Saturday, September 24, 2016

Are You Content in Second Life?


Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.

Mark Twain 





Are you content in Second Life (SL)?

Interesting question, eh?  (Significant Other says I’d better be.)

Why shouldn’t we be?

Let’s discuss this thought for a while.

What is contentment?


I don’t want to go overboard here.  No Sigmund Freud psychoanalysis, no psych tests, none of the usual means by which we try to dissect this very subjective state. 

What makes us happy?

I want to avoid a technical measure like Maslow’s pyramid of needs.  Like life itself, we have no specific definition but we know it when we see it. 

I think at the end of the day it comes down to do we feel good about ourselves whether in SL or in Real Life (RL)?

Let me take myself as an admittedly biased example.  (I ignore Significant Other’s groans.)

I’m content in SL.  (Significant Other lets out a sigh of relief.)

Why?

I have many friends (OK, not all of whom will admit to this publically.), new journeys of exploration across the Grid await me every time I rezz inworld, I can write, and three people actually admit to reading me on a regular basis!  (Hey, Van Gogh only had one buyer for one painting in his life.) 

But, most of all, RL is in a good place for me right now.  I’m home far more often than I was when I was globetrotting all over the place in RL and Significant Other shows no signs of wanting to throw me out! (Significant Other enthusiastically nods in the affirmative.) 

What about others inworld?

Are they content? If so, what are their reasons? 

I’ve found many residents over the years to be inworld for the technical challenge, the creative opportunities (art, writing, music, and film), relationships both friendship and romantic, or simply a place to go.

Everyone has their own reason or reasons.

SL does change like the seasons in RL.  But, life inworld repeats itself just as it does
in RL.  There is a long established community inworld now and they must be content if they keep coming back.  Even the masochists! 

I’d love to hear from you about whether or not you’re content inworld and your reasons for being so. 

If I get enough responses, I’ll come back with an update!

Please drop me a line!

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 can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

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

            Open roads and kind fires!



Saturday, September 17, 2016

Is the Nature of Second Life Changing?

Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein 

 
 
Wandering across Second Life (SL) as is my wont, (Significant Other prefers this to my former globetrotting days in Real Life (RL)) I’ve covered much virtual time and distance.

Many things have changed over the course of this time, but, I think I’ve uncovered something new.  (Significant Other’s eyes roll.)

Recently, I went back to visit one of the great sand boxes inworld, the Hobo Jungle, sadly only to find that it’s now gone.  I’d just missed it as it closed about six months ago.  Now, an adult sim is in its place.  It’s beautiful but serves a totally different function.  (And, there may be a story here in the future.)

Once again, this got me thinking (And Significant Other worrying.)

Is something more fundamental going on inworld?

Is the nature of SL itself changing? 

Are we seeing SL metamorphasize (I’ve always wanted to use that word.) into something new?

          The premise behind SL originally was that it could be whatever you wanted it to be.  This naturally drew in the creative types, many of who created large scale, if usually empty, beautiful sims.  This is what I submit is changing.

SL was arguably the first true virtual world on a large scale available to the general public.  But something happened along the way.

New forms of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and the like came along.  People were more engaged in socializing than building things.  In fact, most probably couldn’t have cared less about building things. Their energies were directed into being liked. 

Meanwhile, in RL things were changing too.  People abandoned physical games for virtual ones.  Relationships moved online.  People who previously couldn't connect with others because of disabilities, physical remoteness, or just being plain old fashioned shy could now engage with others.  Globally no less!  Hobbies like model building, military miniatures, and board games had a serious falling off as people moved online.  Putting aside virtual relationships, RL relationships have moved online

All this has been reflected inworld too.

The already mentioned loss of big builds is one example.  Another is the phenomena of active groups based around sims closing rapidly because the founders are worn out by all the effort required especially if they're successful.

But, residents are active inworld socially. builds are simpler, and groups have themes and many times no owned sim.  The degree of social interaction is high, sometimes flowing
over into RL.

What does all this mean?

It could mean SL has a long life ahead of it. 

Scripters who work on avatars and their fashions may take precedence over builders. 

SL could evolve closer to RL for those who wish to remain anonymous with more focus on relationship building. 

SL could become a sanctuary for those who are alone IRL.

SL could become a place where everyone knows your name at least virtually!

What could the future hold for SL?

A very good question!  (Significant Other thinks I ask very good questions and only wishes that I could answer a few of them.)

I still believe there's a lot of potential in SL.

We may see a blurring of the lines between SL and  RL.

Could Bitcoin or other cybercurrencies finally permit an inworld economy to start to begin to flourish?

SL could outlast all of us but in order to do so, it needs a reason for people to want come, a reason to want to stay, and a reason to comeback.

The answer ultimately lies with all of us!

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 can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

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

          Open roads and kind fires!
 
 
 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Seasons in Second Life


Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,

We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!

Humbert Wolfe 





            That time of year has rolled around again.

            The time when leaves are turning color and falling to the ground.  Schools have
reopened. Days are growing noticeably shorter.

            People are talking of the approaching Holidays and wondering where the year has gone.

            Yes, here where I live in Real Life (RL), summer is ending and autumn is fast approaching. 

            This happens four times a year here. (I live in a place where we have real seasons not just dates on a calendar.  Significant Other cheers.)

            We cycle through extremes of weather and the daily vicissitudes of dealing with these.  There is something reassuring about this.  (I’ll ignore Significant Other’s remark about being reliable unlike some.)

            The regular seasonal changes in RL make me think about Second Life (SL).

            We really don’t have seasons inworld.

            Yes, some sims change for the seasons.

            Some just ignore seasonality and are perpetually in one season.

            And, some change their seasons based on the whims of their owners.  As in, “Hey,
it’s Christmas tomorrow!  Where’d we put the snow from last year?” or “Wouldn’t it be fun to have snow in our tropical island paradise in the middle of July?”

            SL doesn’t really have seasons.  But, then for that matter, we don’t have the sun, moon, or stars either unless we want them and buy or build them.  Such is the world we live in in SL. 

            Changing seasons, where they do exist inworld, are more of an afterthought than anything else.  And, in fairness, it takes a considerable effort to build and maintain seasons in SL. 

            I admit a bias.

            I love the change in seasons.  It’s been part of my entire life and I’d be lost without them.  (Significant Other claims that this is one of my more endearing features.)

            Maybe someday, there’ll be a virtual world with seasons, weather, and the constellations in the sky!  For now, I just take what I can get inworld!

            Two of my favorite sims in SL with changing weather are First UCC and 1920s Berlin.  The former has an especially nice winter transition.  (Which may be the influence of my equally biased L’il Sister!) While the latter does a nice job of reflecting changes in the
weather to approximate the seasons.  (Always check whether you should bring your umbrella before visiting.)    

            As with virtually (No pun intended!) everything in SL, it’s what we make of it.  Seasons are optional unless we want them.  Admittedly, the overhead of building and maintaining them does get in the way!

            Please contact me with your favorite season seasons inworld and where I might find it.  I’ll do an update in the future on what I learn!   

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 can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

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

            Open roads and kind fires!



Saturday, September 3, 2016

How Much Time Is Too Much Time in Second Life?


You become what you think about all day long.

Ralph Waldo Emerson 





            Recently, I met a friend in Second Life (SL) whom hadn’t seen in a while.

            (I’ll ignore Significant Other’s comment that maybe she had been avoiding me and her luck just ran out.)

            My friend explained my not seeing her as arising from a short vacation in Real Life (RL) and then just getting away from SL for a bit to reconnect with RL.

            This brief conversation got me thinking (This is when Significant Other usually starts
to worry.) about how much time spent inworld could be too much time.

            I don’t have an answer here.  (Significant Other’s jaw drops.)

            And, no, I’m not copping out here.  I do have an opinion but it’s an open ended one.       

            Every individual is inworld for his or her own reasons. One size won’t fit all when it comes to how much time is appropriate to be inworld. 

            No two people are in SL for the same reasons.  There are probably more reasons than there are people.  Some are here to escape from RL and have a life more aligned with their needs whether these be emotional, intellectual, curiosity, or whatever.  Some are here because they are needed inworld.  The ministry of First UCC comes to mind here. 

            Maybe the question really is, “Is there really such a thing as too much time in SL?”

            As with anything, good or bad, excess is generally not recommended. (Significant Other wants to know if I mean that a little bad can be good.  Philosophy is one of Significant Other’s strong suits.)  If someone is harming their RL relationships or ignoring their RL
responsibilities then the amount of time spent is irrelevant because of the deleterious effects.  If RL friends and family wonder where you are all the time then yes, the time spent is harmful.  (Significant Other freely admits to knowing where I am all the time currently as opposed to when I was wandering around the world in RL in jets.) 

            Each of us inworld has our own Goldilocks solution to how much time is spent inworld and that should be enough.

            A break, every once in a while, from SL is probably a good thing.  (Not to worry, I’m not going anywhere.  My recent unscheduled absence from SL is enough for me for now.)  Reconnecting with RL will only make us appreciate SL more upon our return.

            I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic and learn how much time you spend inworld and how do you determine when enough is enough.  Just add your comments here on this story or drop me a line inworld. 

            I look forward to hearing from you!

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 can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

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

            Open roads and kind fires!



Saturday, August 27, 2016

Are You Going to Renaissance Faire VI in Second Life? (Hint: You should!)


 The phoenix must burn to emerge. 

Janet Fitch 





            Summer is drawing to its close in Real Life (RL), at least here in the Northern Hemisphere! 

            The last, long weekend of the American summer, Labor Day, draws nigh.

            All this means that the annual Renaissance Faire in Second Life (SL) will soon be here! 

So, when Perryn Peterson, the Mayor of Mieville, impresario extraordinaire, and my good friend in SL reached out recently to let me know that Renaissance Faire VI was soon
to be upon us, I was ready!  (Significant Other comments something about this being a rare occurrence.) 

            Since I’m still struggling to catch up after being away  I reached out to my latest Companion to join me and help with the photographs.  (She still wishes to remain anonymous to protect her professional reputation.  Significant Other suggests they form a support group.) 

            As with such Faires in RL, Renaissance Faire VI is a celebration of all things Renaissance.  The rebirth of knowledge and learning after the long night of the Dark Ages. 
In keeping with this theme, the SL Faire begins in a period village and hunters go off to find the marvelous gifts being offered by the participating merchants. 

            Renaissance Faire VI is located in Mieville Shelley, where it relocated to last year. 

            The site is a beautiful bucolic setting of a small village having its annual faire.  Besides the contemporary buildings located around a small pond, the temporary tents and booths of merchants and gypsies are set up on the outskirts of town. 

            Strolling through this scene, one hears the bubbling brooks and listens to period music.  Meriadne Merlin a RL performer has supplied several of the tunes which Perryn has been using for a number of years. 

            Trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers decorate the sim adding a pastoral effect that contributes to the feeling that one has left the modern age and returned to a simpler time.   (Mike Olbracht, Mieville’s landscaper par excellance and Perryn’s partner has once again
shown how talented he is and I marvel at the subtle changes that he has made to the grounds since last year!  His work alone is worth a visit to the Faire.)

            Strolling through the streets and lanes of the Faire, I see the various wares on display by the merchants and am impressed by their variety and quality.  Perryn always strives to have the best inworld mechants at his events. 

            While I’m wandering through the gypsy encampment, peeking into their vardos, (Yes, there’ll be a fortune teller!), my Companion is off busily snapping away with her photographs.  (I really don’t deserve her help.  Significant Other says she’s not the only one whose help I don’t deserve.) 

            BTW Ktahdn Vesuvino will be broadcasting period music from the gypsy encampment during the Faire! So. Make sure you’re listing for his tunes when you visit! 

            The Tinies from Tinyopolis have their own Artisans Lane with high quality craftspeople participating and shouldn’t be missed!

            There’s also a gacha tent with all the latest gachas! 

            The maypole still has pride of place in the center of the village and a small stage is a
t the water’s edge for performances during the Faire and don’t forget to see the Punch & Judy show! 

            As for the Hunt itself, seventy-five of the best shops inworld are participating!  (There's also a mini-hunt at the Faire itself!)

            A complete list of participating merchants can be obtained by joining the Historical Hunts, Ltd. Group inworld.  Additional information can be obtained from the website. 

            As always, the Renaissance Faire is a fun community event offering great opportunities to meet other residents and to learn about life inworld.  It also helps the merchants who are a vital part of SL! 

             I heartily recommend joining the Hunt or at least visiting the Faire!

            The Faire can be found here and runs from September 1st to 30th. 

            Happy hunting! 

            As always, I’d like to thank Perryn and his team for staging these terrific events and putting up with me as I write my stories!   

            I’d also like to thank the Companion for joining me at the last minute (Significant Other says what else is new.) and taking photographs.  (Hers are the better ones here and on this Flickr page where all our photos from this trip can be found.) 

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 can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

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

            Open roads and kind fires!



Thursday, August 18, 2016

“Awt in da Pawk” in Second Life




Everything you can imagine is real.

Pablo Picasso 





             As part of my personal self-improvement plan, I’m trying to expand my familiarity with culture and the arts.  (This was after being told by Significant Other that reading Archie comic books didn’t count.  Who knew?)   

            So, when Perryn Peterson, the Mayor of Mieville, impresario extraordinaire, and my good friend in Second Life (SL) (Actually, one of the few willing to admit it.) dropped a line to tell me about an upcoming art show and sale that he was co-hosting with Miss Maggie Puss of Tinyopolis in Mieville, well, I just had to make sure I went and did a story! 

            I also reached out to my latest Companion to join me and help with the photographs as she’s a talented photographer.  (She also wishes to remain anonymous to protect her professional reputation.  Significant Other doesn’t blame her.) 

            The event is Awt in da Pawk and is being held in the Tinyopolis neighborhood in Mieville. 

            This is pronounced as if you’re from Boston and not from Brooklyn as I had to continually explain to the Companion.  (Not sure where she’s from but wherever it is, they certainly need more familiarity with regional American accents.) 

            Awt in da Pawk is an art show and fair open to all artists inworld.  Works can include photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures, and whatever other materials suit the creator’s fancy.  Copies will be available for sale. 

            Awards for best in show pieces will be made on the third and final day.

            The show will be open to the public on August, 19th, 20th, and 21st and takes place here at Tinyopolis in Mieville. 

            The Companion and I dropped by to visit the show as it was being set up shortly before its opening.

            The show is in the main square in Tinyopolis.  Open-sided tents forming a rectangle
house the various works on display.  There is quite a selection of art of very high quality.  (I’m ignoring Significant Other’s barbed query of how would I know.)

            While viewing the artwork, the Companion and I met a photographer, Noxoko, who was setting up his exhibit.  A long time SL resident, he has recently taken up photography inworld specializing in black and white photographs.  Make sure to check his work out and maybe buy some!  I hope to have a story about Noxoko and his work in the not too distant future. 

            As always with any event in Mieville, they’re guaranteed to be fun, worthwhile, and a great way to meet folks inworld!  In addition, this is a chance to see some incredible art created within SL. 

            The Companion thought there was a good variety of artists and that the show was a
local, small town, kind of fun thing to do!

            I strongly recommend that you visit Awt in da Pawk, you won’t regret it!

            Maybe you’ll run into me and the Companion!  (She’s the good looking one!)

            I’d like to thank Perry and Miss Puss for hosting this show and allowing us to visit it beforehand for this story.

            I’d also like to thank Noxoko for taking the time to meet with the Companion and me, and answer our questions.

            Last but not least, I’d like to thank the companion for joining me and taking photographs.  (Hers are the better ones here and on this Flickr page where all our photos from this trip can be found.) 

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 can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

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

            Open roads and kind fires!