, panicking every month about credit card payments and barely making enough to scrape by . . . YET surrounded by friends, family and *GASP* men who want to date you?

Seems like an obvious answer, but if you think about it, not really. Factor independence and peace and quiet into Option A too. And shopping. And health insurance. And five weeks of vacation. And a better computer with a more powerful graphics card!!!

Have a lovely evening. ♥

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The other C-word (and more awesomesauce)


I never thought I'd see a time in my life when the phrase "crotch prim" would be part of my vocabulary.

I'm sort of embarrassed because after I got that skirt up there, I IM'ed designer Annah Whitfield and said something along the lines of "THANK YOU for making a mini that doesn't have that annoying little crotch prim!!!!"

Then it dawned on me that maybe it's not a good idea to use the word "crotch" in any type of correspondence with a respected, talented designer, even if it IS used in the context of a compliment.


Anyway, that dark denim mini is called Cat ($120L). You can get it at Annah's store StoRin, and it also comes in "denim" and "really dark denim." And it doesn't have a tiny irritating "looks like a toilet paper accident in a public bathroom" crotch prim. It has a bigger prim with a resizer script . . . and a belt with a resizer script too!

YAY! YAY! YAY! Join me in doing the Happy Skirt Dance, won't you!

(And yeah, that frog never stops ogling my butt. "QUIT IT, YOU PERVY TREE FROG!")

Hey, wanna see something else I like?



Oops, sorry -- I mean MOBILE phone!! Look at the front:

(Photo tip: Use strategically placed art to hide a bad photo composition. Pink Sash Top by EmJay.)

I saw this phone at Belle Belle furniture and screamed, "I NEED THAT THING!" It is so full of sculpty goodness, I wanna EAT IT!

(You know, if you read back over my last eight posts, you can totally tell when the antidepressants started working, huh? Everything seems so damn EXCITING now!)

That phone is made by creator Anya Yalin and also is available at her (my-new-favorite) store AnnaMayaHouse. I walked in there and immediately wanted to grab somebody and make MAD PASSIONATE LOVE in a pile of FISHER-PRICE TOYS!!

OK, that sounded really wrong.

But you know you want the pink one:


And hell to the yes, I bought the Emergency Burger too:


Roll on floor laughing at the ketchup.

Blah, I have so much to blog that my "To Blog" folder is about to explode. Let's talk about free stuff for a second and then I'll save the rest for another post. The skin I'm wearing (that you can barely see) is a really soft pretty skin called Adele - Pale - Lavender, currently free in the Cyanide Subscribo. When I checked today, it was still in History, in notice No. 2.

And speaking of skins, somebody get out the drum and gimme a drumroll because the new oBscene mainstore FINALLY OPENED in a sim with a name that I will never ever ever be able to pronounce, but it's HERE.

Get thee over there quickly! The opening gifts are still out, one of which is this free Braeiyn - Seraphina skin in four tones (including a goth tone) and, uh, there's also a WET VERSION of each tone in the box.

I'm not really into that though, so here's a shot of a dry version:



Oh my God, I look HORRIBLE in it! It's not you, oBscene! I swear! It's me! It's my weird, fat, twisted-looking face! It's just not worthy of your love.

(I did try to do my eye makeup like that in RL the other night. I got Benefit's High Beam in my eyes and all over my nose and black eyeshadow everywhere. My mother said I looked like an alien. I thought I looked more like a car accident. Maybe next time I'll get it right.)

The new store also has three lucky chairs. I've been hanging around them for days. I finally won this ALMiKA skin:

(Pictured: Tia Dress in yellow by DCNY. Necklace from Jori Walter's new alaMood line, debuting at Jewelry Fair 2009.)

OK, that skin is awesome, actually. And the cleavage is still RIGHTEOUS! Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, does cleavage like the oBscene does cleavage, and I don't care if another one of their grand-opening gifts is body glitter! *cringe*

Ironically, I predicted that body glitter would one day be the new black in an older post I wrote about oBscene cleavage.

(Am I the only one who worries that I'm going to get in a car accident and my parents are going to eventually find all these pictures of avatar cleavage on my computer and be very, very disturbed?)

And I'll get to that necklace in another post, but you were right, Celebrity Trollop. Damn, you always are.

If you're a guy and you don't give a damn about clothes or skins, hustle over to XStreet and get this free SL-Ai, the Second Life version of the famous artificial intelligence chatterbot A.L.I.C.E. (It's copy/trans, so if you don't have an XStreet account, give me a holler and I'll give you one.):


I totally intended to close my eyes in that picture, BTW, to convey ecstasy. And look at my glowy chicken back there. I have too many in my life. Let me know if you want one. I'll send you a Chicken-Gram.

Anyway, this lovely lady can hold a semi-conversation with you, and I've spent way too much time talking to her lately:

[8:14] Emerald Wynn: Tell me a joke
[8:14] SL-Ai v0.5: Did you hear the one about the Mountain Goats in the Andes? It was Ba a a a a a d.
[8:14] Emerald Wynn: ROFL
[8:14] SL-Ai v0.5: I'm glad you find this amusing.

[8:15] Emerald Wynn: Sing me a song
[8:15] SL-Ai v0.5: Daisy, Daisy.
Give me your answer do.
I am half crazy.
All for the love of you.
It won't be a stylish marriage.
I can't afford a carriage.
But you'll look sweet.
Upon the seat.
Of a bicycle built for two.
[8:15] Emerald Wynn: Who wrote that song?
[8:15] SL-Ai v0.5: Abraham Lincoln.
[8:16] Emerald Wynn: No!
[8:16] SL-Ai v0.5: Are you serious?

[8:19] Emerald Wynn: Do you speak German?
[8:19] SL-Ai v0.5: Of course I do. Sprich ruhig Deutsch mit mir.
[8:19] Emerald Wynn: Do you speak Japanese?
[8:19] SL-Ai v0.5: Nihongo wa hanashite ii desu ka?
[8:20] Emerald Wynn: Open the pod bay doors, HAL!
[8:20] SL-Ai v0.5: I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.
[8:20] Emerald Wynn: ROFL!

[8:20] SL-Ai v0.5: I'm glad you find this amusing.
[8:21] Emerald Wynn: Do you know R2D2?
[8:21] SL-Ai v0.5: He is a fake robot on Star Wars.
[8:21] Emerald Wynn: Do you know C3PO?
[8:22] SL-Ai v0.5: he is R2D2's best friend.
[8:22] Emerald Wynn: Wow!
[8:22] SL-Ai v0.5: I'm glad you're impressed, .
[8:22] Emerald Wynn: Do you know the Transformers?
[8:22] SL-Ai v0.5: I'll come back to that later.
[8:22] Emerald Wynn: You're supposed to say, "Robots in disguise." Actually you're supposed to sing it.
[8:22] SL-Ai v0.5: I obey only one botmaster.

I guess that's not me.

I'm sure that was just as exciting for you to read as it was for me to copy and paste it.

But go get you one of them thangs!

I have to put on my Lois Lane suit and go to work now.

*bows and accepts award for Longest Post Ever*

The End.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Must love zombies


I've got a lot going on right now.

I signed a contract to write five stories a week for my city's newspaper, which is killing me. I've also got a BIG DAMN JOB INTERVIEW coming up in Washington, D.C., and just the fact that I got called for it means HELL YES, I've still got game and I'm about to BRING IT, so everybody step the hell back.

Um, anyway.

All this stress means I really, really, really need to blow off some steam right now, and I'll be totally honest with you: "blowing off steam" is a euphemism for S-E-X.

The British guy I'm sort of seeing-slash-falling asleep on just isn't cutting it for me, so I did the unthinkable today and posted a profile.

I don't want anything heavy right now. Call me a tramp, but I just want a robust, semi-attractive man to romp around with on a regular basis. Also, if he's gonna see me naked, he's gonna HAVE to have a great sense of humor. I mean a GREAT sense of humor. Like, the GREATEST sense of humor. Ever.

Right now you're probably flinching, covering your eyes and asking, "What the bloody hell does this have to do with Second Life, Emerald???" Well, I'm GONNA TELL YOU, if you just chill for a second.


This will shock you but as I filled out my profile, I could not help but joke around . . . so I put "MUST LOVE ZOMBIES" in the "what I'm looking for" section.

And I have to admit, I'm somewhat disturbed at the number of foaming-at-the-mouth men who emailed me today to tell me JUST HOW MUCH they love zombies. As in, passionately.



(Everybody put a helmet on, because she's totally back in that BOLD ALL-CAPS phase again!)

OK, so here's your SL connection:

Because of the fiasco, I had zombies on the brain when I logged in world tonight. As such, I zoomed straight over to LuNi Designs because I knew my beloved Nimil Blackflag and her partner Lucas Gerard would not disappoint:


That's Nimil's Dead Girl skin (500L) right there. And it rocks.

(Those eyes are the Garnet Eyes from Beloved Custom Designs, BTW, and they also rock. Everything my friend Aisuru touches is gold, as far as I'm concerned. I wish she would touch my checking account.)

I developed kind of an "I love this girl but oh my God, I am FREAKIN' SCARED OF HER!" crush on Nimil when this endearingly creepy little chick with a noose around her neck came up to me one day and said, "Hey, you're wearing my key!" and BY JOVE, I totally WAS wearing her key . . . and it was and still is the coolest doll key ever.

(Yes, Random Calliope, basically I'm wearing your jewelry in every damn picture I have. Wow! I took that pic way back in February too!)

I think that key was LuNi Design's prize in the last Twisted Hunt. Or maybe it was Greatest Love. I don't remember.

And LMAO, when I was looking through my Photobucket albums for that picture, I found this one:


Look Prad, you're in Japan!!

Poor Prad. He gets blog-stalked so much over here. I don't even remember what that picture was for, but damn, it's still funny. I am seriously laughing right now and I SWEAR it is not because I've been drinking red wine and watching several episodes of "The Golden Girls" in a row.

I think I did a really good job of drawing his hat. *keeps giggling like a crazy person*

Um, so anyway, back to Nimil.

If you're not doing the Fall Twisted Hunt this month, frankly I don't blame you. My will to finish it sort of cracked the other day when I heard someone proclaim, "YAY! I'm at No. 100 in The Twisted Hunt! Only 56 more stops to go!"

*Emerald falls over*

HOWEVER, I do recommend that you at least stop at a few places on that hunt, and LuNi Designs is one of them, because look at LuNi's OH-MY-GAWD-ARE-YOU-KIDDING-ME-WITH-THIS-AWESOMENESS? prize:

(OK, that photo sucks. Sorry.)

It's called The Collector's Case and it has six poses in it. The hunt's twirly little purple box is totally easy to find in her store, too. And all I can really say about it is,


Yes, the word "rock" is sort of being overused today. Let's blame The Beatles for the hell of it.

OK, I'll slow the spaz dance down. Sorry.

And now I have to go correspond with my zombie suitors. Tune in to my next post for some Twisted shoes that you must seek and acquire. And maybe I'll talk about the bloodbath that was my chicken massacre today.

Right now it's just too painful.

Sunday, September 6, 2009



I don't think I've ever wanted anything in SL as much as I want this ZOHHHMYFRIGGIN'GAWDTHISTHINGISSODAMNAWESOME Time Machine from Belle Belle Furniture.

I went and fooled around in it (NO not like that, unfortunately) for about an hour in the store this morning.

I took a few pics. They are so art-gallery worthy that I struggled with the decision over which photo to run as the lead up there: the one I ultimately chose, or this one below, where I am PURPOSEFULLY looking away from the camera to create a sense of mystery and "who is that time-traveling babe" intrigue:


*falls over laughing*

But LOOK AT THAT THING! Just LOOK AT IT!!! And hell no, my crappy pictures don't do it justice. You HAVE to get over there and see it. I command it!

(Um, yeah, I haven't been this excited about something in a long time. The only thing I love more than this time machine is a meaningful bracelet, which I would totally wear as I traveled through time too.)


This Aether Temporal Viewing Portal is an accessory to the Time Machine, and really there's no point in having the time machine without this EYE-POPPING, JAW-DROPPING, GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME GIMME THAT portal.

It's got a menu of 12 "time destination" options, and the picture changes accordingly with each of them. (Hey, that's AD 3124 up there, y'all!) The portal also talks to you and describes what you're seeing as you travel, and damn, I'm getting all orgasmic again just thinking about it!!

The Time Machine costs $2490L. The Portal costs $590L. So the whole thing'll set you back $3080L. And I really didn't flinch at the price tag because this is one of those things that would inspire me to say "to hell with it" and throw $50 USD in my SL account to cover the cost -- as well as that of an appropriate time-traveling wardrobe, of course.

The prim count, however, made me shake my fists up at the sky and wail.


I think Belle Belle's Leyla Firefly is one of SL's true geniuses. There are good creators, there are great ones and then there are legendary ones, and I do believe Leyla deserves a spot in the legendary category. Her work is so detailed, it blows my mind, and if you haven't checked out her stores, I urge you to do so and get your mind blown as well. She's got one store that's just full of amazing furniture and another store across the way called Belle Belle Furniture Fantasy, which is where you'll find this time machine.

If you're lucky, some hot construction workers will also whistle at you while you're walking around out there.

Unfortunately with all of Leyla's amazing details comes a rather hefty prim count, which for me is a crushing heartbreak. At the moment I'm pretty poor. I can't afford a giant parcel with an equally giant prim allowance right now.

At the store this morning, things (like informational signs) weren't rezzing well for me (shocker), so I tried to get a prim count on the Time Machine by clicking Edit. The masterpiece comes with a lot of moving parts though, so I may have missed some. At last count, the thing had 469 prims, including the portal. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.

WOW. I'd have to get rid of my house, the bunny, the dinosaur, all my furniture, all my chickens and their chicken paraphernalia just to be able to set that thing up.

I'd end up with a long empty stretch of beach with a time machine on it.

Which actually would be kind of cool for a while.

Oh well.

I guess I can always go over to the store and visit it.

Hey, speaking of Belle Belle, I discovered that time machine during the Steam Hunt. I bet you didn't know this about me, but I'm a steampunker at heart. The whole concept appeals to my "I wish we'd get in some kind of big damn apocalyptic end-of-the-world thing soon so I could dress like a badass survivalist and not have to look for a stupid job anymore" side.


Have not yet found goggles big enough for the bunny. And I realize that's not a survivalist outfit. I just really like that Concrete Flowers T-shirt.

So anyway, those goggles are free at Belle Belle, which is a stop on the hunt. (Look for them on a little stand on the first floor near the time machine.) And the prize there is this cool Undying Love piece:


"I weel rip out your beating heart and steeck it in a jar and keep it alive with cogs and wires and occasionally take it out and leeck it!"

Shoot, there's that Russian/Disney character villain accent again. Sorry.

It's got little moving parts in there and, um, it's also 77 prims, which is why I ran over to my neighbor's yard and rezzed it for that shot.


OK. I think I'll stop now. This post kind of sounds like a paid advertisement for that store. Sorry.

I just got really turned on by that thing.

*Hops in and travels forward in time three hours to eat some peach pudding cake for dessert*

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The mystery of love in Second Life

I hold my heart close to me in Second Life.

It's nearly impossible for any male AV to cross the moat and scale the fortress walls around it.

Meanwhile, my heart thus protected, my rational mind also screams in protest at the thought of SL romance.

It just hurts too much.

I've been thinking about this subject a lot lately because I know three couples who recently crossed the border from SL to RL in their relationships. Two stories turned out to be rather fairy tale-like. One turned out to be a disappointment. The guy told me that when he met his SL partner, unfortunately he was completely freaked out and repulsed by her in real life. So I've heard the success stories, and I've heard the nightmares.

More than a year ago, I got close to a guy in Second Life. We finally made plans to meet in real life. I chickened out at the last minute — I made the poor guy cancel his plane ticket and everything. So yeah, even when the opportunity's there, I'm just not brave enough. I didn't want to be one of the nightmare stories. And I knew it wouldn't be as sweet as it was on my monitor.

And that's it, actually. To me, love in Second Life is like a sweet, sweet drug. When I'm with a man I adore there, I feel warm and wrapped in affection. I see his arms around me and I feel it physically. I really do. Countless scientific studies show that the mind cannot tell the difference between detailed visualization and reality. That's why so many psychologists out there urge you to visualize the achievement of your goals in as much detail and as often as possible — to visualize yourself as you'd like to be as vividly as possible.

Think it and think it hard enough and the mind starts to believe it.

So in the case of love, imagine it: You identify closely with your SL AV. You've invested blood, sweat, tears, lindens and all the tools of self-expression that you could ever need into creating this AV who symbolizes your actualized self, your core being, how you'd like to look, how you really ARE. Suddenly, the part of you that the real world doesn't get to see, well, in Second Life others can see it if you let them, because this AV you've created, it comes from your heart, it's crafted from your dreams. Your imagination and your emotions are the life force that runs through its virtual veins.

So here you are, this AV that perhaps in some ways represents you in the truest form possible, and you watch your AV in the arms of another one, being loved, held, protected and cherished. And meanwhile, if you're lucky, you're sharing thoughts, dreams, hopes or, hell, even mundane, "listen to what happened to me at work today" chatter with each other.

When that happens, I believe it hits the heart in a place that's never been touched before. I believe Second Life really is a place where your true self can connect with someone else's true self, and when that happens, well it can be so damn powerful that it makes a realist like me want to run away screaming.


Because when I'm in your virtual arms, for a while it fills me up with warmth and light and everything beautiful.

Then eventually we log off. I turn off my computer. And I'm left staring at this cluttered room, this messy turtle tank, this mountain of laundry, a calendar full of RL obligations, a list of deadlines, a stack of bills, the prospect of a date this weekend with a man who only knows how to send text messages and won't stop talking about his ex-wife.

The fantasy abruptly has come to a screeching halt and I'm left with the cold reality that currently is my life. And wow, does it feel cold.

I want the fantasy. And after an evening of immersing myself in that fantasy on screen, the absence of it can ache like a throbbing tooth. And don't get me wrong here: When I say I want the fantasy, I'm not particularly talking about that SL AV who lights me up inside. Like I said, I'm too much of a realist for that. Plus, I had that chance once, and I learned that meeting a significant-other AV in real life doesn't really appeal to me. The onscreen connection was too perfect. I just wanted to always remember it that way and not ruin it with the logistics and blahblahblahs of real life.

I guess I'm just trying to say that being loved in Second Life makes me want love — REAL love in its physical, mental, emotional and all its other glorious forms — like a crazy junkie in real life. A crazy junkie, running screaming through the streets, begging for a fix.

It's like watching 19 Meg Ryan movies in a row and feeling slightly starry-eyed and brainwashed by them afterward.

So yeah, it hurts. And as you can see from this poorly written blog post, it's hard for me to explain. I don't want to get in too deep in Second Life because the afterglow hurts. And I don't want to seek an SL relationship with the high and statistically unrealistic expectations that it could become something equally powerful in real life, mainly because I want an RL man who's the complete opposite of me, an active social guy who'll drag me out of my sometimes-shell and has never, ever heard of Second Life. I want lots of laughs, sex, frolicking, wine, debauchery, goofing around and no computers anywhere near us unless absolutely necessary.

Nope, beyond that lovely high when we're both inworld, I don't really get the appeal of Second Life relationships, which is why I thought it was ironic when the now-dissolved (*sniff*) CityZen put me on the love beat. Not only do I not get the appeal as it applies to me, but I look at some of my friends in SL relationships and I don't understand them either. I don't judge, but there are questions I want to ask without offending them, like, if you're happily married in real life, why are you partnered to someone in Second Life, sometimes for years and even to the extent where you're throwing anniversary parties? What about your real spouse? Do you still love him/her? Does your spouse know that you're in love with an SL AV? That your AV has a tag that says "So and So's Wife" or "So and So's Husband"? How exactly does that work?

Maybe I'm totally naive, but if I were married in real life, I'd like to think that I'd be so overjoyed at having finally found someone to share my life with that I'd love the hell out of that person. And if I were married in real life and discovered that my spouse was also "married" to an AV in Second Life, well, it would crush my heart. Just crush it. Because I know how true that SL love can feel.

The only relationships I can sort of understand are those people who are hoping to find SL love that'll one day blossom into an RL future. And my hat goes off to those people. They're braver than I am.

So no, I don't look for romance in Second Life. If it happens to hit me like a wrecking ball when I'm not paying attention, well, it's like being on a wild and somewhat bittersweet rollercoaster. When I'm on it, I'm a little scared and I know I should get off because eventually it's going to make me feel a little queasy . . .

. . . but then later I want to get in line and ride it again, just for those parts where you put your arms in the air and gleefully scream, "WEEEEE!"