A Burning Man sim challenge?

This is why I love SL. Sometimes, things just come out of left-field at you, as with this notice from Sedi at Commune Utopia.

The Commune has been given a quarter sim with 3515 prims to build something fantastic in the style of the Burning Man festival. We have a whole month to build, and then the general public will vote on which out of the four plots is the best – and then the winner gets a whole sim for a month! Obviously I do not want to be building alone, so let’s get a team together and discuss and collaborate! You do not need to be an expert builder, the enthusiasm is what I want!

I love the idea of Burning Man, despite never having attended it or anything like it. In a world of increasing standardisation, it’s just lovely to know there’s a counter-culture out there and that people are buying into the idea.

SL will often throw up ‘prizes’, such as being the centrefold for Playmates magazine, or cash for photographic competitions. What’s exciting and possibly unique is that someone’s largesse has determined that they’re stumping up the ‘prize money’ of a sim free for a month. And because of the way in which the competition is framed, it means we’re going to get a Burning Man styled sim to enjoy later in the year.

Casual nudity is often part of the Burning Man vibe, often among people who wouldn’t describe themselves as ‘naturist’. It’s all part of the normalisation of social nudity, and getting wrapped up in the whole Burning Man atmosphere. I’m rather hoping that the winner, whoever they may be, embraces that casual nudity element into their finished sim.

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I’m still undecided whether or not my SL continues once I step out of the editor’s chair in a month’s time. Needless to say if I’d been fully committed to remaining I would have loved to have thrown my energies into helping with this project.

 

 

Ella

 

SL may be increasing your sense of wellbeing.

Mr. Keng was listening to football commentary on the radio last night while tinkering with an old radio he’d picked up in an auction. This is an old style radio with the dial marked with now long forgotten radio stations on it, post war and possibly up to as far as the mid-60s would be my guess at its age (although I’m no expert). But apparently the names of the stations evoke a sense of romanticism for people of a certain age in Europe. Let me run down some of them to see if they trigger your memories or if you remember them: Luxembourg, Athlone, Hilversum, Paris, Light Programme, Third Programme, Home Service (the latter three would become BBC Radios 2, 3 & 4 respectively, and I thing Athlone became the Irish broadcaster RTE and Hilversum became NOS, Netherlands Radio).

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It’s a rather long pre-amble into me telling you that BBC did one of its ‘stings’ for its own programmes, this morning’s BBC Radio 5 Breakfast programme, and my ears pricked up when I heard that one of the items being discussed was that virtual reality gaming makes you smarter and gives you a sense of wellbeing.

An extract from the discussion is here (although I’m not sure if that will be playable to internet addresses beyond the UK).

However, a psychologist says, in that extract, that “you have these other psychological phenomena which give you a sense of wellbeing, such as competence […] you get a sense of achievement, we know that’s a fundamental psychological need that people have, and that gives them a great sense of wellbeing and happiness”.

Is Second Life giving you that? Does the process of dancing with SL friends and indulging in idle tittle-tattle while listening to someone DJing give you a sense of wellbeing? I know there are times when doing that, in SL, is a far superior relaxation and ‘wellbeing’ process than watching some television programme.

Do you think that too many people are far too quick to write off SL as ‘that thing that was briefly popular’ (I know that, in relation to this very blog, I’ve read a comment on the internet that more or less reads ‘Is that still going? And it has a naturist community?’)

Yes. And yes. And in both instances, up to a point, thriving. Clearly not of Facebook/Twitter style popularity (although we’re comparing apples with pears) but thriving, improving and being a pleasurable experience to its players nonetheless.

Is the view that SL players are ‘sad loners’ misplaced? Might it be that people who, for whatever reason, live alone, have a sense of belonging provided by SL? Might it be that cybersex is a positive, valuable release valve rather than some sordid thing? It will be interesting to see, as SL develops, just how psychologists come to value it. Because it’s clear that we’re now moving away from that ‘video games made me a mass killer’ view into something different.

Ella

 

 

Naked Groceries

Recently I’d moaned about the lack of cultural diversity in SL, a lack of alternatives to the ‘mall’ shopping experience. It was therefore interesting to read on the Fab Free blog that there is a Grocery Store & Market sim in SL.

Model Helene popped over there (dressed) and grabbed the free, wearable shopping trolley you can add to your avi to wander around the store. Because this is SL Naturist, she quickly lost her clothes (the sim isn’t naturist, so be sure to tp in wearing something!) because I’d asked her to do a bit of an SL replicates RL post for me.

Why?

In many naturist locations you can shop nude. Indeed, a search on Google for ‘supermarket nude shopping’ quickly revealed that photos from this blog are immediately viewable, as it’s a topic we’ve covered before.

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Yes, we covered the topic of nude grocery shopping before, away back in issue SLN8, at another grocery location in SL.

It’s all quite pointless, of course, but enormous fun to do a bit of fun pointlessness in SL from time to time. And, of course, recreate part of the SL replicates naturist RL experience.

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On my next holiday, a bit of this will be part of my daily routine (I walk the beach to the nearby naturist hotel and usually pick up a copy of a British newspaper each day when there. Not quite grocery shopping, but nude shopping nonetheless).

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So here’s a couple of photos of Helene prowling the aisles, obviously intent on ensuring the fridge/icebox is stocked with cold drinks.

 

 

Ella

Trends in pubic topiary

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I’m currently reading Mark Haskell Smith’s book ‘Naked at Lunch: A reluctant nudist’s adventures in the clothing optional world’.

It’s an exceptionally interesting read, and covers a fair bit of the naturist movement’s history. As a bit of a self-style naturism historian, there’s lots I knew, but other bits that were new and enlightening to me. I’d recommend it to anyone who has even a passing interest in naturism.

I’m currently at the chapter ‘Trends in Genital Topiary’, which examines the way in which naturists have bought into what started as a porn industry trope, one for removing pubic hair, pretty much became the norm within naturism (as it also has for many people who aren’t naturist, with pubic hair becoming as endangered as pandas or white rhinos in some societies).

Let me pick out a couple of quotes, and then apply them to SL.

‘Smoothies are men and women who prefer to be completely hairless...(because)…taking off this last layer of covering will ‘promote the classical aesthetic idea of a smooth and hairless body”.

The author then quotes some ‘smooth naturists’, and one of their websites as ‘It is cleaner and more hygienic, especially for women. The smooth skin is more sensitive and it enhances sexual pleasure in many ways!’

To his credit, the author questions this statement, rightly so, because some medical professionals say that removing, and the act of removal, can sometimes cause cuts and abrasions that will lead to genital warts, so bravo to the author for raising an eyebrow at this. He also questions how a lifestyle so intent on promoting the non-sexual nature of it then has mavericks who say they’re naturist, but whose body hair removal seems to to be for the purpose of sexual pleasure and an ‘aesthetic’ that demands women have a pre-pubescent, little girl look. The thought appears to be formed in the author’s head, although unvoiced, that there’s some slightly disturbing about this. It’s a concern I’d share, sometimes, when I read online ‘naturist’ websites who voice similar ‘aesthetic’ and ‘sexual pleasure’ and ‘looks like a girl’ attributes. Sometimes it’s more than slightly disturbing.

‘It’s ironic that men and women are spending so much time and money grooming a part of their body they are reluctant to reveal’. Indeed. Often, shaving is presented as a side benefit (for both parties) where oral sex is concerned. Again, there may be something in this, I don’t know, but it’s patently not naturism and patently for the purpose of sexual pleasure. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking sexual pleasure, but it’s not part of the naturist movement and I worry, sometimes, that -as swingers and exhibitionists have poisoned the naturist atmosphere of Cap D’Agde in France- the ‘values’ of ‘smoothies’ are possibly poisoning traditional naturism. By all means do it because ‘I like the look’. That’s no different to saying ‘I like long hair, short hair, curly hair, dying my hair blue’. We’re all different and try to achieve different looks. But when phrases such as ‘looks like a girl’ are tossed around, alarm bells ring in my head.

The nature of the way that SL avatars are constructed means that the addition or removal of pubic hair from a female avatar is neither here nor there. The female avatar’s genitalia will be represented ‘accurately’.

The male avatar is different. Because the male’s genitalia are fixed as an add-on (the only way to make a male fit clothes properly), it’s always been a case of buying genitals that sit separate from the body.

Because of the colouration of skins (and separately produced male genitalia) it means a colour match between avatar body and genitalia is sometimes not particularly accurate. It’s made worse by the fact that, sometimes, men seem unconcerned about matching the colour of their avatar’s skin to that of their genitalia. Are SL males colour blind? Why not spend some time tweaking the colour? After all, most of them seem capable of tweaking the size to ridiculous proportions.

Even with tweaking, the colour may not be exact, and the addition of pubic hair can ‘soften’ the colour mis-match. It also ‘softens’ the obvious break-line between body and genitalia.

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Pubic hair gives a male avatar a natural finish

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With no pubic hair (this skin coming with ‘pubic hair’ as part of it) the ‘join’ between skin and genitalia is pronounced.

It is made more evident when the skin is hairless, the join looking unnatural and unrealistic.

With many SL avatars preferring the ‘hairless’ look, I think it’s incumbent on males to, at the very least, work on the colouration of their appendages.

Ella

Free tatts

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I don’t like tatts, but there are plenty who do, and will be mightily impressed by these free L$0 tattoos from Reckless, all available as group gifts (no group joining fee).

Suitable for men and women, our female model is wearing the Joon leg tattoo (her sleeve tattoo is her own, not part of the free Reckless range). Our male model sports both the Joon leg tattoo and the Tribunal full body ink. A third free chest tattoo (not pictured) called Vida is also available. I think if people do decide to get inked so extensively (even in SL) they owe it to themselves to be part of the SL naturist community, so best to show off their body art.

Ella

What’s the difference?

Even as a committed naturist there are times when nudity, or semi-nudity, isn’t really appropriate. There are other times when top-freedom makes perfect sense. A warm summer’s day in the park, surrounded by men who’ve been able to shed their T shirts and enjoy the sunshine, benefit from that Vitamin D, while being barred from doing so myself would be one such time.

We maintain these silly rules whereby it’s ‘illegal’, or it ‘offends’. I know it’s not going to be the same for every woman, but it makes me angry when I’m barred from doing so when I’ve got substantially less breast tissue than an overweight man! Explain this inequality, please. Because I’m not understanding it at all.

Ella