Christmas/Housewarming Party

You know how it is with your place of work. The rush to get somewhere booked for Christmas becomes ever more hectic, and you end up having the ‘staff Christmas party’ in early December, maybe even late November. So it is with my place of work, holding our Christmas ‘do’ three weeks ahead of Christmas.

I’m not enthused by these events. I work with these people; I don’t feel any need to socialise with them, but there does seem to be a little bit of pressure to attend them. Am I just being a scrooge?

In honour of ‘SL Naturist Phase 2’, publisher Howie decided to double up with a series of soirees that acted as SL Naturist Christmas party and, as he’s just demolished his house and rebuilt it on the Eden Naturist Estate, a bit of a housewarming. Due to the global nature of Second Life, this was held over several days, at different times, to allow as many of his SL friends as possible to drop in and share a glass of champagne, or a slice of pizza, with us. I didn’t get to attend all (some were set for the benefit of north America, away past my bedtime), but I got to attend a couple over last weekend and on European evening time this past week.

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Trine, former SL Naturist photographer Hugh & Diane by the drinks trolley.

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Trine, Howie and Abigail

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Trine, Howie and Abigail pose in front of a sign announcing our presence at Eden Eagle

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Former editor Ella and her husband Jim popped in, and here they’re speaking with Trine

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Sometimes if it gets too crowded, you’ll find me looking for space on the stairs. Here I am talking to Italian avatar Paolo

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Howie and Abigail

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Yes. Diane and I at the drinks trolley again! 🙂

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I settle down to make some notes at SL Naturist’s Eden Eagle office presence while Howie searches his library for some text to show me

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Oh look! Diane and I have dragged ourselves away from the drinks trolley!

It was a pleasure to speak with former editor Ella, who has adjusted her avatar (see above) to reflect her real life pregnancy. I gathered that there are times when she misses blogging, and an offer to work in a ‘roving reporter’ capacity for SL Naturist was made, to be taken up any time she wishes. I also gathered that, with two children of school age and a third on the way, life is hectic enough to warrant that Second Life time is limited.

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I wasn’t there when former SL Naturist assistant editor Pookes (left) turned up. I’d have loved to have spoken with her.

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Hank & Hanna dance to Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody. A perennial Christmas favourite in the UK, perhaps not so well known in America.

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Debs at the Christmas party (photograph: Diane Toxx)

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Doksie (photograph: Diane Toxx)

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The party spills out of the house and into the pool.

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Just some of the food laid on for the party. Someone’s going to have to clean up tomorrow!

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As well as the pool, the party also heads in the direction of the roof terrace.

I’ve made a couple of new SL friends (naturist, naturally) at the party, and I’m delighted to say that we party on next week, with Howie’s New Year’s Eve bash (this  one is held in ‘real time’) so photos will surely follow from that too.

Trine 

A Merry Christmas from Abi

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No posts from me, Abi, tomorrow (Christmas Eve) as I’ll be travelling to my parents’ house by train, starting around dawn!  We shall see how good an idea it is to go by train some time tomorrow. Last year I travelled by car and the roads were horrendous, hence this year’s trip home (my home town, anyway) by Iron Horse.

My parents will pick me up from the station and we’ll make our way back to the home I grew up in, before we resume a familiar, comfy routine I recall from my teenage years. My father playing carols on his CD player, Mum bubbling up some mulled wine and warm mince pies, my sister and family arriving (by car…haha!) and then a bit of ‘me’ time in the bath.

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It’s a shower I have in my own house, and I do miss a good, long bath time. Growing up, it was a ritual, stuck in there with a big mug of tea, a book, and nimble toes to turn on the warm water tap and top up the bath that it became an hour (or longer) long thing.

I know many of you will be travelling tomorrow, so travel safely.

The laptop is with me, so I might get to post (if I feel so inclined after an hour long soak). If I don’t, have a great Christmas and I’ll be back, almost certainly, on Saturday 26th.

Abigail

Eid Milad ul-Nabi

I received this from an American Muslim reader of SL Naturist who wished to remain anonymous.

I reprint it without change (other than the fact that I’ve added some links and a couple of photos)

Trine

Milad ul-Nabi, or al-Mawlid an-Nabawi is a day when we Muslims celebrate the Prophet’s Birth and this year (it is a moveable feast in the Muslim calendar) it falls on December 24th, just 24 hours before the feast to celebrate another great prophet, Jesus Christ, celebrated by Christians around the globe.

Full disclosure here. I’m female, American, (Shia) Muslim, and a Second Lifer. I’m also an avid reader of SL Naturist, amongst other SL blogs. No, I’m not a nudist. That’s not why I visit this blog. My interest here, as it is with some other blogs, is in exploring how others live their second lives and also because this blog is a rarity, a Second Life lifestyle blog. That its writers also blog on feminist matters, which sometimes also touch on the rights of women in (some) Muslim countries also interests me.

I read Ella’s article earlier this week about Happy Christmas Donald Trump and was genuinely moved by a sense of humanity in the piece. It’s not unique. Many writers express support for the plight of refugees fleeing Daesh and react as human beings. But all the same it was heartwarming to read that there was a compassion about it. I also read subsequent comments about how Muslims are the enemy and the enemy within.

Let me lay out some further disclosure here. In 1977 my father began studying in America. He was one of an estimated 35,000 Iranian students in the US at the time. He would have been openly critical of  Ayatollah Khomeini who returned in 1979 to lead the Iranian Revolution so sought asylum in America. He also had his sweetheart back in Tehran and in time she would get out to join him, marry and in time start a family that included me. Yes, I was born and grew up in Tehrangeles!

When the more moderate President Rouhani was elected, he made it easier for the Iranian diaspora to return, and last year I visited the country of my parents’ birth (along with them) to meet family I’d only ever heard spoken of -my aunts and uncles, cousins- and visit locations they knew as teenagers. It was an emotional return for them, an emotional first time in a country that, but for a political event, I might have been born and grown up in.

Even in America, my parents maintained their Shia Muslim religion. We attended a mosque (just off Slauson Avenue, for anyone who knows LA). I was taught to be a Muslim. I remain a Muslim.

When I visited Tehran I had to wear the women’s ‘uniform’ of a coat called a manteau that covers the neck and arms, as well as the hijab, not something I wear in America. I’m still an all-American jeans & T-shirt gal, while being Muslim. That’s not for reasons of feeling ‘marked’ by wearing a hijab -you see all sorts in LA anyway- I just don’t like hats. But it wasn’t so alien that I felt I was wearing something weird.

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Women in Tehran in 2012, wearing a ‘manteau’ and headgear. It’s not so alien from many western cities.

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Tehran, 1970.

My cousins displayed a remarkable knowledge for US R&B and rap as well as a style called koche bazari. What you think about those darned Muslims isn’t always as you imagine. Koche Bazari’s American equivalent, songs of heartache, is country and western, you ignorant rednecks!

Yet I remain a proud Shia Muslim. I am a proud American. I am grateful that my parents were welcomed into my country as little more than teenagers to make a better life for themselves. If I think about it, the chances are that my parents have contributed more in taxes to this great country than many of the idiots whoopin’ and hollerin’ for Donald Trump have done. The chances are that I and my parents have stood for  ‘Hail to the Chief‘ more times than some ignorant teenage asshole from Texas has ever done.

‘Oh yeah’ says the redneck. ‘America gave you your values’.

‘Oh, no’, I say, ‘America gave my parents a chance and they repaid it. My parents gave me my values which include a Muslim religion and the knowledge that America is the greatest country on earth’

Liberte!

After a hard year, topped and tailed by the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the events of November 13th, French magazine L’OBS rounds out 2015 with a powerful image of French ‘liberte’ reminiscent of art that culturally defines the French Revolution.

And this, supporters of ISIS/Da’esh, is why we -democrats, free people- get to win, every time. Because we’re democrats, free and not a bunch of sad assholes still thinking we live in medieval times. Now, in 2015, go away as a beaten, dejected, defeated bunch of idiots.

 

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French singer Camelia Jordana (of Algerian descent) poses as ‘Marianne’, a symbol of French freedom

Trine

And the winner is….woman!

Normally, many women would regard a beauty pageant as ‘demeaning’ to women, a throwback to the days when a woman’s lot was to aspire to ‘help children and wish for world peace’ while shuffling from one high heel to another while smiling in a swimsuit.

Occasionally, though, the background to being crowned ‘Miss….wherever’ is an entirely different ball game.

Shaima Qassem Abdulrahman has just been crowned Miss Iraq (you heard that right).

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“Miss Iraq could enlighten the thinking of Iraqis, especially those who live a life of hundreds of years ago, who do not want to witness a life that is developed and improved,” she said prior to the finals, an event from which some participants withdrew following threats. “It is true that we live in a conservative Muslim country, but not a backward one.”

The easy, lazy, blinkered view is to regard places like Iraq as ‘full of radicalised rag heads’. Some, on the other hand, are trying to adopt a more modern, outward looking country, defying the odds to participate, defying the odds to attempt to emancipate women we often regard as being subjugated in a patriarchy.

It’s strange to think of a beauty pageant winners as an icon for feminism, but in this context, that’s exactly what it is.

Congratulations to the winner, and to all of the other women who participated. We wish you all, and your country, a safer, brighter future.

Abigail

 

Winter Solstice

Tuesday, December 22nd represents the Winter Solstice. The shortest day, and from whence the nights turn and begin to get longer. It doesn’t necessarily feel like it with Christmas, New Year, winter frost, snow and spring showers all still ahead of us for months, but this feels to me like the furtherest we are from the naturist season.

Ella wrote about the winter solstice in Second Life in a previous post, and sadly that sim appears not to exist any more in order to do more photos (I couldn’t find any proper henges during a SL search anyway) so I’m re-using Ella’s photo from the previous post (which looks more like a summer dawn than a winter one).

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Snow covers the plains surrounding Stonehenge in Wiltshire, southern England...Snow covers the plains surrounding Stonehenge in Wiltshire, southern England January 7, 2010.  REUTERS/Kieran Doherty  (BRITAIN - Tags: SOCIETY IMAGES OF THE DAY TRAVEL ENVIRONMENT)

Snow covers Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England

It’s an important date for Druids because it represents the arrival of ‘a new sun’ to them.

Pookes covered the Summer Solstice in a posting from earlier this year, and managed to find some Druidic robes to wear in Second Life while covering the event, she too finding a henge in Second Life as recently as June.

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While I’ve not been able to follow their Second Life experiences in proximity to henges, I will be able to look forward to following their Second (and First) Life experiences in proximity to naturism over the next year, and I look forward excitedly to covering what Second Life’s new naturist season offers. Because for us at SL Naturist, it begins on Wednesday! 🙂

Abigail

 

It might get nude (2)

Last week I posted about Fanny Vermont’s exhibition currently ongoing at the Lollylagger sim and said I’d be trying to make contact with her to find out what she drew interest from in producing such an interesting array of photos (many of which are undertaken nude, which is always something that interests us here at SL Naturist). I’m pleased to say that Fanny and I were able to sit down this week and, over coffee and a plate of gingerbread men (it’s that time of year, even in Second Life cafes) I asked her about her work, beginning by asking if adopting a purposeful avatar, one who doesn’t just flit around different sims dancing, chatting or buying clothes gave her a framework and purpose?

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‘Oh yes, it certainly does’, Fanny explained. ‘Though not necessarily “only” as photographer or for art related projects. Fanny started homeless, always on search for a shower, and because the public showers are mostly at adult places, my first experiences often were of the slippery sort. Later I settled down. Photography has always been part of my SL like it is for most of us by taking snapshots.

I then asked Fanny, about her high calibre photographic work, and the ‘jumping on’ point for a photograph. ‘Do you begin with a sense of location, or pose, or clothes (or lack of clothes in some instances)? What’s the most important element, do you think, in your work? Or does the focus shift according to location or pose?’

‘Thank you for the compliment. she replied. ‘ Well, it is very different depending if I am taking a snapshot or creating a scene myself. In the case of the snapshots it mostly is a matter of the location and the poses/animations that are already there (if not then it’s the AO). For my actual work the location is not the trigger anymore. The common thread of “It Might Get Nude” is a hollowed primitive object and therefore the location is fixed. This is, both limiting and challenging for the use of lights, for the poses as I could not stand upright, and last but not least for the camera position and focal distance. Beside of those points the biggest difference in my opinion is that the series is my first conceptual work. Hm … most important element … I guess that is details; Hand poses, feet’s heels height, eyes, shape- and physics-variations especially for the breasts – this sort of things.’

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It’s obvious that Fanny’s work is of a high standard because of this attention to detail, something I wouldn’t have considered in respect of the ‘snapshot’ photos I take, and it’s certainly interesting to learn that the photographer’s art is not so much in just knowing where to stand in respect of photographic composition, but also much more detail that will define the finished photograph. It’s also interesting and exciting to discover that other avatars do like to realise their Second Lives with detail.

I then asked if Fanny had any favourite sims for photographic work or if there were any pose stores who helped to define her work.

‘No, I don’t have favourite sims … but also I did not take many photos on location in 2015. Regarding the poses the answer is No as well. I am picky and always felt frustrated about poses that only half-achieved the look I wanted. Not because the creators did a bad job but because of the fact that a pose or an animation only fits perfect for the shape it was made for. So, the only way to get my hands and feet exactly where I want them is to create poses myself.’

Again, an example of a bright and alert mind, learning new skills in order to create a satisfying Second Life. Too often avatars buy ‘off the shelf’ and are limited in what they achieve accordingly. For me, poses are becoming increasingly important to create a unique feel, but it’s not something I’ve tried before. I hope to take inspiration from Fanny’s lead in order to learn that as a Second Life skill in the New Year.

I continued by asking Fanny if she had any advice for avatars who might like to follow her lead, and produce your own exhibition?

‘I think it would go beyond the scope (of this article/blog post) if I would count the lots of circumstances that lead to the exhibit at the end. Fact is that it was not a plan I followed but much more the effort of Chrissy from Lollygaggers. We met at the exhibit of a friend there in spring, and she asked me if I would be interested but that it could last a while until it would be so far. Half a year later she contacted me and said “Ok, let us do it.”. The only advice that I may have on mind is to avoid thinking of an exhibit while still working on a project’.

In my role as SL Naturist editor I’ve been learning that a project doesn’t come together overnight, and often a great deal of planning is required. Ella, SL Naturist’s former editor, seemed to do this effortlessly, and in the early weeks of my editorship it was one of the things I found difficult to grasp. Now, I seem to have plans that may take some weeks to reach fruition, and it was encouraging, to me as a blogger, that others are also taking weeks and months to bring part of Second Life cultural life to the Second Life public.

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I then asked Fanny what hopes and aspirations she had for her future in SL?

‘Since I have my own shower now, it’s only “More light and shadow!” 😉 ‘

I went on to ask her , given obvious photographic expertise, if the experience of holding her own exhibition had inspired her to repeat the experience? And if so, how quickly might we expect to see another exhibition?

‘Thanks again for your kind words. Actually I am working on a new series which may be presented some time in spring 2016 at Lollygagger again. I do not know the details yet but it will be for Lollygagger’s contribution for Relay For Life. One thing I am doing different is not posting any results on Flickr before they’ve been exhibited inworld. Maybe this will make it more interesting to log on and see them in Second Life … just one of those ideas I’m thinking of right now’

Yes, good news indeed, and something we’d be keen to write about when the time comes. Our best wishes for the remainder of your exhibition at Lollylagger, and hopefully there will be more terrific photography from Fanny Vermont in 2016!

Trine