Sunday, January 15, 2012

Live in a Box? Why Not? It’s Second Life!

                                                    Cause I know what’s going on

In my own mind

Am I living in a box

Am I living in a cardboard box

Verve and Pigott

As I’m still recuperating from my recent twenty-four hours in Second Life (SL), my routine of regular visits to Second Life (SL) is still struggling to come back to normal.  I took advantage of this struggle to visit an old friend, Kaii Kiranov, whom I’d been meaning to meet all last year and our schedules just never clicked.  Hopefully, this is a good omen that in 2012, I’ll be able to catch up with everyone whom I owe a visit!  (I heard that!  The year will be long enough!)

Kaii and I meet at her store in Glinda and begin to catch up. 

I first met Kaii through Perryn Peterson’s Hunt5.  She and her partner, Poise Collins,  own and manage heap! –cardboard box living-.   

A moment now.  Yes, I said living in cardboard boxes. Now, I can guess what you’re thinking right about this time.  It’s a virtual world, why would anyone want to live in a cardboard box when they could live in virtually anything they wanted? 

Well, there are people who enjoy living in virtual cardboard boxes in SL.  (I’m willing to bet that not too many of them live in cardboard boxes in Real Life (RL)!)  In fact, Kaii’s and Poise’s motto is, “Why live in a palace when you can live in a box?”  (One question still unanswered at the end of this interview was do SL carboard box inhabitants quarrel over the best spots over steam grates in winter?  You have to be from NYC to get that one.)

But, back to Kaii for a little history.  She originally became involved in SL when she moved to Texas from Maryland for college in RL and was separated from her twin sister, Jai.  A mutual friend, JJ, introduced them to SL so that they could be together again and still hang out.  The three started an inworld business called Twisted Sisters. Jai and JJ were programmers so they went ahead and scripted what Kaii calls the best titler in SL.  The titler began as a tool between slaves and masters originally for those involved in Gorean culture.  Later, they made a version for clubs and social events.

However, as many of us know, going away to college means moving away from friends and family in more than a geographic sense.  Jai became involved in RL activities which kept her from SL and Kaii got stuck on SL as she puts it. 

In her early days after Jai moved on, Kaii went sim hopping, just opening the map and clicking on a sim.  That’s how, one day, she ended up in a Belgian sim at at a club called Bushy’s  where she met her best friend and partner, Poise Collins.  The rest as they say is history. 

Kaii describes Poise as an artist and one of the most creative persons she has ever met. Poise has many business interests in SL.  She owns a successful store, Poised, and has her own fashion lines.  Kaii says that Poise is one of the few who runs a successful SL business.  The main store in the mall where Kaii and I are meeting is also owned by her. 

heap! began when Kaii pitched the concept of living in cardboard boxes in SL to Poise and they decided to go into business together.  Poise and Kaii both create the boxes, Kaii putting in their animations.

Kaii gives me a tour of several of the boxes that are on display in Glinda. The first one, entitled “Kaii Kandi” is reminiscent of an Alice in Wonderland scene.  The second looks like an ordinary office one would expect to find in either SL or Rl except that it’s in a box.  Each box comes with at least six animations contained in an animation menu and multi-sit capabilities.   (Although, yours truly here managed to end up on the floor the couple of times he tried to sit down.  Fortunately, Kaii is a patient instructor.)  Boxes available in hunts generally have fewer animations than those sold. 

This may sound strange to say, but, for a SL resident looking for a small place to call home and is looking for something a little untraditional  (OK, OK, a lot untraditional.) heap!’s boxes are good value.  I suspect that there are quiet, little corners in SL where someone could probably squirrel away one or two of these and no one would be the wiser.  (Not that I would do anything like that, of course.)

heap!’s boxes are available at their main locations in Glinda and Tanglewood.  The other two locations are remote at Charisma and Depraved Nation.  They can also be obtained through the various hunts which heap! Participates in during the year.  They feel they are in all the best hunts inworld and rotate hunt locations to reach new customers.

When I ask Kaii how the business side of heap! Is going, she replies that truthfully, they give away more boxes in hunts than they sell.  Their challenge has been getting the word out about the boxes.  Kaii says she and Poise never set out to be rich doing this.  The boxes are meant to be fun and to bring a smile to people.  Well, they brought a smile to me if that means anything! 

Kaii and I talk about the Great Depression of 2008 and its effect on inworld sales.  She believes the recession has had a huge negative effect on SL sales.  She has seen many businesses and residents leave with only a couple returning.  Kaii also believes that Linden Lab’s (LL) failure to protect inworld merchants has also affected sales potential negatively.  LL has to also understand that they can’t always have it their way.  She recommends that LL require merchants to have an inworld store presence and not just sell in the SL Marketplace.  The goal here would be to ensure that there always would be retails centers and communities.  I tend to agree with her logic.

As for the future, Kaii’s not sure what it holds for her in SL.  She never thought that she would be a creator in SL and she is.  She has met many really nice people in SL and enjoys that.  Something tells me that we’ll always see Kaii on the grid doing whatever but that she’ll be having a good time is a definite. 

I thank Kaii and take my leave of her.  I think about what I’ve learned in this meeting.  One interesting point is that Kaii and Poise have never met in RL.  Their friendship and partnership exist only in SL.  I shouldn’t say “only” because if we’re friends and we’re together does in really matter where “where” is? Kaii says she spends time in SL because she can meet people all over the world.  She admits it limiting but it does simulate RL contact. 

If you have a chance, please drop by one of heap!’s locations and check out their boxes.  Especially, if you need an extra room for those in-laws who always show up unannounced.  Or, drop by the club Dare to Dream, co-owned by Kaii and Poise, and just have a good time! 

I would like to thank Kaii Kiranov for taking the time to meet with me and talk about her work in SL.  As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.
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Photo No. 1: Kaii Kiranov

Photo No. 2: Kaii Kandi Box

Photo No. 3: Office Box

Photo No. 4: Dark Box

Photo No. 5: heap! Glinda Store

Photo No. 6: Poised Main Store

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