Saturday, May 23, 2015

Do We Satisfy Our Needs in Second Life?


What a man can be, he must be.

Abraham Maslow

  

          Have you ever thought about what brings us into Second Life (SL)?

          I’ve blogged about a few different topics over the years, the social life, the sense of community, the sex, and, more recently, religion.  (Significant Other sighs and says only I could put together a list like this.)

          But, what really brings us inworld?

          Perhaps, what brings us into SL is a satisfaction of our needs.  (Significant Other can’t wait to hear this one I’m told.)

          I thought I’d use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to help me out here. 

          And, yes, I know there has been a ton of research and work done since Abraham Maslow first published his work to challenge if not outright debunk him.

          That’s alright.

          For an amateur sociologist such as myself (Significant Other cringes at that one.) it provides a handy schema to test my assertion that we all have needs which are satisfied inworld.

          My first assumption is that in SL, as in Real Life (RL), we have our needs satisfied.  Otherwise, why would we be there?

          Maslow’s Hierarch of Needs has five levels often represented as a pyramid.  (Did you know that he represented his work as a pyramid?  This was something that came later.  Who knew?)

          Maslow called the lower four needs, physiological, safety, love and belonging, and esteem, the “deficiency needs” which, if not met, would preclude the fifth level, self-actualization.

          (Please note that I’m not a psychologist or social worker by training.  I never even took Psych 101 at university.  So, don’t be too surprised if you disagree with me!)

          Let’s take a quick run through these levels.

          Our physiological needs are met by the SL environment at its most basic and free
level which gives us everything to exist and interact inworld. 

 As an alternative to RL, many SL residents let themselves go with fashion or building which they can’t do in RL.

          At the second level, safety, we determine who we interact with, where we do it, and how. 

We can be as safe as we want to be inworld.  Probably, more so than in RL.

Moving up to the third level, love and belonging, I believe we have the most crucial set of needs because many come inworld for the relationships and intimacy that doesn’t exist for them in RL for whatever reasons. 

At the fourth level, esteem, we find the second most important set of needs for SL residents. 

Here we are appreciated, valued, or respected by our community inworld. 

Again, this in unattainable for many in RL, SL gives us that chance in a virtual environment.

Finally, we arrive at the pinnacle, self-actualization, which I find that many pursue
inworld.

Although, many others settle in and get comfortable on either love and belonging or esteem and stop right there.

While this analysis of mine is quick and dirty, based on anecdotal evidence as opposed to empirical, I believe that many of us are inworld to satisfy some if not all of these needs in an environment where, rightly or wrongly, we feel that we are in control. 

If we didn’t why would we be here?

What about you?

Does SL satisfy any of your needs? 

I’d love to hear from you!  (Significant Other is curious to know if others have similar flights of imagination.)

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.
          Open roads and kind fires!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Whom Are Our Friends in Second Life?


If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone. A man should keep his friendships in constant repair.

Samuel Johnson

 
          My recent fourth anniversary of blogging about Second Life (SL) got me thinking about all the folks I’ve met inworld and especially those whom I’m fortunate enough to call friends.  (I’ll ignore Significant Other’s wondering aloud if they’d admit publically to being friends with me.)

          The communities that I visit in SL are all comprised of individuals. 

          Each with their own unique personality and characteristics.

          But, one common theme across all of these folks is that they all have friends themselves.

          Which led me to today’s question, “Whom are our friends in SL?”

          Some may ask if we even have friends in SL or, if we do, are they even real?

          I’ve written about friendship in SL before.    

          Today, though, I want to look more closely at what makes up our friends inworld.

          Obviously, I believe that we can have SL friends and these friendships can be as real as those in Real Life (RL).  (In order to be balanced, contrary to Significant Other’s observation, I do have RL friends too.  Although, I must admit, many of them just don’t get SL.  Their loss!)

          So, I’ll start by using myself as an example.

          No, don’t worry, I’m not about to bore you with a long list of the names of my SL friends or their numbers (Again, to keep the record straight, I disagree with Significant Other that I have more SL friends than RL ones.) or their numbers and how long we’ve been friends.

         
Instead, I want to talk about the types of people who are my friends and why we are friends.  (I’ll take Significant Other’s advice and not identify my SL friends here to avoid causing them any embarrassment and risk losing them as friends.)

          My SL friends are people whom I’ve met along the way as I’ve explored and blogged about my inworld experiences. 

          My SL friends are people whom I share common interests or experiences.  (And, yes, people who laugh at my bad jokes.)

          My SL friends are people whom I’ll look for when I rezz inworld or who look for me when I do.

          Come to think of it, isn’t this a lot like what determines whom our friends are in RL?

          What are the characteristics of our SL friends?

          Are they like us?  (Significant Other shudders at this one.)

          Do they help us not only in our SL lives but our RL ones as well?  (I’m presently reading a great book in RL recommended by a good SL friend.  Another SL friend helped me find someone to interview for a story whom I’d been looking for.  Help can be very small things!)

          Are our SL friends supportive?  (Like all those who helped me when I had a recent personal loss.) 

          Do we share confidences (at least SL ones!) with our SL friends?

          Do we do things with our SL friends that we would never dare to do in RL and laugh about them later?

          Do we miss our SL friends and feel a sense of loss when they disappear inworld and we never see them again? 

          I could keep going but I think you get the idea.

          Do you have friends in SL?

          Why do you have them?

          Was it planned or did it just happen?  (I was the latter, I thought I’d be the lonely explorer inworld only to turn around and to find out that I had all these friends!)

          Do you need your SL friends?

          Where do you think your SL friendships will lead?

          Will they be ongoing inworld?

          Will they cross over into RL?  (I’ve met many who have and some who have even gotten married!)

          Or, will they become something else entirely?

          These are just a few thoughts about our friends in SL.

         
Probably, the best advice I can leave for everyone is that, as in RL, we should never take our friends for granted and always hold them close!

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

          Open roads and kind fires!

                                             

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Four Years in Second Life


 
Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.

Haruki Murakami

 
          The pages have turned on the calendar and it’s been one year since I wrote my story about three years of blogging about Second Life (SL)! 

          As is my annual tradition I’ll blog about my last year inworld.  (And, not as Significant Other suggests because I can’t think of anything else to blog about!) 

          Also, I’d like to point out as Becca Kellstrom, my friend and sometime adult supervision in SL, (Much to Significant Other’s relief.) noted that I’ve actually been inworld for five years and been blogging for four.

          Unlike some writers whose muse inspires and guides them to works of sheer genius, not to mention profitability, I have to do it the old fashion way.

          In other words, I have to go out looking for my stories and then figure out how to write them. 

          Let’s start the recap!

          First, this was a tough year for me because of a close personal loss in Real Life (RL).   

          I got past it with considerable help from Significant Other and RL family and friends. 

          I took stock of where I was inworld and came back. 

          My SL friends were wonderfully supportive which reinforced my earlier belief that there are truly real and caring people behind all those pixels.  (Unlike some these days, I do believe in the overwhelming good nature of humankind.)         

          SL experienced its share of losses too in the past year.

          I had to stop my Seven Wonders of the Ancient World in SL series when many of the sims I’d either blogged about or planned to shut down. 

          Many beautiful sims were lost to us here.

          Phaze Demesnes closed and well and may be part of a trend to migrate from SL to other virtual worlds in the Metaverse.

         
Phaze Demesnes was a wonderfully, surreal place inworld and I fear we may never see its like again. 

          Utopia Naked Isle Resort closed as well and a marvelous group of people stopped meeting together on Tuesday evenings for some great parties.

          But, there were many positives this past year as well!

          I stumbled onto First UCC, the RL congregation inworld, and met some wonderful people and learned about their ministry and mission.  (And, to my and Significant Other’s surprise they didn’t ban me.  They are truly a welcoming community!)

          I met a geisha community inworld and explored the small Japanese town they resided
in. 

          In my continuing exploration of the BDSM community, I came across Devilhand and became their scribe-in-residence.

          Then there were all my new friends!

          Bec and Jerome Newstart from First UCC; kenna, Ama, and Steve from Devilhand; and Caroline Resident.

          Please forgive me if I didn’t mention you as there were so many of you!

          Of course, I can’t forget to mention some of my old friends in SL!

          Like Perry Peterson, the Mayor of Mieville, who brought us Valentine’s Day in Vegas, t
he Hobbits, and the freezing of the River Thames to name but a few of his events! 

          May O. Mingzi is still at Beau Belle Village throwing great parties on a regular basis. 

          And, I would be remiss not to mention Tera Trenchcoat, my loyal and long suffering Research Assistant (RA) who supports me in my offbeat adventures.  (Significant Other is convinced Tera sticks around just to see what trouble I get into next.) 

          There are of course many more of you and I wish time and space permitted listing all of you!

          But, I always enjoy your company and remember fondly our journeys together inworld!

As always, I have unfinished business inworld.

          There’s the boat trip to explore Mieville.  I have a crew, a boat, and all I need is a way to get everyone together at the same time. Details!  We’ll figure it out! 

          I’m still planning to interview my inspiration for exploring SL in the first place, Bunky Snowbear.

          Best of all, thanks to May O. Mingzi, I may have finally identified someone in RL who’s accessed SL from Antarctica!

          More to come on this one!

          What have I learned after blogging about SL for four years?

          SL is still a wonderful place with wonderful people who care about one another.

          There has been a great deal of change inworld since I started blogging and more seems to be just over the horizon.

          Finally, I plan to keep on exploring and blogging as long as there’s a SL!

          Thanks to all for following and reading!  

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

          Open roads and kind fires!
         

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Castles in Second Life I – Unicorn Castle


 Even castles made of sand, fall into the sea, eventually.

Jimi Hendrix

 

          Castles!

          Ever since I was a child (Yes, contrary to popular belief, I was one once.) I’ve had a fascination with castles!

          Something about those big, foreboding walls appealed to me.

          I read about them while growing up, (And, yes, contrary to rumors put about by Significant Other, I have grown up.  I just haven’t yet decided what to do with myself now that I’ve arrived.) dreamt about them, and visited them when I finally had the chance in Europe.  (Significant Other was a real trouper about that!)

          For me, castles have always been a source of mystery, suspense, and adventure.  Not to mention ghost stories.  And I love Camelot!

          So, I’ve decided to start another series for my blog which will be about castles in SL!

          (Living in America in Real Life (RL) makes it kind of hard to visit them regularly and Significant Other does have limits!)

          (Hey, it’s my blog!  If you don’t like it check out one of the others!)

          Why now you may ask?

          What sent me off on this track?

          Funny you should ask!

          Last week, I blogged about the Merry Month of May now underway in Mieville in Second Life (SL). 

          While there I came across Unicorn Castle which is owned by Perryn Peterson and is
located in the highlands above the main festivities.  It’s a short walk from the arrival area.

          (This is another reason why I think Perryn is such a cool guy!  He actually owns his own castle!)

          Unicorn Castle will be my first entry in my Castles in Second Life series.

          Perryn brought Unicorn out only for the Merry Month of May so it’ll only be around until May 19th.

          Unicorn was designed by Yllanys Resident who was apparently one of the leading, if not the leading, castle architect inworld.  Unfortunately, like many talented SL residents she has closed her atelier and departed for parts unknown and is no longer inworld.  Although, I’m told by Perryn that her works are still available in SL. 

          Walking up to Unicorn one’s attention is drawn to its white stone face which contrast to the natural colors of the surrounding scenery.

          It’s a falrly modest sized castle reminiscent of the Loire Valley chateaux. 

          Strolling through the main gate which has a functioning portcullis, (I should know, I
tried it out!) a visitor arrives in a small courtyard which leads to the main entrance with unicorns on both sides guarding entrance to the castle proper.

          Across from the main entrance is a small private garden for the occupants.

          The castle is three stories tall with each floor composed of a large open area suitable for balls (What else?) An open shaft goes through the core of the structure giving an open, airy effect.

          Small rooms are off the main areas allowing for privacy.  (Where else would the mystery transpire?)

         
Balconies open out to give breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

          A spiral staircase plus minor stairs facilitate access to the upper floors. 

          Unfortunately, there is no dungeon.  (Significant Other’s eyes roll.)

          Overall, Unicorn Castle is a wonderful example of the builder’s craft in SL.

          Given how it isn’t furnished, one can a true appreciation of its architectural beauty and finishings without any distractions.

          I strongly recommend that you drop over and visit because the Merry Month of May runs from April 25th to May 19th and the landing zone can be found here. 

          Please be sure and leave a donation at one of the collection boxes if you can afford to do so as putting on these displays ultimately does cost RL money!

          Additional photos of Unicorn Castle can be found at this Flickr page. 

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

          Open roads and kind fires!

                                             

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Merry Month of May in Second Life


 
As full of spirit as the month of May, and as gorgeous as the sun in Midsummer.

William Shakespeare

  

          It’s May!

          For those of us in the northern latitudes in Real Life (RL) this is a welcome relief from the recent winter.  (Although, spring is a little off its game this year so far!)

          But, not only in RL but in Second Life (SL) there are signs of new life and the end of winter’s oppression.  (Significant Other while agreeing with my opinion of winter does thing my prose is a bit florid.)

          One sign of spring’s arrival inworld was my recent receipt of a note card from my good friend and the Mayor of Mieville, Perryn Peterson, announcing the Merry Month of May
in Mieville!

          While I enjoy all the Mieville events staged by Perryn, freezing the River Thames, the Chinese Lunar New Year, and Mardi Gras all reminded me of what winter can be.  (Yes, I know!  Some people enjoy these festivals in RL in subtropical temperatures. Alas, I’m not one of them.  Mine are more like conditions on the Ice Planet Hoth.) 

          Anyway, back to May!

          The Merry Month of May is a celebration of the return of Spring in all its wonders to both SL and RL as only Perryn could arrange. 

          (Julie Andrews singing The Lusty Month of May from Camelot springs to mind!  No pun intended!) 

         
The festivities will be a riotous collage of all that is medieval, fantasy and spring!

          There will be over 100 booths where wonderful items will be for sale.  There'll be lots to see and do, a Mini-Hunt, entertainment, gachas, shopping, a huge maypole, dancing, tons of freebies, food and drinks, and much more! 

          Recently, Perryn was kind enough to give me a private tour prior to the opening of the event.

          We began at the arrival area and walked through the lower grounds where there are many of the merchants’ shops and booths, entertainment areas and beautiful landscaping. 

          Mieville’s natural beauty seems to always improve from one event to the next.

          The natural realism and attention to detail make a trip to the site for visuals alone
worthwhile. 

          Mike Olbracht and Jalynne Ohmai have worked their usual magic in bringing Mieville’s venues to life. 

Climbing into the surrounding hills, Perryn takes me the gacha emporium which is downstairs from one of the most realistic taverns I’ve ever seen in SL.  The stained glass windows with their lighting effects have to be seen.

          The upper elevations also contain Unicorn Castle which is Perryn’s pride and joy.

          Unicorn is large, multi-storied castle with many nooks and crannies.  The dance floor for the festival’s parties is located here.  (Watch for a separate story on this edifice alone in the not too distant future!)

          The imposing May Pole is located in front of Unicorn Castle and has wonderful dance
animations crafted by Cyneswith Luik within.  (No, there won’t be pictures of Perryn and me dancing around it.) 

          Situated across the sim are several towers which give wonderful views over all the festivities and I recommend these to anyone looking to take in all the fun before getting started. 

Cierra Anatine of Kismet, Miss Lunar Tripsa, and Tamiron Landar are well established merchants at Mieville festivals and are returning with impressive merchandise for discerning shoppers. 

Mostal Resident of Dragons Are Too Seldom and Shilan Folger are just two of the new merchants at the festival and are well worth a visit. 

          Mike Olbracht now does oil paintings and has his shop on the lower grounds. His works are beautiful and I highly recommend for anyone looking to fill a space on a wall in
their SL home. 

Ktahdn Vesuvino will be part of the scheduled entertainment and will be providing period music. Don’t miss him! 

          Apologies to all the other wonderful merchants and entertainers who will be participating, it’s just not possible to list all of you! 

          But, I encourage visitors to support as many they can because without all the efforts of these creative people we’d never have festivals like this.

          Mieville’s Merry Month of May will be a fun filled opportunity to meet others inworld and do a little shopping.

          It represents the best of what a community is all about in SL!

          Please come and enjoy yourselves and maybe you’ll see me dancing around the May Pole! 

          I’d like to thank Perryn Peterson for his time and hospitality in showing me around and all the others whose hard work makes these events possible!

          The Merry Month of May runs from April 25th to May 19th and can be found here. 

          Tell ‘em web sent you!

          Additional pictures from my visit can be found here.

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.
          Open roads and kind fires!