Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bite Me

(This is the second and last post about my noobie alt experience.)

It was night (not dark and stormy, though).

I was supposedly a naive and disoriented new SL resident, wandering around the SL Orientation Stations. 

In reality, I was a second-time-arounder who was experimenting to see if I could create a functioning, fashionable, sophisticated-looking AV on absolutely zero lindens. (And by the way, I've now come to the conclusion that if you can't even afford to invest at least $5 RL bucks every couple of months on SL, you really should get the hell out. Sorry if that sounds harsh.)

I had almost aced that challenge before I unfortunately ran into a glitch, and that was a profile photo. If you have no lindens, you can't upload one. 

A pretty woman in a beautiful ballgown approached me. She told me she was there to help new residents. She asked me if I needed help.

I knew right off the bat (pardon the pun . . . and you'll see what I mean) that she wasn't an official SL Mentor because she wasn't wearing an SL Mentor tag.

But would a genuine newbie know that? Probably not.

I told her I was trying to fill out my profile and didn't know how to put a picture of my AV in it. 

She told me how to use the Snapshot button. I listened politely and told her yes, I had figured out how to TAKE a photo, but at the moment I didn't have the $10L to upload one. I assured her I wasn't asking for money -- just trying to find a photo booth or something.

(That really should have clued her in to my alt status. What new person asks about photo booths?)

Then she asked me if I had any desire to start off my Second Life as a vampire.

I acted confused. "You mean one that bites people? I didn't know this was a game like that."

She told me she belonged to a Bloodlines vampire clan and that I could become her minion and she and her clan would take care of me. 

I told her that I was confused, that I hadn't read anything about vampires when I signed up on the Second Life Web site, and that I really just wanted a photo (and some better shoes).

She told me that I could be anything in Second Life, that there were many vampires there, and that her clan could become my Second Life family, to "protect me" and provide me with anything I needed.

I asked her what I needed protection from in Second Life. 

All kinds of things, she replied. If anyone ever bothered me or gave me grief, the clan would defend me.

I told her again that I had no money, that I didn't know anything about being a vampire and that I didn't want to hurt or bite people. 

She told me that if I didn't want to become an actual vampire, I could become her "blood doll" instead -- providing food for her and, if necessary, other clan members. When she needed my blood, she said, she would call on me.

I told her it didn't sound pleasant.

Again she assured me, "We are a wonderful clan and our blood dolls are very important to us. We cherish them. We can take very good care of you."

Keep in mind that I had only been "new" in Second Life for about two hours. I was supposedly confused, friendless and trying to get my bearings. It reminded me of the stories we hear of teen runaways in big cities who get wooed by "nurturing" pimps.

I told her that I might consider being a blood doll "as long as it didn't hurt" and that I would like to meet her clan. (I really wanted to see how far the situation would go. Plus, I was bored and this was weeeeeeeeird.)

She poofed and TPed me to a ballroom in a castle. There were vampires waltzing in formalwear. Since then I've learned that the formal dance was part of a ranking celebration and not a nightly occurrence. (Bummer. I have 11 free gowns from Sascha's.)

She introduced me to the clan leader. (He was hella hot.) In IM, she instructed me to call him My Lord. Suddenly a pop-up window on my screen informed me that she was paying me $1,000 lindens.

(HELL YEAH, I wanted to hit "accept" and run to Stiletto Moody. Well, actually $1K still wouldn't get me anywhere there.)

I protested and told her I didn't want handouts. She told me it wasn't a handout -- that'd I'd need it for my "supplies."

Some of you may know this drill. If so, skip to my preachy outrage at the bottom.

She gave me a Wormwood Potion. (Unlike tequila, there was no worm at the bottom, which was disappointing.) Sorry for being a bad "journalist," but I failed to ask what it was for. In real life, an Ambien pill was kicking in and the whole situation was taking on a surreal tinge. Mainly I was just thinking, "I cannot believe I'm doing this."

However, on the SL Bloodlines Web site, it says this: "The Wormwood Potion can be used to rescue a soul from Limbo. An avatar's soul will be in Limbo if they have been bitten, but have not joined Bloodlines. Once they drink the Wormwood Potion, their soul will be rescued from Limbo, and will be promised to the next person to bite them. The soul will be delivered once they register for Bloodlines."

No one had bitten me yet, so maybe she screwed up the process. I have no clue.

I had to let the potion "animate my avatar" and then drink it.

She instructed me to buy The Thirst crate -- complete with HUD, fangs, and a Stats Reader -- on a nearby wall for $600L, after which I had to follow some programming instructions -- like inputting her name in my HUD (on channel 666, nonetheless).

Then I had to let her bite me. This isn't the tame pop-up menu experience -- "So and So would like to bite you? Do you accept?" or whatever -- that some of you may have encountered out on the grid -- it happens to me a lot, most recently on Alady Island and Sirena Hair. I've been a good sport and hit "yes" a few times. Then bite marks got dropped in my inventory with a note on how to wear them if I wanted to. That was about the extent of my previous Bloodlines experiences. 

I have since learned that the reason this one was more complex is because it involved "giving her my soul," thus helping move her up in clan rank. The random bite requests people get on the grid are just so the vampires can feed and, as such, survive. They have to keep their stats at certain levels, and they can only do this with BLOOD. (Muah ha ha ha!!!!!!)


So yeah, this time when I accepted the bite request, her serene-looking AV transformed into a snarling, SKEERY vampire-face as she descended on me with fangs bared. My AV's eyes rolled back and I went limp in her arms as she fed.

Nice animations, Bloodlines!


Actually, last summer I went through a no-RP, just-the-look, vampire phase and bought some Embraced fangs with a HUD. When this chick bit me the other night, her face did look a little bit like mine did whenever I used that Embraced HUD:



I didn't want to bite people back then though. My main goal was to recreate famous celebrities as vampires and run around like that. Yep, I was creative in those days:


Check the back:


Too damn awesome. I have no clue where I got that dress, but it's in an inventory folder called "Vampire Marilyn," right below the "Vampire Audrey Hepburn" folder.


Oh yeah . . .


(If you think prim eyelashes are a bitch to mod, try fang marks.)

After I got chomped, I got a message telling me that my soul now belonged to my new Vampiress Pimp.

Gulp. *Emerald's Alt waves a friendly hello to everyone else in Hell*

Then I was instructed to bite and drink the blood of the clan leader. I had to wear the fangs and push a button on my HUD to do so. I admit that I was really shy and didn't zoom in like I should have. (Like I said, he was tasty looking. Long black hair, impressive cape and royal garb, etc., etc., etc.) I watched my AV bite him, but from behind. I don't know if I turned into a snarling scary thing or not.

I guess I bit the hell out of him, because an impressive percentage showed up in the white stats they instructed me to wear over my head, and Lord Whats-His-Face announced, "A very good bite!" The regal-looking crowd applauded.

(This is getting long. Sorry. Is anyone still awake? I tried to throw in some pictures for you. And noooooo way, I didn't take pictures in the castle. As it is, I'll probably be a hunted woman now because of this post.)

I told my new "liege" that I was confused. Was I a vampire now? Absolutely not, she said. But I just bit someone? Yes, to refill my blood with that of the clan leader's, she informed me. Do I keep biting people? "No ma'am," she said, "I bite YOU when I need to."

Then she TP'ed me to a dark apple orchard.

Call me a druggie, but at that point I really was thinking, "I wonder if this is just a really bad Ambien trip and I'm actually slumped over AFK at the Orientation Stations?"

She instructed me to use some of the money she gave me to buy apples (at $14L each, holy cow). I had to eat them until my Humanity on my stats bar got restored to 100 percent. 

She gave me the drill: Vampires need a certain amount of blood to maintain their vitality and survive. If they can't find fresh victims on a "hunt," they feed off their blood dolls, who can then restore their own life forces by eating apples in the Bloodlines orchard. 

(Why couldn't they have made it lobster????)

I have to check my humanity stats frequently, as I guess they gradually drop with time. (Kind of like my blood sugar!!!) And the no-money thing is not a problem, she said. When my humanity starts to drop, I can ask her or any of the clan members to get me apples.

She gave me several landmarks and told me I now have access to the castle, which includes, cough, some sexy rooms and a dance club, among other perks. I was told that I could talk to someone about getting a job working there as a club dancer or even an escort.

"Sexy vampire dannnnnncer! Sexxee vampire escorrrrrrrt!"

Sorry, that's just a little song I've made up since that conversation. I'm really five years old in real life.

She gave me folders of clothes, some AOs, some skins and told me to let her know if I needed anything else. She gave me some backup names of clan members to contact if I needed anything when she was offline. Then she told me I was "free to explore" and enjoy my new SL life "until I was needed." I was left with about $250L (which I later spent on some cute clothes in Japan, home of fantastic clothes for very little money Thank you, Japan!).

*** As a quick side note, the next day I went to a prominent store to check out some freebs. My Bloodlines stats were still displayed over my head. To be honest, I didn't know if I was supposed to wear them all the time or what.

It took about three minutes before I was sailing through the air with the message that I had been ejected and banned. I IMed the store owner in confusion. She told me that The Bloodlines were not welcome in her store, that they harassed her customers, that she had a sign to that effect somewhere. (I guess I failed to read it.)

I explained to her that I was a human, not a vampire, and that I didn't bite people. We spoke for a while. Eventually she let me back in on the condition that I remove my stats and my clan tag.

STOP! (Hammer time)

Before hundreds of Bloodlines members descend on me in a flock of vengeful, beating leathery bat wings, let me just clarify my stance on this whole thing:

-- I think it's LAME that you're hanging out at new-resident welcome points, pretending to be mentors and confusing the hell out of poor noobs. 

You approached me and told me you were there to help new members. Then you told me I'd need protection. Since when did SL fill up with friggin' street gangs? (Well, besides the fashion designers. Ha ha ha!!!) 

Then, knowing I was lindenless, you promised me a family, clothes and shelter if I joined your clan.

It's one thing to proposition seasoned residents. They know your game, they're "consenting adults" and this concept obviously appeals to many people or Bloodlines wouldn't be so popular. But leave the new residents alone. The first hour or so in SL is a lot to absorb as it is without a beautiful motherly woman in a stunning gown telling you how wonderful it is to live in a castle with a new family -- and acting like that's a Linden-endorsed option for new residents.

And HEY BLOODLINES, don't tell me that was one bad apple doing something she shouldn't have been doing. Before I wrote this post, I talked to several "caretakers" of new-resident starting points, and they ALL said they deal with preying Bloodlines "recruiters" on a DAILY basis.

-- Business owners: You're not off the hook in this rant. The ejection I experienced was blatant discrimination as far as I'm concerned, and since then I've learned that many stores have so-called "Buffy bots" that detect, eject and ban Bloodlines members. Not cool. We have many role-playing groups in Second Life. This one just happens to be clans of vampires. If you're going to categorically ban all of them, I suggest you also ban child AVs who run around in circles and kill my consumer buzz, talking fetuses, those Gor slaves who kneel bound and half naked (and totally in my way) in your stores, and women who fug up my shopping experience with all their bits on display, like THIS ONE: 


As far as Bloodlines goes, yes, if someone's running around trying to bite your customers, then by all means eject and ban that person. Lately I've walked into many skin stores displaying signs asking customers to inform the owner/manager if anyone on the property tries to sell them skins or give them landmarks to ripped skin shops. If you're concerned about Bloodlines, request the same information from your customers and then ban and report those specific vampires. But I was in your store minding my own business. I wasn't hunting. I was looking at your affordable shoes.

-- This blog isn't bashing Bloodlines in general. The people I met in the clan castle were having fun. They seemed like decent people. My shock and disgust is directed toward aggressive and deceitful recruiting practices. On my FIRST NIGHT in SL, I ended up in a castle getting my blood drained. Yep, I consented to it, but in theory I was new and confused, and the "sales pitch" was framed in the context of assisting new residents. QUIT IT.

Um, does anyone have any garlic? :(

Friday, February 27, 2009

How to be a Noob (part one of two)

So, hey, I cracked and created an alt.

Honestly, I think I'm the only one I know who didn't have one before now.

People have different reasons for creating alts. I know a few people who have a ton of them just for lucky chairs. I never got the point of that, actually, except I guess to flip the chair? It can't be to get the item because then you'd have to change your whole identity any time you wanted to wear it.

Some people create alts so they can hide from other people or live another lifestyle and not damage their main SL reputations.

I didn't do it for ANY of those reasons, even though I can't tell you my alt's name right now. (We'll get to why in the next installment of this two-part series.) But if you're Emerald's friend, you're my alt's friend as far as I'm concerned. Just holla on this blog and I'll send you a friend invite if you want. And even if you're not Emerald's friend . . . well, why the hell aren't you?

(All readers of this blog are embraced with my friendship -- unless you read this blog to mock it. And frankly if you do, I don't blame you. If I didn't know me, I would.)

I created my alt because I don't like to talk the talk unless I can walk it. Wait . . . "I like to walk my talk." Uh, that doesn't sound right either. The saying eludes me at the moment. But you know what I mean.

After I wrote that last preachy "You don't need no damn money to live in SL!" post, I wanted to see if I could actually DO IT. So I tried it yesterday, starting from scratch. I'm calling it "Project $0 Lindens." I didn't do it because I'm cheap and don't want to contribute to the SL economy. I did it to . . . fashionably protest against SL panhandlers and make sure it's actually doable so I can continue to curse and scorn them.

I created a new identity and YES, this time I picked a first name with a rare and in-demand Lucky Chair initial. You know, one of those initials that makes you curse a chair and think, "Damn, I wish I had a friend whose name starts with [initial]."

That's me now. Since then, I've learned that I should've picked a name that starts with O though. Honestly, if you want to really score with lucky chairs, O is the way to go. Or Z. You can't beat Z.

I'm still trying to get used to this alt's name. And last night I accidentally jumped in a lucky chair with an E in it. Ha ha and oops.

OK. So it's been almost exactly a year since I logged on as Emerald and, wow, things have really changed for noobs. Orientation Island isn't the same or even the primary starting point anymore. In fact, as some of you newer residents know, during the sign-up process you can now choose a "starting community" -- and there are several pages of those starting-point choices.

I picked a community suitable to my interests, but the owner -- to whom I talked extensively while researching Part 2 of this series -- asked me to refrain from mentioning the location. They're having a problem with griefers, of course, who love to pop in and harass new people.

So yeah, there's no more trudging through a big ugly castle, completing a bunch of tutorials and then getting your profile picture snapped before they let you leave. Instead, you "wake up" in the location or country of your choice, surrounded by a group of babbling people crammed into the main TP point with you -- in my case, most of them were alts. I know this because they were all talking about WHY they were there as alts. (laugh)

It took a whopping four minutes before a) one guy asked me for $278L and b) another guy asked me if I wanted to have sex. *rolls eyes*

Once I got my bearings, I waddled around to check out various information stations that offered notes on "how to do things." I was delighted with a girl who proclaimed, "OH WOW, I'M FLYING!" and seemed totally sincere in her amazement. 

There were walls of free clothing for new residents, and even that aspect has improved greatly -- I even found this fantastic free Coco Black ensemble from one of my favorite favorite favorite designers, House of Nyla (!!!):


YAY!! Thank you, Nyla!!!! (And hey lovely readers, if you're really, really itching for this outfit, drop me a note or comment here and I'll get in touch and tell you where to go. Meanwhile, I'd like to honor the location owner's request and not publicize it here.)

When I signed up as my alt on the Second Life Web site, I discovered that there are new and better "starter AV" options now, which I know is old news, but it was a pleasant surprise to me. They're way the hell better than what my AV looked like when I finished editing my appearance for the first time as Emerald Wynn on the old Orientation Island in March 2008:


HA HAAAAAAAAAAA!!! Nice headset!!!!

. . . and then, about 15 minutes later I further "edited appearance" to THIS cover-girl look:


WOOOO! That was SO SEXY! (I'm laughing so hard in real life right now.)

Awww, that picture makes me miss my RL friend Jon, who was waiting for me in SL when I got done "orienting," took one look at me and said, "Please let me help you." (He had already been an SL resident for a while.)

Of course, he transformed me into this:


. . . but hey hey hey, look at the sexy action I was getting back then!

Speaking of, that's House of Nyla lingerie, BTW! It's SMOKIN', ladies! Look at the back shot:

(wow, skin textures have really improved since back then, too.)

/me wonders what Jon is doing these days and if he ever got rid of that freakishy tan skin and bright yellow hair.

Ha ha ha! Who's the makeover artist now, huh? :D

Um . . . what was I talking about?

Oh yeah, the noob experience. On $0 lindens.

It's been said a million times, but the DEFAULT DUCK WALK HAS TO GO! Frankly as soon as I rezzed, I didn't even care what I looked like, I just desperately wanted an AO FAST. I couldn't find one at my starting point.

So here are the steps I took to get from noobish to presentable in about two hours:

1. I quickly TP'ed to Sylvia's Animation Factory and grabbed the -- actually REALLY DECENT -- free AO for females. (There's also one for men.) The walk isn't too over-the-top and the stands are normal. I really like it! I need to get Emerald over there to grab it!

2. I found a box of free female shapes at Sylvia's too, so I grabbed one and modded the living daylights out of it. The modding is a work in progress. As with my main SL identity, I still tweak it every 10 minutes. I used my friend Meara's most-awesome tutorial over on What the Fug for the major adjustments.

3. I joined the Gala & Rita Design Announcements group (easy to find in Search, thank God) and quickly put on one of the high-quality new Curio skins (gift in Notices), even though it made my AV look a little worried. (See the post about that skin HERE on Freebie Telegraph for a pic.) I also grabbed the free hair gift in the group notices (shown HERE on Fabulously Free in SL) and put it on.

*and momentarily breathed a sigh of relief*

4. Clothes: I needed to get out of that polka-dotted noob dress!!! Keep in mind, the goal is to find high-quality, non-"freebie-newbie-looking" stuff. Although to clarify, I'm not bagging on the great people who create all those big boxes of free stuff for new residents. I'm just trying to prove that you CAN do the brand names with absolutely no money.

-- First I joined Shiki Designs, a group I will never sacrifice, and dashed to the main store and grabbed my still-favorite dress that was the December group gift and is still out. To see it, check my previous post: Me, Obama and a Slightly Annoying Fetus. (The SLurl and a link to a better pic of that dress is over there too.)

-- Then I zoomed over to the Peppermint Blue FS City location to snag one of the free Newbie Assistance Packs and realized they don't call them that for nothing. Life savers!! I didn't take the silly (sorry) sailor outfits that are all over the freebie blogs right now. I picked the cute gothy Splendor Light set, the lingerie set and the sandals. The "assistance" sets also contain skins, hair, eyes and, thank God, boots/shoes, because that was a momentarily lacking item that was totally stressing me out. And you don't have to be a newbie to buy those sets, by the way.

-- Next I went to Silent Sparrow, which also has a great box of cool starter clothes for new AVs.

-- I wanted a small collection of formal attire -- every girl needs a few ball gowns -- so I joined Sascha's Group, went to her main store and scooped up all the ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS free gowns that Sascha so generously bestows on her group members. Not only does she give out a free group gift gown a month, but she also keeps out the past several gifts for members who may have missed a month. (I cannot believe this group is free.)

Counting a gift called "It's Always Christmas" that Sascha currently has out on a table and the Greatest Love Hunt Box that's there (that hunt ends tomorrow, BTW!), LADIES, I picked up 11 SMASHING ball gowns for NOTHING. You have NO EXCUSE not to go dancing now. 

Well, except for the lack of a man. That's my excuse.

-- I'm still sort of stressing about decent free shoes though. Meaning FREE, not even $1L. And I'm not talking shiny, over-the-knee boots or latex. I'm talking quality, versatile shoes from good designers.

<-- snob

4. Skins: I needed decent skins! I ran over to Fleur and grabbed the (thank you!) free skin for new AVs 30 days old and younger. Then I ran to one of my favorite skin designers, SoftTouch Skins, and grabbed that starter pack for new residents as well. Then I ran to the Journey sim and grabbed the Treasure Chest Hunt prize box of Tuli skins in the sim hunt that's going on. (Or at least it was last night.) Then I ran (ha ha, note all the running) over to Belleza and snagged the Greatest Love Hunt gift box, which has a skin in it. THEN I went to Rockberry and watched the lucky boards for a whopping six minutes before my initial came up on three boards at once. Then I went to Laqroki (um, I guess they want to be called LAQ) and got the current free Liv skin, hair and shape that's on the easel in the back corner, by the shapes.

So there you go, kids. Skins from seven of SL's top designers (counting the Curio group gift) for $0L. WIN!

If any other designers have free "new resident starter kits," I'd love to hear about them. I'm working on a notecard for the panhandlers. 

5. Hair: I needed a few more hair options. While I was at Laqroki, I also went to the hair department, where you'll see a row of free hairstyles. I added those to my hair folder, but only the ones that really appealed to me. My goal with this AV is to NOT clutter my hair folder with 9,000 different hair styles. I went to House of Heart and Bewitched and picked up the current free new-releases-of-the-month hair packs. Same styles, but different colors in each and I swear I swear I swear I'm going to try them on and toss them if I hate them and not let them pile up in this inventory like I usually do.

<--- pack rat

And honestly, that's all the hair I need right now. I just can't handle a ton of hair. I want to travel light this time.

6. Money: I don't have the RL time for an SL job. Seriously, I don't. After today I REALLY need to pack my RL apartment, move to Memphis and find a job in real life. I hit the road next Saturday with two cats, a seven-year-old pet hermit crab named Mr. O'Bannion, and a bunch of plants crammed in my 10-year-old RAV4. Wish me luck.

But this alt needs some sort of income and I hate camping for money. My lame suggestion is pay-for-play Picks locations. PrimOptic, for example, will pay you $50L every week to put the store in your Picks. (The store currently has a few pairs of free glasses out too.) And you know what? I have no qualms about doing that because I love the glasses and Emerald owns several pairs, for which she paid many lindens.

(I really, really, really cannot write about this alt very often or I really WILL start feeling like someone with Multiple Personality Disorder.)

So there's my $50L-a-week allowance. For $25L, you can join the PPRS -- Profile Picks Rewards System -- group that alerts you to all the places that will pay you for your profile picks spots. Conceivably you could make about $300-$400L a week this way. Or maybe not. When I looked for the group in Search, I found it . . . but I also found some ranting PPRS protest groups. So join at your own risk.

7. Groups: I added the aforementioned ones as well as the essential (in my opinion) Vain Inc. and Fashion Consolidated. I also added a few of my favorite stores. AND HOOORAY: Today Alady Island sent the FashCon group a gift box with a free LorAla (Pulse) skin in it (among other things), so I'm back in a skin I love:


Ha ha ha! I accidentally modded my shape to look almost EXACTLY the same as my other "self"! (Although there is something really weird about my torso -- hey, maybe it's the MELON BOOBS -- and the chin, as usual, looks like a sharp weapon.)

8. Um, then I cheated, logged in as Emerald Wynn for a sec, and tossed my alt the Sn@tch Punk Rock Girlfriend outfit in the photo above. But I swear that must have been free or won at some point! I love Sn@tch, but Emerald Wynn doesn't usually buy it. This girlie here, however, is gonna be a little bit more punky/gothy. 

That hair is the free Camelia hair at Laqroki. That skin is the LorAla skin FashCon gift from Alady. The eyes are a profile pick gift from SkinWithin. Put them in your picks, return to the store in about 24 hours and you'll get two free skins, a number of free eyes and a folder of "manicures and pedicures." They make fantastic ethnic skins -- I have a friend who is a SkinWithin loyalist for that reason.

And we're all exhausted. If you're a man and you made it to the end of this long damn post, well, you deserve a standing ovation.

Part Two of this series will be a helluva lot more exciting. 

I swear on a New Toulouse Cemetery grave that it will be a harrowing tale of PIMP VAMPIRES.

Until then . . . be safe!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Actually, there IS such thing as a free lunch here

Um, so I'd like to retract the whole "giving up SL for Lent" statement I made last night.

That Ambien will sure put some crazy notions in your head.

(HA HA HA! I told you.)

"LEAVE ME ALONE!" she wailed.

Today is the one day that I have no moving appointments, and tomorrow I have to spend the day standing in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles and sharing some quality time with a pair of rubber cleaning gloves and a bottle of Lysol. So there's some fun stuff I want to do today. 

Like continue to go head-to-head with this DAMN CHAIR at Cup of Crown.


I WANT (stamps foot) that Goddess of the Mountain Mist gown in green. I would buy it if I could. But instead I stand, day after day, glaring at this chair that has no concept of the letter E and keeps putting the red version of the gown in its wildcard rounds. (I have four of them now.)

Hey chair, didn't you know that red = angst? Otherwise, you'd be a different color.

I think CoC designer Emperor Oyen is quite genius. I own one of those Ruined Ballgowns to the left of the chair, and it is awesome.

Emporer is giving away a free pair of "Boots Wif Teeth" right now . . . and as soon as I, cough, re-download the SL app from the Second Life Web site, reinstall it on my computer and log on in shame and defeat, I'll take a picture of the whimsical boots and also make sure I'm spelling Emperor's name correctly.

{Insert future photo here!}

This talk of Lucky Chairs makes me want to talk about PANHANDLERS, specifically how at least one of them manages to find me a day and how DAMN irritating they are. For instance, this conversation went down during a mini hunt this week. And HELL YES, I'm running this chick's name. If you see her, clutch your lindens to you tightly:

[10:12] Jessyca Ying: hi
[10:12] Jessyca Ying: 20 l$ please
[10:12] Jessyca Ying: buy boots
[10:12] Jessyca Ying: =[
[10:12] Emerald Wynn: Hello - I'm sorry - I have no money
[10:12] Jessyca Ying: okay
[10:13] Emerald Wynn: There are free boots on the wall right next to you.
[10:13] Jessyca Ying: Not those
[10:13] Emerald Wynn: Well, beggars can't be choosers
[10:13] Jessyca Ying: 20 l$ please
[10:14] Jessyca Ying: I want some boots

GAHHHH! I realize there's a language barrier, but I hate the SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT in that conversation. "20L please. Buy boots. I want some boots."

Bitch, I want some boots too. Do you happen to have 1,500L?

Here's why I cannot stand it when people hit me up for money -- you don't NEED it in Second Life. Hell, you can live like a QUEEN for free and not a soul would know how broke you are. 

On a daily basis, some of SL's finest designers are giving out gifts or putting them in lucky chairs. Even Eshi Otawara, who has her own entry in Wikipedia for crying out loud (whoops, never mind, where'd it go???), has a lucky chair. Famous gown designer Nicky Ree currently has a gorgeous free Orange Satin Shine gown available at her store. Kunglers gives out regular and beautiful group gifts. 

And not a day goes by when I don't hear the word "hunt," with esteemed stores such as Tuli, Fleur, Belleza, Flirt, katat0nik, Pulse, Baiastice and MiaSnow participating in them, to name just a few.

Hell, just seek and ye shall find.

I have a folder in my inventory called "Info for New Residents." It contains lists of resources and notes with basic information. It's got the copyable and transferrable Jill in a Box and Jack in a Box starter avatar kits. (I picked mine up at Calla.) Hell, it even includes a set of free "I'm Not the Only One" jewelry by famed jewelry designer Random Calliope. If I notice that one of these panhandlers is only a few days old, I thrust the folder on her/him, even though, yeah, yeah, yeah, it's probably an alt.

I'd like to add a list of freebie blogs to my "Info for New Residents" folder. There are some fantastic ones out there, and hell, I check them myself a few times a week.

Granted, I realize that if the majority of SL panhandlers are so lazy that they choose to spend their days bugging people for 10L, they're probably not going to be industrious enough to get online for some quality READING.

Authentic new residents, however, might actually appreciate this list.

If you too are on a budget, the following blogs will point you in the direction of all the clothes and skins you could ever need -- all of them stylish and almost all of them 0 or 1L:

The Freebie Telegraph -- My favorite, and it's updated frequently throughout the day (which is why it's my favorite).

Lucky Kitty Crew -- has useful information (particularly a great list of Midnight Mania boards) and also supplements its in-world group of lucky chair stalkers, although Serenity Semple has now closed the group to her friends only. *bows to Seren-sensei* (yeah, that didn't follow traditional honorific format; you brainiacs don't have to chime in on that)

Baking Cupcakes -- Another favorite. I love these gals, and their cute, personable blog is always fun. They are beautiful souls as well. I'm proud to call them my friends.

My Second Life on the D-List -- Yet another one of my favorites. Great pics, great authors.

This Doll has Handbook -- I don't even speak the language and I still consider this blog to be one of my essential reads. Look at the pictures and harken back to your Latin root words . . . or use the blog's translator. I am so jealous of the design, too. Please come make my blog pretty too, Welmita.

Karla Scorbal: Imagination Unbounded -- Another extraordinarily creative format. I don't speak the language fluently, but you really don't have to. And it's currently featuring a goodie from one of my favorite stores, Royally. *claps*

I Started the Joke -- Don't worry. This one also has a built-in translator. 

Free*Style -- No explanation necessary. It's famous. Look for the Free*Style stores in-world too (listed at the bottom of the blog).

Second Life 24h -- Clean, simple, helpful and fun. Nuff said.

SL Good Deals -- by Gabi Fitzgerald, formerly of Free Second (and I believe Free Second is closed now?)

Love/Hate -- It's new. I'm not sure if I love it or hate it yet. Ha ha ha!! Keeding.

Second Life Hunts -- no cheats, just info (damn)

Virtual Freebies -- Honeybear's blog isn't as selective as some of the others, and the pics are small and sometimes nonexistent, but hey, I still check it out frequently!

Cait's Finds in Second Life -- Free stuff, affordable stuff, fun stuff, Midnight Mania stuff, sometimes shocking stuff (I still want those canary shoes, Cait!) *squeals because my blog is on her blog roll!!!!*

Chic at Phil's Place -- I love Chic Aeon. I love her blog.

The Bargain Bin -- Holy blog posts, Batman! The Bargain Bin is back! For some reason I thought this blog was dead! Wow, I missed about a month of posts, too. One of the best, as far as I'm concerned.

Free Finds For Men -- Hey guys, there's something for you too! And I heart blog author Eliza Wrigglesworth. (Her personal blog is closed to invited readers only though -- boo.)

OK, I'm officially exhausted now. What am I forgetting? Probably something really obvious. If so, I'm sorry. I need to neatly divide my SL browser bookmarks folder into subcategories. And hey, if anyone knows a site that showcases free furniture or home decor finds, please let me know.


-- If you're not into blogs or have an anti-freebie attitude, you could also become a Zyngo wizard like me -- there are some simple strategies on YouTube that'll raise your game level. At one point in my SL life, I was making anywhere from 300 to 3,000L a week just from KICKING ZYNGO ASS.

-- Or, here's an idea, you could -- GASP -- narrow your inventory down to 5o essential items and STOP CHASING "STUFF." (Ha ha, like I'm one to talk.)

Sometimes I love the irony that we're often so hungry to constantly acquire things in a non-material world. So if you're broke, forget shopping: There are some amazing things to SEE in Second Life, you know. Here are five Web sites to wake up the explorer in you:

New World Notes: Hamlet Au's thorough, versatile and journalistic site was the first Second Life blog I found. (I take that back, Second Life Fix was my first love. I'm a quiet fan of its laid-back author Shauna Vella.) Anyway, the former journalist in me really responds to NWN's reporting style. Hamlet does a great job introducing his readers to new places and people. He's got a great lineup of regular contributors, including Chestnut Rau, who'll give you plenty of activity options for the week each Thursday in her column "Chestnut's Choices."

Koinup's Second Life Places: Check out the week's most buzz-generating and photo-worthy sims on this stunning site.

SL Things to Do: My friend Bon told me about this Web site when I told him I was getting boooooored in SL. I like it and use it often now! Thanks, Bon!

Krissy Lately: I admire my friend Krissy's blog for its explorer theme and its admirable lack of egocentricity. (*whistles and looks away from my own blog*) She's always checking out new places with her friends and giving it to you straight from the perspective of an ordinary SL gal. Well actually, she's quite EXTRAORDINARY, but you get what I mean. She wants nothing more than to share new worlds with you so you can find joy in them as well. Bravo.

Eureka: I see that the Lindens have launched a travel blog. I'm withholding judgment for the moment, but let's watch and wait!

And you know what, there's always the Showcase tab in your SL Search engine. It's actually improved! Seriously!

Tired. I worked hard on this blog post. It's Miller (Lite) time!

I'll leave you with this fascinating picture:


Yep, I watched this lucky board for a while the other day because I thought the prize was hair with a little cat in it. And yep, I'm the type of gal who thinks hair with a little cat in it is appealing. When I finally won the damn thing, it wasn't hair at all. It was just a small cat that attaches to the top of your head like a hat.

Hell, my own cat'll do that in real life. :\

Happy almost-weekend,

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"It ain't ghetto if you're wearin' Stiletto!"

Hi! Welcome back to my bipolar blog!

I came up with a new slogan for Stiletto Moody shoes today while I was stalking Eshi Otawara's (new?) lucky chair . . . and damn, I forgot to get the SLurl for that chair. It's at her store though. 

You can find it! I have faith in you!

Anyhoo, put this on today's list of "things I failed to get a picture of," but I always seem to run into hoochies shopping in their underwear, and today was no exception. This particular cupcake was looming over Eshi's chair -- her finger on the Touch trigger -- in a sheer bra, tiny underpants, blinding blangin' jewelry . . . and Stiletto Moody Tall Boots.

I keep seeing skanked-out chicks in these really expensive shoes. I guess they've all decided that as long as they're rockin' those Stiletto Moodys, everything else is alllllllll good!

Either that or they can't afford any more clothes.

That's when I said to my friends, "I guess it ain't ghetto if you're wearin' Stiletto!" and it was possibly funny the first two times I said it, but by now those same friends probably all want to punch me in the face.


I won't say it anymore! I promise! I'll just immortalize it in this blog post!

And hey Stiletto Moody, I won't copyright that slogan in exchange for three free pairs of shoes!

Today was a "good lucky chair day" for me and YEP, that is EXACTLY how exciting my life is right now. It was either hit the lucky-chair circuit or pack my RL kitchen, and needless to say my dishes are still waiting to feel the gentle caress of bubble wrap.

In addition to sweeping three gowns out of the Eshi chair in about 20 minutes, I won this awesome "Mardi Gras Gown 3" from the Blue Blood chair . . .


. . . which was oh-so-appropriate because I try to do at least one thing that Chestnut Rau over at New World Notes tells me to do a week -- and one of those things was to hit the Mardi Gras parade at New Toulouse today. And I needed proper attire.

For a complete list of New Toulouse Mardi Gras activities this week, click HERE. The fun has just begun. (And how could we possibly not love a publication called The New Toulouse Tattler?)

Another thing I failed to get a picture of was a parade float that literally did float up into the air as the horses pulling it went vertical and then decided to fly, but that just made the parade ALL THE MORE AWESOME . . . until I crashed.

When I relogged I got distracted over at the New Toulouse cemetery:


Yeah, that's me down there, still in the harpy getup. Hey, I never promised you chronological order in this blog.

Anyway, you can rent a plot and an above-ground cemetery crypt there, which fascinated me. For a few minutes, I contemplated trying to live in one . . . the rent is only 30L a week!

Um, so did anyone know Liz Dayton?


That is either someone with a commendably morbid sense of humor -- like something I would do if I ever kick this SL crack addiction with enough finality to kill off my AV -- or someone who actually died in real life, in which case I'll feel really horrible about posting that photo.

In any case, R.I.P., Liz. I'm sorry they hyphenated "forgotten" on your tombstone. :(

Um, insert a bad segue here. Like "Speaking of . . . fashionably . . . dead . . . "

I found another blogger I'm really diggin' right now and that's Lizzie Lexington, the self-proclaimed connoisseur of all things nerdy. Her blog makes me laugh, and her current post made me run to Fashionably Dead today to get some retro '80s Jellies -- yet another thing I failed to get a picture of. *slaps hand*

But you can check out the Jellies over at Lizzie's blog HERE.

I didn't realize Lizzie had a separate page for store SLurls, so I searched for Fashionably Dead the old-fashioned way -- in world, on the Search engine, with my fingers crossed -- and ended up at the store at Starlust.

If you too get a Jellies craving and choose the Fashionably Dead outlet at Starlust for your fix, don't forget to check out the acid-trip dinosaur room in there:


Yeah, there are dinosaurs in that picture. See if you can find them.

Speaking of trippy . . . 

Shopping makes me happy and since I've been kinda blue lately, I went wild today and threw some lindens around like Mardi Gras parade confetti.

We can blame Beauty Avatar to start. The store posted a notice in the Vain group that said something along the lines of "check out our exciting new designs today and pick up some free gifts while you're here."

I went running over there with a bunch of other greedy chicks and, because I have a thing for butterflies, I ended up dropping 650L on this A&A Nature gown from the Beauty Avatar Couture line:


Yeah, it's trippy. Strangers called it "quite unusual," as in, "That's quite an unusual gown you're wearing, Emerald," to which I replied, "It was also QUITE EXPENSIVE, so act like you LOVE IT."

It looks better on Beauty Avatar's Web site, although I'm still trying to figure out what A&A stands for.

(I never did find the "free gifts" -- except for the older one from the A&A show that's been out for a while.)

Hey, that pose up there is called LaBossue from the La Mode set at Pffiou! Poses Without Cramps, which is the most awesome pose store ever, in my humble opinion. Why? Because Poser Laleeta Xue is creative and hilarious, and her fatpacks are an affordable 100L.

I like saying "fatpacks."

I also thought the ultimate cheer-up would be some skins from one of my favorite skin designers [the oBscene] . . . but . . . something . . . seems . . . off?


This skin is one of the makeup options (YES, I forgot to grab the name) in Tone 2 of the New Resolution line . . . and IT'S THE BOOBS! 


Where is the EYE-POPPINGLY famous oBscene cleavage shading that I fan-girled (how do you spell that?) in my earlier "Thank You for the Obscene Cleavage" blog post???

Even the deeper Tone 3 seemed lacking:



In fact, I kind of look like Paris Hilton now. (Actually, an armless Paris Hilton in that picture.)

*puts the Harpy AV back on*

So, um, I'm broke now. But that's OK because I'm done shopping for a while.

I need to get back to packing in RL and do some redecorating in SL. My SL home decor is looking a little sparse these days. Watching my prim allowance and all that:


And shoot, I wish real-life packing was as easy as pointing at things with my mouse and clicking "Take."

The End.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

If you're gonna wear it, at least Wiki it

I'd like to thank my friend Krissy for giving me this rockin' gem with poses on it. It matches my current, um, outfit.


As usual, my photography skills really did it justice. Nice angle. You can't even tell it's a gem. But trust me, it is.

Krissy's blog is DAMN AWESOME, by the way. I linked to it up there but I should have linked to it in this sentence right here. Oops. I am laziness personified these days, and you'll just have to deal.

I also want to thank the people who have dropped really nice notes in my inventory. And I even want to thank the people who've dropped "you suck, go to hell" notes in my inventory. Communication in any form is a good thing. I'm being serious. Unlike some people out there, if you disagree with something I say, I'm not gonna get all violent about it.



It feels good to be a harpy again. I forgot that I had this Harpy v.2 Fatpack of AVs from Grendel's Children. Not sure what I was smokin' the day I bought it (do I really need 12 different harpy AVs?), but I like this Icefeather version. Usually I only wear the green one.

That paragraph was so damn fascinating.

Here's what I learned today from Wikipedia: Harpies are known for stealing things. In fact, the word "harpy" comes from the ancient Greek word harpazein (ἅρπάξειν), which means "to snatch."

Speaking of, Sn@tch is having a 50-percent-off everything sale through Feb. 24, for all you people who want some snatch on a budget. 

(How's that for stream-of-consciousness writing?)

I checked out the map and saw that Sn@tch was CRAZAY with little green dots, so I shouted, "Hell no, I won't go!"

(Actually I just muttered, "no way.")

I doubt many of the Sn@tch shoppers would get the poetic beauty of a harpy in the store snatching up Sn@tch clothes.

In any case, the realization hit me today that I HAVE ENOUGH CLOTHES . . . in all the worlds there are and in every life I have. 

If you too need to have the same epiphany, just start packing all your RL clothes in boxes -- with the knowledge that a couple of movers are going to charge you for every 15 minutes of labor it takes to load all your boxes of clothes into a truck.

Trust me, you'll suddenly be swept away by a wave of generosity and spontaneously decide to donate 3/4 of your closet to charity. Yep, even your vintage Oleg Cassini. *sniff*

And actually, my SL inventory looks about the same, if not worse. 

If only SL had a Salvation Army.

And now that I've written a post without one bitchy or angst-filled sentence, I can let go of this blog with love. At least for a while. 

Hearts and stuff,

Friday, February 20, 2009


(This will be my last emo, navel-gazing, annoying post for a while. I SWEAR.)

I woke up this morning thinking about the upcoming Mardi Gras parade this weekend in Second Life and how I really wanted to buy a cool costume and go. 

I woke up this morning filled with regret for the outpouring of emotions and harsh language in my previous blog post. 

I woke up this morning and broke my own rule in the previous post and checked a few Second Life blogs.

I had a nightmare last night that all my friends in Second Life told me they were disgusted with me and booted me out of the group and the island I share with them. 

Obviously I'm sort of tormented right now. I guess I need to continually clarify that the disgust you read in my blog (or comments on other blogs) always comes from my own personal experience and perspective (and is always primarily directed at myself), although I admit that I'm pretty cynical about certain facets of Second Life.

I believe SL is intended to be an outlet for creative expression, for social networking, for entertainment and for exploration. I used to use it, actually, to get around writer's block and visualize ideas that I could translate back to my real-life work. I used it as a tool to keep in touch with long-distance friends. I used it to seek out fashion and styling ideas. And I used it to supplement ongoing studies in public relations, to take note of what excites people, what gets people buzzing, and how people talk about and react to virtual businesses. For a while it was an augmentation of my real life.

I believe that when it gets to be more than that -- when you start thinking about Second Life more than you think about your real life, when Second Life keeps you from accomplishing important tasks in your real life, when Second Life starts damaging your real-life relationships, and, hell, when Second Life starts infiltrating your DREAMS -- then quite possibly (and please note the word "possibly"), you have a problem. 

Or at least these are the standards I hold myself to. And when that latter list started applying to me more than the first one, I got really worried. I used really harsh self-talk, like "geek," "loser," "antisocial," "unable to function in the real world anymore," "losing it," "addicted," "severely depressed," and even "losing my mind."

Several posts ago, I wrote about how creative or right-brained people need playtime, and Second Life does a really awesome job of fulfilling that need. I've been out of Second Life for a whopping 24 hours and already I am aching for playtime.

During the past 24 hours, I have scheduled appointments with movers, bought new tires for my car, scheduled a tune-up, booked vet appointments, a hair appointment and a waxing appointment, finished my taxes, scheduled dates for shutting off my utilities, talked to a headhunter about a job, packed one room, worked out at the gym and had dinner with a friend.

So damn, is it time for playtime yet? 

Because right now I feel tired and stressed. And I'm realizing that goofing around in Second Life kept the stress and depression at bay. Otherwise, real life can get real damn overwhelming, particularly in this small town where I live alone and know almost no one.

I broke another rule in that previous list. I did not delete the email account associated with this blog or my Second Life account. And I've been shocked and touched by all the emails I've gotten there since my last post -- many from people who have never commented on this blog. I guess I didn't realize how many people read this damn thing, and it always shocks the hell out of me because most of these posts are so pointless.

One reader did a really good job of explaining what Second Life means to her. I won't use her name to protect her privacy. She's never commented on this blog before. I really appreciated her insights:

"I am very fortunate to have the best of both worlds. My husband and I found Second Life about a year ago. We’re busy 9-5ers (we also work together) with 3 kids between us, so there often isn’t any 'us' time. We are both computer nerds – and at the end of the day used to sit back to back doing our own thing. Once we started SL we found we would talk, learn and laugh our butts off – together online. We went out dancing, exploring, and building - at first it was a silly game – but it has grown to be a “need” (drug?). I can’t really imagine NOT doing it, and I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to look gorgeous, wear beautiful things, party all the time, and be creative.

"We, like countless others, have found SL to be a place where we can just let go of all the mundane real world stressors and play. We have met some fantastic people from all around the world and built true friendships that have extended outside of SL. I wouldn’t trade that for all of the real world acquaintances that I share small talk with on a daily basis. ;) Sometimes SL gives more than it takes away.

"Of course everything has to be balanced - and even we have found the scale tipping to one side more than the other once in awhile. We decided that we needed to set rules like – no SL until the kids are in bed, the dishes are done, a set logoff time, etc. This is how we try to keep it in perspective."

Thank you, M. I really needed to read that.

I want to apologize for my comment about people on SL who are quite possibly neglecting their real-life spouses and families.

Please know that it came from a place of personal pain.

I consider myself to be a fun, witty, and, in the right lighting, even attractive person in real life. It has always saddened and puzzled me that I've never been able to connect deeply enough with a man to want to spend the rest of my life with him.

When I was a kid, I just wanted to grow up and be a wife and a mom. I am now dealing with the reality that this might never happen, and it breaks my heart.

When I hear about married people who are "partnered" to other people in Second Life -- when meanwhile they have a living, breathing spouse or lover at home, it makes me want to scream, but only because I want the REAL thing so badly. In my mind, I can't imagine taking such a gift for granted when there are so many of us who achingly want a real person to love.

But I had no right to make such a sweeping generalization in my previous post. I have no idea what your real relationships are like or whether they are causing you immense pain and perhaps SL brings you healing and comfort. And yes, as M wisely pointed out, there are even some of you who have managed to enhance your RL relationships in SL. 

Your personal lives are none of my business, and I had no right to group them all into one "shame on you" category. 

So please accept my deepest apologies.

Enough of the analyzing. If you see me in world soon, you are welcome to call me a failure or a hypocrite. I considered creating an alt out of shame and hiding from all of you so you wouldn't know that I'm having a hard time breaking the connection that I vowed to break, but that's not the kind of person I am.

I admit my failings and celebrate my triumphs, and I still have hope that the future has many triumphs in store.


OK. I'm done with the mopey stuff. Sorry.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How to break up with Second Life

My real life is broken. I need to fix it. I've done a really excellent job of NOT thinking about what a mess my real life is by avoiding and ignoring it in Second Life.

But now it's time for me to look at my real life with gratitude instead of regret, and with resolve instead of defeat.

Life is beautiful. People -- real ones -- are beautiful. And you, no matter the shape of your body or the flaws on your face or the state of your health, YOU are beautiful in all three of your dimensions.

I'm just realizing this fact again, and I'm trying to actualize it. Those of you who know me well know that this is a game of tug-of-war that I've been playing for months. Here we go again.

This post in particular, I write to myself. Maybe it applies to you. Or maybe you've managed to find perfect balance, to juggle a virtual existence with your real one. I haven't. Once I had a real life I loved. I lost it and chose to hide out in a metaverse rather than deal with my mistakes. So this blog post is for me. And hey, maybe it's for you too. But if it's not, please don't take offense. I'm not preaching. I'm just . . . "writing it into existence," as I called it when I was a kid. When I was little, I used to write stories about things I wished would happen. And you know what? Sometimes it actually worked. (Practicing quantum physics at age eight. Wow.)

If you're like me and you're trying to get back to your real life -- to find beauty in yourself, to enjoy love in three-dimensional form, to actually physically TOUCH another human being who brings you joy, to hold someone and be held, to fill your real home and your real closet with beautiful things that make you happy, to touch the lives of others and leave your mark on a real world, and to get outside, breathe actual air, feel the sun on your face, the wind in your hair and, hell, dance by the light of the moon, then start with this list.

1. Make a to-do list of little things to accomplish each day in real life. No, you can't throw on a "skin" and be instantly beautiful or teleport to an amazing sim, but you can get a haircut, buy some new lipstick (cheap even, at Walgreens), do some sit-ups, take a walk, try a new food, read a book by a new author, watch a film in a foreign language, sightsee in your city as if you were a tourist. You get the gist of it.

Make sure your goals fall in ALL categories: small, big, easy, hard, fun, and not-that fun. Balance them out each day: "I'll go get some hazelnut gelato . . . AND send out five resumes . . . AND allow my friend to set me up on that blind date she's been threatening me with for months."

2. If you're an avid reader of Second Life blogs, kill them from your bookmarks and delete them from your Google reader. Clear your browser history. Empty your cache. Make it as difficult as possible to read about anything that's going on in that fantasy you've started retreating to on a daily basis.

3. If you're cheating on your real-life spouse or significant other with an avatar in Second Life, it's time for you to QUIT IT. Yeah, I'm speaking bluntly, and maybe you're reading this post right now because you're supposed to hear it. You have someone who loves you in real life. Some of us don't and would give anything to be in your shoes. If you're reading this and you fall in this category, get up, walk away from your computer immediately and go make passionate love to that real person who loves you. If you're not happy in your real-life relationship, figure out why. If it can be fixed, FIX IT. If it can't, get some balls (pardon my French) and walk away. And yeah, it really is that easy. Trust me. I've been there.

I go to sleep alone every night. I wake up alone every morning. When I need someone to talk to during the course of an average day, I talk to my pets. They don't talk back. If you share a home with someone, for the love of God, please turn off your computer and go cherish that person. You don't want to be where I am right now. It is really dark here.

4. Kill the SL viewer from your applications folder. Your computer also will thank you for the large chunk of memory it'll suddenly have.

5. All of your SL photos -- if you can't bring yourself to delete them, stash them somewhere deep in the bowels of your hard drive. Log out of your Second Life Flickr or Photobucket account and create one for your real life. Take a new picture every day . . . of your real life. Pets, things that make you happy, a garden you actually grow with your real hands, your freaky neighbors, a sunset, you and your friends in goofy "poses," whatever. Break the habit of celebrating a pixelated life and celebrate the real one in front of your face.

6. Kill the e-mail account associated with your Second Life account. Uncheck that box in Preferences that sends your SL instant messages to your e-mail.

7. If you blog, and Second Life fulfills a blogging-slash-creative writing need, GET BACK TO YOUR REAL BLOG. Once upon a time, I had a blog with 250 subscribers. Apparently it was fun to read, so much so that a publisher asked if she could publish part of it as a chapter in a "chick lit" book. (The book is called "The Water Cooler Diaries" -- do me a favor and order it off HERE if you feel so inclined. If you read this blog, you know my first name. I'm sure you'll be able to find my stupid chapter.)

About a year ago, Second Life started seeping into my real-life blog. This one, "Emerald's Eyes," evolved when my readers started e-mailing me and asking, "Please don't write about that video game anymore. We miss your funny REAL stories."

That should have been a sign right there.

8. A long time ago, I used to worry too much. Finally I made a deal with myself. Every time I started worrying, I'd get down on the ground and do 60 crunches. Within about two months, I had abs of steel. Strangers would walk up to me and ask if they could touch my stomach. (OK, not really, but I bet they were thinking it.) I'm going to do the same thing with Second Life. From now on, whenever I think about it, I'm gonna hit the floor and crunch.


9. Note that I'm not brave enough to tell you to kill your Second Life account. I would never tell someone to do something that I myself can't do. And I just can't. Even though my premium account sucks money from my MasterCard four times a year, I still can't. There are people and things that I love in Second Life. I'm so grateful that some of those people have crossed over to my real life, because I have no doubt that I will love and support them until I'm old and grey. But I can't send Emerald Wynn to the chopping block. At least not right now.

And I can't say goodbye forever to my SL friends. I don't even know what they really look like. I don't even know many of their real names. And funny enough, I can't even really visualize them as avatars because they change their hair, fashion style and skins so often. I think of them instead as just . . . shining beings, sometimes in shades of colors, sometimes in shades of emotions . . . but mostly they just shine like bright lights in my life.

I think that's the way God sees us, actually. And I am so blessed to have gotten those glimpses of some of your souls.

And as shallow as it sounds, there are things in my inventory that I love. Like Fuzzy the Bunny. How could I send him into virtual oblivion? Or my fish tank? Or all my hard-sought Random Calliope Ode jewelry? Or Dewey, my cat? Yep, as morbid as it sounds, when my beloved cat of 22 years died last year, I was shocked and delighted to find a "virtual version" of her at a pet store in Second Life. Same stripes and everything. It helped with the grieving process, as weird as that sounds.

So, um, pay your rent several months in advance, just in case you decide to return. After all, you don't want to "wake up" again one day in Second Life months from now and find yourself standing around on Orientation Island with a bunch of noobs.


I'm not really going to say goodbye here because I know for a fact that I have absolutely zero willpower.

But I'm gonna give it a shot.

Twenty bucks says I won't even last a week.

I'm already thinking about that new line of Diva skins that Pulse released today. :(


Me in the first skin I ever bought, Tasha from RaC (now Laqroki).

In the Dead Zone

(Yeah yeah yeah, my blogs tend to ramble over the place, but note that you get some useful tips and info in them . . . if you read carefully.)

Blah, I've got a bad case of the yucks today.

I don't know what my problem is, but I'm huddled in bed feeling sorry for myself when I really should be packing boxes or calling people about jobs or . . . something.

I have this morning routine where I wake up, pop a birth control pill (VERY DAMN DILIGENTLY THESE DAYS, I might add), make a peanut butter double-fiber English muffin (hey, never complain that this blog isn't detailed enough for you), mix a vitamin drink, turn on CNN to make sure a major catastrophe isn't in the works, check e-mail, read a list of RL blogs, then read a list of SL blogs.

I've got this routine down to 45 minutes. Once that's all done, I get moving. I won't get into all the stuff I do in the shower. We just don't have the time.

Unfortunately sometimes I get an e-mailed IM from SL (I rue the day I checked that box in Preferences) or see something on an SL blog that propels me to log in, which can sort of throw my whole day off track. 

I usually try to restrict my time in world to really early mornings or uneventful nights and weekends. I usually fail.

For instance, this morning I checked out The Freebie Telegraph and read about a new free skin at Yome Shoujo. It looked cool, so I hopped over there to grab it. And maybe I deserved it for being a freebie stalker -- but NO, not really, because I BUY clothes from that store all the time -- but I accidentally clicked the wrong box and paid A WHOLE LOTTA LINDENS for some skins. 

Maybe you heard my scream wherever you were this morning.

Fittingly, they're called NewSun BLUE:


Matches my home decor!!!

It's a set of two skins and includes eyebrow bases. One skin has a bare lip (shown) and one has a bright pink lip. Fortunately, I like this skin. No offense intended here, but usually I don't like skins by Japanese designers because they make me look too happy and nice. This one still enables me to get my bitch on.

Hey, I've got this RL friend named Ed and he recently dumped a girl he was dating because "she had the crazy eyes" and he "just couldn't deal with it." I had no idea what the bloody hell he was talking about -- although it did send me running to a mirror to carefully examine my own eyes -- until I sat in this new chair from one of those "big damn hunts":


Ha ha ha!

I'm never sitting in that chair again. At least not when there are other people around.

That necklace, BTW, is possibly something you should check out. I'm not big on jewelry unless it's something really striking or tells a story. I'm mainly a Random Calliope loyalist, but sometimes I venture into other territories. I bought this Tranquility Potion Necklace from Cirque Ayfera's Potion Necklace series because, well, I could use some tranquility, and the idea of wearing a potion around my neck is kind of cool. There are a variety of potions in that line for whatever ails you. There's even a love potion. 

But to hell with love!

That "accidental skin" aside, if you notice something different about me, it's because I've been playing with my AV -- I wanted to sex her up a little bit because I don't think people are honoring me enough for the sex goddess that I really am. 

I couldn't find the hair I wanted at Dernier Cri (see previous post, also for the SLURL) so I settled for this alternate DC hair called Lindsay (I "dyed" it Warm 7). And lately I've been running around in this free skin called Mandalyn from OCD.


And yeah, I made that fatal error of messing around with my face while I was hopped up on Nyquil again. Thanks to that mistake, combined with this skin, I now look a little bit like a boozy Cameron Diaz. Woooo!

Kind of makes me miss the good old days when I just wanted to be a cutesy Harajuku girl-type:


Anyhoo, hop over to OCD and you'll find a box of three free skins (including that Cameron Diaz hangover) as well as a box of free hair (which I haven't tried on yet).

Um . . . here's some other random stuff that you might or might not care about. I just need to get these pictures out of my life. Here we go:


There were a few reasons why I wanted to call this post "In the Dead Zone." One reason is that the SL joy seems to be temporarily or possibly permanently gone. Maybe I'm finally growing up. Maybe I've seen and done great things in SL and now have a burning desire to get out there and make the most of my real life again. I don't know.

I told my friend Bon that I'm usually dying of boredom in SL these days -- I can only shop and dance so much -- and he suggested I check out the Swamp Hotel.

I did, and I'll take that suggestion a step further and urge everyone at some point to check out all of Mad Pea Productions on Orange Island.

Mad Pea Productions has assembled a collection of challenging and immersive mysteries for you to solve on different parts of the sim -- and YES, you have to use your brain to solve them. They're visual, engaging, fun and a little creepy. You'll get a notecard describing all your options when you TP in.

I stuck with Swamp Hotel: "On the 7th of August, seven people vanished from the Swamp Hotel . . . but not without a trace. Can you unravel the mystery of this mass disappearance?"


Hell yeah I can! They all left because they wanted a hotel that didn't have a plumbing problem.

Ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I kill myself.

Seriously, I wandered around for a while in attempt to solve the mystery, but I tore myself away because I was terrified that I would get obsessed with it -- sorta like in the '80s, when I spent hours as a kid playing Zork on my Commodore 64.

(Yep, I'm old.)

Definitely worth a look though. Go look at it!


I had a bad day yesterday. Not only did I accidentally set my microwave on fire in real life, but when I logged into SL, the whole back wall of my house was missing -- as well as the cherry and frosting on my deck cupcake chair!


Oh well. As that art that matches nothing else in my house says, "Less is More." (The wall is finally back.)


I celebrated a recent small victory yesterday by treating myself to a pair of Stiletto Moody's new Glam Booties in Nude.


Yeah, yeah, yeah, a lot of my friends are griping about them, but Stiletto Moodys are kind of a celebration tradition for me. Plus, I like the chains and charms and textures . . . and they remind me of my beloved Loubies, back when I could afford to buy them. (Look for them now on eBay!! Gently used!)


Those poses are from the "Look At My Shoes!" set from Fatima's Desire at The Victorian Village of Desire, BTW. And yeah, today my back deck had vanished -- I'm not really floating. 

It's like the Universe is trying to tell me something:

("Every day, a piece of your SL life will disappear until the only thing left to vanish will be you.")


Eshi notified her group today that she's retiring her 2008 collection FOREVER and, as such, has marked it all down to 400L or less. So if you've been on a budget but longing for any of her artistic ensembles, get over there quickly because on Sunday the prices will raise to 500L.

(Shoot, I hope that wasn't a secret.)

So I finally bought the Cienega's Chocolate Sin gown along with the Imperial Lotus gown in Beer (that's the name of the color -- unfortunately it's not floating in a frosty mug of beer). 

I put them in an Inventory folder called "For the Love of God, Wear These Freakin' Things!"

And now for the final (breathe a sigh of relief) part of this post called, "Hey, that doesn't look like the picture!"


I'm a fan of Rezzable's creepy Carnival of Doom. So when I got this notice today from Passionate Neko Dreams about a new Carnival of Doom-inspired outfit called . . . drumroll, please . . . Doomed, I wanted it.


I think the word "shull" in that ad is supposed to be "skull," and I'm sure they meant to spell "earrings" correctly. In the notecard, they also called the outfit "Doomedd."

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Designers, I'll edit your marketing materials in exchange for free clothes. I've been paid big bucks to do it in real life. I'm happy to do it for threads in Second Life. And please don't talk to me about language barriers. It's no excuse in my book. Give me your poor attempt at English and I'll transform it into a masterpiece for you.

Anyway, I bought the outfit, put it on and said, "HEY, I don't really look like the picture!"


Ha ha! I realize it's because I'm not wearing an appropriate skin or the right hair, and I also discovered that I don't have the right shoes for this outfit. (Stiletto don't make no goth boots!) Also, I had to stretch the hat to freakish proportions to keep my hair from sticking through it. I HATE hats in Second Life. They're impossible.

Note that Fuzzy the Bunny is, as always, watching in the background with concern. Or maybe I'm kidding myself and it's apathy.

This has been the longest post ever, so I'm just gonna end it with: