Editorial: August 23rd, 2014

I hadn’t remembered Pookes was on vacation, otherwise I’d have stepped back in last week. I’m guessing that the intention was to continue to post from her holiday in Croatia, but on arrival she’s found out there’s been no wifi wherever it is she’s staying. Yes, I know that we lived in a wired up world nowadays, but thankfully there are pockets of resistance where technology doesn’t go. Sometimes it’s nice to get away from it all and leave the technology behind, and I personally find it liberating to leave the house without a phone and be uncontactable for a couple of hours. It’s just me and the children, without distraction.

My vacation from the SLN editor’s chair has another two weeks to run, but in all honesty I’ve exhausted the avenues I was pursuing. Some of those, relating to how we develop SLN, will emerge in due course. There won’t be any huge obvious changes just yet. Others were blind alleys for me. My mind isn’t wired to ‘build’ anything in SL, and I found the process to be frustrating, no matter how often I tried to grasp the concept. So no SLN designed houses or dresses or anything else, I’m afraid.

So I was kind of ready to make the leap back into the grid. I have to say I’ve been largely good to my word and not checked the blogs, hunts or anything else regarding SL these past number of weeks, but I have kept an eye on SLN and can say that Pookes has been doing a great job until inadvertently disconnected from technology.

So with a good part of a free weekend to kill, and an itch that only SL will scratch, I’m going to jump back in here early and try to give you a couple of posts over the weekend.

***

 While I support the idea of donations to worthy causes, I don’t always support the methods used to raise money. The Ice Bucket Challenge, to me, is symptomatic of the herd instinct of people living lives second hand through social media. ‘Oh, let’s throw iced water around each other and make videos of it!’

Seriously? You’re going to have a whole brain full of worthwhile memories by the time you’re old, aren’t you?

By all means raise money for Motor Neurone Disease, but I really don’t care about seeing your videos of it or, worse, having previously reputable news sources treat it as ‘news’.

That’s just me. You can do your own Ice Bucket challenge with an appropriate pose from Fashiowl. (L$0) if that’s your thing.

diana rookstown ice bucket_001b diana rookstown ice bucket2_001b

 

Ella

Vacation

pookes vacation

 

My apologies that I’m into the second week of my vacation and I’ve only just got an internet connection (we’re ‘roughing it’ on a naturist campsite in Croatia). I’ve managed to get a wifi connection on a day trip today in a cafe in Dubrovnik, but there’ll be no further posts from me until I get back to the UK next week. Sorry about that.

 

Pookes

BBQ time

I’ve received an IM from Howie, SLN’s publisher, this morning, wherein he describes a chance encounter with Brenda, Eden’s owner, which resulted in a bit of terraforming at his villa on the Eden Naturist Estate.

One levelled out walkway later, Howie says that it set his mind thinking as to how best utilise the area, and he hit on the idea of a BBQ area.

A dig through inventory and a L$1 total spend on the Marketplace later (we’ll come back to that spend in a moment), the area was complete, Diane happened to be online, and so a little photo session took place.

howie BBQ area7 with diane2_001b

 

SLN photographer Diane sets up a shot at Howie’s BBQ area.

eden wine_001b

 

Two bottles of ‘Eden Naturist Resort’ red!

 

The L$1 spend was on a bottle of wine (ooh! vintage!) to which you could add your own label. Diane despatched, she came back with a label I think all Eden residents would love to have in their well-stocked cellars, were it not for the fact that it sadly can’t be copied and shared. 😦

‘Straight from the Eden vineyard’, says Howie, ‘but only to my table, which I’m kind of disappointed at. I’d have shared a crate or two with my neighbours on Eden.’ A self-confessed non-builder, he’s a little uncertain if it’s possible to make it copy & transfer, and I’m afraid I can’t help him on that score. Can anyone help in the production of some Eden wine? (And where exactly is the Eden vineyard, that’s what I’d like to know).

I mean, if we could find it, we could certainly tramp those grapes!

topless tuesday grapesThis photograph, by a remarkable coincidence, arrived from Harry for inclusion for a ‘Topless Tuesday’ posting.

howie BBQ area5_001b

howie BBQ area4_001b

 

Pizza, beer and wine. If you can run cable up from your beach house with a football channel, it’s certainly for everything for a lad’s night out on a balmy summer evening.

It all goes to show that you don’t have to spend a huge amount in SL to create a scene that might replicate your RL summer naturism. If you’ve got some similar scenes at your SL house, why not share them with SL Naturist? We’d love to see and publish them!

Pookes

Roman Bures : A hero of naturism

I’m going to encourage you to check out Roman Bures’ website. Roman appears to be a Czech illustrator whose site show some charming naturist drawings, full cartoon books, written in Czech, so I don’t know what the story lines are, other than naked people appear to be battling men with guns and triumphing. There may, or may not, be some sort of heroine called ‘Dracica’.

Roman also has a Facebook presence, so if you use that social medium, check it out.

roman bures drawing

 

At times like these, Ella would probably be suggesting she wouldn’t show artwork as it’ll be subjected to copyright, so to be on the safe side I’ll do the same and just show a photograph of what appears to be an exhibition of these ‘Dracica’ comics. If anyone in the Czech Republic can provide more information on Roman Bures and his work (in English) I’d be delighted to hear from you.

Why is Roman ‘a hero of naturism’? Anyone creating comics about a naturist heroine is a hero in my eyes. And his drawings also seem to be slipping through Facebook’s ‘no nudes’ net, so he’s a hero for that too. And as SLN did experiment with a ‘comic’ style a while back (Ella’s exploring further options on how the magazine’s formatted in the future), I suppose we identify with what’s going on here -heroic naturists- even if we don’t understand the text. So it seems that Roman really qualifies as an SLN ‘hero of naturism’ three times over.

Pookes

 

It was 100 years ago, today…

100 years ago today, August 4th, 1914, Britain entered the First World War ‘in defence of little Belgium’.

It would be four long years of pointless, senseless slaughter, ‘the war to end all wars’ until we -the human race- opted for a sequel only 21 years later.

 

cenotaph_001b

 

At the going down of the sun…

My heart is heavy right now, thinking back over that century, and of how old men without much danger to themselves often sent young men, almost an entire generation of Britain’s young men, out to die in a hail of bullets as they ‘went over the top’ without much chance to even fire a shot back or properly defend themselves. The chances are that, wherever you are in the world, your nation has been involved, centrally or peripherally, to some conflict which has blighted a generation of its young.

Those who did return from WW1 were often physically or mentally destroyed. I’m personally aware of one man who fought in the artillery in the Second World War, who taught me at school, who would essentially ‘fold up’ at the sound of, say, a car back-firing. The memories flooded back. The friends lost. A lifetime of mental torture.

OK, so you’re younger than me, perhaps, and these things don’t resonate in quite the same manner to you as they do to me. But wherever you are in the world, you will remember wars in Iraq, 9/11, conflict in the Balkans, life-changing events involving large numbers of innocent casualties.

It’s important we remember. It’s important we educate our young people to be alert to the dangers of war, of hate, of dogma, of blind faith. Because right now it seems the world is in a more dangerous place than it ever has been in my lifetime. I’m over 50 now, yes, that old, and I can remember the great achievements of man in my lifetime. Man landing on the moon in 1969. Man eradicating smallpox in 1979. Reagan & Gorbachev reaching historic nuclear arms treaties to rid the world of ‘the cold war’ (although we can note that there are concerted attempts by one idiot to rekindle that big freeze (if that doesn’t mix metaphors too much).

I also remember some dark, dark days of humanity. Massacre at the Olympic Games in 1972. Terrorism. Plane hijacks. 9/11. A never ending collection of isolated wars around the globe in which, again, the young were sent out to fight wars at enormous, lifelong suffering to themselves (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq1, Iraq2, The Balkans, and others, all in my lifetime). Each time, it has appeared that humanity has been prepared to plumb the depths of its own inhumanity. The current situation in the Middle East, war crimes and genocide, is another demonstration of that.

 

Second Life is a wonderful creation. Largely devoid of politics (if you leave the ‘benign dictatorship’ of Linden Labs aside, and while that assessment of their role is often voiced, I also think it’s also over-stated), we have the chance to meet people from around the globe. We don’t know what they are a lot of the time. Their colour, religion, sexual orientation, politics are all left to one side. We encounter other avatars and treat them as humans. And wherever they’re from, they react as humans. Be honest, you’ve met people in SL you’d never have had the opportunity to encounter in RL, haven’t you? And they’ve had the same human values you possess, don’t they? Could the politicians around the world learn a little from this lack of pigeon-holing? I don’t know. I’m sure I could write a Ph.D. thesis on that topic if it hasn’t already been done.

My role in SLN is ‘publisher’. In reality, it means I simply bankroll it in an almost invisible ‘back office’ role. And nothing gives me greater delight than in see those who give their time and enthusiasm to bring you the blog posting about events in SL that provide you, its readers, the opportunity to come together as one big family of keyboard-driven pixel ‘humans’ (or in animated human form, at least, driven by the humans at the keyboard) without politics being part of the gig, without sexual orientation being an issue, without skin colour being noticed (I do note that, for some users, the post-feminist male is still a matter that needs addressing).

Harry’s managed to find a cenotaph in SL (at the Argentan WW2 sim) to accompany this post. It should remind us that we live in difficult times, and that we should always be alert to the dangers that little men with big power pose a danger to all of us. Get out there into SL and have a conversation with someone from a different part of the globe. Come to realise that they’re just the same as you or me. No different.

My experience of globetrotting has been that, wherever I’ve gone, I’ve been treated with kindness by strangers, in some weird locations. Everyone has the same basic human qualities and instincts we we’re rid of the agendas being driven by politicians.

I’ve asked Pookes not to make any other SLN postings today (I don’t like to interfere with how she, Ella, Harry & Diane operate, they do a fantastic job, but today should maybe be an exception to my hands-off role) and allow this post to stand alone for today’s date. Remember those who’ve fallen, wherever you are. And take a moment to remember their ‘enemies’ who were & are probably not that much different from themselves. Cannon fodder. ‘Collateral damage’. And ask what it was all about.

Howie

(note: many thanks to Pookes for typing up my words in a format that could be used on the blog, and to Harry for sourcing that cenotaph photo)

A bit of a triptych

Hi all,

I’ve been spending a lot of time doing photo shoots with the intention of changing the exhibition at my gallery in Nude Haven. If I’m honest I guess I picked the wrong time to open it, as I’m in the middle of a busy RL schedule and I’m not giving it the attention I should. Nor am I giving SLN the attention I should, and the crazy element of RL will continue until October.

The following photo was intended as one element of a triptych, but I’ve not got around to finishing it. Another SL plan that wasn’t followed through on.

So I’m in the process of just organising some photos, and decided I rather liked it enough to show it before filing away the remainder of the project.

triptych1c_Fotor

 

If anyone wants a framed version, IM me and I’ll send you one, or make it available at my gallery for collection.

 

Harry

Naked motorcycling

I hope you were reading yesterday’s SLN and took the advice I offered in this post. I’ve got up and logged in this morning to find a shiny new bike has been delivered to me, courtesy of Turlaccor’s Midnight Mania (yes, the deal’s still on…run here now). It was just like Christmas morning!

And of course the first thing I decided to do, life-on-the-edge daredevil that I am, was to unbox it, fill it up with petrol and take it for a naked spin on the race track at their sim. I’ve driven cars in SL, done a lot of cycling in SL, but this was the first time I’d ridden a motorcycle and it was a fantastic experience. With each experience of the pixelated internal combustion engine in SL I take the view that isn’t it about time SL/Linden Labs tweaked the grid, joined up the road infrastructure and allowed rezzing points on, at least, the mainland, so that any of us could rezz a bike or a car and use it as we might in RL? I don’t mean all of us need to motorcycle naked, but surely we should be able to rezz our bike or car, drive it to the mall, get out, do some shopping and then drive it home (or to another place) again? What do you think? Might Linden Labs enhance the SL experience with joined up thinking regarding a joined up transport infrastructure?

pookes bike_001b pookes bike2_001b

 

I can honestly say that this is by far the best Midnight Mania prize I’ve ever received, so many thanks to all at Turlaccor for their generosity. I know I, and probably the rest of us at SLN, are going to have enormous fun with this item in photographs during the coming days.

But that’s not all! This morning I’ve received a group notice from the group regarding this…

striptease motorbike

 

…. a ‘Striptease Premium’ bike complete with animations. We shall investigate this item and perhaps bring you a report on it in the near future 😉

But let’s get back to my bike, briefly, before I head off for a spin again. I noticed at the race track that the best lap times were 20 odd seconds. I took 103 seconds to complete my lap! 🙂 In my defence, I’ve not motorcycled before and, well, riding naked, I certainly didn’t want to be falling off at speed! 🙂

Pookes

In the name of God….stop now!

waliyah ofra harry church_001d

 

It was my absolute and humbling pleasure to bring together, this evening, two avatars who might represent either side of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Israeli avatar Ofra (centre) and Muslim avatar Waliyah -not actually Palestinian- (left). As you may be able to tell, Waliyah does not adhere to the usual tenets of Islam we expect of women, having grown up in the west, with western ideals. Nevertheless, she could not really be described as ‘a naturist’, but she has been a friend of mine in SL for some time, educating, informing and enlightening me on the nuances of Islam. This is one of the great things about SL. We come into it without any need for RL ‘values’. We follow our hearts or, at least, have the opportunity to follow our hearts and strip our minds of dogma and politics.

‘It is most peculiar to sit naked in SL’, Waliyah told me, but she felt it was ‘important to express solidarity with others regarding the ongoing situation in Gaza’.

Another of my long-standing friends in SL is Ofra. A former member of the Israeli Defence Forces (all Israelis are conscripted into the IDF for a time), she says she’s ‘human, Jewish, Israeli in that order’.

‘It was my job to be on a border crossing most days, and I would question my role there daily. Why couldn’t these people, just because they were Palestinian, come and go in peace? Why wouldn’t these ordinary, smiling and sometimes resentful -how could they not be, given our presence?- Palestinians, Muslims, allow my co-religionists to exist in the Middle East in peace?’

In the church at Nude Haven, they came together with Harry, photographer and avowed atheist.

‘Waliyah wore her Islamic dress’, says Harry, ‘and I had no plans for us to be nude for this shoot. I wanted us at SLN, in SL, to send a message to the politicians. I wanted us to say that we’re just ordinary people of the world, and in SL we can communicate. We can get along. We log in as mere, ordinary, unimportant human beings who care for one another, who respect one another, who love one another. And whatever God you pray to, or if you don’t pray to or believe in God, Allah or anyone else, there are basic human values we need to cherish. I was astounded that Waliyah should embrace the naturist ideals…’ofra and waliyah2_001b

Waliyah takes up the story. ‘It is difficult for me. To expose myself even in SL avatar form, is difficult. But I recognise that Harry is trying to achieve an image that will be like….’wow!’ to many people. Underneath my hijab, I am human, I am vulnerable, I am the same as everyone else. Underneath the uniform of the Israeli Defence Forces, Ofra…who I now number amongst my SL friends….is the same. Human, vulnerable…..well….human!!!’

‘In the time I’ve been in SL’, adds Ofra, ‘I think this is maybe the most important thing I’ve ever done. I wanted to express solidarity with Waliyah. Look at the image! We’re the same! Women! The same physical attributes, born in the same way, and at birth with no differences in how we think. We seek nourishment from our mothers, we cry at the same things, smile at the same things, learn the same basic human traits. It’s only when education comes in do we begin to diverge in our thought processes. We adopt a religion, a nationality, a world view. All learnt. In the out-there world we may be different. In the virtual world we become the same. It has been my pleasure, my privilege, to come to know Waliyah. Now, I can hear her ideals. Now I can hear, almost, her heartbeat. This is important.’Snapshot_001

Harry goes on, ‘The situation in Gaza right now is unbearable. What we have is babies dying, children dying. How does that make us human? Each tiny, precious life being ended for….what? For what? Waliyah and Ofra will know the politics better than I do, I don’t want to get into a debate on something I don’t fully understand. But the image of a Muslim and a Jew, stripped of all to become vulnerable, naked women, exactly the same. It was something I thought sent out an enormous message. I didn’t want to be in the photo, but the ladies persuaded me -an atheist- to add that element to it too. While I don’t pray to a deity, I pray that humanity can show itself to be human, with proper human values.’

At SLN we want to send out a single, unified message to those in the Middle East. Stop killing now. Start negotiating. Let us see peace. Tonight. Let us not see any more deaths. Tonight. A single drop of Palestinian or Israeli blood is not worth it.

Realistically, a posting on a blog about a niche lifestyle, about a niche game, will not change anything. But if two people who would be ‘sworn enemies’, according to received wisdom, can sit down and talk……why can’t the politicians? Why can’t the generals? Why can’t he hotheads and the firebrands?  Do you wish this to continue so that your son/daughter, grandson/granddaughter, niece/nephew, neighbour’s child dies just to make a point? Please, whatever you can do to stop the situation in Israel/Palestine, add your voice.

Ella.