Second Life

Here I am, dressed like a street prostitute with black and purple hair and a belly piercing, lying on my back on a table in front of a Latin American "baroque" building. I'm wearing a skimpy black bandeau top that exposes the bottom of my breasts, and a magenta skirt; the strap of my magenta undergarment rises above my skirt. My feet are adorned by magenta-coloured 8"-high exotic dancer shoes; at the bottom of my right calf, a "Queen of Spades" tattoo can be seen. On my right ankle, there are two ankles can be seen; the bottom one has the four letters of the word "SLUT" hanging from it.
Tulum Township, August 2021 (Rated: Adult)

This day marks a cumulative fifteen years in Second Life for me – around two years on my first account, and thirteen as Mona Eberhardt. However, my rezday isn’t the starting point for this post. I’m not interested in boring you with yet another “I’ve seen this development and the other in SL” retrospective. The main reason for the current post is my previous post, where I mentioned that I’ve spent a little over four of these years working in-world as an escort / exotic dancer. I think this is about as good a time as any to share my thoughts on that time in my SL.

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Will Burns (SL username: Aeonix Aeon)
Will Burns, VR / AR expert and AMG store owner.

Back in 2018, I had the pleasure and honour to interview Will Burns (SL username: Aeonix Aeon, SL screen name: Will Burns), a published academic and former Vice Chair of the IEEE’s Virtual World Standards Group who also runs the Andromeda Media Group store in Second Life.

Judging from his published work that I’ve read, and from the discussions I’ve had with him, he’s one of the best tech analysts and experts when it comes to Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Virtual Worlds, bar none. I’ve always admired him for his down-to-earth approach which is based on facts, reason, and actual scientific and technical knowledge and experience rather than “common wisdom” and buzzword-riddled hype. Unfortunately, the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) pandemic has taken a toll on just about everyone, wiping out jobs, slashing people’s income, and pushing health systems to their limits and beyond. Will is no exception to this sad rule.

I’m not going to beat about the bush here: he needs our help this time – like other distinguished members of SL’s user base did, at one point or another, and we all showed our solidarity. So, like I did in 2017, when I was one of the first to call upon my remaining readers to help Max Graf, and like I did in 2012, when I joined in the effort to aid Sway Dench, I’m sharing Will’s GoFundMe campaign with you. The situation is that, after his mother’s passing on August 6th, he needs help to cover several funeral and administrative costs for which her life insurance isn’t enough – the campaign’s description explains them to a significant degree.

Cindy Stoll, Will Burns’ late mother

If you can help him out by contributing some money and / or by sharing this campaign, it will be greatly appreciated.


Strawberry Linden (left) with Brad Oberwager (Oberwolf Linden) at June 21st’s Lab Gab SL18B Special

On Monday, June 21st, I attended the airing of the Lab Gab SL18B Special show with Strawberry Linden (née Singh). It was a lengthy, much-anticipated, and newsworthy show, as it’s only been less than three weeks after the passing of esteemed LL CEO Ebbe Altberg. The show was divided into two sections: in the first, Strawberry interviewed Linden Lab Board member and Executive Chairman Brad Oberwager (in-world name: Oberwolf Linden); in the second, she interviewed the Lab’s Leadership Team, which consists of VP of Product Anya Kanevsky (in-world name: Grumpity Linden), VP of Product Operations Eric Nix (in-world name: Patch Linden), and VP of Marketing Brett Atwood (in-world name: Brett Linden).

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As is pretty much always the case, I’m the last to arrive at the party when it comes to providing an analysis related to Second Life. This is intentional. When it comes to making sense of Second Life’s progress within a certain timeframe, I prefer to sit back and examine SL and its progress within the broader context, i.e. its direct and indirect competition, and the Real Life (RL) economic, social, and even societal factors that affect people’s willingness and ability to join SL, to stay in it, and invest in it. Sadly, far too much of the commentary fails (often willingly) to take these factors into account, and, by choosing a platform-centric perspective over a user-centric one, ends up painting a picture that’s either alarmist or unjustifiably flattering.

Tulum Reserve (Rated Adult)
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So, our worst fears came to be. The legacy content lobby, using a lot of lobbying (read: bribes) muscle and about as much appeal to MEPs’ and people’s sentiment, as it always had, managed to pass the draconian EU Copyright Directive, in the name of “protecting creators’ rights”. Funnily enough, it’s the legacy content lobby (i.e. publishing houses, record, TV and film companies) that’s historically:

  • sought not only to monopolise and control what content you access, but also who gets to have his / her work published;
  • stopped technical and scientific progress through the patent system that’s always been rotten to the core from the very beginning;
  • made sure that the multitude of cases where perfectly legitimate content gets pulled down through fraudulent and frivolous copyright infringement claims goes entirely unpunished;
  • made sure artists get only a miniscule portion of their work’s worth – in many jurisdictions, an author gets 6% of his / her book’s shelf price and, more often than not, the publisher demands that the author foots the bill for the proofreading, copy editing, and publishing costs – in the music world, many record companies nowadays will tell you to pay for studio time, recording, mastering, and printing yourself, and then they’ll pay you a pittance from the sales of the record, if they even bother to promote it, that is.
  • scientific publishers like the Axel Springer / Elsevier / John Wiley etc mafia (yes, it’s a mafia) keep taxpayer-funded research out of the public’s reach by putting it behind paywalls, charging exorbitant amounts of money for article downloads and journal subscriptions. Interestingly enough, they don’t foot the bill for the research, proofreading, or peer reviewing of the scientific articles they sell. And they don’t pay the authors a single penny from the download price.

Yet, the fine gentlemen and gentlewomen in these “pillars of our culture” have convinced MEPs, EU commissioners, congressmen and congresswomen (in the US), senators, MPs, ministers, and – of course – you, the public, that they are the only ones who care about the rights of the creators, and that their interests are 1000000% aligned with the interests of the creators; the very creators that, as I’ve demonstrated, they’ve been ripping off for ages.

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