I realize I probably do this on purpose, but never consciously. I was curious about Second Life back when S@L was hooked on it (evangelically hooked on it) mostly about the mechanics of it all. But there was only the company computer at home, and I wasn't willing to be so vulnerable.
So anyway, fast-forward: I've wandered in. And what we knew about ham radio, CBs, party phone lines, chat rooms, MySpace, and yes, the blogosphere is also true in virtual reality: you are not any more interesting as a cartoon.
S@L is right about many things though, mostly that you can spend an entire hour fussing with your appearance. What's hilarious is that in the Orientation room (get ready to know that I don't know the lingo for anything. Someone moments ago asked me if I wanted to "camp," and I have a feeling it didn't mean anything I thought it might have meant), everyone looks alike because you start as one of 6 or 8 stock characters before you are let loose with alteration tools. There is a strong drive to individualize. (with or without furries)
You recall I am not very avatar friendly, but when you first get in-world it is about the only controls you can figure out., and they provide immediate results. I am not as fat in 2nd life as I am in Land's End, but I was surprised to learn I had made myself too short. My 2nd Life self is only 5'3" according to an object that offered to measure my height.
You spend most of your time walking behind yourself, so I know that I have a bald spot I can't get rid of and a fairly ponderous ass.It is not my fault the shirt doesn't fit. My shirts don't stay tucked in in real life either.
The first person I encountered in SL kissed me uninvited; the 2nd one followed me around practicing his English. I've been run over by a car, and have a tendency to get trapped behind furniture in small rooms I can't get out of. I got the warmest welcome at a beach I went to; unfortunately, it was Beach Japan, so I have no idea what was going on.
And other than those vignettes... there is no one there. SL is a ghost town. Even at the Virginia Tech Memorial, which I had posted about, so I thought I should go. No one there. Nor at the bookstore, movie theatre, bowling alley (I collected several bowling balls, but couldn't throw them), real estate office, reggae bar, church, sex club (oh yes, I did -- as we used to say in public television, follow the porn). I found a beautiful neighborhood of homes I barged right through, completed with blazing fire...no one home. There was a beachfront boardwalk in French. A flight school. A gym.
The image above, which appears to be in Busch Gardens, was actually at "Camp 80s," where I was not served a Slamma or an oat-bran muffin, but was invited to "camp," whatever that could be.
Today in real visceral life I went exploring the Case Estates, where no one was either. Just me and a camera and a backpack, walking through empty fields listening to the wind blow. And, except for not having to watch myself from behind, it felt pretty similar, only less creepy. Certainly better exercise, and Vitamin D.
I promised Miss Minchin I would give her a peek, and if S@L tells me her in-world name, we can go back to the sex cl----I mean, boardwalk together. Or we can just sit on her transparent floor and bang the pots and pans. I've gotten good at sitting on things.