Friday, December 11, 2009

Virtually Consumed

It has only recently come clear to me (because, undoubtedly, I have had my head where the sun don’t shine) that there is just too much information out there for me to handle. I am loath, however, to cut back on anything. How many atheist blogs does a person need to read in a given day? Perhaps I should cut them back to once a week – Sundays, for example. Then there are all the library-related blogs. Even with scrolling past the posts that aren’t aimed at people in children’s services, there’s still so much to absorb.

Social networks are starting to annoy me. Don’t get me wrong; I still crave the contact, but it seems to be oppressive now. Twitter bores me, although that might be my frustration with the Tweetdeck, which is still, for me, the only way to view Twitter. Brizzly just didn’t do it for me at all. What I want is something that looks like the Tweetdeck, but is online. Plurk seems to have lost its luster after I achieved Plurk-Nirvana, but I still look at it obsessively.

So, what I see from reading this back to myself is: whine whine misery BUT.

Currently I am reading Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy And Who We Are by Rob Walker. This, of course, is mixing in with SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable by Bruce Hood and making me reevaluate my thoughts about consumerism.

When I first entered Second Life, I was looking for serious dialogue – so, basically, what I’m saying is I had no idea what SL was. I quickly grew frustrated with it until I met some like-minded people who subtracted the mono- and inserted the dia- and made SL more what I wanted. I was dazzled by the builds and loved visiting them, but had no interest in buying anything. What would I buy? What were other people buying? Clothes? So what? Prim hair? I loved my system hair. It did exactly what my RL™ hair did not: looked poofy and stayed smooth with every “hair” in place. Why buy something that looked like fat ropes of cake icing? I was disgusted by the consumerism, the ubiquitous malls with their endless merchandise. Really what I was disgusted with was the lack of quality. All the clothing seemed to look alike: plunging necklines, butt cleavage, prim skirts that looked more like tutus.

All I did was hang out at the library (causing mayhem and the creation of regulations about where people could hang out) and other reading-related locations. After all, communication in SL is all about reading. It’s all typed chat despite the voice chat that was added later. It never works for me when I need it.

I became the Freebie Queen, having subscribed to a couple of the freebie blogs, and hunted down the freebies and collected them indiscriminately. In vain I swore to keep my inventory levels below 10,000; then 12,000; 15,000; 20,000 items. As soon as I think I can get them below 35,000 and that I can avoid the Hunts, then the Advent Season starts. I now have a notecard with Advent Gift landmarks on them. [/me hangs her head in shame.]

What was it that drove me to collect these things? Well, according to Buying In, it’s the craving for novelty. That really resonated with me. Now that I’m trying to empty my parents’ home of the accumulation of 65+ years of collecting, I think buying virtual goods to assuage that craving instead will be just the ticket. SuperSense is helping me let go of the crap in my life, or at least pare it down to something manageable. Buying In informs me that my need to see something new is human. I unpacked twelve boxes of newness just this morning and have yet to try everything on. Oh, look! What a cute pair of reindeer slippers for my avatar (who is already wearing her Christmas pajamas)! Does it clutter up my RL™ house? Nope. ‘Think I’ll keep them until someone makes even cuter ones (which might be hard – these have antlers with little ornaments hanging off of them so they might hang around until next year).

Now I shop in RL™ only when I absolutely need to get something. It’s a pain to actually get in a car, go somewhere, and stare at lousy merchandise when I can shop from the comfort of my own desk with a nice kitty in my lap. The fact that I can own many houses and they’ll all fit in a virtual file folder makes it even better! [That reminds me, do I really need that freebie vampire crypt with sex bed? Think I’ll delete that stuff next time I’m in world. I only kept it because it struck me as absurd.]

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Romance On Ice

Lludmila and Cal on a sleighride.

Holiday Picture Frame HUD courtesy of Prim & Pixel Paradise.

In the interest of providing you with the best in Romantic Winter Sites in SL, I dusted off my skates and lured Cal out of his den to visit a few places. I only made it to three this year and I think I can stop looking. The first place was adequate and the second just beat anything I've seen this year or last. The third had its own points - that gratified Cal, anyway. You know how men like to steer.

Snowthulu, Lludmila, and Cal at Winterfest.

The place to go is Island of Inspiration North. They have two sims and lots of space. Besides, they have Snowthulu. There is plenty of skating, some freebies, and a (start singing, y'all) one horse open sleigh ride that takes you through both sims pausing only for things like sim and moose crossings. I loved it. It's a tour, but you can ignore the green chat and concentrate on romantic conversation with the avatar of your choosing.

Drive-It-Yourself sleigh (just remember to take off your scripted skates).

The Winter Wonderland at Equus was fine, too. What Cal liked was that he got to drive the sleigh. This means you have to stop everything to chat or take a picture. There is also a nice-sized skating pond with flashing disco lighting and a brisk snowfall:

Cal and Lludmila in skate autopilot.


Winter Wonderland: