Saturday, 26 June 2010

Towards a theory of fun

I'm reading Edward Castronova's book Exodus to the virtual world, which will be on the recommended-reading list for my workshop this summer. Castronova is an economist, but is actually interested in people rather than just money.

The book's subject is how RL will have to change in response to the time and money that we virtual-worldists are not spending there. Castronova spends quite a of time defining play and fun, and how these are encouraged in virtual worlds.

Saturday, 19 June 2010


Todays (final) topic: If you're a veteran.... Did you find this year to be harder or easier than previous years? Did you have fun? What did you get out of it this time around? Do you think you'd do it again?

This was my first BBBC, but not my first such blogging challenge thingy, so I'm taking the second route. I found this harder than in previous years, I'm struggling to finish this post tonight rather than just letting it go. This wasn't the BBBC's fault, it happened to coincide with a particularly intense and stressful time out of world, which is impacting what I do here. Hence the question of fun doesn't arise. I would certainly do it again next year.

Thursday, 17 June 2010


Today's topic: Blogger's choice! Write about anything that's on your mind!

I suppose the future of SL is on my mind lately, since the mass firings layoffs. On the one hand, it's pretty silly to continue a course of action which has proven ineffective; on the other hand, that is pretty damned drastic. Tateru Nino ran the numbers and came up with a good explanation of what happened.

Soror Nishi made a striking suggestion: that we the residents might buy Second Life from the Lindens and run it ourselves.

That'll have to do for now, it was a long and strenuous day.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


Today's topic: Is your avatar more or less your current biological age? Do you portray a younger avatar, or older? Why is this?

My male alt is much older than RL-me, he looks to be pushing 70. He's short, fat, bald and stumpy; nonetheless, or therefore, everyone who comments on his appearance loves it. I noticed during my first hours in Second Life how monotonous the default avatars were (at the time I didn't know that they were just defaults, I thought everyone looked like that). I was first bored, then annoyed, at how relentlessly young and healthy and beautiful everyone was — and such a blandly artificial beauty too, like animated life-insurance ads. I decided during my first hour in SL that I would be different, and started making myself (him) short and fat. It took me nearly a year to make a satisfactory shape and then pull the other pieces together: the old-man skin, the marvellous bald-vain-and-selfdeluding combover hair, the half-framed glasses. I'm very pleased with his real-life-like appearance.

Wol is much younger than RL-me, in certain hairstyles she looks to be just out of her teens. She too has a definitely-imperfect real-life body which once again I started working on while still on Orientation Island. She has definite "problem zones:" her butt and thighs are larger than SL average (though still slim enough in RL terms), her boobs are quite small, and she has a bit of a belly. (I was furious at well-meaning body fascists who offered to help me "fix her shape to look right," but now that I think about it this hasn't happened in quite a while.) I have to modify prims in every outfit she buys. I didn't intend to make her so young-looking, that was an unexpected consequence of various design decisions; but I'm not displeased.

My other alts are in-between, middle thirties to early forties, which makes them younger than me but not by much. They don't get significant amounts of time in-world.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


Today's topic is a long and winding road: How hard do you think it is to find a relationship in SL? If you have an SL relationship, have you met in the physical world? Would you meet them? Do you think it would change your SL relationship if you met?

I think it is easier to find a relationship in SL than in RL, if you are looking for the kind of person who hangs around in SL, and very much harder if not. One reason is the absolute lack here of so many factors that work against possible relationships in RL. Your body makes so many decisions about people for you, without even bothering to let you know, based on smell or the way they walk or the shape of their face. There's none of that here, so the supply of possible relatees is exponentially higher, limited only by the compatibility of your souls.

Keeping the relationship going may be harder than in RL, due to distance and timezones and whatnot (someone you meet in a bar in RL is pretty well guaranteed to live in the same timezone as yourself).

I'm not sure how to answer the second question. I'm in a deep and very loving friendship with a woman here whom I have met in RL (long after we met here), and I think I'd say that meeting her in RL did strengthen that.

Meeting in RL is enormously risky, though: discovering that your SLove's meat avatar has hairy toes or a braying laugh brings down all the filtering that your body would have done for you in one fell swoop.


Today's topic: Write about three positive things going on in your Second Life.

1) I started a little project last week: each day for a month, I would wear an outfit and hair and shoes from my inventory that I had never worn in public before. It's been great fun, even if some of the stuff I've found in there made me glad that nobody can peek in over my shoulder. I'm photographing the results and posting them to a Flickr set called 30/30.

And yes, before you ask, it is easily possible for me to go a month without wearing something I've ever worn before. I remembered as I was writing this that I have several folders full of freebie stuff that kind people gave me back when I was a particularly clueless newbie, some of which I've not even looked into. I reckon I could easily get two months out of them; and if you count shades of the same hairstyle as separate items, I could get through nearly a year. Boots and shoes are harder, I haven't got nearly as many of those.

2) This weekend I reconnected to a very dear friend who has been absent for much of the last year. We spent a lovely evening (my time) dancing at the Blues Junkyard and doing some high-quality plotting and conniving. It was wonderful to talk to her again.

But boo to the other patrons of the Junkyard for being so stingy with their tips! The DJ made a mere L$1150 for two hours' work in front of an audience of maybe 35 avs.

3) I discovered some great live music. I met Grace McDunnough in AVid last weekend, and she invited me to a concert that she was giving later on that day. That was delightful: she has a marvellous blues voice, deep and rich and husky, and plays a pretty mean guitar too. I'm so glad we happened to bump into each other, and/but I wish that she'd play some Euro-friendly concert times (hint hint hint).

Monday, 14 June 2010


It's that time of year again, the Big Bad Blogger Challenge is here.

Today's topic: Why did you become a blogger? How has it enriched your life?

I started blogging because my typist couldn't talk about "Wol Euler"s experiences on any of the other blogs and websites we were already writing, for a variety of reasons that seemed good at the time. We started blogging in 2004, after we'd been reading people's online diaries and personal websites for a few months (i.e. the word "blog" hadn't really registered yet). It taught us a lot about ourselves and our lives, pointed up many interesting things in what we thought were sterile and dull moments. It's been a treasure and a great joy, and has lead to some strong friendships on- and offline.

Blogging is a community. For me it's primarily a chance to exchange ideas with people whose interests I share but whom I'd never be able to meet in an analog world. This is even more true when Wol blogs about SL.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


I noticed that I've stopped adding to the workshop notes on the Second Lifer, and I think I know why. I was getting intimidated by all the awesome cleverness of the people in the sidebar over there, and feeling that my own scribblings didn't match up to theirs. I need to keep my eyes on the purpose of that blog: to assemble notes for a workshop, and not worry that my notes are not essays.