Friday, June 29, 2007

This is Major Tom to Ground Control

Written 25 June, 2007

This is Major Tom to Ground Control

I’m in general opposed to the use of weapons in Second Life, but when I’m on my own land, I expect appropriate behavior from my guests.

When I don’t get it I ban or orbit them.

I’ve done it five times lately.

The first time was when Sweetie brought a guest to Pele after meeting him in the Furnatations, where we had gone to view a dragon’s head made of sculpted prims.

There were quite a few avatars present at the viewing, but the one she brought home _had_ to be the one who was showing off his erect sculpted penis (it WAS furrytown, but _still_). He put his sculpted phallus away before his visit, but his furry av arrived at Pele naked and equipped with nonsculpted, uncircumcised penis and scrotum. I didn’t like that much, but said nothing.

Nor did I say anything when Sweetie introduced me as my lover and he responded with something like “Avatar looks harmless and innocent,” which telegraphed his intentions as anything but. But he was Sweetie’s guest, so I held my counsel.

I finally spoke up when he insulted me. We were talking about particle effects, and I mentioned that mine (generated by my Mysitool) were pink and gold. He responded that human avatars (meaning me) all looked like Barbie.

I thought that was quite uncalled for, since we (he and Peter Stindberg and Sweetie and me) had been talking about particles and not appearance, and I responded by bluntly saying I had the right to look TF like anything I damn well wanted to look like. He didn’t quite apologize, but he backed off, and I was happy to let the matter rest.

Then, when we were showing him our Well of Death, he pounced Sweetie.

Now, the pounce is furry foreplay, and I considered it an advance, but it was all in good fun and he was, after all, Sweetie’s guest, so I watched and laughed as his naked, furry, penis-equipped av pounced Sweetie, who was in the guise of a little robot.

But then he pounced her again. He had no reason to, as the first pounce had worked perfectly (sometimes the avatars don’t quite line up), and why she accepted the animation I certainly don’t know, but when he offered the second pounce I typed /1 orbit Avatar in Chat and the instant he began his leap toward her, I hit Enter. Thanks to my Mystitool, he was instantly gone.

He arrived back at the well five minutes later a bit disgruntled and armed with anti-griefer devices (as if that would have stopped me from banning his ass, had it come to it), but he minded his manners and the rest of the visit went without incident or rancor.

He even came back to Pele later with his lover and rode the little green train.


The second incident was a ban. I was working in the Gardens when I noticed a strange av on the land. I checked his profile and learned he was a gay male escort. I was triggered a bit—not by the gay part of course, but by the escort part; sex workers often scout out build-enabled residential areas to which to take their tricks.

When he walked by me without saying a word I said, “Hi,” and when he didn’t respond to my Chat and an IM, I typed /1 ban Avatar, and he was bounced. I chased him from parcel to parcel, banning him, and he never said a word.


The third incident began when Sweetie and I met a newbie at a Bill and Pam Havercamp concert in Barcelona. Sweetie’s avatar had gone AFK and I suggested she had had passed out after one too many drinks; after that she had a great time pretending she was tipsy and I was her designated teleporter.

After the concert we took our new friend to Pele and showed him around.

He—I’ll call him Spider, since that’s my nickname for him—had been looking for a pair of glasses like the ones worn by a character in a graphic novel. Sweetie’s brightly said she would make him a pair, and asked me to take him on a tour while she worked on them.

While we were idling about, Spider lamented that his avatar was built rather like Ken. I told him he could buy a unit for himself, and, when he said he was broke, I gave him two. I specifically asked him not to put them on until he was in a private place.

When we returned to Sweetie at the Gardens, I told her of the transaction and added that of course Spider would not be showing us his new acquisitions. Then I turned around and of course he had one on, erect and pink and sticking out.

/1 orbit Spider

I told you not to wear it, “I said in IM.

“I was just showing her!” he said, as if she hadn’t seen one before. What is it with male avs wanting to show Sweetie their units?

Later, Spider said the orbiting experience was rather like Major Tom to Ground Control. He promised to behave, and has, to date.


Last night, just as Sweetie and I finished watching a movie in the House of 1000 Pleasures, I got an IM from my friend and renter Melissa Yeuxdoux; a naked guy was hanging out by her house, bothering her.

I flew down, said, “Goodbye, motherfucker,” and typed /1 ban Avatar. End of story.


Sweetie is more tolerant of rude behavior than I am, but she has her limits too.

Case in point, an avatar I called my depressed German.

And no, not you, Peter!

I vaguely recall telling this story before, but hey, it’s _my_ blog! I’m telling it again.

When he first chanced upon Pele, I had a nice chat with my depressed German, who was out exploring, and we became friends. After that, he would ask to come to visit and I would suffer his mostly benign presence.

I could sense he wanted to hit on me, and I’m sure he would have if I’d given him any sort of an opening, so I gave him absolutely no encouragement.

When he would IM, I would be polite, but distant.

“I’m fine, thanks. Working on a fog machine for the Dragon Skybar. Sure, you can come and watch me work.”

And he would come over and we would chat while I worked.

Whenever he would start a thread I felt was a search for an opening, I would squelch it.

“No, I don’t feel a need to go exploring. I’m happy working on this fog ball.”

How well I held the line is demonstrated by the fact that throughout the weeks in which he visited, he never felt he had the go-ahead to make an advance. And so he never made one.

He did cross the line once, but in another way—he gave me an object that promised to be something nice but scrambled my avatar. I told him “not funny” and threw it away. After that, I refused to accept objects from him, which bothered him.

Sweetie wasn’t unaware of my depressed German’s visits, and at some point she became uncomfortable with his presence. The fact that he gave her the same “present” certainly helped her feelings along.

So she had a word with me, and I had a word with him, and he’s not been back. Not banned and not orbited, because that wasn’t necessary, just no longer invited. In fact, I’ve not heard from him for nearly a month.

Good, because his depression tended to make me feel depressed, too.


In real life I’m remarkably tolerant of rude, impolite, and boorish behavior, but in my second life, strangely enough, I don’t seem to be. When I’m in public, I mute offenders, set movelock or go nonphysical so I’m not affected by their bumps and projectiles, and, if harassment continues, report the abuse to the lindens.

On my own land, though, I’m less patient. When I’m uncomfortable with the behavior of others, or when they make my Sweetie uncomfortable, I’m quick on the draw.

Those with good manners need not be concerned.


Ground control to Major Tom
Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you. ...

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