A strange day at school

•May 25, 2009 • 2 Comments


So I got to be a teacher for a little while. Only problem was that Bryn Oh and ColeMarie Soleil were among my pupils – and I doubt you’ll find more unruly girls in the whole of Second Life.

TC: Good morning, class.
BO: What will you teach us today, Miss Tess?
TC: Today, we will talk about rust and fog.
BC: Cole pulled my hair.
TC: Cole, stop it! Be nice.
ColeMarie Soleil holds up hand.
CS: I didn’t do it. I didn’t touch her. I can promise you that.
BO: Did too.
TC sighs.
CS: I only used magic … technically. I didn’t touch you. I would never touch you, rat girl. You have cooties.
BO: Lies! I had one cootie. And I caught it.
TC: You know the rules, Cole: No magic in classroom.
CS: Since when?
TC: And no insults either.
CS: What is this? Hogwarts? I am not a muggle.

At this point, the classroom gets filled with green fog and red hearts.


TC: Cole, I know you’re the one doing this.
CS: What? I haven’t even moved god damnit. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. They just appeared, man.
TC: No Cole, they didn’t. I know you.
CS: Oh really? It was Bryn.
BO: Miss Tess, you’re losing control of the class.
TC: I don’t think I ever did have any control.
BO: It’s Cole’s influence.
TC: Now don’t blame Cole, Bryn.
CS: See!

Now a tornado starts spinning in the classroom.


TC: Bryn! What have I said about bringing tornadoes inside?
BO: Well I don’t see my name on the tornado. Could be anyone’s.
TC: No Bryn, it could not. You wrote an essay on tornadoes when the topic was ”my favourite things”.
BC: Ummm… I copied from Cole.
TC: No you did not.
CS: Ahahaha! Pft.
TC: Ok kids: Are you interested in learning anything? And who brought a snowman into the classroom?
CS: Ahahaha!
TC: We won’t mind the tornado. Let’s continue class.
BO: Is class dismissed, Miss?
TC: No, it’s not, Bryn. Be seated!
CS: Who’s willing to die for me?

I sigh. ColeMarie disappears as I’m busy talking to the mother of a minor.

TC: Now where did Cole go?
BO: She’s truant.


ColeMarie comes back. I ask the silent student Marko Seurat:

TC: Marko, have you read about fog and rust for today’s class?
MS: I forgot my book.
TC: Sit together with Bryn. But did you do your homework?
MS: What homework?
TC bangs head in desk.
TC looks at her clock.
BO: You were supposed to build some walls for homework, Marko.
MS: I thought you were building the walls.
TC: We must all learn to build walls, Marko. Very important that.
MS: Metaphorically?
TC: Yes, that too. But that’s another class. This class is dismissed.
TC takes up a small bottle from under the desk and drinks.

Bryn leaves while ColeMarie is handing out pixie dust.

Meeting the people of Drottningholm

•May 12, 2009 • 2 Comments


”There are always some intrigues and love stories going on around here …”

Well didn’t we just assume as much? The lady who told me this, her name will remain anonymous, is one of the residents at the gorgeous palace of Drottningholm, one of the Swedish royal family’s homes. It is beautifully situated at the island of Lovön a few kilometres south of Stockholm. Curious on how life is lived at such a palace, I stayed there for a few days to get to know the people there. And yes: My suspicions of a court life filled with intrigues were confirmed.

Feeling slightly nervous, afraid neither my dress nor etiquette would satisfy the undoubtedly high standards of the royal court, I entered the palace. There, I first met the ladies MariaAntonia Barenhaut and Sophia Trefusis.

”I’m quite exhausted, to tell the truth,” Ms Trefusis responded to a question from Ms Barenhaut.

”Yesterday, Friherrinnan Clowes asked me to look after a boy in her care, a child of servants, and he tired me out with his constant Spanish and running around. I’ve had to lie down for a while. Children are wild.”

As the King were to tell me later, the court of Drottningholm is quite a multiethnic society:

”We have German and Hollandish builders, because those are the best workers; we have many French joining us, as there are revolts at hands in France, and we are kind and allow them to be here with us; then some joined us from Austria and Russia.”


But for now, the ladies’ conversation topic changed to fashion as they were joined by a gentleman, Mr Ville Ivercourt, boasting of a wonderful costume he’d attained for an upcoming play.

”My Herre, is it true you have made a wager with Friherrinnan Clowes about never wearing black if you didn’t succeed with some task,” Ms Trefusis asked him.

”I shouldn’t have. But you’ve heard only half the story, Madam,” he answered.

Upon this, Ms Trefusis came up with a quite curious face, but he apologized and withdrew himself.

”He is an agreeable man, although he runs away from the ladies a lot,” sighed Ms Trefusis. I replied that most men usually run after the ladies, to which she murmured ”One at least wish so.”

Ms Barenhaut, whom I would quickly learn is a lady that rarely misses an occasion to show some of the more than one hundred lovely dresses she owns, then asked: ”Shall I go through some of my costumes for the play?”

Without waiting for an answer, she began. ”This is Scene 1 … Scene 2 … Scene 3 … Scene 4 … This is for Scene 5 …”

I had the audacity to remark that they looked quite old-fashioned, and then learned that the play is set to Medieval times.

”So I went for a Spanish/English Tudor style,” said Ms Barenhaut, referring to historical figures like Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. Beautiful as the costumes though were, they made me reflect on how much the art of making clothes has developed before reaching our gorgeous Rococo style. ”After the play, I’m planning a Tudor revival in fashion. Neo-Tudor, he he. Modern gowns with Tudor influences,” said Ms Barenhaut.

While she continued to scene 6, Ms Trefusis whispered in my ear: ”Maria has one of the greatest wardrobes in all of court. How will anyone notice me when Maria steals the show?”

The play, which is soon to be performed, has involved almost all the members of the court. Ms Trefusis smiled proudly and said: ”The Queen Mother praised our amateurish efforts at acting just the other day.”

Suddenly, we were a crowd, as Mr Ivercourt had returned, and Ms Cynster Clowes, Mr Anton Gabardini and Mr Erestor Streeter had joined us. Ms Trefusis said: ”Cyn, I must beg you: Don’t let me take care of your servant ever again,” referring to the wild Spanish boy. She added: ”This is quite a gathering. We should go sit down.”

Mr Ivercourt suggested the inn, something Mr Gabardini and Ms Trefusis flatly refused, the latter murmuring ”That would destroy my gown.”

”Too bad the Northern Star burned down,” said Ms Clowes, and this was the big topic during my visit: The beautiful build housing the Order of the Northern Star had burned down, and Mr Gabardini led the investigations to find out how and why, as it was suspected someone had started the fire.

We decided to enter the palace. ”If it’s allowed to go there,” said Mr Gabardini. ”I’m sure the royal family won’t mind us borrowing it for a bit,” said Ms Clowes.

The conversation soon turned to literature when Mr Streeter said he’d been writing all day. ”Just trying to get some things from the past down on paper before memory gets weak,” he said. Ms Trefusis felt there was ”much writing going on in this court,” whereupon Mr Gabardini said he soon hoped to present his opera, and Ms Gallyon Milneaux replied: ”Of course, dear. What else can we do?” Ms Trefusis wondered whether Mr Streeter had lived an adventurous life. ”Of course he won’t tell you flat out about his adventures, Sophia. It would spoil the whole mystery around him,” said Ms Clowes.

”Adventurous? Don’t know about that, but I have travelled in the past. Unlucky circumstances more or less forced me out on the roads for a period,” admitted Mr Streeter.

Ms Trefusis said she’d like to read an excerpt of his memoirs. ”Unless it’s terribly scandalous. I don’t think my father would approve of me reading such things, and I’d hate to make him believe I’ve become corrupted. If that was the case, he’d order me home at once.” ”And who would tell him,” asked Mr Streeter. ”There are ears and eyes everywhere,” replied Ms Trefusis.

Ms Barenhaut held her own opinion: ”If it’s terribly scandalous, then all the better. You see, I’ve learned a little trick about finding out gossip, and that is to ask them so often that they’ll tell you, as long as you promise not to tell anyone. That’s the only way of telling if it’s good enough to spread around.”

The mood of the moment inspired Mr Streeter: ”Friends and good wines from fields so vast / Hope the fire don’t burn down too fast …” It was a thing he’d picked up from his travels. ”In the evenings around the fire, in a tavern or outside, one start with a line or two and then it passes on. He who cannot come up with a line buys the next round or so.”

”I wonder where Lord Graves is hiding. Now that he has been reinstated he has quite disappeared,” said Ms Trefusis, whereupon Ms Clowes suggested he was hiding from the legos, the hired soldiers. ”He has a quarrel with, oh…” Ms Trefusis interrupted herself just as the very Mr Mikk Graves came in. ”Ah, speak of the devil,” said Ms Milneaux.

”There has been a break in at the house of the Order of the Sword,” Mr Graves could tell us. Some confusion ensued, as the court had yet to digest the fact that the Northern Star had burned down, and Mr Graves asked Mr Garibaldi, a detective, if he could look into it. ”I can’t investigate there,” he answered, claiming he was too occupied working on the Northern Star fire.

Then, a few minutes later, something strange happened. As I told Ms Barenhaut that I was writing an article on Drottningholm, she said: ”You could write about the fire, and the poetry night, and my drunkenness, ha ha, loosing my wig, my feathers, and almost setting my dress on fire, all in one night.” Ms Milneaux objected: ”Really, dear, you shouldn’t speak of that. What would your relatives in France think?” ”Oh, but it was so funny when you think back on it. I’m sure they would laugh their heads off,” said Ms Barenhaut, more than suggesting it was her that had put the Northern Star on fire. But no one seemed to understand what she was saying.

”Such a sad event,” said Ms Milneaux. ”Nooo, it was funny, it was hilarious,” continued Ms Barenhaut. ”I’m sorry: A fire is funny,” asked Ms Trefusis. ”Well, not funny then, but when you look back upon it,” said Ms Barenhaut. ”It’s under investigations. I can’t find someone who is guilty,” said Mr Gabardini, while Ms Barenhaut continued: ”Most likely my feathers. They probably fell off when I tripped up near the fireplace. Settled in the fire, burned, set the curtains on fire, and then … boom!”

Ms Barenhaut hoped she wouldn’t get arrested for the incident. ”More innocent people have been arrested and ruined,” she said, and a remark from Mr Streeter saying she would probably reform the dress codes in prison if she were to be put there, made sure the evening ended in laughter. But no one seemed to truly believe that the mysteries surrounding the fire were properly solved.

The next day I met Ms Barenhaut again, together with Ms Trefusis and Ms Milneaux. I’d understood from Ms Barenhaut’s interest in costumes that she was more than a little interested in the topic of fashion. Without really knowing what I was doing, I asked if she could be so kind as to tell me about the clothes being worn at Drottningholm. Ms Milneaux leaned over and whispered to me: ”Don’t get her started my dear, you’ll be here for hours.”

And as it turned out, Ms Barenhaut was more than happy to lecture me. ”Oh yes, fashion is everything,” she said. Ms Milneaux quickly excused herself: ”I have urgent matters to attend to.” On her way out, she met Ms Catherine Monigal, and quietly persuaded her to turn around. ”The baroness [Barenhaut] is talking about dresses,” she said, and Ms Monigal motioned to turn around. I then saw Ms Trefusis mouthing ”Please no, don’t leave me her alone,” whereupon Ms Monigal come over to us. ”Maria, darling, sorry to interrupt, but could I borrow Sophia?” ”If you must dear,” replied Ms Barenhaut, and continued. ”Like this gown, it’s by Wunderlich, and I bought it because it reminded me of my wedding gown. The hair and hat to match came later, as I was desperate to find them. Wunderlich is worn by almost everyone at the court after my introduction. White Rose and English Rose are quite popular as well, Rodenberge I suppose, and Countess Seerose’s Designs. The gentlemen mainly find their clothes in the Trading House.”

Ms Barenhaut confirmed that there is quite a lot of competition among the ladies of the court when it comes to fashion. ”And I strive to be on top.”


After this lecture I ventured a little further down the royal park. Here I met a lady that didn’t look quite like the others. As it turned out, she was different.

Her name was Archis Writer, and she did not belong to the aristocracy. ”No, I’m part of the Frimurare. We are artists and architects, and I’m a painter from Holland, looking for commissions here.” When I asked if she’d found any, she blushed and mumbled: ”The King, madame.” He wants portraits of himself.

The reason Ms Writer had left Holland was because of her country’s deplorable econimic situation. ”I am the most talented of my family, so I traveled with my father. Now, at my age, I decided to try for myself and see if I can help my struggling family, but it’s hard to be here on your own as an unmarried woman – some do try to take advantage of me. But I’ve also made very good friends the short time I’ve spent here. I don’t want to get married, not yet, and I also want to get married for love, but I know that will be hard,” said Ms Writer.

She then added: ”And do you know, there will be a lot of marriages here. This spring is full of them. The ladies are already seeking the best gowns to wear. I don’t have the money or the inclination to join the competition, but usually it’s very interesting to watch.”

I asked her if she could confirm one of the rumours I’d heard, about a couple that had been discovered all alone doing the kissy kissy thing, and then been forced by the Queen Mother to get married.

”Yes, Mr Mikk Graves and Ms Amalthea McMahon. It’s a match of money and title, very convenient for both,” Ms Writer confirmed.

As we spoke, we were joined by another lady that told us she was waiting to get married, Ms Clowes. And with whom, we asked.

”The gentleman who has won my most exclusive affections and stabbed my pure black heart with a sword, or rapier, of love, making it bleed back to its natural red state is none other than … A most honourable and charming, rather I dare say, dashing in his most exquisite uniform, our well loved and well known dear Lord Pete Warwillow,” Ms Clowes answered.

We’d hardly had time to give her our dearest congratulations before our party was disrupted by a gentleman in a most miserable state, swaying, not able to stand firmly upright, and sharing a rich amount of his bodily winds. His name will not be mentioned here. He was punished enough by the simple fact that none other than the Queen Mother herself joined us and was able too see him.

”I was … *hicks* … out looking at … Champagne … some … for the weddings,” he tried to explain. ”Oh mon dieu,” said the Queen Mother, quite shocked to see an otherwise respectable nobleman in such undignified conditions. ”And now I am blind,” he cried, before Ms Writer hoisted his wig back up above his eyes. She then volunteered to help him find a place to rest. ”Take him to the stables and make him sleep with the horses,” said the Queen Mother.

Ms Clowes, who happen to be the Queen Mother’s niece, told her that the Queen had approved of her wedding Mr Warwillow. The Queen Mother snorted.

”I must say I am a bit disappointed. I always thought you would marry a member of a royal family. But your situation is so terrible I’m happy for seeing you married again. You were becoming a social waste,” she said.

Ms Clowes blushed, well aware of her reputation. ”Very true, but in my position, a good man like Lord Warwillow is certainly a blessing for me. We will be very happy together and our reputations will be better off. You have always looked after me, Your Majesty, and I appreciate it. I will keep him in my heart as long as we both live and we will be very happy,” she said, and then smiled a little proud.

”I’m sure of that,” said the Queen Mother, and she smiled as well.

Her Majesty then turned to me. ”So, are you enjoying our court, Ms Carfagno?” ”I certainly do, Your Majesty,” I answered, and told her I was a journalist reporting from Drottningholm. ”I’m glad you’re doing it. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask,” she said as Ms Writer came back from the stables, having disposed of the gentleman.

”I would like to ask Her Majesty on her position and her tasks here at Drottningholm,” I said. The Queen Mother coughed, and then explained: ”Well, I ride my horse, I arrange marriages, I wear wonderful dresses, I get angry and shout, I have my medication, and I try to stick my nose into all state issues.”

She confirmed having had a word or two to say on the upcoming marriages. ”Ms Clowes was a bit lost, morally speaking. I also found two courtesans alone in the park, kissing. So of course I arranged their marriage immediately. And of course I don’t approve of your dress, madame,” she said, addressing me while raising an eyebrow. ”I can see too much of your skin, and I can’t stand bare shoulders.” I felt like I should sink into the ground. So my dress had not after all been good enough for the royal court. I could only hope my etiquette at least had not insulted anyone.

The Queen Mother left, and I was alone with Ms Clowes and Mr Warwillow. They were both foreigners, they told me, Mr Warwillow coming from England to seek his fortune, and Ms Clowes being born in Prussia. This is how she narrated her story to me:

”I was born Princess in Prussia, the Queen Mother’s niece, and then when I moved to Sweden I worked my way up to the middle nobilty, which is where I’m currently at.” I told her she had a colourful background.

”Thank you, indeed it is. But more trouble than it is worth. You see, I had been married to William V of Orange, the Dutch Stadtholder, my ex-husband now. Unfortunately, incidents arose which left us to divorce, and that is the bad reputation my aunt was speaking of earlier.

”Would it be wrong of me to inquire into those incidents, madame,” I asked.

”Not at all. I would like to set the story straight, as there are all sorts of wild rumors going around. Well, I came to Sweden without my husband not only to introduce my son Willem to my aunt, but also to unofficially take a break from my husband. We married when I was 16 and never grew to love each other, never really on the same wavelength. He has his mistresses, as many men do, and I left for Sweden to get away from that,” said Ms Clowes, before looking contemplative for a moment, as if wondering if she should tell the whole story.

”I fell in love with a man here, who had intended on courting my dear friend Sophia who did not seem interested in him. But we both knew it wouldn’t work, and so he became a reverend and I,” said Ms Clowes, pausing again, looking for words.

”Well, I said I would wait for him. He is not Pete, so you know that didn’t work out. He wanted me to leave my husband, something I could not think to do. And while we were in each other’s company, suddenly rumors broke loose that we loved each other. My aunt told me to put a stop to it, rightly so, so I stopped seeing him. And, ironically, my husband found out about that, and the fact that I had privately converted to the Catholic faith. So he divorced me on those grounds,” said Ms Clowes.

”Then the big question that I have been asked is why I would not go back to the reverend, which is easy to answer. I’m telling you so that the rumours can end. The reverend is a reverend, not only not of my faith, but a leader of another faith. He should be with a protestant woman. And he never had my best intentions in his mind. Pete helped me understand that. Pete watched out for me. Pete helped me through this very difficult time for me. And so Pete has my heart and undying devotion,” said Ms Clowes, ending her story with a smile.

”Pete and I are soul mates. There will never be a better match,” she said, and Mr Warwillow could only agree. I thanked her for sharing her story with me, and decided to leave the two lovebirds alone.

As most members of the court now knew there was a journalist among them, one of them contacted me on my way back to the castle, eager to share some rumours about the Queen Mother with me. ”Did you know, she has a collection in her chambers, all sorts of stuff in jars. One of them contains her own child not yet born. And the King and his rittmeister are, um-hum-hum, you know, and so is the Queen. Perhaps madame journalist should dig a bit into those stories?”

I must admit this information lingered in the back of my head as I made myself ready to meet the King himself the next day. That he and his rittmeister would be … what? Could that really be true? It turned out during our interview that such suspicions might not have been taken out of the thin air.

Mr Graves was sent to pick me up with a carriage. He then took me to the house of the Order of the Seraphim, where the King most graciously welcomed me. I curtsied as best as I could, all too aware that I still wore the dress the Queen Mother had not approved of. But it is the only dress I have that comes anything remotely close to the fashions of the court.


The King did not seem to be displeased with my appearance. ”I guess you have been shown around, Min Fru,” he said. I told him I had, and that I’d met many nice ladies and lords during my visit to the court.

”We have different classes, as you may have observed. Nobility, military, even outcast. All extremes in fact. I’m thinking of the woods, where you find those that don’t belong to the court, mostly assassins, outlaws who don’t want to fit in. And then there is the Frimurare, whom I admire a little. You know, court life can sometimes be a little, how should I say it? Severe, maybe,” said the King.

”I am sure Your Majesty does his best to liven up the spirits of the court,” I said.

”Oh yes, yes. Of course. Painting, music and architecture, we cultivate all those things here. Just a week ago we had an evening of poetry. I am also about to design some nice clothes that could be national outfits. What do you think? Black and red,” he asked, looking at my dress. I blushed, and asked: ”It seems the topic of fashion is quite important at Drottningholm?”

”Of course. France has been a trendsetter too long. But if you’ve noticed, we are not so pompadouresque. Gently rococo with a touch of modesty. Yes, that’s it. Modesty is important and serves the etiquette. And I can proudly say we have the most wonderful courtladies here. Compared with them, newly planted flowers look faded. But the men are handso…,” he interrupted himself.

”Nice too. There is nothing more beautiful than a handsome man in a nice suit or uniform in good posture,” said the King, and my thoughts unwillingly drifted towards his rittmeister. I turned conversation towards the upcoming spring ball that I’d heard of.

”The spring ball? Maybe a surprise, You see, I don’t know about everything what my court is planning around us, the Queen Mother, Queen and the King. It has a life of its own. I mean, we don’t decide about people. But it’s a giving and taking. So we share a lot with each other as we provide a home for many and gather the glance of Sweden around us.”

Sometimes, the King admitted, there is a need to intervene in the court’s affairs.

”If soldiers get drunk, or if some matters would affect the Royal Family or matters of high importance. My mother is always very fast in her actions. She recently degraded a soldier, which is not in her department. But of course I respect her will. What would it look like if I reversed her decision?”

I asked what had made her angry at the soldier.

”Well, he didn’t want to go with her to a masked ball. So she got a bit angry and degraded him. That sort of thing has happened too often lately. Maybe her age,” the King answered.


He then turned to a serious topic: Conspiracy in the court.

”Sometimes I have that feeling. I get it from some nobles I don’t know too well. I still think about the time I got knocked down. It was during a ball, when I went away with the Queen for a small talk behind the house where we now sit. I got knocked down, and I’m yet not sure who it was,” he said, adding he might have to think of getting lifeguards very soon – ”Just in case.”

”Your Majesty,” I then asked, ”what is the most important aspect of being the King?”

”To find that balance between presence and absence to best rule the country. The King should never be too available, but has of course duties to take care of. As you can see, this country is prospering again, and more money means more culture, events, festivities, fashion and buildings, everything we need to make our lives more luxurious. But at the same time not forget those we need to protect and who in a way provide us.”

The King then looked thoughtful, and said: ”Please don’t print that last sentence.” I told him I couldn’t guarantee that.

”Well, let me explain,” he said. ”There are some who are born into wealth and some who have to provide wealth for others. That is how the system works; that is godgiven and natural. But we have a Baron here at the court by the name Nykvist. He was raised under poor conditions, but has climbed upwards to the nobility. He has been hated and not accepted by other nobles for that. But I protect him, as he has worked hard and brought the country forward.”

”Your Majesty: The near future of Drottningholm?”

”Oh, there are so many nice things waiting to happen. At first, I want to move into the palace when it’s ready. Then I want entertainment here. People shall have fun, with theatre, opera, dances, shows and weddings. And we will have a few weddings here, as far as I know. Drottningholm has a golden future waiting.”

Woo-hoo – I’m someone

•May 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment


Vain as I am, I decided it was time to do another search for my name on Google. And to my surprise: My name is an estabilished search term (or whatever it’s called), and gets a massive 4,270 results. Do I need to say I feel proud? Okay, so Bryn Oh gets 1,480,000 results, but I won’t let that ruin my day. Goals are good for you. I suppose.

Heart of darkness

•April 20, 2009 • 5 Comments


”I could always rape you if u like”.

How about that for an offer? Well I was, after all, visiting a sim named Force Park – a place dedicated to «rough sex roleplay». But why on earth did I do that?

It all began while I was checking out the skin described in the blog post below. Looking at the creator’s profile, I saw she was a member of the roleplay Crack Den based on urban decay. Interested in what was going on there, I ventured.

It was when I met a woman in the Downtown shopping area things began to turn nasty. She asked me if I was enjoying the place, and told me she was out shopping for furniture. I wondered if there was much violence going on there. ”This is a roleplay community. You will be safe unless you want some roughness,” she explained.

Then she added: ”There is a neighbourhood called Force. That is small, but rapes do go on there. It is a bad area, he he.” I asked if she’d been raped herself. She lowered her head and answered ”Yes. Many times here – it’s a rough area. Last night, I was grabbed while outside my apartment. I’d just left it, and he was behind the dumpster. I tried to run, but he had a taser. When I woke up I was spread out naked on a table and tied. Was awful.” I asked what a taser is, and she explained it’s a gun that make you collapse and wake up all droogy.

”If you’re looking for a rape roleplay, then Force is a great place,” she said, offering to take me there. Having arrived, I commented the place looked quite scary. ”Very. I was tied to the tree and had to watch my friend get raped,” she said, adding she had to clean up after the act had been done. ”Was so awful. Was so scared.”

A man came nearer. My guide began emoting: «cuts eyes spying a man dart into the shadows», «eyes has scared look as i loook over at my friend», «eyes darting so scared – away from my good neighborhood». Nothing happened – the man walked on.

”They will approach you,” the woman told me before she had to leave. ”You have a lot of fun now, he he. Make memories in a safe environment. This can be so much fun, you will be like me and buy a place here. A few of us moved down here because it’s so much fun. If you stay here and chat they will show you a good time hopefully.”

I was on my own in a mean looking street. And even though I wore an observer tag, it didn’t take long before a man walked over to me. ”Hi gawjus. What you up to?” Having decided to act completely neutral, I told him I was just observing and that this was my first time there. ”Ok, cool. What do you want to do here,” he asked. ”Find out what it is. What kind of people are here and what they do,” I answered. He said: ”They have sex, mostly. Forced fantasy.” I asked him if it was safe. ”Sort of. I would say only come if u want fucking. Well, u have a good look round, babe. Be safe.”

Two minutes later, he sent me a message: ”I could always rape you if u like”. I politely declined.


I then ventured deeper into this heart of darkness. It was enough to make my stomach churn as I passed poseballs with some rather creative suggestions, saw a naked woman doll being run over by a bus while tied up, and a cardboard girl that sold a magazine named Forced where you could read «Rape fiction» and about a «10L cum slut».

Inside a warehouse I could see two men and a woman having a go at it. ”Come on, scream for us,” one of the men said to her, but she wasn’t actually one that let herself be controlled too easily. ”Come on, give more fantasies, not only d***s,” she demanded. Another woman, a bisexual domme in black leather, came over and said: ”Most men can’t type while they’re playing with their d**k. And yes, they also lack fantasy”. The first woman said: ”Come on, use me, I need it, and don’t forget we’re in a rough sex area, not in a four poster bed lol”.


While standing outside the warehouse, I also stood close to some poseballs, and a man activated a blue one saying «Get S****d» and wanted me to use one of the pink ones saying «S**k». I got an IM: ”Come s**k me”. Once again, I declined, and decided that I’d seen enough of the place.

All the time I was there, I had an IM conversation with my friend Stacia Villota so not to feel all alone. She arranged it so we could meet at one of her favourite cafes, and sent me a teleport with the message «Coffee to soothe the soul, darling? :-)»  Yes – just what I needed. I left Force Park with a sigh of relief.


Epilogue: What is to be made from a place like this? In my former blog post, about the «Victimized» skin, I concluded saying I wouldn’t want to boycott it as it could be used for roleplay not dealing with rape. But a sim completely dedicated to men’s abuse of women? No thanks.

But then there is also this: We know that rape is part of some women’s sexual fantasies. To fantasize about being raped can be a way to live out a sexual desire without being responsible for «acting sinful». You also have women that fantasize about raping men or other women, and men that fantasize about being raped.

So am I one to say that people should not be allowed to live out their sexual fantasies in SL? Should I tell them this is bad? After all, there is a big difference between rape in First Life and Second Life. Rape in FL is always involuntary. In SL, you have to be in on it. And the two women I met was, as you could read, not passive victims, but quite outspoken in their demands.

What I don’t like about Force Park is this: Having a sim dedicated to use women in a violently sexual way reinforces the myth that women carries a secret wish to be raped. What I saw was an environment built to let men be the predators and women the victims. I’m not saying the male users of this place are so stupid that they leave their computer to go out and rape a woman afterwards, thinking it’s okay, but it’s another small stick on an already heavy load. The sim is part of a larger and even more cruel picture of a world that is still unfair and uneven to women. And while I can tolerate and even appreciate other parts of this picture, like for example bikini women in lads’ magazines, I think a place that so blatantly exposes the unevenness in the relationship between the sexes at its worst should not be a part of Second Life.

If you want to express your concerns about this place and others like it, you can do like me and be part of the Second Life Left Unity Feminist group. We have weekly meetings where we discuss all sorts of topics related to women and SL.

I hope no journalist colleagues of mine use this information to badmouth or judge Second Life in a sensationalist way. SL is all in all a wonderful place, I love it here, but as it reflects all parts of First Life, I was not surprised to discover this place.

Should this be banned?

•April 18, 2009 • 14 Comments


Some days ago, I got this notecard named «Boycott and Protest Defiant Designs». It read:

Defiant Designs creator brittainy Beeper is selling a rape roleplay skin that are explicitly sexualized representations of violence against women by the name of «Victimized» which includes 9 layers of «3 levels of abuse» and «Victimized Face Set» which depicts a black eye, bloody nose, head gash, busted lip, and cheek scratches. In May 2007 Linden Labs put out a notification that specifically bans «rape» and «forced sex» role playing. These products are very clearly intended for such a purpose; the inclusion of «3 levels of abuse» in the skin is clearly geared for RP. There is no hiding the fact that this skin is intended for rape roleplay. The skin graphically depicts massive amounts of cuts and scrapes on a female body. Even were they not, as graphic representations of sexual abuse they represent a very clear violation of the community standards.

Please do not buy anything from the skin’s creator and most importantly please file an abuse report against these items. Be sure to include the object that is selling this skin, the creator (brittainy Beeper) and the location. It will be more effective if you report this from the item with a very descriptive report. It will also be more effective if more people report it so please pass along this notecard and spread the word.


I thought I’d go and have a look at the «Victimized» skin before I did anything else. The landmark brought me right in front of the vendor, and, yes, I could see this was not very pleasant stuff, as you can see from the pictures. But was there really «no hiding the fact that this skin is intended for rape roleplay»?

The skin gives you the look of a seriously beaten up woman. But raped? You can be raped without being bruised, say, if you are drugged or you give in because resistance is futile. And you can be beaten up without being raped, although the two things are often connected when you’re a woman.

I looked around the shop, and could see the creator had a concept. The concept being quite a lot of bloof and violence. There were «Suicide Wrists», «Barb Wire Gag», «Stitched Shut Lips», «Gun Shot Wounds» and simply «Blood». It was also clear that everything was very well made by someone who knew what she was doing. And the fact that the creator after all was a woman, made me want to look deeper into the matter.


I wrote a notecard telling her that I’m a member of a feminist group, and that someone had called for a boycott to her shop. I then asked her a few questions and sent it. It was given back to me the next day:

Is the «Victimized» skin intended for rape roleplay?

If not, then what is it intended for?
It is intended for roleplay purposes after being beaten, I am working on a men’s line of skin that will also feature the same sort of wounds.

Does the «Victimized» skin represent sexual abuse?

Have you worn the skin yourself on any occasions? If so, which?
I have worn the skin in an ad or two.

How would you describe the concept of your store?
The concept of my store is basically roleplay gear that you can put on your character to customize them after they have been attacked. Example: Hit by a car, shot, gotten in the mud.

In May 2007 Linden Labs put out a notification that specifically bans «rape» and «forced sex» role playing. Should that be banned?
Honestly, it wouldn’t bother me if it is or isn’t, I am rarely online to roleplay. I spend my time here as a designer and have had a lot of fun in the past roleplaying. I do wish I had more time for it. Nothing in my store is meant to demean women, I am a woman myself who was actually raped at the age of 14. My creations are strictly for customizing your character. And if the skin is found to be that offensive, I will remove it if requested. I do have to say though that a rape skin «if one was to be made» would have wounds around the genitals and mine does not.


I will be clear: I would never buy the «Victimized» skin as I wouldn’t know what to do with it. It’s not my cup of tea. But: I believe Beeper when she says it’s not intended for rape roleplay, and she has a point when it comes to the skin not having wounds around the genitals.

One could argue that to make a skin that shows a woman being beaten up so thoroughly is bad in itself, be she raped or not. I would say that depends on the surroundings where the skin is being used. If it’s as a part of a roleplay where the members, women and men alike, risk being beaten up, and women can kick the men’s asses, I’d say that’s ok. But as part of a surrounding where men play abusers of women – that’s a lot more problematic, and I will write a blog post on that tomorrow. That’s when I’ll take you to Force Park.

Fait Accompli

•April 15, 2009 • 1 Comment

I’m working on a new photo exhibition these days. As always, I’m not able to come up with anything original myself, but have to copy, sorry, get inspiration from someone. This time it’s the band Curve and their music video «Fait Accompli».

The video can’t be said to be very original in any way – it’s an ordinary feature with the band standing on a stage playing as if they were rehearsing, a bit scattered around, the smoke machine is working overtime, and there are some other people there, one of them I think is a flamenco dancer, and it never gets clear why they are present. They look a bit confused themselves.

If I hadn’t been a great fan of the song before I saw the video, I might never have given it a second look. But: There are some things here that work very well.

First of all it’s the singer Toni Halliday. She doesn’t do that much, but she’s among those that doesn’t have to. Her presence is in itself pure cool. Then there is the use of light and smoke, that sometimes give her an ever more striking presence. The parts where she’s seen as a silhouette are beautiful. And the editing suits the song’s slightly chaotic feeling.

So this, then, is what I’ll try recreate. Light, smoke, chaos, Toni Halliday. It’s yet to be seen if I can do it. I made some simple loudspeakers, put them in a dark room I built and rezzed a lot of smoke. And this is where I’ll say a big thank you to my friend Jasmine Lisle who were so kind as to make me smoke clouds only because I asked her. Thank you, Jasmine. All the pictures I took before you gave me the smoke has been dutifully scrapped.

The pictures will be shown at the Camera Obscura Gallery at Diabolus from the 14th of May. They will share the space with other photo series I’m working with at the moment, but more about those later.

Bryn’s continuing story

•April 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment


As you may know, many of the artist Bryn Oh’s works are connected by a storyline. It’s a story of love and life, loss and death, and robots, artificial life. If you visit her island Immersiva, you will find bits and pieces of the story here and there.


Bryn recently added a new chapter to her story. This might be called «Angler Girl». Just like the angler fish, this robot girl has a long cord on her head with a lightbulb on the end. She uses this to trick other robots to come to her so she can catch them in her net and take their batteries. She doesn’t like doing this, as you can see from the poem you get when clicking inside her head, but she has to do it to survive herself.

Angler Girl
Lights the dark
In the abandoned

Mismatched robots
In salvaged parts
Come to her
Past shopping carts

In tears she catches
Those she sees
To live she needs
Their batteries

A new friend

•April 11, 2009 • 2 Comments


Sometimes you meet someone that resemble yourself so much it’s mildly scary. That happened to me today with Stacia Villota.

It began in a shop where we’d both come because of the same issue: A skin that was for sale. (More about that skin in a later blog post.) I hadn’t seen her then, but got an IM from her after I’d left and she’d found – and read – my blog in my profile, telling me that she liked it. We began to talk.

Stacia is a blogger and a writer as well, even a freelancer as I am. And as she said ”so I have to be careful about balancing my hours and my addiction, to ensure the home and food are paid for, he he,” I could only agree and add that I no longer stay up longer than until midnite. ”Okay, we’re long lost sisters?” she said, and it wasn’t really a question. I responded: ”Ok, I push the «Add Friend…» button now.”

She told me she’d found out about SL reading a magazine on an airplane. ”Saw this beautiful graphic girl on the cover… said «virtual world». Read the story. Came home. Forgot. Four months later, saw another story about «virtual world». And signed up.”

My story is this: I did not read about SL on a plane, but in an English language magazine while I was out travelling far abroad. Came home. Forgot. Signed up three months later (maybe because of another article, I can’t remember). And that was only two months before Stacia.

And there is more: We both are attracted by the visual art side of SL. Our blogs are both from WordPress and use the same layout. We both will choose writing over design because we both feel others are better than us on design. We both say FL (First Life) instead of RL (Real Life). We both have a sarcastic and sometimes cruel sense of humour we have to be careful with. We both are the eldest among our siblings, and when she said she preferred to read old books, I managed to blurt out that I’m reading Thomas Hardy at the moment before she’d finished her list of fave authors that began with … Thomas Hardy.

When I finally got to meet her, I was glad to see her dressed in bright colours and Neko ears and tail, while I was in my usual black. But I do have ears and a tail as well, so I put on my ears …

Juria Yoshikawa looks back

•April 7, 2009 • 2 Comments


Juria Yoshikawa is the artist that gave – and still gives – us a feast for the eyes with her electric light shows. Northern lights, liquid lights, swirles, particles, loops, dots, kaleidoscopes, watercolours, cosmic colours, cosmic kisses – she’s done it all.


Now you can see a retrospect exhibition with some of her finest works gathered in one sim: There is Bedazzle Dome, Nest of Light, Aurora Remixed, The Wild West of My Watercolor Set, Mixed Opposites and I’m Not Here. On a raised bridge you walk from one to the next, but, of course, what you should do is just to fly from piece to piece, into them and immerse yourself in their spectacular lights and sounds.


To quote the exhibition catalogue: «A typical Juria Yoshikawa virtual artwork mixes kinetic objects, animated texture, ambient noise and av animations. She inevitably chooses scales larger than conventional gallery work because she is interested in people experiencing the work in a physical way – flying through them, riding on them and socializing within the art. To Juria virtual art is about freeing oneself up to create in ways she finds impossible in real life.»

Yep, so it is. Have fun.

The Champagne Rooms goes to Babbage

•April 5, 2009 • 2 Comments


As you might remember, I sometimes dance at a burlesque club named The New Champagne Rooms. It’s great fun with elegant costumes and a beautiful venue reminiscent of something that could have been built in the 1920’s – with the music to match.

Much thanks to Ceejay Writer, I think, The Champagne Rooms have opened a new venue at Babbage. Yesterday, a crowd of lucky spectators could see the grand opening gala. First on stage was the one and only Ms Writer herself, in a fabulous costume with steaming pasties, reciting an essay on the importance of steam for the Babbage community as she danced. Most impressive.


She was followed by the duo Fire For Thought, giving us a spectacular show of dancing and clever treatment of lit torches. And this will be the profile of The Champagne Rooms at Babbage: More vaudeville than burlesque. I wonder if I’ll be able to do my Hamlet act there one day?