Recent Developments (with coming attractions)

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Let’s begin with the most important:

Kate!

On the 12th of December, we became Partners — with full awareness that Second Life partnerships are, on average, as ephemeral as mayflies (or dance clubs, for that matter).   Still, I think we may be on to a winning formula: we haven’t changed our separately-established habits, hangouts, or favorite activities.  In short: we don’t cling.  There are other ways to express love than constantly being in each other’s pockets.
(photo taken at Luskwood’s Christmas Party, 18 Dec.)

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A Meeting of Minds

One of my favorite blogs is When it Changed. Its author and I are of similar minds about many philosophical and social aspects of life in Second Life, and we’ve had some incisive discussions in each other’s blog comments. I finally got around to IMing her inworld, where the conversation has remained penetrating and lively… and we finally met av-to-av, at Ahern.

This is Senban and me at the SL History Museum, standing in front of a kiosk that displays the early maps of the world, and agreeing to try an informal collaboration between our blogs to relate some of that history before it evaporates from the collective memory.

The notecard giver to the right of that kiosk dispenses copies of the various maps; they will likely be the subject of my next blog, as Hippos were hers.

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How the Leopard Changed his Spots

Oh, now and then you will hear grown-ups say, ‘Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the Leopard his spots?’ I don’t think even grown-ups would keep on saying such a silly thing if the Leopard and the Ethiopian hadn’t done it once–do you? But they will never do it again, Best Beloved. They are quite contented as they are.
— Rudyard Kipling, “How the Leopard Got His Spots”, from Just So Stories

As I’ve said before, the main reason I began blogging was to join the ongoing exchange of public contemplation of virtual identity and its degree of relation to biological identity. One facet of that could be phrased, “How and why do you look the way you do as an avatar?” A recent thread in the SL Universe forum brought that question up in terms of gender, but it got me to thinking again about species, and you can read my derailing comments beginning here.

In his reply, Argent Stonecutter invoked the concept of “species dysphoria”, which is derived by analogy from gender dysphoria. Those who claim the condition (a.k.a therianthropes) feel they are “an animal trapped in a human body” (notwithstanding that humans are animals), and said condition is claimed by a tiny fraction of the furry community. Let’s be clear on that: Most of us furries are no more than cosplayers, with no psychological difficulty attending to our biological human form. I certainly do not believe I have “species dysphoria”, and I feel Argent was joking about it, too. Nevertheless, I have strongly resisted creating a human avatar… but the curiosity, and the challenge to create one that resembled my biological self, have done nothing but increase in my two years in SL. So, on Boxing Day, I finally went and did it.

Behold: Lalo Sapiens

No, I haven’t “given up the fur”. But now I have another shape to shift into.

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