Monthly Archives: January 2014
One of the things I love about Second Life is the ability to change your avatar appearance and clothing so dramatically, and so easily. The idea of going from Sherlock Holmes to a space alien in one click is highly attractive. I never now what mood I will be in from day to day with regards to SL and what I want to do/ explore in it. I do feel that wearing suitable clothing or changing your avatar is part of the experience if immersing yourself in other worlds.
Anyway, with that in mind, I finally got round to doing some much needed house keeping in Second Life. I started renaming all my SL outfits in the appearance toolbox by relevant category. The categories so far are:
- 1 Sex
- 2 Contemporary Casual – including beach wear
- 3 Contemporary Smart
- 4 History – including fictional characters
- 5 Fantasy – split by Monsters, Superheroes, Warriors and Magical
- 6 Sci-fi/Futuristic
- 7 Alien
I have created an excel file that lists all the different looks – in terms of avatars and clothes/ costumes that I plan to buy and try out. There are so many different variants of SL Raza that I want to try out. Who knows which one will become my favourite! I like this alien avie I just bough today though. Very different from Red Gangster Suit Smart Raza.
I’m trying to bring some order and method into my Second Life activities, inworld and out, which seems ironic as my first life is pretty hectic and chaotic at the same time. That’s even more reason to try and implement some smart systems to enable me to be more efficient with my time and not waste it looking for all those lists of great Second Life blog posts or destinations I had somewhere but have since lost!
I’m a big Excel user and always end up starting a new excel file with lists of places to visit, blogs to read and SL Avatar’s that I want to try out. Obviously, in my real life chaos, I keep losing those files! That was half the reason for starting this blog and book marking to do places, blog posts, articles and avie clothes and stuff in one central online place. The problem with book marking articles and blog posts is there are so many good ones, and I don’t have enough time to read them all, or visit all the cool blogs I follow. So I’ve started giving each blog i follow its own numbered Gmail label, under SL blogs Parent label, and changed the settings on WordPress so that I can get an instant email when a new post is put up on a blog I follow. That way i can hopefully just scan my Gmail label list and see if there are any new posts to read.
Anyway, I’m hoping that being more organised with email labels and book marks will enhance my Second Life experience, by helping me visit more places and try out more new clothes and body shapes/ types. I can’t wait for Blue Alien Raza to come to life. I just need to find his bookmark!
I just listened to show 1 of the Drax files Radio Hour with Jo Yardley. It was really good fun to listen to and highly informative. I never knew anything about the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, or furries in sl, or how complicated fitted mesh was. I suddenly feel slightly more enlightened. Draxtor and Jo Yardley, who runs the 1920s Berlin SIM in SL, were great together.
The Oculus Rift seems amazing. If it will be in supermarkets by the end of the year I definitely want one. I remember VR from watching the early 90’s movie The Lawnmower man, Star Trek The Next Generation’s holodeck (showing my age!), or the brilliant British BBC sci-fi comedy show Red Dwarf. In Red Dwarf Lister puts on a headset that looks just like the Oculus Rift, and he’s transported to a virtual reality version of earth (which for him is great as he’s stuck in a spaceship in the middle of space miles from earth).
Being able to wander through jungles or futuristic cities in a total immersive way, without the peripheral vision of the real world interfering, would be a totally different experience to what SL is now and I can’t wait for it.
I find the idea of immersing myself totally in another world highly attractive. I find Real Life extremely burdensome, painful and exhausting, both physically and emotionally. It has always been this way, and as I get older I get more responsibilities and more stress. I’ve always survived by unwinding through escapism. TV, films, books, fictional universes where I can lose myself and forget all my worries are what keep me going. Yet the more exhausting and burdensome RL gets, the more stimulation and energising I need form my escapism and virtual lives. So being able to immerse myself totally in another world and trick my senses into feeling they are actually floating in space or swimming in a coral reef would stimulate me to a point where I feel alive, not just dragging my drained body and mind through another day.
In terms of the NSA in SL and furries, I haven’t really read anything about NSA in SL (until after composing this post) and like Jo mentioned I just assume that any spy agency that can spy on us, will be spying on everyone, in whatever way they can. I assume that everything I do online or with any form of connected technology, from phones to radio to TV to the web or SL is monitored. How much that bothers me varies.
From a purely personal point of view, I’m not doing anything online that I feel is dangerous or bad, certainly not illegal (I don’t even torrent!), which is like most people. That doesn’t mean to say that being spied on is OK. It is obviously a real and pertinent issue form a civil liberties and privacy point of view. No one likes to be spied on, even though I’m not naïve enough to think I’m not being spied on. The idea that someone, somewhere may be watching my every move from the standpoint that I am as likely as a real criminal to be a threat to society or a bad seed is unsettling. A society that views all it’s citizens with suspicion and as potential threats is a very sad one. It also matters who does the spying. Who defines whether or not I am a threat to the wellbeing of the society or others, and what that wellbeing looks like are all relevant factors. I agreed with Drax that we all need to be more cognisant of the fact that we are being monitored, and that we aren’t as free, and the web and many other platforms like SL are not as open as we might think they are. What a truly free, open yet safe society looks like, online or in the real world, are important questions that we all need to be thinking about and aware of, me included.
Personally, I’m not doing anything worth spying on (seriously). However I have grown up absorbing many dystopic sci-fi movies and books like The Running Man, 1984, or anything written by Philip K. Dick, where authoritative big brother states or corporations deem what is right or wrong without debate, spy on everyone and abuse that power to crush perfectly decent, normal, curious human souls. Maybe my paranoia will be worsened if more stringent censorship starts to creep into the world around me. I am naturally curious and inquisitive and love to challenge the status quo and all forms of authority. In many countries that would make me a risk to the oppressive state or powerful interest groups. Thankfully I live in a relatively free and open country (UK), at least I feel I do! How free and open is debatable, and it is relative to other far more oppressive places. That freedom is also something to be cherished and not taken for granted. Hopefully England won’t end up like the Fascist England of Alan Moore’s graphic Novel V For Vendetta. If it does, then being spied on whilst playing SL with the Oculus Rift may be a very dangerous situation after all. For the time being, if anyone out there is profiling me then they’re wasting their time and data storage space! Unless they like begin confused and bored by my badly typed long sentences in SL and the cyberspehere.
Having typed all that out about the NSA and cyber spying, I have realised that the Drax Files Radio Hour podcast has made me think about something very important that I have just ignored for the last few weeks. I love it when something gets my neurons firing. That’s testimony to a great podcast. I will definitely be listening again to further episodes.
Another topic that the podcast made me think about, linked somewhat to privacy and being monitored, is whether or not I should create an alt in Second Life. To alt or not to alt? That is the question. It’s not a simple question. There is no simple answer. I think it’s worth exploring in another blog post. I’ve ramble don this post for long enough. There’s only so much text one person can read through in one sitting of a blog post!
Maybe I should do an audio podcast. I’ve always got a lot to say and a burning desire to say it, even though none of it is probably very interesting to anyone but myself. Some friends did recommend I start video or audio blogging. But my voice sounds horrible when recorded, and is so deep it might break the internet. For now I ‘m sticking to text. Annoying as it is to type, especially when you type as fast and badly as me.
So thank you to anyone who bothered to read all of this post, and to all those poor souls spying on me and trying to make sense of who I really am from the verbose splattering I’ve strewn onto wordpress.
I’m off to watch all those Drax Files You Tube videos I’ve yet to see!
- Link to the Oculus Rift VR headset in SL Marketplace
- Link to 1920’s Berlin – Jo Yardley’s amazing SIM
- Link to the Drax Files Radio Hour Blog
- Link to the Drax Files on You Tube
- Link to article about NSA Spying in Second Life – The Guardian UK
- Link to article about NSA Spying in Second Life – Pro Publica
Tags: 1920s Berlin, 1920s Berlin Second Life, Drax, Drax Files Radio Hour, Holodeck, Immersive Game Play, Immersive Worlds, Jo Yardley, Metaverse, NSA, NSA in SL, NSA Spying, Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift Virtual reality Headset, Podcast, Privacy, Red Dwarf, Second Life, SL, SL Podcast, Star Trek the Next Generation, Virtual Reality, Virtual reality Headsets, Virtual Worlds
So I finally managed to make good on my self-promise to do more SL exploring. I managed to visit the magical Winter Wonderland build on the Two Moon Paradise SIM. I highly recommend it, if you fancy ice skating or some romantic dancing in snow (although I went there, unromantically, by myself!). As you can see, they have Hot Chocolate too!
List of places I want to visit in Second Life (garnered from various sources such as cool Flickr pics!)
2013 was a year where many things changed and many others didn’t. One thing that I had wanted to change, but didn’t, was my lack of time spent in Second Life.
The more time I spend away from SL the more I miss it. The more it evolves and moves on and when I do eventually return I feel left behind. Many friends have long since disappeared. The technologies get more advanced. The gap between me having the skill set of a newbie and my actual SL age of nearly 8 years gets more embarrassing. Seriously, how many 8 year old SL avies are there who still can’t build (or work out how many scripts they are running!). Yet I still feel the pull of Second Life, as a place of refuge for me.
I find escaping to Second Life very therapeutic. My life is always full of high drama and stress, no matter what I do to try and reduce this things (one of the bad things that didn’t change!) I have tried to pull myself away from bad old habits that helped numb my RL pain and keep me functioning in RL, vices that enabled me to keep going but were destructive in other ways. SL always seemed liek a positive “drug” that helped me recharge my emotional batteries but also stimulated parts of me that were yearning to be noticed and fed.
Anyway I find myself at the start of another year, and with high hopes of actually getting down to spending real quality time in SL. Regular time, where I can build up my skills and explore all those SIMs I landmarked to visit at a later date that never seems to come. Regular time where i can hopefully build up new, meaningful SL friendships, and maybe rekindle some old ones. I bought 2 plots of adjoining beach front land in SL at the end of last year, and that is the hook I;’m using to try and keep me linked into SL. It would be easy to leave and write it all off. Give up and give in to stressful, crushing RL.
Not yet though. No. 2014 must be the year of positive change. 2013 was the year I rediscovered my love of Doctor Who, another form of escapism that fires my imagination and makes me feel alive. 2014 will be the year I rediscover my love of SL.