blogging

-The Bay-, Cats (Rated: Adult)

-The Bay-, Cats (Rated: Adult). Please click on the picture for the full-size version.

I think it’s time to reflect a bit upon the year that’s already behind me now, at least as I’ve covered it through this blog, and to the extent to which I’ve covered it. For those new to this blog, I started blogging in a semi-systematic manner in November 2012, and have moved the content of my previous blog to this one in May 1st, 2013, while keeping the old one for the sake of posterity and comparison – although it’s no longer being updated. Truth be told, I never wanted to worry about being the first to cover new developments in Second Life and similar virtual worlds; real life is hectic enough as it is.

2014 brought about several changes in the way I experience and cover Second Life; the acquisition of new hardware (see here) has made SL far more usable and enjoyable for me, and I’ve been able to venture to regions that are heavy on one’s graphics card without fearing lag as much as in previous times. Yes, investing in good (not necessarily high-end) hardware does pay dividends and makes a huge difference in what you see in-world. So, I do expect I’ll be in a far better position to both accompany my posts with better in-world images and write travelogue-style articles more often.

Statistics-wise, my blog’s views nearly doubled since 2013 (31,784 from 16,427), and it’s had 19,306 unique visitors (8,967 in 2013).

My blog's overall statistics for 2013. Please click on the picture for the full-size version.

My blog’s overall statistics for 2013. Please click on the picture for the full-size version.

My blog's overall statistics for 2014. Please click on the picture for the full-size version.

My blog’s overall statistics for 2014. Please click on the picture for the full-size version.

In 2014, I published 88 posts; 12 down from 2013, when I had posted exactly 100; as I mentioned earlier, RL was more hectic, so… Anyway, the ten most popular of these posts were:

  1. Time to stop bashing Second Life for its sexual side – 780 views in 2014
  2. My experience with the new (fitted) mesh avatars – 562 views in 2014
  3. Mirror effects through Firestorm – 500 views in 2014
  4. SL tier: Is it really too high? – 491 views in 2014
  5. Sex in Second Life and shoddy punditry – 465 views in 2014
  6. Building to scale in Second Life – 418 views in 2014
  7. Linden Lab amends Section 2 of its ToS – 320 views in 2014
  8. Of darker desires, technosexuality and posthumanism – 301 views in 2014
  9. LHOOQ and Naked Gallery (NSFW) – 292 views in 2014
  10. Thoughts on the (non-)changes to Section 2.3 of LL’s ToS – 288 views in 2014

2014 also marked a decision on my part to dedicate my blog to commenting on developments concerning SL and virtual worlds rather than covering news the moment they happen; also, I started focusing more on what my experience of SL and virtual worlds means to me, and their role in allowing people to express themselves, socialise, and create through such environments.

The Bread and Roses Strike exhibit at LEA13

An upper-class house in Lawrence, as shown at The Bread and Roses Strike exhibit at LEA13. “My dear, if your husband strikes you, it means that he cares about you. Try not to make him jealous.” – “Patience, dear. Your own peaceful demeanor and moderation should help him model his behavior.” – Words women were supposed to live by at the time. Please click on the picture for the full-size version.

That said, the year we left behind wasn’t without its own important events and developments: Rod Humble and the Lab parted ways, and Ebbe Altberg was appointed new CEO; a new (pay-to-play or subscription-based) way of accessing SL with full visuals on low-end and mobile systems, was launched by OnLive under the name of SL Go; not to be outdone by Philip Rosedale’s High Fidelity, LL started developing Second Life’s successor; LSL control of materials (normal and specular maps) was added, further empowering content creators; the Lab put an end to the widespread abuse perpetrated by owners / operators of landbots; the Basilique Performing Arts Company premiered what was the most ambitious in-world theatrical show so far, a remarkable adaptation of John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost; the Bread and Roses Strike exhibit at LEA13 proved yet again how effective SL (and similar virtual worlds) is for the academic world and for helping students understand the historical and social context of the events they’re examining; and so on. In all, it was an interesting, eventful year, and I wish I had more time on my hands to blog about everything that’s been happening. But the day has only 24 hours, and there’s only so much one can fit in them. Perhaps I should ask Inara Pey to send me a few of her minions to help me out…

At the Sea of Cubic Dreams

At the Sea of Cubic Dreams exhibit at LEA25. Click on the picture for the full-size version.

At any rate, seeing people visit and re-visit my blog to read what I have to say, offer “likes” and comments, hints, suggestions, recommendations, ideas, and support, is very rewarding and a great honour. It’s wonderful to know that people relate to my thoughts and opinions. I want to thank you all for your continued appreciation and support; for the “likes”, the tweets, retweets, plurks, replurks, Facebook and Google+ shares, for your suggestions, ideas, feedback, recommendations, even for pointing out things I missed. While it is true that I use my blog mostly for my own self-expression, without your support and feedback, it simply wouldn’t be what it is now.

Once again, thank you all, and may 2015 be an exciting and pleasant year!

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-Iu

There have been many things going on, both in my RL and in my SL, and I’m afraid I have to say they’re not always pleasant. My RL has been extremely hectic these days, as far as work is concerned, so I’ve been having very little time to blog about anything. Furthermore, due to issues I’ve been having, both in my RL and my SL, my own desire to write posts has been affected rather adversely.

I sat down and re-read my response to Berry’s “Why do I blog?” meme. In the second question, I think I should add another motive. Besides my initial desire to write about my experiences and views within the D/s realm, I wanted to express myself, find my own voice, demonstrate my ideas, insight, views, and, to be perfectly honest, make myself visible. As time went by, I learned a fair bit – I must give thanks to Inara Pey for her insight and guidance here, as well as several other great people. Yet, I can’t help but wonder exactly where I want to take this blog.

Let’s face it; I can’t make this blog an SL news blog. If you want timely, well-written and detailed coverage of Second Life and its clones, Inara’s got you covered far better than any other such blogger I know. Her blog is the closest you can get to having a well-sourced, documented and written news resource, and, unlike some other blogs I know, she neither posts half-arsed or intentionally flawed posts to stir stuff up and increase page views, nor does she repost other people’s work. Yet, I really don’t want my blog to become like that, and I have neither the time nor the willingness to sacrifice so much in order to maintain a steady flow of daily posts. I want to enjoy my SL for me, and with the people I like and love; I want to experience and live it, as much as I can and, when I feel like it, blog about it.

Lately, due to the fact that my RL often prevents me from blogging about various SL events in time, I’ve come very close to the point of feeling guilty for not being able to cover them. Plus, I simply can’t come to terms with the pressure of having a blog-related backlog.

What does this all mean? Well, for starters, it means I’ve decided to take a breath. I’ve got an awful lot going on in RL. I’ve got things in SL that I want to work through and out. The last thing I want right now is make my blog yet another source of pressure. Also, if you’re expecting me to blog on time about the latest events… Forget it. Look elsewhere. I can’t do it, and I don’t want to do it. I simply am not willing or going to let SL news dictate my blogging agenda. My blog will remain mainly an opinion and personal blog; and I’ll blog about news as I see fit, as my time permits. And it’s more than likely that my posts will become more personal than before.

Finally,  I am fully aware that my decision to keep my blog as a personal and opinion blog means that my views and my writing may occasionally disturb or offend some people. C’est la vie. After all, no one forces anyone to read my posts. If you don’t like them, the internet is full of stuff you may find far more enjoyable and/or compliant with your own views, preconceptions and ideas.

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Mona

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-vc

Last year, Strawberry Singh posted her “Why do I blog?” meme, to which I responded (albeit a bit late). This Monday (April 28th), she continued on that theme and, seeing that my April in RL was much more hectic than I wanted and thus kept me from blogging as much as I wanted, I decided to get on with this post a bit earlier. So, Berry’s meme for this week is “My Blogging Journey”.

My blogging journey

As is the case with all of her blog challenges/memes, this one also consists of several questions for the participants to answer… So, without further ado, here goes:

Read Full Article

Today, I’m going to share with you an RL story related to blogging that I have encountered quite a few times and it’s one of the most dishonest, drama-generating, exploitative practices I’ve ever seen ever since I hit the internet. As has been hinted (or even said outright), I live in Greece. Now, I’ll spare you all the stuff about the crisis caused and perpetuated by the kleptocracy of the banksters, public works contractors, shipping and media moguls, weapons dealers and politicians and I’ll stick to the point.

Sometime circa 2007 or 2008, Greek politicians and mainstream media “journalists” discovered the world of blogging and quickly set out to grace it with their filth. They have used numerous underhanded practices in their blogging practices, showing their true colours. One of them is the one I present today: a practice that was extensively used by a certain wannabe politician who fancies herself as “progressive”, while having supported and propagandised all the antisocial measures that have sunk millions of people in poverty and despair.

The tactic can be summed up as follows:

  1. She censors all comments from people who disagree with her without resorting to sexist, racist remarks.
  2. At the same time, she only allows “criticism” from sexists and racists to go through.
  3. Then, she presents herself as a person who is perpetually targeted by sexists and the far right (incidentally, her party has had no problem cooperating with a ruling party that’s run by sexist, racist, far-right elements) and systematically pushes the line that everyone criticising her is either a member of the far right or a “far-right extremist in disguise”, as she likes to portray those who are left of centre and, predictably, don’t agree with her eulogies to the endless, irrational austerity.

What does she try to do? Well, she tries to paint a picture where those who may have an opinion on what she says fall into one of these two categories:

  1. The “good people”: Those who agree with everything she says and basically kiss her ass.
  2. The “sexist, racist, far-right extremists”: Everyone who disagrees with her.

In other cases, she has even resorted to hiding all the comments that followed a post she made. Incidentally, the comments were perfectly civilised, articulate and well-mannered – but most of the comments were critical of the views she expressed. She hid the comments and then went on Facebook and Twitter, whining about how “the racists and the sexists attacked her” for her “perfectly sensible” (even though no economist worth their salt agrees with her, and even though human rights activists have been outspoken on the humanitarian crisis caused by the irrational austerity policies we have to deal with) views on the matter, and basically going on yet another campaign to garner unwarranted sympathy, claiming that “she was attacked by everyone” and that the “left wing is full of trolls that are just as poisonous as the far-right extremists” etc.

It all seemed to work well, until people started posting screen grabs of the discussion that was carried out on her blog and her Facebook “wall” that she hid (censored) from public view. She was immediately discredited and disgraced, because it became perfectly clear even to those that hadn’t participated in the discussions that she was lying off her teeth and that her word has no value at all.

She’s not the only one, mind you.

Bottom line? Hiding what has been said in a discussion and then presenting yourself as a victim of vile attacks, demanding that everyone else take your word for it, like that particular wannabe politician did (and I’m not sure she’s learned her lesson), is a vile practice:

  1. It is libelous towards good-natured, civilised commenters.
  2. It is lying – plain and simple.
  3. It is dishonest.
  4. It is stupid, because eventually someone will expose you, sooner or later, and you will lose face.

Don’t be that sort of person.

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Mona

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-ht

Update 28/7/2017: I modified the last paragraph.

A while ago, I responded – for the first time in my blogging life – to a blogging meme/challenge; in response to Strawberry Singh‘s “Why Do Ι Blog?” blogger challenge, I wrote a piece titled “My relationship with blogging“. Whereas memes in general don’t appeal to me as most aren’t meant to make people think, this particular one was – and it made me reflect upon what I want this blog to be, what I want to write about, even what I want to do in Second Life itself.

As I’ve written elsewhere, this is not the first time I’ve tried to put a blog on my existence in Second Life together. I’ve tried before in the past, but my efforts were erratic, sporadic and unfocused. If I’m completely honest, I’ve often felt that my chosen topics didn’t leave me with much that was worth blogging about anyway. Fashion? Most SL-related blogging is about fashion and, more often than not, the way SL fashion is presented is nothing I’d want to have anything to do with anyway. Sex and romance? Pretty much everything that can be said there has been covered quite a few times before; not to mention that many blogs discussing such topics are not particularly interesting anyway or have become inactive because even their owners have given up on them.

It was only fairly recently (in November 2012) that I started blogging on a more-or-less regular basis, using a persona that I had adopted for my exploration of D/s and for indulging in my fantasies around latexwear. I hoped that some of my writings, the ones that were built upon the articles of Inara Pey on Her D/s-related blog, would help make my point-of-view w.r.t. D/s, fetishism etc. clear; I also hoped that my writings would go some way towards dispelling some misconceptions, misrepresentations and misunderstandings concerning D/s and its application in SL. Of course, I didn’t expect that a start-up blog with a small readership would be able to reach and affect enough people to bring about any significant change in the popular perception of D/s and what relates to it.

But things change, as do attitudes. Relatively early on I realised that I wanted to widen my blogging activity’s scope and write about a much more diverse range of topics, even including RL matters. Then, some developments in the rendering pipeline meant that my once-midrange laptop can now run in deferred mode (with the “Advanced Lighting Model” activated) all the time and maintain serviceable frame rates on most occasions. This encouraged me to explore far more than I once did – and even properly enjoy what the creators and owners of various gorgeous sims worked hard to create.

Then, there are personal reasons; personal acquaintances that reintroduced me to SL. You all know who you are – thank you for everything you’ve shown, taught and given me. And above all, I must thank a certain someone, a very, very special person here in SL who is extremely dear to me and has really turned everything around for me and has given and taught me more than I could ever write about.

As a result, I gradually widened the range of my topics, to cover great SL destinations I visited, art exhibitions, issues regarding the politics of SL and how it is perceived by the public at large. Nowadays, this blog is more about Second Life than about a specific set of activities within it. “What about D/s and fetish-related posts?”, one may ask. Well, I have not given up on writing about these topics. Several posts on these topics have either been deleted, or hidden from public view. I’ve lost interest in these topics, I no longer care to associate my blog with them, and some posts really feel more like emotional baggage now. So, I guess this should give you an idea of what has been going on with my blog lately. It’s changed, as have I and my interests within SL.

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Mona

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-cg