vendredi, janvier 12, 2007

Go, Nelly!

In the dayIn the night
Say it right
Say it all
You either got it
Or you don't
You either stand or you fall
When your will is broken
When it slips from your hand
When there's no time for joking
There's a hole in the plan

I can't say that I'm not lost and at fault
I can't say that I don't love the light and the dark
I can't say that I don't know that I am alive
And all of what I feel I could show
You tonight

Nelly Furtado, "Say It Right"

I am interested in whether my readers have been as captivated by this song as I am-whenever it comes on the radio, I crank it up so high even my kids pay attention.

With her slurred and incredibly sexy delivery, Furtado captures so much of my ambivalence about intimacy, anger and love-between family members, partners, lovers and friends.

Why do we get so darned close to connecting-and then close down? As many times as I make the same dumb mistakes, I still haven't figured it out.

Reminds me of a country music song-but I'll spare ya.

It seems to me that we all, whether we believe in a Savior or not, walk that relational line of "I don't need you...but could you be the one to set me free?" I suppose the better, more relevant question is: why do we feel so imprisoned?

Maybe Nelly will come on while I'm driving to the gym...and I can turn up the volume as the tears cascade down my cheeks-an emotional catharsis for this consciously naive day dream believer who, in spite of chastening experiences of being rebuffed, keeps hoping to know more, go deeper, be a little kinder, and love a with a bit more zest...each time.

Say it right...

My avatar, myself

Clad in a PVC mini-dress, fishnet stockings and studded knee-high boots, Cheri Horton leads me through the corridors of her Gothic castle. We stop to chat for a few minutes about the architecture of the building, before she takes me to bed, undresses me, and we have sex...

Actually, we didn't have sex-I can't stand studded knee-high boots on a woman.

In fact, this little fantasy sequence was described by Celeste Bevier in a June 2006 edition of 'New ScientistTech". The simulated 3D sex is part of the online game Second Life. In the world of Second Life, gamers interact through animated characters called avatars. Those without the computer geek smarts to dress (or undress) their own avatar, or to have them engage in cybersex, can buy sexual positions and erotic toys from other players. The possibilities are dizzying. They can also be expensive-in the Second Life virtual "red-light" district, players act as "escorts"and charge for their services.

"Simulated 3D sex is fun and erotic for me due to the fact that you can explore fantasies that may not always be as practical or possible in real life," says professional dominatrix Horton-or rather, Noche Kandora, the flesh-and-blood man who controls her" said the New ScientistTech article.

Got that? A female reporter doing a story on cybersex has a simulated sexual encounter in a game with a 3D dominatrix created by a guy-wonder how she got the assignment?

Why are they making it harder and harder to be hip nowadays?

When you think about it (and I have to admit last night was the first time I'd thought of having sex with an animated 3D character-I'm so boringly conventional) it was only a matter of time before sex became a part of these virtual communities. Second Life (fascinating title) is much more than an outpost of BDSM Inc. The article noted that in this virtual community, where the content is created by the players themselves, users have formed political factions, protested high taxes and held workshops on engineering airplanes and designing clothes. And, oh, what clothes!

After all, sex is a part of life, isn't it? Just as in life, it's also difficult to get a date on a Saturday night-the sex rooms are tough to find-and the hot guys don't always accept you.

Whether these games are the private pleasure of the truly unconventional, or whether there will soon be mass-produced avatars you can download to your cell (the cute banker on the commuter train may already have one), it is a fact that electronic communication continues to affect almost every aspect of our lives. The line between what we keep private and what we expose (literally and figuratively) continues to shift, creating both possibility and risk. On the one hand, sex addicts will find the possibility of avatar sex one more reason not to stop their compulsive behavior-always looking for the next frontier, never satisfied. On the other, computer geeks finally have a place to go at night !

In our next installment we'll take a look at good ol' "normal" cybersex. Does its availability spell a real threat to intimacy, love and romance?

Comments invited-keep it clean, though.

PS-In the interests of investigational journalism, I have now joined Second Life. Not to look for dominatrixes-but to see what goes on the virtual reality world. After all, my children spend lots of time on Toontown and I have a duty to find out what's happening in virtual realityland. Will report back if I see Cheri-once my server lets me on.

jeudi, janvier 11, 2007

A teaser

In general, most of my subject matter is rated "G". I rarely stray into "PG" territory-you can find that on other websites. But for you of tender sensibilities, be warned that Friday's post (which I am too tired to create this late on Thursday night) will concern the phenomenon of cybersex. Who's doing it? Folks like me and you? What the heck does it mean for sex and love as we know it? do you use those darned avatars? I'm sure none of you will want to read this, so check back on Saturday for more appropriate fare. Or...jump in there with your ideas. The "PG" ideas, of course.

lundi, janvier 08, 2007

In the silence of other voices

It was cold when I got out of my beat up Volvo sedan, wind making the trees sigh and impelling me to to ask myself why the heck I was out there as the sun began to set and warmth quickly gave way to chill. After a mile or so, I had warmed up enough to begin to appreciate the slate grey of the lake, and the waves tossed up on the winter water. A lone fisherman stood vigil where the road crept over the water. Once a gunshot rang out in the woods-how long does deer hunting season go on in those woods? As I ran, I kept hearing my dad's voice. Hospitalized with cancer, he has recently begun to lose ground. He sounded so weak on the phone today. I had meant to go in to see him today, but due to a communications issue with my ex, was not able to do so. Tomorrow I will take Colin in to see grandpa-we will take the train to Penn Station from Paoli. Given the length of the trip and the fact that 9 year old Colin has never taken a long train ride, it seems to me that we can splurge on a cab ride from the station to Brooklyn. He is Colin's last living grandparent-and even though his life will not be as long as we hoped, as long as I wanted-he is still alive. Still able to call me "dear." Still able to be happy that his grandson is coming to see him. I have had a sometimes rocky relationship with my dad-but, in recent years, a stronger and more loving one. I cannot imagine the world without him-maybe that is a blessing-allowing us this time. Eventually the world has to do without all of us, at least here on this earth-yet Jesus promises us that we all count...and are counted. Spurred by the urge to hear his voice, I pushed my tired legs up the hill beyond the lake-looking for no good reason to call and hear that hoarse, loving voice, worn by sickness and long hospital days-and hear him say "talk to you soon" as though there was not an end to tomorrows.