Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Take the next exit

I have decided to move my Firestorm and SL posts to another blog. This one may stay, it may be repurposed. I'm not sure yet. But all my posts are now on

Monday, February 16, 2015

Me in 20

This morning I was checking out other blogs, and I came across Strawberry Singh's Monday Meme. It's a list of questions that she answers, something like you might find on Facebook or other social sites. 

Last year she did a similar one, and I like those questions a little better. So I thought I would copy them and answer them for you. I am usually very reserved and don't talk a lot about me, so you may not know much more than I am an avatar, there is most likely a human behind the curtain frantically operating a Steampunk-ish panel of controls, and that I am a member of the Phoenix Firestorm Project's Support Team.

So without further delay, I present me in 20

  1. When and how did you discover Second Life? – A friend of mine, senior member of a local youth group for which I volunteered, introduced me in mid-2010.
  2. Did you know about virtual worlds before or was this your first experience with them? – Well, yes and no. This was my first experience, but I had heard "Second Life" mentioned at least once in the decade before. I never had an interest, no one introduced it to me.
  3. Has Second Life met your expectations? – I didn't have any expectations, and I think that's the best way to approach Second Life, but it isn't a game like any other, no missions, no ranking, no awards, just imagination in 3D
  4. If you could teleport back to the first ten minutes of your avatar’s slife, what would you tell yourself? – Buy more L$ and get a better looking avatar. Which I did, actually, about a month later I retired Chief Acoustic and created Mister Acacia.
  5. How long did it take you to master avatar flying and driving vehicles inworld? – Flying was pretty easy, it was like walking, only you're not walking. Driving a vehicle took a little practice, and since each vehicle can act differently, each one takes a little practice.
  6. Do you have a mystery alt? – I have a couple that I use in conjunction with my work on the Firestorm team. If I need to test avatar interaction, they are my willing Guinea Pigs. But I also do have an alt that no one knows about. It is rarely online, and then only for a short period.
  7. Is your SL avatar a reflection of you, or someone you wished you could be? – Wow. Well, it's definitely not me, I look nothing like my avatar. I don't think my avatar really looks the way I wish I could be because I am happy with how I look and who I am. I know that sounds like a cop out, but it's true. I've been fighting major depression and self-esteem issues all my life, and a few years ago made some dramatic life changes that allow me to focus more on myself, see what's inside the bag of mostly water, and appreciate me.
  8. Is there an individual you met in SL that inspired you in your RL? How? – There has been one that has inspired me to do my self-healing and shine a light into all the dark recesses where I kept things I didn't want to look at. Long story short, she helped me be a better person for myself.
  9. Do you feel it is easier to create stronger bonds/relationships with people you meet inworld as opposed to the real world? – This is hard for me to answer because of my dealings with depression and self-esteem. I would say it did, I don't know that I would create such relationships in RL, but then again I am a member of a few Masonic organizations and that helps me inject myself among those like-minded people and feel more at ease making friends and interacting. The one thing SL did was let me meet more people, so the number of opportunities to make a strong bond is greater.
  10. Did you ever imagine or believe people could fall in love with someone they never met before Second Life? – I do believe this. Because I did. I have also seen mock love, people falling in love with the idea of being with this image of a person -- an avatar -- without seeing or knowing the real person behind the curtain. But like in RL, lasting relationships need more than love, and they can start or continue in SL.
  11. How has your perspective of dating changed (or not) since you started playing second life? – I didn't do much dating for reasons I've mentioned. And I didn't do much in SL, though SL made it easier. That anonymizing insulation between two people won't go away by itself.
  12. How has your perspective of employment changed (or not) since you started playing second life? – Employment in SL sometimes makes me think of slave labor or pre-union practices, where the employer could pay whatever they chose, including zero regular pay, and compensate the employee by letting them keep whatever they might be hawking ( or modeling ), and keeping whatever tips they might earn. Having been a tip-earning employee, I must say that begging for money would have been more lucrative.
  13. Name three things in both your lives that overlap each other significantly. –First and foremost, I am me. I tried to be something else for an alt and couldn't. So I am me in both lives. I guess second is still part of me, my desire to help others. That's what brought be to the Firestorm team, I began helping people use the viewer. Third is still another aspect of me, I treat every avatar like there is a real human with real feelings driving it.
  14. If you could live your life more immersively in a virtual world, would you? (Kind of like the Matrix) – At times I've felt like I was since my RL was rather closed off. Depression can make you put up walls to block you from the world, and SL was a path outside those walls. But I would not want to live in SL all the time, there is too much RL to experience.
  15. How do you think behavior changes for people if they’re inworld vs in real world? Why do you think that is? –Walt Disney's cartoonists once did a program about driving. Goofy was the lead character. And the program was meant to show how people change when they get behind the wheel. Second Life has the same effect on people, it's an insulator between you and consequence. People can be irresponsible and even mean in SL and nothing will happen to them.
  16. How has second life consumerism changed your perception of spending habits, the value of money, the need to be “bleeding edge” with fashion? – First off, I'm a guy. This means there are, what, five unique outfits made for men? Kidding, but there are a couple orders of magnitude fewer clothing options for men than there are for women, so it's easy for me to make one or two purchases a year and still be up to date. But I do believe the valuation of products varies so widely that it's hard to determine if something is worth the price. I recently started making motorcycles, and I sell one for L$149. The same model is sold by someone else for L$1500. Is theirs better? Not really since it was built from the same kit I used. So the consumer is hard pressed to decide which price to pay. And sometimes both sellers lose out.
  17. Do you think virtual worlds like SL drive and redefine human interaction or do they narrow and limit it? – SL doesn't really redefine human interaction, it expands and opens borders. It is the conduit through which I interact with people outside my little mountain community. In some ways, SL is a social network that adds virtual interaction. It is also an art medium, a game engine, and a learning platform.
  18. If technology progressed tomorrow to allow you to send emotions to people the way you’d send text or voice messages, would it enrich your SL experience or infringe on it? – I think it would be a Catch-22. We can't send emotions today, even in RL, but we can express them in ways not possible in SL, voice being one possible exception. But if it became possible then it might harm RL interaction because then people would come to SL to receive your emotion, possibly even expect you to send it and maybe resent you for not sending it. I think it would do more harm to interaction than it would good.
  19. Name three skills you attribute to having learned or honed in second life alone. – Typing with more than 3 fingers, networking as related to SL functions, interpersonal skills
  20. If your grand kids googled your Second Life Avatar’s name, would they be intrigued, disgusted, proud or something else? –I'm not sure what they would think, maybe that I'm an old curmudgeon who wants to stick with "the old ways", or that I love cats, or that I have a dry sharp sense of humor. I am pretty reserved, so there is certainly nothing I would consider disgusting or even embarrassing on there.
OK, so there you have it, me in 20.