Archive for November, 2010

November 30th, 2010: Sophia Harlow – Cont’d

November 30, 2010

Today is my eldest sister’s birthday. It may seem odd to write about because she is healthy but for me it is important. You see, my sister saved my life.
I am the youngest of 4 much older daughters born to my father. I was a “surprise” and my parents were separated by the time I was born. My father was a surgeon who practiced in a different country but would come visit us once a month and my mother remarried when I was a toddler. My sisters did everything for me. They moved out before I could walk but 2 lived very close and doted on me as if I was their own. Life wasn’t perfect, but it was good. I lived for when my father and older sister would visit. As much as my dad was my entire world, my sister hung the moon in my world.

January 1, 1984 my world collapsed. My dad was killed by a drunk driver and I was 9 years old at the time. The pain in my heart was so great it was like a heavy cloak that I carried everywhere with me. It was crippling and I grieved so deeply it terrified my family. I refused to eat, to go to school; I stopped speaking and would only sob for hours. When merciful sleep did happen, I would awake screaming for my dad. I was lost in grief.

My eldest sister flew to see what she could do, because everyone was at a loss. She was only 24 years old when she demanded to take custody of me. June 1984 I moved to California, and with patience, time and love… she healed my soul. It took years and it wasn’t always easy. I was sure she would leave me but she reminded me daily she wasn’t going anywhere. She loved me even when I grew into a very stubborn teenager that rebelled against rules and into a young adult that thought she knew everything. She refused to let my spirit die and didn’t let me become a victim of grief. I love her with a love that is so deep and true that I am positive she is my angel, because she saved my life. Happy Birthday, V.


Sophia Harlow still works in publishing, is still married to an amazing man whom she is certain could build a house out of twigs and popsicle sticks.  She writes the monthly Second Style Fashion Icon article for Second Style Magazine, as well as blogs for the Second Style website and also on her own sweet little fashion blog.  She may or may not also have a more RL blog that she will give you the link to if you ask nicely.  She still pays attention to everything and rarely misses a thing. She believes in healing power of pug love, kisses, magic, kismet, soul mates but hates the word soul mates. Sophia smiles 95% of the day and is prone to laughing almost as much. She blushes far too easily but is rarely embarrassed and when excited she speaks with her hands. She loves lip gloss, jelly beans, listening to songs she adores over and over again but hitting replay before they are over so they don’t end.  Sophia still hates white condiments and spilling anything on herself. Oh, and her dad will forever be the first love of her life.

Sophia’s previous post was on June 1st, 2010.

November 29th, 2010: Rach Borkotron

November 29, 2010

Three years ago, I was in college, going through to be a nurse. I had a teacher who made my life a living hell. She put me down constantly. One day she had me in tears and I was ready to quit. I didn’t want to go on anymore, but I knew I had to prove her wrong and keep going. I passed my first year of nursing and spent the summer getting ready for my second and final year.

Two years ago, I was in my second year of nursing college and struggling once again — this time because I am a procrastinator. I had three projects, an essay and a midterm all due in the same week. I hadn’t started them. While taking multiple breaks to play on SL and finally got everything finished with good marks and ended up with a 98% on my midterm! But when March came around I failed a test for the first time in my whole life. I had a lot of thinking to do and priorities to change. I worked harder and, when exams came, I ended up acing the final. I had passed college and on my way to being an RPN!

A year ago, I received results that I’d passed my Canada-wide nursing exam — I had my RPN license in my hands! I got a call to go for an interview at a nursing home close by and fell in love with the place. They offered me a six month temporary full time job and I started last January. My six months were up in June, but my boss extended my contact! I missed a lot of SL time this year but it was worth it.

Today I can say that I am the happiest I have ever been, in RL and SL. I have an amazing job — I love to walk into work every day and see my residents smile. I have an awesome boyfriend who is my best friend in SL, and amazing virtual friends.


Rach Borkotron is 25 years young, from southwestern Ontario, Canada. In RL, she is a nurse as a nursing home and absolutely loves her job, she often plurks stories about her wonderful residents.  In SL, she co-owns Mr Tentacle with Mako Kungfu. She’s DJ, and hosts Name That Tune. Check her out on Plurk.

November 28th, 2010: Mariah Urriah

November 28, 2010

Every day I sit on my old tattered desk chair, place a cup onto the 30-year-old coaster on the surface of my cheap desk and boot up my computer.  Everyday I convince myself that it will be different, that today maybe something will happen.  While I’m convincing myself that maybe there is some use to this, my mouse hovers onto that familiar button and my computer takes my mortal soul and place it into the body of an eternal, youthful, attractive, virtual 20-something on my computer screen. My transplanted humanity, which now controls this virtual being, tries to forget the pain and anguish its body feels on a daily basis and tries to be whatever is on the list for the day: a glamorous model, an intelligent writer, a stylish blogger, a perfect mother or a perky cheerleader. Second Life is a way for me to be what I thought I was going to be in high school: perfect.

In my quest for digital perfection, I began to look for why I felt the need to be perfect.  All of my life, I always had to be the best.  I was the best flutist, the best dancer, graduated top of my class in high school, and graduated cum laude in college, but I never felt like I did anything right. I’m the person that constantly fixes things because it just doesn’t look right to me, much to the dismay of friends.  Living in a virtual world allowed me to achieve what nature never gave me, the perfect body with the perfect hair and the perfect walk.  Being perfect was what drew me to Second Life day after day, making me neglect the imperfect person controlling the beautiful person.  My perfect little world could not last long, however, as the imperfect real world forced its way back into my consciousness. Following the death of my father after a horrendous home invasion and murder, I spent most of last year and part of this year in and out of courtrooms seeing the alleged murderers get acquitted.  Going through that ordeal made me retreat more and more into my perfect world.  Then one day, I looked in the mirror and saw a perfect imperfect person that only wanted self-love.

I then realized that there is no such thing as a perfect world.


Mariah Urriah is a seasoned model, designer and style blogger with Shangri La Style.  In the real world, she is an overachieving IT professional from Americus, GA learning to love herself and accept that the world isn’t perfect.

November 27th, 2010: Iris Ophelia

November 27, 2010


When I visited Paris, I found that I was particularly drawn to photographing statues– the fall of stone silk along a cold stomach, the delicacy of a carved lace mantle lapping over a white throat, the gracefully bowed postures that would outlive me. I would take pictures from various angles, zoom in on the more impressive textures and details, even in the process of being hustled along by an impatient crowd. I had been in Second Life for several years, and I could pinpoint my fascination easily enough.

I don’t see things of remarkable beauty from day to day without seeking them out. I see cars that get numbers to the gallon, people who will never let go of their denim jackets, and the kind of bland architecture that makes me wish I lived in a country that was more than a couple centuries old.

I became interested in Second Life and in Asian ball-jointed dolls at roughly the same point in my life. I found in both hobbies the meticulous pursuit of a kind of beauty that has very little place in modern reality. There are subtle aesthetic cues that flesh and bone don’t seem to support anymore, and these blank models capture them so easily. I have a hard time explaining why it takes me an hour to dress my avatar, and it’s just as hard to explain myself as I’m cautiously accenting the dips and curves of a blank resin body with a fine brush. The result is more Hadaly than Galatea. There is no life there, only a reflection of our most beautiful traits cast in artifice.

Frankly, that’s good enough for me.

I’ve begun to press flowers between the pages of a fairly substantial hardcover biography of Chairman Mao, another attempt to distill the signs of beauty. It’s a crude way to do it, and as a result it’s been somewhat hit and miss. The delicately arching white lily I had secured just before The Long March was a disappointment, but my more successful efforts sit nestled in the middle of the Cultural Revolution.


Iris Ophelia is a long time Second Life fashion blogger who really doesn’t like talking about herself. In RL, she is having a hard time adjusting to not being a student for the first time in 18 years.

November 26th, 2010: Kelevra Radmussen

November 27, 2010


Morning is mañana in Spanish, matin in French.

One year ago I didn’t know this. One year ago I wasn’t in love. One year ago I wasn’t happy.

I wake up slowly today, nothing very important to do. I make breakfast (two-egg french omelet, one piece buttered toast) and I eat it slowly enjoying the warmth & simplicity of it while I look out the window at a cold and grey day. Egg in spanish is huevo. In French, oeuf.

I shower and dress, again taking my time. I Get on the computer, check email, blogs, etc. I walk to the post office and get the mail, I do this quickly, and by the time I get back I’m grateful for the warmth again. I watch the snow melt from my shoes. Snow is la nieve in Spanish, neige in French. With nothing to do I find myself thinking, thinking about who I was last year, where I was. I was a few days from drunkenly introducing myself to my future girlfriend. A few days from finally joining Second Life, at the urging of a certain friend. One year ago I didn’t know this. One year ago I wasn’t in love.

One year ago I wasn’t happy. Today, I am. I think about how I got here. I’ve grown and learned so much in that time that it feels much longer than it’s been.

I’ve learned more about cooking than I thought possible (I have the scars to show for it). I’ve started learning two new languages (and how to swear in them). I’ve learned how delicious a muffuletta can be when you’re eating it with a pretty girl. Pretty girl is chica bonita in Spanish, jolie fille in French. I’ve learned how to take my time and enjoy simple, good things. I’ve learned to be better organized.

I’ve met wonderful people, both in SL and in real life, and I’m a much better person for knowing them.

Taking the time to think about the past 365 days lets me appreciate how good they’ve been and I can’t help but to be optimistic for the next 365.

Year is año in Spanish, année in French.


Kelevra Radmussen works as a prep cook, where he learns how to swear in spanish and tries not to burn himself. In Second Life he is partnered with the high-powered business woman OMGWTF Barbecue.

November 25th, 2010: Stacia Villota

November 27, 2010

Tonight all is quiet. Very little snow remains from a freak cold front that swept through earlier this week. Still, I vividly recall the night it began: winds so fierce they seemed palpable, tortured, possessed by some inner force that tore my raw heart wide open once again. Sobs and a wet pillow. Time zones and memories. Hopes and unknowns.

I’ve lived in Seattle so long… laughing at its incessantly grey skies from inside the warmth of a coffee house, from the glint of a wine glass at the local shop’s weekly tastings, from the trails of a huge off-leash park as I rambled after two gentle greyhounds… surrounding myself with friends, art, music, good meals, and laughter. Feeling so… very… blessed.

But now I exist in two places. My body lays in a bed grown too large, while my heart prepares dinner in a kitchen far away, listening intently for the sound of a car door. My hands lift a bite of food to my mouth, while my mind’s eye replays two gentle hands breaking bread by candlelight. For a moment I’m there all over again, behind closed eyes, lifting my gaze to his sweet smile.

And then I open my eyes.

This week, like the last few weeks, I do my best to focus on my business… the realities of phones, design challenges, marketing strategies, and project deadlines. Hoping that each task I accomplish will bring me one tiny step closer to accepting the distance that must be, for now.

And counting the unknown days ’til the sunshine of my heart returns.


Stacia Villota lives in Seattle, Washington, where she earns her keep by providing marketing communications for small business. What makes her heart smile: writing, travel, music, cooking, a couple goofy greyhounds, and all things French.

November 24th, 2010: Foxy Innis

November 25, 2010

This morning as I got up to the jangling of dog tags on Ollie’s collar, I groaned. It is hell day in my house. The day before my father’s whole family converges on our house.

Things are still a mess.

The vacuuming hasn’t been done, there is still my brother’s paintball stuff all over the place and there is so much to cook and get done before I go to sleep tonight. I feel like I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write out the words for you all to give an insight into my life for this day.

The craziness of it all makes my head want to explode, but it makes me thankful for the friends and people in my second life. It makes me thankful for all that I have with people I may never meet in real life, but these people have just as much invested in me that I would have invested in my friends in real life.

Even though it’s not Thanksgiving, I am still thankful for the people in my first and second lives.

They may make things crazy, but without the craziness, how would we really know what normal is?



Foxy Innis is a Biology Education student in Missouri. She spends most of her time substitute teaching, going to school and knitting. In Second Life she is the chair of the Skin and Shape Expo and tries to make shapes and blog.

November 23rd, 2010: Autumn Hykova

November 25, 2010


Do you ever wonder how many small decisions completely change your life? I know that sometimes seemingly meaningless actions on my part have come back and affected my life in really surprising ways, good and bad. One of those decisions was to sign into this game my best friend in real life had told me about, Second Life.

At first I would only play with Sam while we were both on Skype. We did all the obvious new player stuff, made terrifying avatars and dressed horrendously. I remember once we flew a plane into a house and didn’t know how to get it out of the wall.

One day, he wasn’t home so I decided to log in and see what else there was to do. As I’m sure you remember, those first days exploring are the most amazing, I was shocked by the things I saw. I met some interesting people, and the rest, as they say is history.

I quickly figured out that I would either spend entirely too much money on this game, or I could start making stuff myself. Hence my first shop, which was pretty bad admittedly, Pixel Dust. But the creating bug bit me and I fell in love with the freedom I had to make whatever the heck I wanted. Once I started Tiny Bird, I was thoroughly addicted to SL.

Second Life has given me many things, amazing friends, wonderful opportunities to learn new things, and of course… a bigger butt. But I’ve found myself more and more feeling disconnected from it. I took a long break over the summer, and I’m still slowly finding my way back into working in Second Life full-time. I don’t see myself ‘playing’ second life much longer truthfully, I don’t look forward to logging in, and I don’t want to spend anywhere near the amount of hours that I should be working online actually being online.

I’m grateful to second life and I am spiteful of it at the same time. It makes me happy almost as much as it frustrates me to the point of tears. But I wouldn’t change my experiences, they’ve made me who I am.


Autumn Hykova is a ginger in both lives and learning to take control of her real life.

November 22nd, 2010: Laika Saintlouis

November 25, 2010


Today is moving day. My girlfriend and I are finally settling down, moving in to an apartment in the city. I go between Photoshop and Second Life, creating content for my new business and from there I go occasionally back to our boxes, some of which I empty and flatten and some of which I empty only to refill with the many surplus things that we don’t need on display or want to get rid of, inherited family nick-knacks, a cat carrier, an old gaming console that lacks all its cords and vital organs, several large suitcases, a convection heater rendered purposeless by the thick windows and huge cast iron radiators of the new apartment and a box filled with household items accidentally borrowed from my girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend whom she lived with for a few months before we met. All these things take up little space in the apartment, one walk-in cupboard that has no other purpose, but they all possess and equally possess a despondent bulk, a gravitas that must be contained, they languish there and hold for us both an affection and a guilt akin to the feeling one gets when lighting a cigarette.

In Second Life I work on another item for my store, something which will never perish but which will never-the-less become lost in a few dozen inventories over time. In preparation for writing this article I try to analyse my Second Life, in order to say something large and trite about what it means to play the game. Instead I settle on something silly and whimsical about clutter, because it’s what’s around me. In doing so I search my inventory and come across a variety of abominable outfits and keepsakes of my four years. There’s a lot because I‘ve never bothered to clean my inventory. For me there has always been a vitality and an honesty connected with the laziness of hoarding something in deletion sprees that pertains to death and lying, the cutting off of unsightly, but vital roots. So I carry about every success, every failure, every accomplishment, every disappointment and every sorrowful prim penis.


Laika Saintlouis is a 24 year old English Literature graduate from the UK, recently re-situated in Canada. In Second Life he blogs for Look at these f*cking SLipsters and owns a store called Alphavillain.

November 21st, 2010: Stephen Venkman

November 23, 2010


The Ice storm from the night before cancelled my plans for the day. Poker would just have to wait until next month. I settled down next to my partner with a mug of fresh coffee and logged into Second life.

By the time I log in my partner has already IM’d a few friends, shopped on Xstreet, snapped photos of a new dress for her virtual wardrobe and moved a few trees from last night’s creative musing. I have to laugh as I know I’ve created a monster, but I’ve traveled this road as well. It’s great to see her enjoying herself and experiencing the pleasure of Second Life. It wasn’t an easy journey for me finding someone to share this world with. I have to say I have the best of both worlds.

We had rezzed a new house over the weekend, and tweaked it to our satisfaction.  Coco had gone shopping for the right couch, while I was terraforming a row of mountains behind the house. I am knee deep in virtual snow while Coco is showing me rugs online that she wants me to recreate in photoshop. I flip screens and peek at a clothing blog. Tp to a new men’s store spend 1500 lindens, tp home. My IM window pops open and it’s Silverdrake Sparrow inviting people over for tea. Unable to refuse an impromptu photo opportunity I pop on over.

Silver is striking with her red hair and purple hat, as is Kamalin who is dressed all in white with a bit of black. The party is just getting started so I snap away before having to depart. It’s time for a break from the PC’s as a great movie is about to begin on T.V. and the invite to snuggle up in bed to watch together cannot be refused.  Yes, the best of both worlds.


Stephen Venkman was rezzed on 03/29/06. Photography is his passion. He also creates textures, custom shapes, and virtual environments. You can see his work on flickr.  New works not seen before exhibited at Housed in the Museum of Second Life Photography for the next four weeks.