Today is my 8th Rez Day in Second Life.
It feels poignant as I haven’t been able to log into SL or attend any events or activities in SL so far this year (2015). The older I get the less time I have in SL, but the more I yearn to spend even more time in SL and get more involved.
I want to learn to build, not just prims but mesh, and get into 3D Modelling and using Blender and Maya. I want to have fun exploring whatever creativity I may have locked deep inside me. I want to explore all those places in SL that I put in my excel file list, before they close down or the list becomes overwhelming. I want to spend more time with the cool people I have met in SL and who inspire me to delve deeper into different sides of my personality that I don’t get a chance to engage with in Real Life. Yet real life has taken over in a big way and I lack the time and space to engage with SL as much as I want to and I feel is necessary to get the most out of it. Like many things, especially creative endeavours, the more you put in the more you get out. I haven’t put anything in this year and I miss what I could get back.
I was trying to think of an image that would sum up 8 years in SL best. All I could come up with was a screen print of my My Second Life About page. I always found it hard to summarise who I am and what I wanted form Second Life in a small space on the profile page. SL has so much to offer in such diverse fields of interest. that is it’s main attraction for me. I am glad SL is still around 8 years after I joined it. The rise of Virtual Reality headsets like the Oculus Rift bring fascinating possibilities for the future of SL and I really want to be a part of that.
Once the dust has settled on the lastest chapter of chaos in my Real Life I hope to be able to jump back into the vibrant world of SL with it’s wondrous creations and people. Hopefully I can give Raza Lane the chance he deserves to develop in SL and spread his wings.
Apparently today is the 3rd birthday of this blog. I had no idea and only realised when I logged in to grab the blog url for a comment I was posting on another blog.
How time flies. 3 years ago, when I started this blog, I had great ambitions for it, and for my Second Life adventures and life.
There have been many highs, and some lows, but the general theme, certainly for the last year, has been my lack of time spent adventuring, exploring, building and connecting in SL.
I have lost many connections with good friends, due to lack of time inworld. I had to give up the large plot of land I had so eagerly purchased and begun building my own little paradise home on. Even my attempts at finding a partner, to share my Second Life adventures and experiences with, have amounted to nothing.
Yet, rather than give up on the idea of ever being able to live a fulfilling Second Life, something always brings me back here. Not to this blog, although I love blogging about SL as much as adventuring in it, but to the vast, diverse and imagination enriching place that SL is.
Every time I do manage to log inworld I have such a great time I decide to plunge straight back into the grid and re-kindle my wayward adventure amongst the pixelated beaches and mesh dinosaur jungles that stimulate my imagination so passionately.
I will devote more of my RL time to logging in and wandering round SL. Taking photographs, exploring, learning to build, sorting our my avatar’s height, buying soem decent clothes and tyrign to connect with more fascinating and inspiring people.
I did have a couple of really fun experiences over the last few days.
I went to the Chat Salon at the Basilique Club in SL for a chat on “Turn ons and turn offs of SL Sex” on October 22nd. It was very informative, in terms of what the sophisticated ladies and gents of SL are turned on by and turned off by in SL. An empty profile and highly aggressive, domineering in an arrogant, elitist manner traits are big turn offs. The turn on’s varied quite a bit, though avatars that looked as though an effort had been made with them was definitely one. I found it fascinating, and the people in the chat were all really open, honest, interesting and full of useful insights, not just about SL Sex, but SL in general. I hope I can make it to some more of these weekly chat salons.
The second fun experience I had was helping out a fellow SL explorer and traveller in her quest to raise funds for what sounds like a fascinating adventure. She plans to buy a yacht in SL and sail aroudn the mainland, writing about her travels in her blog. Check out the link and how I played my part in helping her turn the idea into a reality. It was much more fun than running a marathon whilst growing a fancy moustache, as per real life fund-raising. Speaking of which, I’m not sure if they do Movember in SL, but that would be an interesting proposition.
Oh and I can’t believe I almost forgot to mention the always fun and rocking Exodus Rock Club in SL. I did manage to visit their new Halloween themed build for the club and I loved it. Ghoulish rock’s ability to entertain should never be underestimated. I also managed to make a last minute cameo appearance at their Cartoon Themed night, dressed as a Duff Beer swilling Homer Simpson. I can’t find the snapshot of me as the Yellow Bellied D’ohmeister but I will keep looking.
Anyway, on the 3rd anniversary of this Blog’s conception I feel good about my recent forays back into the ever intriguing world of Second Life, and I hope I can keep logging in and dipping my toes into the creative waters that flow from so many imaginative people who make it such an amazing place to immerse myself in.
Today is my 7th Rez Day in Second Life. Yes, I can’t believe I made it this far. Even after 7 years, SL still has a great deal of power to pull me back in. There is so much I have not seen or experienced there. It just keeps getting better, and I just want to immerse myself in it more and more. Where else can you become a Werewolf and buy a TARDIS? I’ve been scuba diving into magical, underwater realms and become a Pharaoh in Ancient Egypt. It is the one place I can set my imagination free and not get strange looks.
To mark this date, that has got me so excited, I plan to visit at least 7 SIMs in Second Life that I have not yet been to. I also plan to complete Strawberry Singh’s Monday Meme for this week – The Sexual Meme.
Anyway I managed to trawl through my hard drive and find this gem of a snapshot from way back in 2007, the year I joined Second Life (on a whim after reading about it in a BBC On line news article).
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.
At the start of the new year I promised myself, and this blog, that I would make more of an effort to visit Second Life and explore new SIMs that were on my ever growing list. I love Second Life and always enjoy my time immersed in the metaverse but as with many things I enjoy I seem unable to devote much time them. I resolved to remedy this by focussing more on my needs this month and have managed to log inworld most days.
Below (at the end of this post) are some pictures of a few of the wonderful places I have visited.
The more time I spent inworld the more I felt connected to my true self (corny as it sounds and comes out when i type it!), so I thought I would share a few thoughts about that.
One of the many reasons I love Second Life, and keep coming back to it since I joined (an age ago) in March 2007, is that it helps me understand myself.
I have always loved creating and exploring places and things, ever since I was a child. I am curious and inquisitive by nature and a little bit quirky. Seeing all the mind blowing creations sprung from the diverse imaginations contributing to Second Life never ceases to inspire me and fires my own, often stifled, imagination. When I see a magical SIM with glowing mushrooms on top of a Jungle Tree floating in the sky I think wow, I never would have thought of that, but it looks great. It makes me feel that life is full of endless possibilities and other ways of doing things and living. It helps open my eyes, and keep them open. We should not be confined by rigid rules and a lack of imagination, as much as those who try to suppress any form of creative spirit try to confine us. Why does this matter to me? Why does it strike a chord in me?
Well for the most part of my life I have always been suffocated and held back by a cultural background, family and peers who have a narrow and limited view of the world and all it’s possibilities. This is basically down to their own unresolved insecurities and fragility, though I didn’t understand this until now.
When my naturally open minded and curious young self tried to push boundaries I came up against this rock hard iron wall of resistance to the preconceived norm. A sort of solid cage that claustrophobically moved ever closer to me as the insecure people who built this cage did everything they could to crush my independent spirit. They were scared I would take them down with me. Or that I would end up like them, and they hated themselves. So they forced me to conform to their ways of living and doing things, because their way was the right way and the only way to live. People who loved me and whose job it was to build up my own self confidence and faith in life merely ended up crushing my faith in myself and humanity. My imagination was a curse, a blot on myself, my family, my community, all society. It was a hindrance, liek an infectious virus that needed to be caught and killed early on.
Whatever I truly felt deep inside me, or however differently I saw the world and all it’s possibilities didn’t matter. I was wrong. I was always wrong. They were right, always, and I had to obey them and give up my true self and all it’s dangerous ideas and conform to their uniformity or else be made to.
The more they pushed me to change myself to what they wanted me to be, the more i pushed back. But they were stronger. they were my parents, my family, my peers, my community, my ethnic background, people of my inherited faith, my society. Be it my ideas or questions on anything from religion to economics to politics to art to careers or even food, any desires i had that they didn’t like were always knocked out of me.
When you are a child your parents are like Gods to you. I only really understand this know, and how powerful it is, having become a father myself 5 years ago and also going through years of psychological therapy. I always thought that as much as i ended up having my true self, confidence and hope stripped away from me, I still had a lot of independence inside me. It seems I was mistaken.
It turns out that many of the decisions i ended up making, even in my 20’s and early 30’s were basically what my parents or society wanted me to do. I never really wanted to do these things myself. Examples include my career choices. My parents wanted me to become a doctor and do Medicine at University. I never really wanted to, but I still went for it. Then they wanted me to become an accountant. Me, a wildly creative and imaginative lover of films, art, fiction and all things eclectic and eccentric, become a staid, rule following, dull accountant (no offense to any accountants out there!). I caved. I gave up dreams of being a musician, a film maker, a fiction writer, an astronaut, a historian, whatever else i really was or wanted to be. I am naturally a bit left wing and liberal, a fan of charities and change, not corporations and tradition. Yet I “chose” to live and become part of a world that was nevr right for the true me, one of rigidity, material obsession, greedy tax avoiding corporations and insecure traditionalists”.
Even when I thought I was outgrowing and overcoming all the years of brainwashing and being pushed around, i was still really living other peoples lives. I had forgotten who i really was. I bought a house and took on loads of debt when i didn’t want to, realizing it was too big a commitment. If I bought this house then I would have to work in high pressured, highly demanding, corporate, soulless jobs forever, and I never once thought I had a choice to say no. I went to work for a large global multinational corporate giant, a psychopathic entity that was even more corrupt and wrong for the world than i had ever thought possible, deep in the hidden recesses of my forgotten true self. The list goes on.
I essentially got in so deep into this world that others wanted me to live in that i forgot who i really was and wanted to be. I became a walking pod, on automatic pilot, a pale shadow of my natural, youthful, imaginative self.
However, through a combination of good fortune and perseverance i have managed to get to the stage where i no longer accept that I can’t make choices that are my own and that I have to live the life that others want me to live. No matter how powerful a pull they have on me, i am determined to overcome their brainwashing and holding me back and I am doing all i can to reconnect with my true self. The calm, patient, warm, tolerant, accepting, passive yet strong, creative, open minded, film loving weirdo that i am. I am not the ruthless, aggressive, permanently angry money grabbing, greedy capitalist the modern world, my parents, peers and many in wider society want me to be.
Happiness is a complex difficult thing to understand, let alone attain, but it does not come from material wealth or power. It certainly does not come from living the life other’s want you to live, at the expense of the life you feel you truly want to live. The more you try to deny your true self, the unhappier you become. That much i have learnt so far. It seems to hold true for me at least. And that is the point. What matters is what seems true and relevant to me, What makes sense to me. What fires me and my imagination, not my parents or others around me.
That is where Second Life comes in. Trying to reconnect with a self that has been battered and pushed deep down and who in many ways i am still deeply suspicious off, is a very hard task. It is a painful journey of self discovery. Yet deep down I always knew who i really was and what i really wanted from life. It is just about reconnecting with that again. Second Life helps me do this.
When i see a SIM or an Avie that makes me tingle with excitement or when i hear virtual water flowing over virtual rocks in a Zen garden and i feel taken to another place that chimes with me, these are all examples of little ways in which i am reconnecting with the real me. In my real life i was always limited by the insecurities and anxieties of others. Those who held sway over me. In my imagination the possibilities seem endless and hopeful. In Second Life I can see the boundaries of what is possible to create being challenged, and limit’s being pushed. Our creativity and imagination should be the only limits to what we can do.
We all need tools to help us in life, and as a tech lover I’m happy to still have Second Life to help me on my journey. Seeing other people build worlds, people and places they want to see come to life, unhindered by preconceptions or outdated “norms” is refreshing and empowering to my own quest to challenge the norms holding me back.
The only problem is that the more i delve back into the world of wonder and creativity the more time i want to spend there, and time is a luxury i don’t have.
Anyway, enough of my psycho-babble and internal musings. Here are some pictures of a few great SIMs that took my breath away and fired my imagination:
(More pictures to come in further posts)
Basilique Private Members Club Island SIM
(More pictures to come in further posts)
Visit this SIM quickly as it will be moving on February 2nd 2013!
(More pictures to come in further posts)
Tags: anxiety, challenging preconceptions, creativity, finding yourself, growing up, imagination, independent spirit, insecurity, life journey, living your truth, Metaverse, overcoming insecurity, personal growth, psychology, pushing boundaries, Second Life, Second Life Exploring, Second Life Places, self confidence, self discovery, self esteem, SL, Virtual Worlds