It’s hard to comprehend where I was when I joined Second Life on April 6th, 2007. I vaguely remember seeing a report on CNBC that featured Philip Rosedale and the virtual world he’d created. I was fascinated by the idea of a virtual city and made my decision to join this new world. Before I knew it I swept into the scene with all it’s drama. In hindsight, it felt like I was in high school again with a new body, new clothes, and a tendency to do the crazy things that only make sense to teenagers. Yeah, I was nuts. Heh. It was so much fun though.
It all came together for me at a tiny club named “PIER”, but unfortunately I didn’t know how to use the camera at the time and don’t have any pics of those early days. I used to go to PIER late at night, hop on a Salsa dance ball, and dance to the tunes of the many DJs that got started there. A few years later the PIER closed but in 2010 I rediscovered PIER had reopened. Below is a pic from that era. I guess the owner decided it was too much effort to keep it going, but she left it roughly where it had been in the beginning. It’s still there.
Anyway, I expanded out from PIER and raced all over the grid for the next five or six years. I found a real home at Junkyard Blues, but enjoyed several other clubs. I built numerous Zen gardens and expanded my Harvest Moon Café every time I found a newer and bigger plot of land. I remained active in SL until about 2013 when I moved on to other things, but there’s something about Second Life that always drew me back. And so it was about a week ago; I just wanted to see what was going on, who was still inworld, and what kind of changes have been made.
About a month ago, a viscous hack of Microsoft servers caused them to make some changes to mitigate the damages. I’d been playing on Xbox and a lot of things when wrong, so I’ve been reluctant to reengage. That’s partly why I’ve reengaged in SL during the past week, and I’ve felt the draw of Second Life again. There are so many things to do in SL that I’ve been scampering around, checking things out.
I even looked into buying an SR-71 Blackbird. Okay, some explanation: I once visited the flight museum near Boeing Field where they have one of the retired SR-71s. And let me say simply, if you’ve never seen an actual Blackbird, you have yet to see the most amazing aircraft of the past century. I was in awe of the enormous aircraft, but also about the story of when and how it was built in the early 1960s; built with slide rules, flying at speeds in excess of Mach 3, and altitudes above 80,000 feet! The SR-71 set a record: New York to Los Angeles in two hours. Below is an advertisement for a Second Life plane I’m still thinking about buying.
I did a lot of other things during the past week. I spent time on the Blake Sea where I sped across the open water sims with relative ease; most of the serious problems related to sim crossings seem to be resolved. And it is a thrill to go fast on open waters, it just is! Here’s a shot of me at rest; I forgot how to snap a shot while speeding around. I know.
I also spent some time over at the massive Bay City sim complex. It is a huge city right in the heart of Second Life, but I’m sorry to say that there weren’t many people there enjoying the many facilities that include an insane asylum, amusement park, stores, houses, hotels and so much more. The lack of activity is sad.
In Fallout 76, a multiplayer game, there are vast landscapes and post-apocalyptical cities and they are full of life in a sense because they have many Non-Player Characters (NPCs) and monsters. Of course, the monsters are ready do attack you, so you often have to fight for your life, but hey (*smiles*). That artificial activity gives FO76 a sense of life that is missing in SL, except at the SL clubs and a few sites. Perhaps, a city like Bay City would be far more enjoyable if there were some NPCs doing menial tasks, maybe even talking about their personal stories. It’s just an idea and would probably create a great deal of stress on SL’s underlying game architecture, but I saw signs that work is being done on something akin to NPCs. Just saying. OTOH, communicating with friend in FO76 is really difficult unless everyone has a headset and I rarely run into peeps wearing headsets.
One thing that caused me some consternation, a lot of my old shoes were broken. I thought I’d fixed this problem ages ago, but maybe a new problem has been introduced. When I left SL I had over 200 outfits organized in “My Outfits” and now I’m having trouble figuring out how to get a single outfit organized; this is on me, I just need to figure things out. Also, my Intan dance ball didn’t work. So, I’ve had some frustrations. I did some fun shopping though, kind of just weird spontaneous buying: Some military pants and some short-sleeved mohair sweaters. Here’s a new outfit.
To make a long story short: I’m kind of at a “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Night” (Robert Frost) moment.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
I’ve been so tempted to plunge back into SL with both hands and feet. I’ll keep my premium membership for at least one more year and all that. I’ll be around from time to time. But I still have promises to keep “and [hopefully] miles to go before I sleep.”