Saturday, May 17, 2014

Three Years in Second Life

 Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.


          It’s that time of the year again. 
          The anniversary of when I started blogging about my travels across Second Life (SL), the people whom I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve had.  Each year, this time seems to come upon me more quickly than the last time.  (Significant Other says to wait until I’m really old then see how fast time flies.)  This is the third such anniversary.
          My tradition has been to stop and to write about the past year.  This helps me to think about where I’ve been and what may come.  I also question myself about why I continue blogging. 
          So, as I did last year and the year before that, I’m taking a trip down memory lane here. 
          Therefore, be warned, dear readers!  (All two of you!) 
          I find myself still feeling curious when I log into SL.  The original sense of what may happen next is still there.  What I say next may sound odd, (Significant Other arches an eyebrow here.) but I feel like I’m coming home. 
          Now, don’t get me wrong.  I believe I maintain a very good balance between SL and Real Life.  Significant Other sees to that.  Like an ancient Roman general returning to his triumph, I have Significant Other standing next to me, whispering in my ear that not only am I mortal but real.  (And, if I want to keep being both, I’d better keep both feet on the ground.  Motivation is one of Significant Other’s strong points.)  But, Significant Other supports my excursions, if for no other reason than I’m home every night as opposed to some RL adventures which used to keep me away. 
          (Also, please do not draw any inferences from my use of the analogy of a Roman general and a slave in an ancient Triumph.  Significant Other is a fierce proponent of equal relationships.  The operative word here is “fierce”.)
          Likewise, I find inworld a sense of loss when friends disappear and sims go away.  Especially, when there is no warning.  It’s impossible not to care about the people I meet in SL.  As in RL, time spent talking, arguing, exploring, and whatever else we get up to create bonds. 
          To start, what’s been happening with SL in the last year?
          Ebbe Altberg became the Grand Poobah of Linden Lab (LL).  SL GO, the new tool that was going to make us all mobile in RL when we wanted to be inworld was announced with much fanfare and seems to have disappeared of late near as I can tell.  Oculus Rift, the great hope of those who, like me, are awaiting the expected resurgence of Virtual Reality (VR) came on the scene and was snapped up the Evil Empire, Facebook.
          The common theme behind these three events, any one of which could be a game changer, is that all raised hopes and generated buzz but nothing really has changed much yet.  Maybe SL’s organizational inertia is too great to permit anyone or anything to achieve an escape velocity.
          What have been my big accomplishments for the past twelve months?
          Well, first, I finally had my Big Makeover!    
          Thanks to Starla Farella, her skills and her magic, I’ve been reborn inworld.  (Significant Other was really impressed.)  I no longer look like a noob.  At least, I think so.  (This is where I’d really appreciate both my readers to say in public what they said in private.) 
          Then there were the new worlds that I visited in SL. 
          I went to Gor for the first time.  I’m still trying to get my head around that lifestyle.   No judgments here, but this is definitely a world that can only be virtual.  I visited the Regency Era and still marvel at how another age can be recreated inworld.  Then there was Da Vinci Gardens where ideas that are insanely great are literally given wing.
          The border between RL and SL was touched.  (This one worries Significant Other.)  I worked with the Relay for Life team as they worked to raise money for cancer research.  I helped a British television production company look for RL couples whose relationship began inworld.  Then, I met a group of RL people who practice their religion in both worlds. 
New friends have been made and I value you most of all. 
          Tera Trenchcoat accepted the job as my Research Assistant (RA).  I’m grateful for her patience, insight, and being willing to work for nothing.  (I think this finally sunk in the other evening.  Significant Other is still convinced that Tera’s using me as the subject for her RL graduate dissertation in abnormal psych.) 
          Finally, I’ve begun to use social media more and am seeing more folks dropping by to read my blog.  (Either that or the Original Two readers are doing a great job of looking like a crowd.) 
          Many other things happened along the way this past year.  I’ve tried to capture some of the highlights here.  All whom I’ve met and all the places I’ve visited are important to me as they influence me and influence the person I am inworld. 
          The past year has seen loss inworld.  Friends haven’t come back.  I wish them well wherever their paths take them in RL and SL.
          Great sims like Utopia Naked Isle Resort and Ancient Alexandria are no longer with us.  (I’m still trying to lay a guilt trip on the owners of the former, wish me luck!)
          Do I have any disappointments with myself?
          Yes, I do.  (I’m not including Significant Other’s comments here.)
          My writing tends to wander like I do.  I feel I have too many unfinished projects.  But, I’m an itinerant blogger, right?  Maybe I should cut myself some slack with this one.
          I still haven’t interviewed Bunky Snowbear.  The man who tried to walk across the Grid before stopping out of boredom and for a career in inworld movies.  Bunky’s the reason I started my own journey and began blogging. 
          My writing’s not as edgy as I’d hoped.  I’ll work on this. I don’t think people read me for my jokes.
          Finally, I don’t post nearly as often as I’d like too.  It’s not for lack of good material.  There’re stories aplenty inworld.  But, I’ll cop out and say I have to manage RL.  (Significant Other has asked that I point out that this one is all on me which is true.)
          What’s the future hold?
          I’m an optimist.  I believe in the future of virtual worlds like SL.  Some of the recent events in RL hint at its promise.  There are even rumors of the return of the Lindens! 
          The people and places in SL are something to behold and I encourage all to come inworld and to see for themselves.
          To wrap it up, I’ll still keep blogging!
          Let’s see where we all are this time next year!
          See you around the Grid!
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 welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

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