Merry Christmas!

Whatever your faith, or lack of, have a merry Christmas!

Masks and emoting

If you know me you’ll know I like masks, gasmasks, helmets; don’t ask me to explain the attraction.

Wearing a mask has some implications when it comes to emoting, though.  You see part of the point of wearing a mask is that there are fewer telltales as to your emotions etc.  That’s not accident, that’s design.

I’ve been spending a bit of time in Latexia and something I come across frequently is this:

smiles behind her mask

Uhh, okay.  How the hell am I supposed to know that?  I’ve developed x-ray vision or something?  Now this may seem petty but let’s remember what emoting its supposed to facilitate; it’s supposed to enhance your actions and speech.  It’s not supposed to dictate the observations and experiences of others.

Okay, so life behind a mask must be pretty dull, eh?  Well no, not really.  You see what you need to do is work with what you’ve got.  If you can still speak then why not emote how your speech is?

chuckles warmly, her head nodding

See?  That’s perfectly possible with a mask on.

While all this with Jack had been going in, I’d been keeping in touch with Jill.  It’s important to maintain that contact, nothing more than a hi, how you doing is all that’s needed most of the time.

A recurring theme in our discussions was can RLV be any good?  It’s not something I wanted to push and indeed I tried not to, but it is something that came up in just about every conversation.  I didn’t try to justify its use, after such an experience anything I’d have to say would be received with scepticism.  Still it was something that kept coming up and I suspected that part of the closure would be a better understanding of RLV and how some people can get something out of it.

There is no way I’d consider asking Jill to go in to RLV and allowing me to show her how I could use RLV to enhance her experience.  I didn’t think such an approach would yield good results, so I suggested that she allow me to teach her how to use RLV as a dominant.  This is something that I’ve done for many people; typically I’ll use a set of cuffs that the dominant prefers and work through an RP, showing when and why certain RLV restrictions might be employed.

There was some hesitation but she accepted my offer, so without further ado I dusted off my cuffs and invited her to my place.  I fell in to my usual patter and Jill was attentive, asking good questions and so on.  Now if you’ve been following my recent posts on RLV you’ll hopefully appreciate that I’m actually quite light on RLV, preferring to use it only where it makes sense.  It wasn’t long before Jill appreciated the distinction, and it wasn’t long before she started doing something no one else I’ve instructed has done…her questions started being asked in (( )) and before you know it the lesson developed in to something more.

Unfortunately I had limited time available, so we took a raincheck, I’m sure it’ll be collected one day.

So with her new found appreciation of RLV as a tool for bondage, will we see Jill in RLV any time soon?  Somehow I doubt it and it won’t be with just anyone; which is perfectly fine.  RLV is powerful and deserves to be treated with respect.

Jack returned from his weekend away, obviously he was gutted that the scene went bad.  It’s easy to heap criticism on him, he used RLV with no real purpose, he used too much.  He focused on RLV rather than the bondage and how RLV might enhance that bondage.

No point kicking a guy when he’s down.  I’m a sadist, I’m not cruel.  The main things is that he made sure that Jill had someone to look after her, well as sure as one can be in SL I guess.

Of course Jack beat himself up over it.  Jill was rightly upset and much humble pie was served and eaten.  Now here’s the thing, tops need support just as much as bottoms do.  The day after being there for Jill as soon as one of my trusted friends came on, I had a wee bit of a vent.  If you’re a top and you think you can get by without the help of others, well I’ve news for you.  We all need help and often getting help from our bottoms is the worst thing that we can do.  We need people we can trust and go to in times of self doubt or just when we need to blow off a major amount of steam.

So now I had Jack to look out for as well, oh well all part of why we’re all here.  Over the next couple of days Jack determined that he’d break his subbie alt out of semi-retirement so that he might experience an iso-helmet himself.  I could understand the motivation although it did seem like a bit of self-flagellation.  I agreed to help him through it, however I refused his request to make it worse than Jill’s.  For one, I’m not sure I could, for two the purpose was to experience how it should be done; not how it was done.

So how should it be done?  Well the main draw of these types of helmets is that they can emulate a bane like experience, in terms of restriction anyway.  For that to be effective there are two things required in terms of equipment; a helmet and a catsuit/skin.  Nothing else.  I’ve done this a few times now and it’s one of the more misunderstood aspects of this type of play; that one can be made so utterly helpless with just the helmet.  Adding cuffs and other items detract in two important ways.

Firstly the presence of other restraints serves to distract from the restrictions that are imposed by the helmet.  This is one of the occasions that less is more.  Secondly, the more extra stuff you add, the more personalized you become which is defeating the point of the helmet and the catsuit.  One of the main impacts of such a restraint is the depersonalisation it imposes.  It’s heady stuff and certainly not for everyone.  So with that in mind I set Jack up in his alt and cast him off on his lonely journey; just another featureless bane like creature largely indistinguishable from so many others wandering SL.

Meanwhile, Jill was bouncing back, her curiosity of RLV unabated although in a different direction.

After a relatively painless TP back to my place, my first order of business was to see if I could persuade Jill to relog in the normal viewer.  She was determined that no matter what, she’d stay in RLV and I didn’t push the point.  I knew her restraints well and knew I could get her out of them without leaving RLV; knowing my own feelings about `cheating’ it could well have been worse for her to do the five minute relog detach dance than it would be for me to take an hour or so getting her out of her restraints.  Jill’s wellbeing took precedence over my sleep, the next day was Sunday anyway.

The first order of business was to sort out the helmet; the lag in Bondage Ranch had wigged it out pretty bad, it just wasn’t responding as it should.  This was pretty much the crunch point, if the helmet came off the scene was over.  It wasn’t Jill’s decision to make, not was it Jack’s.  I was the top, albeit in a caretaker capacity, so the decision rested with me.

I’d just like to reflect on this a moment; the bottoms is not always in a good position to give a correct assessment of the situation.  In my RL experience there have been many occasions where I’d quite happily spend the rest of the day suspended from the rafters, but there are health issues to consider and the euphoria I’m feeling at the time blocks all that out.  I keep coming back to this point, the top must always be in control, always.

I unlocked the helmet and told Jill to take it off.  Freed from that, she could at least communicate and see.  There was still the problem of the cuffs and the bouncing leashes but that’s okay, at least Jill’s free to talk now.

I encouraged her to do so, I had my work cut out picking the locks so once I’d gotten Jill to set it up so they could be picked, I encouraged her to rant away, and rant she did.  My imperative was to help Jill through this; that she hadn’t failed and it’s perfectly okay to be pissed off.  Of course I had to inhibit my Shuggi’ll fix it attitude; this wasn’t about fixing.  It was about giving Jill a punching bag to pour out all her frustrations.

The cuffs took an hour to pick, longer than I’d have liked, however the goal was achieved.  Jill’s free of restraints and still running RLV.  My job wasn’t done though, this is a scene that ended badly, support must be provided; that is non-negotiable.  This isn’t a damned computer game, what many fail to understand.  There’s no save game feature where you can pick it up with the state the same as it was before.  This needed doing here and now.

Aftercare.  Yes, it was pretty much immediately after this episode I blogged about the scarcity of aftercare in SL and how utterly atrocious that state of affairs is.  I’d just like to re-iterate that Jack set the stage by asking me to look out for Jill, he did the correct and responsible thing.  Okay, it went bad, but at least he did what he could to make sure that someone was there for Jill.

I’ll not go in to what went on, suffice to say I’m not the world’s best cuddler; I have issues getting close to people.  I took Jill to one of the few places in SL where I can cuddle all night and held her till she was more or less okay.  I owed it to her as much as I owed it to Jack.

I logged, I fell in my pit utterly exhausted and slept a dreamless sleep.

Before I continue, let’s be clear. Everyone has bad scenes.  When scenes go bad it is crucial for the top to maintain control.  I don’t give a tuppeny damn how you’re feeling inside, if you’re the top you have to be the pilot who gets both (or all) through this.  You can lick your wounds later.

Back to the tale, we left off with me about to go to bed, dog tired, receiving a screen full of blocked IM.  I checked the map, hoping that Jill would have turned on Find on Map for me.  Alas this was not the case so with no other option I sent her a TP.

For once SL was behaving itself and she came through first time. I didn’t fully appreciate the gravity of her situation on first sight, one thing I noticed straight away though was that she was now wearing cuffs.  That bit was kind of hard to miss, as she was bound like a pretzel and bouncing.

Yes, bouncing.  You play around with leashes long enough you’ll run in to it sooner or later.  It’s what happens when you have two or more leashes trying to spawn to opposite points and neither leash is long enough.  The result is that SL physics gets screwed right up its own arse and the unfortunate leashed person is bounced around the sim like a pinball.

This is exactly what was happening to Jill, bound in a most undignified pose and and pinging all over Pak as if she was under the worst kind of griefer attack.  Of course this made it difficult for me to click on her helmet, damnably difficult.  I effectively played a game of wackamole and after a couple of minutes I got lucky.  Swiftly I unblocked her IM, it was only then that the full horror of what she’s going through came apparent.

After I’d taken my leave of Jack and Jill, with the helmet set up just right, well stuff happened.  Cuffs were added for one, she was made deaf and, to top it all off, cam restrict was turned on so that if her cam went further than 10 meters she’d be blinded as a punishment.  Oh and then they went to Bondage Ranch, one of the laggiest sims I’ve ever been to.

Guess what bouncing all over a sim does to your cam?  Yup, deaf, dumb, blind.


I don’t often swear and I certainly didn’t to her.  No matter my personal feelings it was imperative that I project calm, assure her it was all gonna be okay and damned well make it okay.  The last thing we needed was outside interference, so it was back to my place to undo the damage.

A scene continues

Over the next day or two I kept in touch with Jack; we talked, shared out perspectives and grew comfortable with one another.  Occasionally I’d ask after Jill, the response was usually something along the lines of `she says this is insane.’  My disquiet grew however I kept my own counsel; I’ll not say I don’t judge how others play because that’s a lie, we all do.  I have learned enough to keep my nose out of other peoples business, though.  Maturity I guess.

Jack had RL commitments for the weekend, so he asked me to keep an eyes out for Jill.  I readily accepted the charge, I didn’t know Jill however I was confident in my own abilities to act in a caretaker role.

A little sidebar here, Jack did a very good thing.  He knew he wasn’t going to be around so he made an effort to pass the torch.  That was a good thing to do.  There’s a maxim in RL bondage, you never leave the bottom alone.  Now you may argue that this is SL and it’s only a computer program, and if you did I’d bounce your nose ‘cause you’d deserve it.  There is no more powerful bondage than that of the mind, when you break it down that’s what SL is mainly about, using your mind.

Throughout the course of the evening I kept an eye on my friends list.  I was a little disturbed that Jill had not made her location available to me, but that should be okay.  The exception in the helmet should overcome any difficulties.  I saw her come on a couple of times and sent her a blocked IM, just to let her know I was there.  No response which didn’t comfort me, I hoped she was okay.

The evening wore on and it was getting close to bed time for me.  I sent Jill one last blocked IM, still somewhat disquieted that I’d had no response from her.

My screen filled with blocked IMs from Jill.

A scene begins

I’ve a tale to tell and it’s quite long.  It’s going to be a few parts in the telling, I don’t know how many yet.

A few weeks ago I was in one of my usual haunts and spotted a likely prey, let’s call her Jill.  There wasn’t much to go on in her profile but what was there spoke of some intelligence, so in to the Shug mobile I hopped and set out to nab her.

It’s not often prey eludes me, this was one of those times.  Beaten to it by an, at the time, acquaintance who we’ll call Jack.   Ah well, such is life.  Being nosey I lingered within earshot and the tale unfolded.  Jack had been hunting Jill, the bet was that if Jack could capture Jill in seven days, then Jill would spend a week in RLV.  Intriguing.

More discussion followed and Jack decided that a Kinky Things Iso-Helmet was to be the RLV restraint of choice.  This alarmed me as I know how evil those things can be if not used correctly, so I put forward my services to help set it up.  Jack cheerfully accepted and all was looking good.

During the set up I OOC’d with Jill in IM, getting a handle on how much experience she has with RLV, it soon became apparent her experience was minimal, patchy and for the most part, bad.  My concerns grew however she was determined and it wasn’t my place to dissuade her; I was there to help facilitate not to direct.  I did impress on her the usual blocked IM protocols which seem to have developed as something of a standard; for those not in the know one is yes, two is no, three is I have a non-urgent problem and five is I need help right now.

So a non-rlv user spending a week in RLV and in a helmet that’s set up to something close to the conditions one endures during banishment (I left a couple of the meaner things disabled) for seven days.  Concerned?  You betcha.

RLV 1.21 brought along a new command, @permissive. From the Wiki:

  • Allow/deny permissive exceptions : "@permissive=<y/n>"

Implemented in v1.21 When denied, all restrictions turn into their "secure" counterparts (if any). This means an exception to a restriction will be ignored if it is not issued by the same object that issued the restriction. Using non-secure restrictions (the original ones, like @sendim, @recvim etc) and not using @permissive allow the avatar to benefit from exceptions issued by different objects.


Friends of mine expressed concerns about this new command, friends who have exceptions to their dominants, submissives and hell just every day friends built in to other attachments.  They feared that this restriction would become commonplace and as their dominants collectively do not permit having their IMs cut off, quite legitimately I might add, that they would no longer be able to freely play in RLV playgrounds.

At the time I acknowledged the concern but didn’t give it much credence.  The restriction is, in my eyes, a strong one that should not be entered in to without consent.  That is why Marine put exceptions in to IM blocking in the first place, it’s not a glitch, it’s a feature.

I was further comforted by the rather obvious warning.

Warning : Using this command (or any secure version of the original commands) may silently discard exceptions issued by different objects (it is even its primary purpose), hence some products may appear to cease working while this restriction is in effect. For example, a product that allows the avatar to always be able to send IMs a particular friend will not be able to overcome a @sendim_sec or a @permissive command sent by another object, and will look like it is broken. Therefore, use with caution and make the user aware of how secure your own product is !

I mean that’s pretty clear isn’t it?  I mean it’s the only restriction that has a warning not about the technical nature of it, but about the use of it.  Surely the toy makers of SL will take heed.

Alas I’m wrong.  The other day a friend of mine was trapped by, of all things, a lamppost.  Leaving aside the fact that a lamppost has no business cutting off IM when it’s in automated trap mode, it most certainly doesn’t have any business over-riding exceptions to that restriction!

Understand this, playground architects and toy builders.  Indiscriminate use of the permissive command will ruin the RLV experience of many subs.  Put a bit of thought in to the toys you deploy and follow the golden rule of RLV; if it’s more likely to detract from the scene, don’t do it!

I’ve been back from banishment for a couple of weeks now, other matters have commanded my attention so this blog’s been neglected somewhat.

Twenty-eight hours, hardly a marathon but long enough. My primary goal was to evaluate Alter Tech against KTech. They’re different interpretations and I have a firm opinion which one is the truer to the story. One is much harder than the other for the right reasons, the other is more irritating than one for the wrong reasons. I’ll not express that opinion here, however if you are curious I welcome your inquiries.

Niki asked me not to return home before she got online, yes that’s right kept out my own home by my sub :p, however the wait was well worth it as waiting for me when I got home was this:


Yay! Not a bane no more!



Sweet, huh? So what’s been keeping me busy? RL has been coming to the fore a little, which is a good thing in the main but it is eating in to my SL time a bit. I’ve spent a bit of time at Enslaved and my past life in Quake has been serving me quite well there; that or they all want to get caught…apart from one gentleman, we’ll see where that goes *grins*