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Posts Tagged ‘prad prathivi’

When you leave Second Life should you be doing it quietly – without good-byes, without explanation, without reflecting on your experiences? Are you meant to quietly slip away as if those weeks, months, years, were nothing? If you speak out you risk having the post being called a “flounce” apparently.

A recent post by Prad bothered me because even though it revolved around an individual who he wasn’t impressed with, it also had generalised attacks on people who continue to share their opinions about Second Life after they’ve left it. The post’s title says it all – “STFU“. To use his own words: “So it appears that there is something worse than a critic who’s never bothered to try Second Life properly – An informed critic who’s got both venom and a personal agenda.” By that stage your opinion is only relevant or important if it is either (1) positive and up-beat or (2) if it’s not positive it has to be by someone still in-world. Whether someone has “venom and a  personal agenda” is very easy to accuse and assert – almost any conceivable negative opinion of Second Life could be designated as a result of venom and personal agenda.

I very rarely find myself disagreeing with Prad – not just because he was such a close friend but also because he’s simply often right. But his latest post was a contradiction of his one before it. In that previous post he spoke out against the blogs which attacked individuals, in his own words: “Maybe I skipped a step somewhere in the social revolution, but I figured if you’re going to offend people, you needed to do it with a little class and not start publicly victimising named people. I can’t see the point of it, other to make people avoid you like the plague for fear of being your next victim.” Secondly in that previous post he said that negative opinions are fine when accompanied by constructive advice (such as tutorials). The person he’s attacked in STFU did give constructive advice on how Second Life could improve its future.

Surely we should want to know what made people leave? And when those people are good enough to openly suggest a list of ways Second Life could have improved the experience, should we not praise them and reflect on their points rather than condemn them?

When you leave and are trying to decide whether to speak out about it or not, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t: If you leave without a word you’re rude and cruel, if you leave with words you’re called a drama queen and told to shut up. You’re effectively pressured into silence about the real reasons behind your actions, and only meant to share the nice bits. Where the problems should have been voiced and could have been solved, they are intimidated into saying nothing.

I expect I will regret doing this post because it may cause the exact sort of drama that us leavers are meant to not cause, and because I loath to cause Prad any bother or bad press. But this is what blogging is all about right? It’s the place to share your experiences and opinions – even if they are negative ones about why you left Second Life.

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PradI’ve often considered doing a post solely about Prad, but the same problem kept coming up: When do I write it? He keeps doing new awesome things for me and I knew if I wrote one he’d just do something else awesome and I’d have to write another post. My whole blog could have ended up being an ode to Prad, and I really don’t like looking like a fan-girl / stalker. Finally though the time is right.

It’s so hard to know where to start, might as well go from the beginning. He was a DJ at Three Lions when I first got to know him, and I loved going along to his sets, they were a huge crowd favourite, with good reason. I just thought of him as some nice funny popular guy. Which actually sums him up really well to this day. It wasn’t until the pub closed and we all started hanging out on his roof that we started chatting a lot more and I got to know him better. And every new thing I found out about him just made him more real and more interesting.

Once Crown & Pearl started up, I knew it would be my home base, mostly because I knew Prad’s presence and influence would bring to it all the best people and aspects of Lions. It became so much more though. God I’m going to miss that place so very much, more than I ever missed Lions.

My friendly attitude and own popularity got noticed overtime and they made me an official greeter there. Then security, then manager. It was such a huge deal to me to be considered staff at Crown. And the first half year of being manager was the happiest time in my SL existence. The place’s existence, and my promotion to those positions, wouldn’t have happened without Prad.

And then there’s the art. I would be nothing in the art field without Prad. I only even noticed Flickr because of him and his own talents. I started my own Flickr account soon after and started taking my own pictures. He saw my potential and gifted me a year’s pro subscription to Flickr for my RL birthday last March. He offered me the use of his studio at his home, he gave me the pose ball script I ended up using everyday, and he gave me encouragement and support. I don’t hesitate to say that I became one of the well known SL artists in my time; I was included in exhibits, I won and got placings in many contests, I had my picture included in a well-known SL magazine, and I had a steady stream of paying clients. I also don’t hesitate to say that it couldn’t have happened without Prad.

Even this blog wouldn’t exist without Prad – I only noticed SL blogs because of him. So all the hits I’ve had (which recently went over 5000, yay!), all the people I’ve met through blogging, and the joy I’ve got from this experience in itself, again wouldn’t have happened without his influence in my life.

Prad’s been there on so many important occasions for me – one of my favourite SL memories is the day I became a mentor and Prad’s alt was there becoming a mentor too at the same session. I laughed so damn much and everything was hilarious, because he was there sharing it with me in IM the whole time. What could have been a very boring hour turned into one of my favourite hours. And that is the influence Prad has had on my SL life as a whole – when things should have been horrible or unbearable, he made it all OK and helped everything turn out alright. When I thought I stood alone, he always had my back. When I thought I couldn’t keep going, he let me know I had it in me to be great and helped bring that out in me. In every part of my Second Life he has helped me become so much more than I thought I could be and so in leaving SL I feel like I’m letting him down.

Yet even now he stands beside me and supports me. Even when I’m leaving so much behind he hasn’t gotten angry or indifferent towards me, he is still my friend today as much as he was yesterday. And hopefully years from now I will say the same.

Even though I won’t be in SL (except every now and then in the smallest regard – only for pictures), I will always do whatever I can to look out for him back. For his SL self, and his RL self. For everything I managed to achieve in SL, my RL persona is more successful and powerful, and those skills I have will continue to be at his disposal for him whenever he wants or needs them. In the same way that he has always been there for me, I will continue to do whatever I can to support and help him.

Of all my friends, I will miss him the most. I still have him on external message systems, but I’ll miss the way it always made me smile when he came up on the mystitool radar, and how the mood in a room always shifted for the better when he appeared, and his DJing, and his drunken singing, and just his very distinct avatar. There aren’t many people in either worlds like Prad who can make the world a better place in so many ways. He’s not just a builder, a DJ, a photographer, a bar owner, a blogger, he’s my friend. And that transcends pixels, even on ultra high graphics 🙂

Thank you Prad. For everything ❤

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On February 8th, at 1pm SLT, Crown & Pearl is auctioning off “dates” to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. It will be a large event so we’ll shift down to the new club – C2P – at Angel Square for it. Make sure you’re a member of the Crown & Pearl group in-world to get all the updates and reminders, or you can just ask me for details and a reminder and I’ll help you out ^^

We had the same event last year and it was very successful, and a lot of fun. We had a huge turn out and I’m hoping this year will manage the same.

It’s quite simple really: People get bid on and all proceeds go to the charity, and what you get if you “win” the person is a “date”. The date doesn’t necessitate anything dodgy (well unless you both really want it to!). It’s just buying an hour with the person’s charming company, for the sake of a damn good charity.

If you’re interested in being auctioned off just IM Bailey Longcloth by Thursday. So far the people up to be “bought” includes: Prad Prathivi (I’ll give you a second to drool, let me know when you’re finished…), Bailey Longcloth (co-owner of Crown & Pearl, Angel Square, Gallery of Light – if it’s classy she owns it :p), Aribeth Coronet, Rrishanna Regina, Kimber Enoch, Kitty O’Toole, Mia Deluca, Meghan Dench, and myself (of course).

There are more people than that who have said yes, that’s just a taste of why you should come along or join in. And make sure you bring plenty of lindens – it’ll be a lot of fun and for a very worthy cause 🙂

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Art has all sorts of inspirations – music, emotions, people, scenery – there is no limit to what might inspire you to do that next masterpiece. I often state who or what has inspired my Second Life art. One of the lesser known inspirations for my art comes from a passion my husband has – Magic The Gathering cards. They are “collectable” cards that are used to play a game, it has tournaments with rewards and it’s an international phenomenon – chances are you’ve heard of it. What you might not have noticed though is the amazing artwork on some of these cards.

A recent example got my imagination fired up, a newly released card called “Progenitus“. There is so much I love about the art on this card. It’s ominous subtleties directed inspired this recent picture I shot in Second Life. Don’t ask me to explain what the card’s ability means, I don’t know – that’s fancy pants stuff for great men like my husband. But I love the quote on the card that goes with the picture: “The Soul of the World has returned”. *breathes* I love that! There is a lot to be said for the words that are presented with art: One of my friends, Prad Prathivi, has a real knack for finding the right words to enhance a piece of art, it really makes a huge difference and can take art to the next level.

One of the special aspects of these Magic the Gathering cards is that they need to match the feel and story of the card’s ability (and reading about what would go visually wrong when they didn’t is amusing). I often try to convey a story or a message in my art pieces so this strongly appeals to me. Once you get into an appreciation of the artists who’s talents go into these cards you start discovering their other work too, like this by Jaime Jones who did the card art I showed you above. Tell me you don’t think that’s some amazing work, and this guy is only 22!

I’m considering starting my own collection of this amazing card art because they get my creative juices flowing every time. Thankfully the house is full of literally thousands of the things because of my husband’s existing passion for their game aspect, I’m sure he won’t mind if I take one of his $1000 valued rare cards (I’m not kidding, some are really worth that much o.O) and add it to my collection of pretties…

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BondA recent post by Raul Crimson http://raulcrimson.wordpress.com/2008/12/16/gayety/ , and in particular some of the comments on it, left me with more to say than a comment space rightly allows. So I had to come here to blog the length of what I want to say.

The post was about a shot of him and Prad naked together, and he was writing on the fact that some of the comments to the picture on Prad’s Flickr were supposedly anti-gay. Have a look at the picture and comments for yourself http://www.flickr.com/photos/pradprathivi/3085998926/ . I’ve had a re-read through every single comment, and not one struck me as anti-gay. Now I understand Raul’s point more generally, but I don’t think that picture or those comments fed into his concern, so I’m going to state it a bit clearer: “When people tease guys about being gay, they are assuming being gay is a bad thing.” That’s the crux of the claim. I disagree, and I have to explain why, don’t I.

I like to tease Prad about being gay, because I know he’s not. I also like to tease some SL women about being men, because I know they’re not. I do a lot of harmless teasing, and it is not necessarily because I think the thing I’m teasing them about is a “bad thing” – I just know it’s not who they are so I’m having a go. Now not everyone sees it the way I do – there are many people who tease Prad (or whoever) about being gay because they actually do think it would be bad. These people tend to do different styles of teasing though – they’re the same people who attack something by saying “it’s gay”, or use phrases like “what are ya, a poofter..?”.

Now that we’ve clarified that somewhat, I need to go a bit further. One of the replies to Raul’s post implied that homosexuality is acceptable because it isn’t a chosen behaviour. I hate that line of reasoning. I don’t care if it is chosen or not, I don’t care if you were born that way or chose it after months of careful pro-con analysis. Either way, it’s not a question of morality: It is about your private consensual sexual activities, it’s not a matter for society to rule on as “bad” or “good”, to “allow” or “eradicate”. And going along the line of reasoning “oh hey, we have to love them, because no matter how distasteful and ‘wrong’ it is, they didn’t choose it so can’t be held cupable” completely misses the point. You don’t get to walk into people’s bedrooms and tell them to stop having sex, even if they choose to do dirty things you don’t like.

My own view on sexuality goes in this order: (1) Do whatever you like with whoever you like, as long as it’s consensual it should never be a question for law or the rest of society, (2) human sexuality is on a continuum – from homo to bi to hetero: Some people are born with both genitalia and “assigned” at birth, some keep both genitalia, some are born with the “wrong” genitalia, and some are born with the right one but they wanna share it with others who have the same gadgets. The point is you can’t simplify it and pretend we’re all heterosexual and that there are some “minor correctable deviations”. Because it is a false simplification. (3) Yes it is possible to choose to feel differently about your own sexuality, it is possible to experiment and become used to another type of sexual attraction (just watch a  prison movie, or talk to a female University Arts student, for examples). (4) Yes heterosexuality is functional, but it sure as hell is not god-like or make you a better person – I have met a lot of people who really shouldn’t have bred, and we all know the news stories about couples beating their own kids to death. Let’s not pretend homosexuals are worse than those people are, merely because of who they go to bed with.

This brings me to a  related gripe: I hate it when people get self-righteous about this crap, and get all PC about the jokes you may and may not make. If you make a dumb joke that makes you look like a bigotted moron, then at least we all know that’s who you are – I’d rather know it up front thank you very much. And then, just maybe, it might lead to a slightly more intelligent conversation about sexual orientation as an after-effect. Most people who are anti-homosexuality haven’t thought about it much, don’t know the facts, or are coming from an excessively religious back-ground. You can reason with the first two, good luck to you with the third!

One last quick point: The subject of what is and what is not “normal” also arose in the post and comments. Leading to a few replies along the lines of “there is no normal”, “it’s all relative”. Well, actually, there are psychological and societal guidelines and statistical measures for what is “normal” for any given situation. The “normal range” of intelligence, the “normal” blood sugar levels, the “normal” behaviour of abused children… The idea of what is “normal” and what is not is a useful and functional tool for diagnosis of problems and issues. The real question is what you do about the abnormal, if anything: Just because something is outside the normal range of behaviour and experience doesn’t mean it’s bad, but ya know what, it is a noteworthy and important fact nonetheless – it challenges us to try to understand and make sense of it. Pretending nothing is “abnormal” is ignoring the truth and not answering any of the important questions about humanity and the way we function together in society.

OK. There. Out of my system. See why I couldn’t just put all that in a reply box :p

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Dancing with Prad on my RL birthday in March, at Crown & pearl

Dancing with Prad on my RL birthday in March, at Crown & pearl

Over a year ago The Three Lions pub closed down in Second Life. The dominant personality at the pub was not the owner like you might expect, rather it was Prad. This was not a contested fact. And depending on which rumours you listened to, his decision to leave the pub was the last straw for the existence of the place. I don’t want to get into the specifics of why it closed down, all that matters for this post is that even back then Prad had a following of sorts; people enjoyed his company and thought he was a good person to be around.

Once the pub closed there was a suitable amount of aimless wandering between locations. At the time I semi got a following of my own, people who wanted to be where I was; I could get a crowd without a hassle and often did. It wasn’t me who noticed this fact first, a friend pointed out to me that I could get the “party started” and that when I left things often fizzled out. The only place I could go that already had a group of people from the old pub hanging out before I got there, was Prad’s home. He likes to joke about opening the Crown & Pearl to get us all off his roof. It wasn’t just a “place” we went, it was because it was his place.

Once Crown & Pearl was set up, I was just a regular. But I knew I had found my home. There were many other places that were set up when Three Lions went under, some are still around today, most are nothing more than a blip on the radar. I decided my loyalties were with the place, and even though I’d get frustrated now and then with things there, my loyalty was always firm: Until Crown & Pearl was shut down, I would not become a regular at any other bar. Even when it hit some very quiet dead lulls and the owners would talk about dismantling it, I stayed on. “Oh there’s more people over at Lilly’s” or whatever the latest catch-cry was, hell sometimes I knew the owners were hanging off at the competitors bars too, and even then I stayed firm and would greet everyone who TPed in at Crown and make them feel as welcome as I always did there.

Now there’s nothing wrong with frequenting other bars, I’ve been to more than I can count, but Crown & Pearl was an infant bar and I wanted it to grow and thrive and be great, so I knew what I had to do and I did it. And what I was doing got noticed. Over time I was made a “greeter” there (at the same time that Molaskey’s had been looking at taking me on as a host), then security, and one day I was made management. Each step taught me new things that I applied to the next, I feel like I earnt the powers and privileges I have there now.

So we get to the point of this post.

Every couple of weeks I get someone telling me the same thing, “you know what, you should get your own Crown & Pearl!” The reasons for the recurring comment are varied, whether the comment is said flippantly or seriously, brought on by something or nothing, but it comes up often enough that one day I said to Prad something, and I have to share his response for you to really know and understand what sort of person this guy is.

I said I’d been thinking about how it might be neat to open my own bar, and spoke about a potential opportunity to do so on a friend’s sim. Before I tell you his answer you have to keep a few things in mind: Prad had openly acknowledged that I was kind of a female him, meaning I could get parties going and keep them going, and that there was a group of people who liked hanging around me – a group that would find it’s loyalties split if I was to branch off. We’d watched the bars fighting for the same group of patrons ever since Lions had closed, and it wasn’t pretty. Despite all of this, he said to me “I’ll support you in whatever you choose to do”.

He could have disowned me and called me an ungrateful cow, he could have said it was treachery, he could have said it would be pointless and no one would go to it, or that he’d squash me like a bug. He could have given me the cold shoulder, or tried to manipulate me out of it, or taken away my privileges at Crown in concern over me abusing them to further my new pub. But he didn’t. He was calm, and he was encouraging.

How could I ever hurt a friend who would do that – who would support me in my decisions and endeavours even though he knew if I was successful that it would damage his own to some (possibly significant) extent. I had been somewhat interested and excited at the prospect of having my own bar, but when he said that I knew I could never do it. Besides the thrill (and accompanying terror) of being fully responsible for my own bar, there was no other reason to bother with it – I love the way Crown is built, the way it is run, and the people who go there. In the months since the idea of my own bar was slightly attractive to me, I have been given even more free rein at Crown; over time the owners have come to realise they can trust my judgment and my instincts and in turn have told me to feel free to use both more. There is nothing having my own bar could give me, that Crown doesn’t already do.

Now I don’t know if my own bar would have succeeded. And I no longer want to know. Crown & Pearl has graduated from infant struggling venue fighting for a select group of patrons, to a fully fledged venue with a strong daily group of regulars, and a steady stream of newcomers. I doubt very much that anything I do or don’t do at this stage would effect that. My ego doesn’t need to test the theory, I don’t overly care if I can “pull a crowd” (though it is kinda cool), what I do care about are the people sitting in that room with me who let me be part of their crowd.

At the end of the day, if you want to know the heart of Crown & Pearl, stand in the room when Prad sends out a notice that he’s DJing and see what happens. They come in fast and strong, I’ve never seen someone who picks up the stream on a whim be able to pull that off the way he does. The heart and soul of that place is the same heart and soul of The Three Lions. So should I start my own Crown & Pearl, is the wrong question. Because I couldn’t. There is only one, there only needs to be one, I’d only want there to be one.

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One of the pictures I'm planning to include in the gallery

One of the pictures I'm planning to include in the gallery

The event I have been working so hard towards, and taking so many pictures for, happens tomorrow – Saturday December 13th at 1pm SLT.

Twilight Gallery will be opening for the last time, with 6 new artists. And I get to be one of those lucky last 6 to have the honour to show their work here.

My work will be shown at the Raise Exhibit Hall, which spirals up 4 floors. The bottom floor has 8 pictures, the next 3 floors have space for 4 picture each, a total of 20. Some of the work I’ve put up is old classics, some is from the new set I’ve been working so frantically on these past 2 weeks. I’ve made somewhat of an effort to present the darker pieces at the bottom and the lighter “sun-reaching” ones on the top. I feel a sense of this progression as I climb the spiralling stairs and I hope you get a feel of it too 🙂

There will also be a special exhibition with work from all previous and current Twilight Artists, including a picture from me which has remained unpublished so far.

The night itself will have DJs and even a speech by Belmakor Pintens, see the full details here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/belmakorpintens/3101362227/

My previous SL art recognition includes winning 2 art contests, coming second in one, getting honorable mention in 2, being included in the artists at 2nd Magazine’s SL5B exhibit, and on-going contributing artist at Gallery of Light. Being invited to take part in Twilight Gallery is a huge highlight for me.

It would mean a lot to have my friends and admirers of my art along on the day, even if you can’t make it though please do pop along at some stage over the next couple of weeks to see the gallery and my work. I poured my heart, my time, and my sanity into this project, and it would be nice to have some people come along to see the outcome 🙂

I couldn’t end this post without the various thank yous to individuals who helped me reach this point: My ever-present models and friends, Bailey Longcloth, Bailey Dazy and Rrishanna Regina; the people who supported me through my self-doubt, including Clare Loring and Natalya Homewood; and the biggest thank you of all to Prad Prathivi. Prad gifted me the Flickr account I use to present my work, granted me access to his studio in my early days to refine my skills, gave me the pose ball script I use in almost every picture these days, and inspired me in the first place to start taking and presenting SL pictures; he is effectively my mentor. Thank you to everyone else too who put up with my slightly stressed out state over the past two weeks, I appreciate the support and understanding of you all.

See you Saturday 🙂

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