Friday, July 4, 2008

Fireworks!


Fireworks are symbols of the 4th of July in the U.S. the way the flags were before the commercialization of the symbolic day. Fireworks are alive and well in SL. I can't push my little MacBook all the way up to super spiffy light and water effects but I did bump it up a notch to watch the fireworks show over on Jade Kitty at DeCuir Creations. Yes they sell particle effects, but you don't have to buy anything. Just go and enjoy. Fireworks are going off all day long there. Now that is good old fashioned marketing. I will remember when I need snow or some other particle effect. The setting adds a nice quaint small town feel; clapboards rather than chalet building textures would have added another layer of authenticity to the experience for me on this particular day. The sound effects were good too. I can't complain though as colorful explosions are loved the world over and the US has no particular claim to them.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Womens Center

Did I tell you I have an island? The Grand Opening won't be until the Autumnal Equinox, but Womens Center can be pulled up on the map when in SL and I have started terraforming and creating different venues/ spaces. on the island. I plan to have a conference space with tables, a lecture space with video equipment, a cafe for casual drop in chit chat, several small spaces for quiet talk with friends. The context around these specific places/spaces will be open space (this is an Open Space island with a low prim allowance but as much "space " as on a regular island. But scattered throughout that open space will be info about women/goddesses/saints/wise women/women's organizations...

I'm looking for 5 to 9 advertisers/underwriters to each support one aspect of the island in return for tasteful references to their organization/business/island in that space. I need to come up with at least $90 U.S. a month to make this fly. That would be between $10 to 20 U.S. for these 5 to 9 benefactors/sponsors.

Why do we need this?

Clubs are not the right atmosphere for women's talk about serious concerns, nor for a quiet place for two friends to just talk, many avatars de-select themselves from using feminist or academic gathering spaces if their group needs a space for something informal or something off topic from the theme of the area, sim, or venue.

There were many times in SL when I purchased or held onto land I really could not afford because I wanted to host an event for a group or cause in which I participated and I simply did not want to color the gathering with the venues available to me.

I am also a firm believer that it is up to the women of the world to save what we can of the mess that men wielding power for so many centuries has made of our home planet. We have very little time in which to act before the complete destruction of the biosphere is inevitable. Second Life gives women from around the world the chance to gather together and network in a way that was never possible until the past couple of years. Women have always networked and maximized the energies and resources available to them through sharing, pooling, stepping up, stepping back --whatever was necessary to insure the survival of their children and those family members in their care.

In the U.S., the country with which I am most familiar, women have had suffrage for less than 90 years. The days of merely being a satellite of a male life are very recent and thus the current state of affairs where women have some autonomy and authority to make their own decisions is tenuous.

If we do not wish to settle into the new dark age accompanying the coming environmental shifts and the co-occurant economic collapse and total societal rearrangement that can so easily emerge from that degradation then women have to reassert their organizational, nurturance, and leadership skills and abilities so as to out maneuver the male controlled families and corporations that have brought us to this brink of mass extinction.

How this maneuvering is to be done and what women will build as alternative structures, I cannot prophicise . I do however have absolute faith that if women gather together in peace and joy with a common purpose with positive frames and orientations -- that emergent properties of the system will come out of the new connections and ideas that are forged as women simply gather together to do the things they need to do in a new open context.

The women's center is simply to be a place for women to meet together. If we all have this common understanding of the need for knowledge and new practices as we meet with each other for poetry readings, business meetings, movie viewings, discussions, book groups, whatever, then these bits of information and ways of doing things will come forth. We cannot force specific changes because the world is far too complex of a system to be controlled, but we can nudge trajectories and use our collective wisdom to respond to opportunities as they appear that we might miss as individuals.

SL cuts across geographic boundaries as well as economic and religious divides. This virtual world is a perfect meeting place for the women the world over. If we can establish places women can simply use for their needs, this will go incredibly far into helping to birth new connections, opportunities and ways of looking at the world.

I hope you will come to the Womens Center and help bring this vision to life.

Here is my favorite spot on the island so far. This will be a meditative or quiet conversation area.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bumped in to my friend Ellie.

I ran into my friend Ellie Brewster who teaches in Women's Studies somewhere in Ohio.... that is somewhere that isn't in SL, can you imagine that?

Anyway I had told her about my new island called Women's Center in Delicious Estates and when I was popping in there tonight we both rezzed at the same time. So I showed her around what I've got done so far. Don't worry there will be a huge post about the island and my plans for it in the very near future.

But before my island is done, in fact in the next couple of days, do go to Ellie's display in the education section of SL5B (only a couple more days until it is over and goes away) check out all the great women's issues she covers by looking at elements of women's lives as typified by elements of the simple village home depicted in her exhibit there as part of her university's exhibit.

Ellie also coordinates a Feminist Science Fiction book discussion group on her island. You can go to the group's wiki to find out more about it.

BlogHer 08 in SL

I'm getting it all together for BlogHer in SL! Woot! Can't wait!

If you don't know about it, zip on over to the registration info page. I'll be on a panel there about the intersection of Blogging and SL. But I will also be having office hours this Friday, as I did last Friday at the CNN iReport Hub on Future Island.

I'm putting up some new blog bling on the side of this page. Click it and you can find out about the conference.
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About this blog and Second Ana:

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The Womens Center, Second Life
Ana Herzog, avatar in the virtual world of Second Life, expounds on the semiotics of identity in the metaverse, alternate realities, feminism, artistic expression and the growing use of SL as a a progressive networking tool. Second Ana was born into Second Life on July 8th of 2006. Her island, The Womens Center, will officially open on the Autumnal Equinox. She owns Casita Gaia, an Interior Furnishings Boutique in Barcelona del Oeste. She is the local coordinator for CODEPINK SL. CODEPINK SL is an international chapter of CODEPINK Women for Peace. CODEPINK is also represented by our hut hangout on Commonwealth Island where our neighbors include the ACLU and Green Peace.