Discovering Zaara

•June 9, 2009 • 2 Comments

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How lovely it is to stumble upon a new shop full of clothes that you want – even more so when you actually can afford them as well. Zaara is such a new find to me. (I should mention Zaara Kohime actually opened her shop in January. I’ve obviously suffered from some kind of blindness.)

It was love at first sight as I entered this Indian clothes store. That came as quite a surprise, as I’m usually not the one that’s likely to dress up in a lot of different colours. But the colourful Mala freebie is wonderful, and so are most of their items.

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My first purchase was something that didn’t surprise any of my friends: Black Ishaya slacks and a black Isis shirt (the transparency might have surprised some, though).

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Afterwards, I got hold of a Nilaya raw silk cross jacket and a pair of Mitya shorts.

Those are the ones I’ve photographed so far. What you should see me wear soon is one of the fabulous saris that’s also for sale. Gee, I might as well buy everything at once and get it over and done with.

PS: My shoes in the first picture are from Tesla. They have a store in the Zaara sim.

Vernissage

•June 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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So my exhibition «Moon River» opened this last Sunday, and I felt such a thrill as people trickled in. The vernissage lasted nearly four hours. I would like to thank everyone that came by and said so many nice words about my work.

Most of all, though, I’d like to thank the gallery owner, Gina Glimmer, for giving me the opportunity to do this: Thank you, Gina :-)

Please come by Gina Glimmer’s Gallery to have a look if you’d like.

Moon River

•May 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

moonriverflyerblog

Dear everyone

This Sunday, on the 31st of May, noon SLT, I open my new exhibition «Moon River» in Gina Glimmer’s Gallery.

The pictures are inspired by the song with the same name, and the scene in «Breakfast at Tiffany’s» where Audrey Hepburn plays and sings it. (Hence the guitar.)

I hope as many as possible can come. If not to the opening, then later. You’re all very welcome :-)

Here are the lyrics:

Moon River, wider than a mile,
I’m crossing you in style some day.
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker,
wherever you’re going I’m going your way.
Two drifters off to see the world.
There’s such a lot of world to see.
We’re after the same rainbow’s end –
waiting ’round the bend,
my Huckleberry friend,
Moon River and me.

A strange day at school

•May 25, 2009 • 2 Comments

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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”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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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

tcgoogle

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

forcepark3

”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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.