Friday, August 26, 2011

Sayumi has left Second Life

Yesterday I have deactivated my SL account and I will be leaving SL permanently. My life has taken some different turns and twists, and I am realizing that I have a significant problem with electronic media, probably even an addiction problem really. I have suspected this for some time, and I have finally decided to take the bull by the horns and act on it.

I will be cutting out other online activities as well. I need to do this for my real life to achieve its full potential.

My warm greetings to all at UWA in SL who may care, and please be assured that I am heading into a good place in my life, but saying a permanent goodbye to SL and all such pursuits is a necessary part of this.

Best and sincere good wishes to you all. Those who have been special friends in the past, please be assured that you did nothing to drive me away but very much the opposite. If I had been able to restrict my SL to the UWA activities, I might have been able to continue, but my online addiction proved inconquerable without taking this step.

I will likely close this blog eventually, unless I decide to make some reflections on my addiction so that others may benefit. We'll see.

This is not a coherent, well rounded appreciation of my time in SL, and for that I am sorry. UWA in SL was an amazing experience, and I am sorry that I could not continue with it.

Peace, love and happiness to you all. Ganbate ne!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Paradise lost

I went back to Paradise this morning, probably for the last time. I wandered in the silence as the waves crashed against the sea wall and the waterfall thundered in the distance, and inevitably I pulled out my mobile phone and started clicking memories.

I remembered the times Tasha and I had danced slowly on her deck while the blades of her helicopter turned slowly in the sea breeze, the motion soothing me after a long day in the classrooms of another universe.

I crossed the suspension bridge on tiptoe, lest the clack of my foolish heels on the wooden boards would disturb the sleeping fish below, mist from the waterfall already moistening my skin.

Entering the cave where an animal skin had provided a comforting cuddle spot, the echoes of our voices resounded mockingly in the ears of my memory, and I kicked some pebbles aside and started to climb the rocky pathway to the plateau where grasses and flowers grow and where we had danced in the gentle rain.

I took up a dancing pose but there was none to take my arm and my waist, so I slumped my shoulders again, clicked my mobile phone a few more times and climbed the precarious wooden ladder to the meditation platform.

Taking the familiar pose on the mat, looking down across the grasses, the rocks and the waterways to the house far below, the sun setting on the horizon,
my heart stilled a little with the beauty of what beautiful Tasha had created. I sat for a while, knowing that it was probably for the last time, the waterfall thundering behind me now, fine spray soaking my thin cotton top to my back and matting my hair around my cheeks.

Rising reluctantly, I climbed the last ladder to the one
spot we never managed to find time to visit together, a tiny dining pavilion on the highest peak above the valley, and once again I gazed out over the whole vista and wept for Paradise lost.

Though we had tried again since I last wrote about her, and some more sweet memories were made, Tasha and I have parted now and soon some other will likely share paradise with her. My heart proved too fragile for this beautiful, sensitive, clever and amazing girl, my European sweetheart who I will never forget. We parted on good terms, with no acrimony, but parted we have.

This writing and my pictures here I want to stand as my permanent tribute to her creativity and the love I will always feel for her… my daisuki though aishiteru can be no more. Paradise was a wonderful setting for all we shared, Tasha, and the more precious for being the product of you own heart and your own imagination.

Addendum: Within a few hours of my solo photo visit, Tasha and I were back in each other's arms on her deck, and later that day we danced together in the mountain top dining pavilion. We look to the future with hope, very aware of our own frailty.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Two Italian poems

I'm a sucker for Italian. A girl or even a guy only has to speak Italian - it could be the recipe for eggroll, I wouldn't know and I wouldn't care, hee hee - and I will swoon at their feet. Well, only kidding really, but I have known a few delightful Italians in my time in SL, and one who has been special to me over some months has sent me a couple of sweet poems. Well, I'm commentating on artworks on my university's blog, and poetry is another form of art... so I thought I'd give these poems the light of day. I have no idea if they represent 'good' Italian poetry, but they speak to my heart and so they are good... for me at least. LW wishes to be known only as LW (I know I am not his one and only in SL, hee hee, and nor is he mine) but he's a sweet guy. Here is some of his work...

Translations are by Google, with a few amendments using educated guesswork. LW's English is good for daily conversation, but the nuances of poetry he handles best in his own language I think. And my Italian is far from belle. If anyone wants to suggest an amendment to the translations, I'd be happy to make corrections to what I have here.


Fra vento e tempo
in burrasca
nel mio mare
senza bussole
il nord è impazzito
l’ago gira senza meta
Capitano lei è deposto
La scialuppa è in mare
amo la pioggia che cade
“lavami l’anima”
il vento spazza il viso dalle lacrime
non c’è tempo che possa guarire
il sangue scorre senza soste
il cuore pulsa
ansie, paure, un battito
tum tum tum
batti, batti ancora
non fermarti
spingimi all’orizzonte
portami via
il maelstrom mi attira
ho già toccato il fondo
non ritornare
Terra! Terra!
è solo un deserto
suona per me, fammi dormire
le tue dita sanguinano
corde di vetro..
…ed io le ho montate…

Between wind and time
I sail
in storm
in my sea
without compasses
the north goes crazy
the needle it turns without destination
The captain is overboard
he is swallowed by the sea
I love the rain that falls
the illusion
"wash my soul"
the wind sweeps the tears from my face
there is no time that can recover
the blood it flows without ceasing
the heart pulsates
anxieties, fears, a pulsation
tum tum tum
beating, still beating
never stopping
push me to the horizon
take me there
the maelstrom it attracts me
I have already touched the distance
not to return
Earth! Earth!
it is only a desert
plays for me, make me sleep
your fingers they bleed
ropes of glass..
and I have climbed on it....

Notte a Vendres

Vedo la tua stessa luna
Vedo le tue stesse stelle
Stanotte è luna piena
Sirio è accanto a lei
L’alchimia della notte trasforma le anime
Le rende immortali fino a quando la luce le separerà
vento da nord
le sospinge
Il turbinio…
ed è danza
senza controllo
come libera è l’aria
Spirali vorticano verso l’universo
No! Lacrime
Gocce infinitesimali nel mare
Vento caldo da sud
Il tuo viso è asciutto
I tuoi occhi brillano
La marea ha coperto i nostri castelli
Non rimane che sabbia
E granchi spazzini
Portano via quello che rimane di noi
Night in Vendres

I see the same moon as you
I see the same stars as you
Tonight is full moon
Sirius is next to her
Alchemy transforms the souls of the night
Makes them immortal until the light will separate them
north wind
pushes the
The whirlwind ...
and dance
without control
how free is the air
Spirals swirl into the universe
Joys ...
No! Tears
Tiny drops in the sea
Hot wind from the south
Your face is dry
Your eyes shine
The tide has covered our castles
Only the sand remains
Crabs and scavengers
They take away what remains of us
That second one, LW... the hot wind comes from the east where I live, but my eyes still glistened on that beach... I know you will remember. Thankyou, sweet friend.

La seconda poesia, LW ... il vento caldo viene da oriente dove vivo, ma i miei occhi brillavano ancora su quella spiaggia ... So che ti ricorderai. Grazie, dolce amico.

Not so close, I hardly know you... or do I ?

I would like to echo the sentiments of Soror Nishi on her blog in regard to people in SL changing their names as allowed by the new generation of viewers increasingly (though not yet by me!) in use. People using the new viewers are logging in to find people they don't know listed in their Friends list. I have only so far seen this phenomenon when logging into my account on the SL website, but it has been a little unnerving.

You may have a good reason to change your name - people even do it in the real world. But if you do it without telling your Friends - all of them - you risk being culled and cut off without a cent as it were. A simple IM which you can copy and paste into everyone's IM's, or else a notecard hand delivered, is a simple courtesy if you do take your SL friends seriously. Of course, if your list is filled with people you 'once knew', maybe the kindest thing is a simple cull at the point of changing your name. I only have one person on my list that I will probably never see again, but that is for reasons of illogical sentiment and historical quirkiness.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wonderland with thorns

I had intended to write here a fairly dispassionate article about my perceptions of how SL might combine personal, human relationships with serious pursuits such as academic and educational endeavours or the creation and management of art works. It seems to me that many in SL pursue one or the other - recreation and relationship, or serious endeavour. I will enlarge on these thoughts in just a moment. However, my ability to be dispassionate has been ripped apart in the past 24 hours, and I feel a need to share this experience first - partly because it may help me just to deal with it; partly because it may be instructive to others; and partly because I have discovered that some at the UWA Art Challenge presentation on Sunday may have been shaking their heads wondering what kind of fool I am.

My own focus in SL has up to now been purely recreational, pursuing several sports as I have mentioned in my last post, and also, I have to admit, pursuing relationships of the kind which many critics abjure and scoff at. It is often felt that cyber relationships are a pathetic substitute for real world ones; and maybe they are, but I might explore that another time. However, that is what I was doing in SL, when I was here, on and off since early 2009. Because of the time I could spend in-world, and because of my strange time zone compared to so many, my relationships have usually been fleeting and unsatisfactory. But I had a much better experience some months ago, in a relationship I mentioned in my last post. Well, for a while I did. Then Tasha and I had some time apart because I got too busy in my real life and had also sown some latent seeds of damage into the relationship through my own foolishness; but we seemed about to reconnect, and she seemed receptive. She came to Sunday's UWA event with me, and with stars in my eyes I made us complementary 'titlers' proclaiming our affection. She was willing to wear the one I gave her, and I was proud to have her by my side. We started to dance at the afterparty, and then I left her for a moment to speak to one of the artists... and suddenly she had to go. Innocent enough, I thought - but it wasn't to return to RL, instead apparently to meet another friend. Still, I didn't sense anything untoward. And then, for some reason I don't recall, on Monday I browsed idly through her profile. Suddenly the bottom dropped out of my SL. Although I am still listed as her "Aussie friend", suddenly there was an ardent proclamation of love for another girl at the top of her Picks, a special group for just the two of them, and reciprocal declarations of affection on her lover's profile. Now, let me unpick this, as I have tried to do in my own mind since, and maybe it will be instructive, or maybe it will just be me licking my wounds.

What are my emotions about this revelation? Well, I have always been realistic enough to know and accept that, as an Aussie, most people I meet in-world are going to be on a different time zone, and hard to meet regularly. I love meeting people from around the world... I actually love the challenge, even, of intelligently using a translator and exploring someone else's cultural approach to SL and life in general. But I have had to accept that I am unlikely to meet "Miss Right", and I have never sought a monogamous relationship. I knew that I did not have that with Tasha. But what has hurt me was that I attended the UWA event with her at my side, proclaiming our love in our titlers (in the cold light of day... those titlers... god, what am I, 14 years old???) ... when anyone who was interested (hopefully few!) would have checked her profile and found that I was rather low on the ladder of her affections. I feel such a fool. I am an intelligent woman, a bit too loquacious at times, but someone who tries my best to be sincere with people. As I have since said to Tasha, I would have preferred her to politely refuse my titler... maybe even to tell me about her new love, but at least not to let me parade before so many people something that was so obviously untrue if anyone did their homework. All I can hope is that no-one cared enough to bother, and indeed the focus of the evening was on the artists and their work, so I am hopeful. But it doesn't take away my sense of shame and foolishness. Tasha has since apologize for not speaking to me about her new relationship, and I accept her apology, though my first instinct as I realized what was happening, as the tears flowed, was to savagely remove her as a Friend. I am emotionally quite immature in many ways. But I haven't, and although I am not sure if there is any future for our friendship at all, I am using this as an opportunity to reflect on relationships in SL, and yes, even to write about it and tease out my emotions and responses.

So I am starting to think more deeply about matters such as the psychology of involvement in virtual worlds, and of relationships people might experience in them. This is happening at the same time as I begin to dip my toes into the waters of the serious uses of SL and other virtual worlds, through my tiny, infinitesimal contribution to the UWA art project and the UWA in SL blog. So it is a fascinating time for me, despite the roller coaster ride my emotions have taken in the past 48 hours. I expected my essay to be simpler, from a perspective of someone who had a satisfying relationship, albeit not a monogamous one (Kip Yellowjacket, I know what you will say to that, hee hee!) who was also starting to find satisfaction in substantive work in SL. But the exercise is no less valid now, and if I can put aside the emotions a little, maybe my thoughts will still be worthwhile.

SL is a world. People have lives here. It is in one sense an extension of the real world. People continue with their lives in that world, hopefully occupying the majority of their time there, and enter SL or another virtual world as if through 'wormholes' of a kind, transcending space and time in a way that Einstein may have been fascinated by. But when they are here, their lives can be multi dimensional, I believe. They can do science, mathematics, art, literature, music, movies... they participate in an economy... they can be involved in government, journalism and real estate. It is a world in the fullest sense. And so why are relationships excluded? Friendships most certainly take place. But what about intimate relationships? This is a difficult question, controversial, the subject of mirth for many but of intense importance to others. I must admit my bias. I came into SL initially in pursuit of an intimate relationship. So my perspective is certainly biased and, some would say, warped. But really, any more so than those who have come here for science, research, education and the like? Many who come to SL limit themselves only to sexual pursuits, sometimes of a quite extreme variety and without any real sense of relationship at all. On the other hand, many come here only for noble pursuits, and find all they need of human relationships in the other, the real, world. At this moment in time, I find myself between the two, precariously straddling two or more purposes and spheres of endeavour in SL... trying to find some fulfilment, a sense of purpose, of making a difference... and yes, to find pleasure and emotional satisfaction as well.

Will I succeed? Has all this been said before? It's going to be interesting finding out. This is just the beginning of my thoughts. I want to simply thank those who have been part of my journey so far - dear Tasha not least among them, despite my raw emotions just now - and ask a reader of this to not think too badly of me if you dislike some of my perspectives. Constructive comment is always welcome.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sayumi in Wonderland

Fushigi no Kuni (不思議の国) is simply Japanese for Wonderland... which is one view I have of Second Life.

Oh... by the way... I don't actually speak much Japanese at all, and read not a single word!

I came to Second Life almost two years ago with no serious intent. I was actually born to spend time, mainly frivolously, with a friend from a MMORPG the only MMORPG I have ever played, and one I have long since left behind and in fact now shudder to recall. 'Nuff said on that topic! When that relationship didn’t flourish as I had hoped, for a time I chased the wind and achieved little. Eventually I toyed with some sporting activities – sailing, motorcycling, a little snow skiing… all sports I have so far no experience of in the other world we sometimes need to visit. I marvelled at the building and terraforming skills of others in creating the lands and oceans where I played. Eventually I grew bored and didn’t return for many months.

I came back a few months ago, and quickly formed a very special, though at times tempestuous, relationship with a clever, exciting and creative European woman. Once again I admired skills I could never imagine having, mainly through lack of serious time to develop them, though maybe also doubting my own creative talents in three-dimensional media.

Soon after re-entering this strange, incredible, many-gloried world, I discovered that my own University - the University of Western Australia, from which I had graduated in the other world with an Arts degree some little time ago - had a presence in SL. Indeed, more than a mere presence - in fact, a large part of the other-world campus had been created by persons then unknown to me, and in its centre was what I think has to be the most pleasant sandbox in all of SL. For some time I did little more than fly around the campus a couple of times and then return at intervals to mercenarily use the sandbox. Eventually, though, I discovered that the campus had a dimension it doesn’t possess in its other-world incarnation – a number of floating platforms where, in fact, some of the most important work was being done. Most especially, I found the platform for the UWA 3D Art Challenge.

And soon after that, I encountered Jayjay. That’s Jayjay Zifanwe, of course… the chief architect and manager of the whole UWA enterprise in SL, though he is quick to assure anyone that he has much help from others. Not that I have actually met Jayjay yet! My first encounter with him was when I discovered that he had spoken to me in an IM while I was intently playing with the colour scheme of some shoes on a pose stand I had rezzed in the UWA sandbox. Just what Jayjay had established the sandbox for, of course! I replied but he had wisely decided to leave me to it, and so began a series of messages back and forth. Incredibly, despite living in the same time zone and indeed the same city in the other world, we haven’t yet connected in-world… but now he has given me the opportunity to participate in my own small way in the great adventure of UWA in SL.

I do this with pride. My university – for indeed I will, as a graduate, forever be a member of the community that is UWA – seems to be at the forefront of the penetration of academia into virtual worlds, of which SL is at the moment the best known. I have little real knowledge of this whole endeavour, though I am sure I will learn more. But the role I have taken upon myself at this time is to provide occasional glimpses into what UWA is doing in SL from a very personal viewpoint, and in my own blog here probably to also critique other aspects of life in SL from time to time, as well as my responses to them.

I begin now with some personal perspectives on the November 2010 Round of the UWA 3D Open Art Challenge.