|Navel Gazing in the Tub|
My regrettable loss.
Perhaps I need to get back into the Second Life social scene, getting past the too often annoying banter, pointless gesturbators, mindless programmed dance moves, and the personal IMs that I equate with someone texting me without permission. So let me plunge into these 20 Personal Questions (which, like previous such challenges, I'm doing without having read anyone's – not even Strawberry's – responses) like I'm being hit on at a disco.
Meme instructions: Answer the following 20 personal questions about your Second Life. Don’t forget to share a link to your post in the comments!
01: When and how did you discover Second Life?
About nine years ago an off-the-wall shrink thought she could use Second Life to help me overcome some phobias and work on social skills that said phobias kept me from developing. I landed on the Teen Grid and mostly holed up on one sim, flying around and looking at stuff only when others weren't around.
02: Did you know about virtual worlds before or was this your first experience with them?
I had read about virtual worlds – my father was a big Sci-Fi nut who collected pulp magazines – but hadn't tried one. We had free AOL accounts while I was growing up so I lurked in chatrooms picturing in my mind the endless scrolling lines of gibberish as them as real places.
03: Has Second Life met your expectations?
Having had no expectations, yes!
04: If you could teleport back to the first ten minutes of your avatar’s slife, what would you tell yourself?
"TAKE THE BLUE PILL!!" Oh? After I logged in? Kinda late to change pills at that point. Right. I'd tell myself to relax, go with the flow, and meet people. Learn to build sooner and really make an effort to script. Lastly, "Keep your frakin' Inventory organized from the start!!"
05: How long did it take you to master avatar flying and driving vehicles in world?
Has anyone really mastered driving vehicles? Some vehicles are better than others and I do well with most that have hulls or wings, but not those with wheels (an aunt told me "If it has testicles or tires, it will be trouble). Let's call it a work in progress. Flying just my avatar is something I relish and think I'm pretty good at. Two of my alts never take off their wings.
06: Do you have a mystery alt?
Who doesn't? I share two with my Real Life brother, a male and a female. We both contribute funds to upkeep and feel free to form them in any fashion we wish regardless of the other driver, but they are loners and will not engage in close relationships. We think of these as our "getaway" characters.
07: Is your SL avatar a reflection of you, or someone you wished you could be?
My primary character, Uccie (Uccello Poultry), is closer to my RL self than my other characters but each is such a part of me that they frequently show up on my blog, like the entry from May 9, 2014. No matter who I am at the time, each character is inconstant in both appearance and behavior, adhering tenuously at times to a basic form and function. Best is example is Uccie – I'm a redhead iRL and while my meatspace body is getting thicker as I get older Uccie's blonde-haired cyberspace body is still as perky as an 18-year old.
08: Is there an individual you met in SL that inspired you in your RL? How?
Yes, several. Threshin and Ever and Angela and Parker and Marianne and Alx and Katta and ... Holy Carp, there are so many. Each has pushed me and pulled me in different ways at different times such that I'm not the same person I was eight years ago when I first hit The Grid. I should have learned when Parker passed away in Real Life that I need to tell these people how much they mean to me but but that nugget of wisdom passed me. Now Ever is gone and I never explicitly told her. Talk about an inspiration.
09: Do you feel it is easier to create stronger bonds/relationships with people you meet inworld as opposed to the real world?
Yes, though I don't get out of the house iRL. Back in the day when my phobias kept me in the house that would have been true, too, but once circumstances are such that I am not home 24/7 I feel I could do fairly well in starting and building relationships. The ready free-form nature of Second Life characters (I keep using that term, don't I?)* can easily lead one to be disingenuous.
10: Did you ever imagine or believe people could fall in love with someone they never met before Second Life?
Yes. Anything is possible, right? The Amish have a saying: "Kissin' don't last but cookin' do," meaning that what matters most the caring, emotional aspect of a relationship. Perfect example? Damien Fate and Wahsu Zebrastripe. They met in SL, fell in love, married in Real Life, and produced Baby Linden (read about it here).
11: How has your perspective of dating changed (or not) since you started playing second life?
No, not really. Then again, my SL relationship with Angela is pretty open and I don't date in Real Life.
12: How has your perspective of employment changed (or not) since you started playing Second Life?
Not employed in either world. Well, iRL I live with my step-mother as her home care aide, drawing no salary. So I work, just not in the traditional sense.
13: Name three things in both your lives that overlap each other significantly.
For one, my Real Life fashion sense has expanded since living in Second Life. I've gone from wearing the most nondescript outfits possible so people don't notice me to wearing brightly colored Crocs and hospital scrubs and even shorts and tank tops. Not all at once. I'm not that fashion-impaired.
For another, my musical tastes have grown in both worlds thanks to the DJs I know in-world.
A third? Can't really think of one. Sorry. There might be one.
14: If you could live your life more immersively in a virtual world, would you? (Kind of like the Matrix.)
Yes. What comes to mind is actually being able to speak iSL ... being able to Sign at my computer and have my avatar speak as if I wasn't a Mute iRL.
15: How do you think behavior changes for people if they’re inworld vs in real world? Why do you think that is?
Anonymity in-world means that people's natural tendencies can be magnified – a troll is a troll; a griefer is a griefer – or they can explore various aspects of themselves. It is easy to think "oh, that's a guy playing a woman," but it may be true for reasons that belie your first impression. There are a number of gay men and women that use avatars to explore their feelings or trans-gender individuals that acclimate to their choice via Second Life. Think about Furries. Holy Carp! Think of the children!!
16: How has second life consumerism changed your perception of spending habits, the value of money, the need to be “bleeding edge” with fashion?
It is not uncommon for me to make bad shopping decisions in either world. Search my blog for the word "closet" and you'll see I don't really understand fashion, but Second Life is helping me learn about it.
17: Do you think virtual worlds like SL drive and redefine human interaction or do they narrow and limit it?
Any limits one finds in Second Life are user-imposed. Well, there are certain software/hardware-imposed limits, but generally speaking, SL is a wide-open frontier. People have dragged Real Life conventions with them ... shopping malls, discos, lecture halls, homes, etc.. The Na'vi role play regions that popped up after the movie Avatar hit theaters? Still totally derivative. People say they want something different but they seldom strive for it.
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?
That certainly sounds dangerous and that makes it very attractive. I'd say that ability would enrich the experience, but with the caveat that it could be abused and misused. Some people can't handle drinking, others can't handle gambling, and I bet there are some that would have a lot of trouble with emotional transference (more than is possible now) such as you suggest.
19: Name three skills you attribute to having learned or honed in Second Life alone.
My writing has the added dimension of better dialogue and character depth.
Editing images and graphics electronically was a little-developed skill of mine before SL.
Um .... a third? Why do you always insist on a third?
20: If your grand kids googled your Second Life Avatar’s name, would they be intrigued, disgusted, proud, or something else?
This is why Uccello will always be a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, stuffed inside an avatar. She's the Turducken of virtual personalities.
About ASL ... that is how this 26-year old woman living in New England speaks in Real Life.
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* In virtual spaces characters are the combination of avatar (appearance) and the personality they manifest (behavior). One could assert the same applies to meatspace as well. When I'm in my one nice dress with grown-up shoes I'm probably at a funeral or a wedding so my behavior reflects the circumstance. When I'm in hospital scrubs and wearing my neko ears and tail ... you get the idea. If you are going to a Goth club, you don't dress like like Snow White, right?