Loving what’s bad

Last night I was half a second away from leaving SL to sleep (at a reasonable hour for once!), when I remembered the recent Welcome to Zindra posting on the official weblog, and that I’d meant to zip over and have a look, so I did that. Just going over to look. For a second. Honest!

Zindra, for the 0.73 of you who don’t know, is the new “Adult” mainland continent that the Lab is putting together, so that all of the “Adult” content (or at least all of the publicly-evident Adult content) on the existing mainland can be moved there. Which still seems like about as bad an idea as it did when I first posted about it here.

So I went over to Zindra and looked around. The land seems fine (although many of the people who are looking to figure out where to move their existing Adult stuff to when they maybe get a free land-swap to Zindra are complaining thta it’s not divided up very sensibly and it makes them nervous about what they’ll actually get). The “Kama City” area has some pretty extensive builds, which look pretty (you can see pictures at Prokofy’s place, and Honour’s, and Emilly’s, and lots of other places), but have a “huge useless memorial park” sort of feel to them, rather than seemingly like anything anyone would want to live in or otherwise use for anything but impressing an investor. (And whoever decided to place roads so that the dreaded Sim Boundaries run right down the yellow stripe in the middle was either clueless or a real prankster; I’m hoping the latter.)

So I visited an area that I would rather didn’t exist, that has ordinary land and some useless-eyecandy builds. And I loved pretty much every second of it. :)

Because, as will be obvious in retrospect, there were lots of people there. And they were to a large extent people who pay attention (because they knew that the land had just opened for inspection) and who have an interest in freedom of expression and action, in how the world is governed, and/or in culture and sexuality (because they were there, interested in Zindra). And it was fabulous. I had the best “going out and pretending to be an extrovert” sort of night I’ve had in a long time.

Jack Linden and resies, last night in Zindra

That’s Jack Linden, chief bottle-washer for the Mainland, who stopped by briefly and bantered with the assembled crowds, talking to a cute and intelligent kitty; in the background is a woman riding a horse and wearing… eyeglasses. :) There were people in normal day-clothes, people in tight latex and collars, people with tentacles instead of legs, one tall guy wearing nothing but shoes and wanting to be admired for being the first naked guy in Zindra (he got alot of good-natured teasing for that), people in sexy stuff and normal stuff and crazy stuff. We made silly jokes, we talked about the Adult content stuff, we talked about how sterile and odd the builds were, we discussed the state of the world and the possibilities for the future.

I got out my hoverdisc and hovered around instead of walking or flying, because it was pretty laggy with that many people, and being nonphysical the hoverdisc behaves much more predictably in lag.

I investigated a yellow dot on the minimap and found a friend that I haven’t talked to in weeks, and we said hi and chatted and picked up our conversation as though it had been only five or ten minutes. After a bit there was a rumor that Jack Linden was having a meeting at a nearby beach; I told my friend I would hoverdisc over and check it out. Turns out it was just Jack passing through and saying Hi to some people, and he was already gone when I got there, but there were nine or ten folks standing in a circle playing with bouncy-balls and talking, and I joined in, and my friend came over. I met the founder of the First Church of Rosedale, and although it was the first time either of us could recall having met, we also started talking as though we were mid-way into a conversation that had been only briefly interrupted. (She later remembered that we’d spoken very briefly a few weeks ago at a place where she was fencing and I was listening to the DJ.)

I was in love. Not with anyone in particular :) but with the whole scene. New and open land (albeit with some weird stuff on it), a sense of uncertainty, of potential, sexy and strange and whip-smart people who somehow feel like family the instant you set eyes on them. Just like SL is supposed to be!

I eventually realized that the clock really meant what it was saying, and reluctantly logged out and went to sleep. But during lunch today I went briefly back in, just to see what was up.

This morning in Zindra

There were still people there, almost an entirely different set of people. They were, still / again, really interesting-looking, but unfortunately they were using Voice (ewww), and as well as eating lunch I was also listening to a teleconference so I couldn’t hook in to that.

But for awhile they were talking in text-chat, and it turned out that one of them was (or said he was, and I have no reason to disbelieve him) a former member of the Linden Department of Public Works, and in fact one of the team that had worked on the build that we were standing in. People were asking him various questions about the Zindra builds, and he said two very interesting things:

  • First, that the people doing the Zindra builds didn’t know that they were building for the Adult continent! He said that they found out about it at the same time we did. Have to wonder just what the LDPW builders were told. “Build some cool-looking stuff; we don’t really care what, as long as it’s cool”, maybe? No idea. But in any case at least as far as the builders knew the odd builds that were puzzling everyone were not specifically done with the Adult continent in mind.
  • And second, that he and various of his colleagues were now ex-members of the LDPW, because of some Lab policy change about where they’re allowed to hire from. He didn’t say much more than that, and I have no idea what it means, but y’all investigative journalists out there are invited to nose into it. Or point me at the place where it’s already common knowledge. :)

Last night, standing around with those sexy crazy smart people and having a good time, we decided that it must be one of those Cunning Schemes of the Lab, to get all of us pervs together in one place, knowing that we’d have a great time talking, and therefore not feel as bad about the whole Adult Content debacle.

It was sort of a joke, and I doubt that the Lab had anything like that in mind, but to some extent it worked. I think even the bizarre eyecandy builds had a sort of back-handed positive effect: sure the builds are weird and we had fun complaining about them and stuff, but they were there, the Lab had put in some effort. The place wasn’t just one big rectangular empty continent with some default texture on the ground. Some thought had been put into it, and if it was sort of the typical wtf “roads running right along Sim boundaries” kind of thought, well we’re Resies and we’re used to that. It feels nice and familiar, in a way.

And I doubt the Lab did that on purpose either. :)

So hm what else what I going to say? Jack Linden (the only Official that I noticed while I was there) said a couple of interesting things. First, there was this:

Dale Innis: So your plan to lure all us pervs here where we would naturally have a good time is working pretty well, I have to say.
Jack Linden: hehe Dale

See that? I said something funny, and a Linden said “hehe Dale”! Swoon! :)

And a bit more on-topic:

Crissy Draper: The continent isn’t as big as I thought it would be
Jack Linden: crissy, we’ve only put a small part of the continent up so far
Crissy Draper: Oh I see :)
Dale Innis: I hope you’re prepared for it to be really really big.
Jack Linden: it can grow a lot if it needs to
Dale Innis: oh good :)

(And, in the interests of full disclosure, we then had

Minx Eisenhart: thats wha all men say Jack

which was just the kind of humor we had all night. And although Minx had huge kazongas and was wearing a latex body-suit and dancing constantly and running lots of silly gestures, she was also witty and articulate when she wanted to be, and not actually annoying at all.)

The reason I said “oh good” when Jack said that they can grow the Adult continent (continents?) alot if they need to, is that I currently have this somewhat starry-eyed theory, shared with some others commenting in the various weblogs and stuff, that before too long there will be lots of Adult land in the Grid, both mainland and private estates, and that in fact most of the interesting personal and creative and recreational stuff in SL will happen in Adult areas, and we can sort of forget that this whole silly thing happened (except for the non-verified folks, who won’t be able to get to it all, and that’s a worry). This has put me at odds with people who, for whatever reason, are convinced that Zindra will be just a small ghetto of wall-to-wall porn and sex shops, that no one with any taste would actually want to visit.

These different visions of the future have immediate practical consequences. For instance if I’m right it would be a bad idea to ban all child AVs from Zindra, because there will be lots of perfectly kid-AV-friendly stuff going on there, because people will have their ordinary houses and art galleries and parks and stuff there, and the only things that you’d want to ban kid AVs from are the relatively small subset of things that are blatantly sexual or otherwise extreme enough that having even an apparent child there would be just too icky. On the other hand if the “wall to wall sex” people are right, it’s hard to make a very strong case against such a ban.

I generally believe in erring on the side of liberty, and I find the connection between adults in child AVs and actual danger to real children tenuous enough that I don’t think we really need to panic at the thought of someone in a child AV walking past a sex club. But I respect the opinions of those who feel otherwise. It will be fascinating to see how it all plays out.

Now hm, I’d intended to keep some of that for another posting. :) But I guess I’m a motormouth (motorfingers?) tonight. Back to RL for a bit (does posting to an SL weblog count as being inworld?), then maybe I’ll see you later, around the grid…