When did you join SL and why?
I joined Second Life in July 2007 after injuring my leg and having to be off it for a couple months. I was going stir crazy at home after being used to go to meetings and events several nights a week. I went to Apple’s download site looking for some games and downloaded Second Life. The first person I met was a surfer and I got hooked on being active in SL when I could not be active in RL.
What do you do in SL?
Mainly I blog and I DJ. I have two regular gigs a week at The Velvet, one of SL’s older clubs and an intermittent gig with The Pixel Bean. I also do events and parties. I blog at It’s Only Fashion and Shopping Cart Disco and write for AVENUE.
Describe your style in SL. Does it differ much from your RL? How?
My style is fairly conventional. I like classic clothing and love dressing up. It’s similar to my RL style in my love of color and prints. In RL and SL, I have a love of vintage. Where it differs is that in RL, I cannot possibly afford the variety of clothing I have in SL (or have a place to store it all) and in RL, I only have one outrageous ball gown, not dozens. Also in RL, a gown full of sequins and seed beads weighs a ton and high heels hurt at the end of the day.
How did you get into blogging?
I was unaware of the fashion blogging phenomenon until I discovered a blog by Felice Haruka while googling how to fix some glitch in Second Life. She no longer blogs, but she was a very inspiring blogger. From that, I got hooked on the blogs and started following her and Gogo and a few others. Then I discovered the huge feed from Tao and never came up for air. I decided to start blogging myself.
What was the first thing you blogged? Will you share it with us?
I blogged the gown I wore for New Year’s Eve in 2007 on New Year’s Day. It was by Nikki Ree and a white confection that made me feel so beautiful.
What have you blogged/created that you are most proud of?
That’s a hard one. Probably my column for Shopping Cart Disco – What I Like – where I highlight photos from Second Life that catches my attention. It began as a reaction to someone who used to be on plurk and in SL, but has left both long ago. This person would plurk bad photos and explain what was wrong with them – including one of mine. While I understood it as instructional and didn’t take personal offense even when mine was one of the sources of instruction, I thought it was demoralizing. So, I began plurking picture that I liked and explaining why they worked for me. Kesseret Steeplechase of SCD invited me to migrate my “likes” to her blog and What I Like was born. I am also pretty proud of the Donna Flora A to Z Challenge to lift Squinternet Larnia’s spirits while she was struggling with health issues, but that was so much a community effort that could never have happened without the forty-odd people who participated.
What is the silliest/craziest thing you’ve done in SL?
Gosh, I don’t know. I have done lots of the traditional goofy things – watermelon gun fights, pillow fights and crazy dances. That kind of goofiness is part of the magic of SL. I have played lots of the sports of SL – surfing, sailing, ice skating, horse-back riding, etc. Gidge Uriza and I used to plan goofball parties.
What would you like to do in SL that you’ve never tried?
I would love to create dresses and shoes. There are so many things I would like to have in SL that nobody is making, but sadly, that would require one of the things I most hate to do – reading a manual on how to work a computer program. I have tried without reading directions, but it’s just too complicated for the kind of intuitive learning I prefer.
When you’re sitting at your computer playing SL, what do you usually wear? Describe your workspace.
I generally wear as little as possible. My workspace is a very modern, brick red polymer and steel double desk set that makes an L-shape. I have my desktop on one and my laptop on the other. The desktop is too old for SL, but I keep my music on it for when I DJ. Generally, my cat Oscar is to the left of the desktop with his front paws sitting on my forearm as I work and leaning his head against my shoulder or my chin.
Has anyone in SL inspired you? Who and in what way?
Many people. As I mentioned already, Felice Haruka and Gogo inspired me to blog. Vint Falken was my go-to tutorial website for photography. I have been inspired by the consistent optimism and professionalism of Sasy Scarborough, but the grit and determination of Squineternet Larnia and of course, most of all by my best friend, Gidge Uriza.
What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you wish more people could know?
I think most people perceive me as more serious than I am. While I am not the least bit shy, I am a fairly classic introvert and don’t share the more relaxed side of myself very widely.
Do you have any hobbies? What do you like to do when you aren’t in SL?
I love reading and generally read 3 to 5 books a week. I do some genealogy research. I also do some lace-making, though not as much as before
What would you like to be doing in 5 years? 10? 15?
To be honest, I hope to still be in Second Life. I hope, though, that the health issues of the last two years are resolved and I can get back into organizing again.
What things would you try if you had no fear?
I would go to Antarctica and try to replicate Scott’s expedition to the South Pole – without the death and privation of course.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
I believe that each and everyone of us have the power to change the world by changing ourselves. I remember when I was valedictorian and spoke at graduation, my speech was titled “You get from life what you put into it.” That’s still my philosophy, if you treat people with dignity and respect, they will treat you with the same. If you involve yourself in the world, you can transform it.
We’ve also asked her fellow plurkers if they had any questions and here they are!
From Daniella Riaxik: What are you passionate about in SL?
Community and friendship. Sure, like everyone I have a prevailing interest in one sector of Second Life – the world of fashion and design. But whether a member of Second Life involves themselves in fashion, or art, music, architecture, sports or role play, they will find themselves in a deeply integrated community with rich friendships. Each community has its own culture with its own mores and rituals, but they are intensely connected communities that cross national boundaries as though they don’t exist. Any active Sl’er can experience the world through their friendships and their community. It has this rich possibility for bringing the world together in a deeper way than the initial connection of sharing a common interest suggests.
From Tillie Ariantho: What do you think of the mesh deformer? What do you miss in SL? Anything you would add to SL if you could? Do you wear undies?
My own shape is pretty close to standard in the first place so I am lucky enough to enjoy mesh without the deformer. I hope that it can be successfully incorporated, though, so others can have the freedom to shape themselves as they wish. I do miss the easy layering that we had with systemwear and the ability to turn a dress top into a blouse, though of course we still have systemwear and can still do that if we wish. I would add a naming architecture to the upload process. (grins) Yes, I do wear lingerie. Early in my SL life, I had a variation of the system skirt bug that was so disconcerting. Not only was my system skirt invisible, so was everyone else’s. I went to a performance by a troupe of Geisha dancers and there were dozens of people there watching the performance and far too many were nude from the waist down. I have worn lingerie ever since.
From Liliana Barrs: What would you love to create in SL?
I would love to create clothing and jewelry. There are lots of things I would like to see made, but something about the process confounds me. I am not the most patient person in the world and it seems to require a level of patience beyond my capacity.
From Katya Valeska: What inspired you to do the “What I Like” for the Shopping Cart Disco?
I started doing “likes” on plurk in response to WTF and NO plurks from photo critics who shared bad pictures – sometimes with the intent to share tips by explaining why a photo was bad. I am more a believer in positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement so I started posting pictures I liked with a bit of explanation why. Kesseret Steeplechase suggested I write a column for Shopping Cart Disco since it would probably reach more people and give me more characters to explain why a picture works.
From Grazia Horwitz: Which person from any time in history would you love to meet with and why?
Oh, so many. I guess Thomas Jefferson would be at the top of my list or Alexander Hamilton. I would hope to persuade them that punting on slavery was a terrible decision that continues to have a negative effect on our society to this day.
From Don Mill: when would you let Oscar create his SL avatar? we all want to meet him!
Oscar has my permission to create an account. For some reason, he has simply not done it for himself. I think Oscar’s entertainment potential is his random and serendipitous communication. If he had an account of his own, it would no longer be spontaneous and it would not be Oscar himself. I have thought about making a plurk account for Oscar on my hard drive where I don’t plurk myself and just leaving him logged in, but that keyboard is not warm and not in front of me – the two reasons why he wants my laptop keyboard.
From Mina Nakamura: Did you ever consider making a real cookbook with your fabulous healthy recipes?
I have thought about it a little. There are some obstacles to that beside the obvious one of finding a publisher. Generally cookbooks are done by people who have a restaurant to get their food taste-approved by the public. It would also require fine-tuning the recipes from my about a tablespoon measurements to something much more specific – though I guess that is not hard.
Thank you, Cajsa, for your time. We loved getting to know you better!