“Our dreams are a second life.” ~Gerard de Nerval
The theme of Second Life’s official 10th birthday celebration is “Looking Forward, Looking Back”, and we at slum magazine thought we’d have a little fun with this by showing you our pathetic (just kidding) avatars of yore and our astonishing (heh) avatars of today, along with a little commentary about our experiences as newcomers. So original slum contributors Cat Boccaccio, Buttercup Thursday, JMB Balogh and Rhezz share their thoughts on their Second Life then and now. Why not try this at home and share it, too?
Cat (born November 12, 2007)
What happens to our bodies when we log out? This existential question troubled me my first week or so in Second Life; so when I logged out I made I sure was somewhere comfortable inworld; usually stretched out on a lounger at the beach. It seemed a dumb question to ask… but finally other dumb newbie friends and I watched each other and waited. The body disappears, my friends. No need to have a final resting place. Hmm. Anyway, roller skates seemed to be in order, and that’s how I transported myself around sims (and ran into many others in 2007 who shared my need to skim around on wheels), and even crashed into an innocent bystander, who became one of my greatest friends and supporters (hi Kerugan!).
My base appearance has really not changed much since then, and it was a look I created on Day One. Because I was always my own model then, I tended to have a shorter, plumper body shape than most, since I liked my images to look as natural as was possible in Second Life. Everything tends to get an upgrade as we go along in SL (clothes, hair, skin), for better or worse, and I did refine my looks (less of the anime-like eyes that were more popular at the time, for example) and though I originally made myself petite, I seemed to grow over the years into Amazon height. Recently I corrected that to natural height. No, you giants at Fogbound, I’m not a dwarf!
When I started taking pictures in SL, encouraged by my mentors, I honestly didn’t see any one else doing the same thing. Coming from a background in figure drawing, it seemed natural to see how I could represent the figure using Second Life avatars. So I became a rather avid photographer, with my first exhibit at a gallery called Mountain High (hi Mater!), and got the ‘erotic’ label slapped on my images, which I really hadn’t intended.
It’s all been fun and challenging, thanks to friends and supporters (hi Mad!) and I never dreamed I’d meet such people, have such experiences, or be creative in so many different ways, as SL has allowed me to. Maybe Linden Lab should hand out roller skates to all the new people.
Buttercup (born September 15, 2007)
I started life as an alt back in 2007… my ‘creator’ was a very sweet young thing whose very naïveté, so her friends told her, led to heart stomps and heart breaks. I came out fighting, while she faded away into a misty third world where unwanted avatars live with their memories and sleep in hammocks. My SL doesn’t leave me much time for hammocks; the limited time I have in Second Life is spent exploring, writing, and tormenting new friends.
My original avatar was bold and outgoing (and very tall), and I suppose a little intimidating as she was never shy about starting conversations or asking for what she wanted. That hasn’t changed, and I’m still not afraid to check out SL’s darker corners and forbidden rooms. I guess SL old age and experience mellows us–my short fuse has lengthened but I still have strong opinions and love to share them. Thanks, slum, for helping me find a voice in Second Life.
Jo (born July 01, 2007)
In a few days I’ll be celebrating the 6th anniversary of my rez day in Second Life. Yes, JMB Balogh came into being on Canada Day, July 1st, 2007.
I joined to come to a meeting of an international group of RL bloggers to which I belong, and one of the members, who was already in SL, invited us all to come to a party on his SL airship. How can people in different parts of the world be together in the same room at the same time other than in the virtual world? It was a brilliant idea! There was just one teeny problem. He was the only one involved in SL. However he provided us all with detailed instructions on how to join and urged us to explore it beforehand. Now, I’m game for anything so I signed up, and since I blog as JMB I chose that as my first name so the others would recognize me. I had no idea how annoying that would be to type for my friends, and finally everyone has come to call me Jo.
The event was formal and in those days newbies had a limited choice of avatars, featuring system hair and clothes. With those sliders I laboriously created a red formal “gown” and new red hair. Unfortunately, the starter avatar I had chosen was equipped with a beanie on her head. I had no idea how to remove it, so formal with beanie was my dress code.
It was great fun to meet and “speak” and dance with these online “friends” in real time, but when we left SL that day the others, save our host, were never to return. But something intrigued me enough to stay. My blogging friend found me a mentor, gave me a “grace and favour” apartment, along with a $2000 cash infusion and I’ve been here ever since.Yes, I used the money to buy that hideous hair and freckled skin. And the glasses!
No, I don’t own a club or design clothes or script or do anything very useful in Second Life. I’m just a dilettante who enjoys the beauty which others create and records it with SL photography. I’ve also spent several years as an art curator and owned three art galleries in my SL. I do like to play dress-up and my maw of an inventory, 103,000 and still counting, provides plenty of scope for my photography as well. What a journey it has been!
Rhezz (born August 30, 2012)
It’s no secret I am an alt! So my Before self is less than a year old. Still, I learned that it was possible to put together a reasonable avatar with no cash (Cat says it was rather more difficult in ’07). I also learned to be more careful: Apparently that first new skin was stolen from the original creator. Oopsy. So lesson three: See lesson one, but be diligent! I suppose my Now avatar is not as thin as the original one (or is it just the mesh??) When I’m not shopping for slum mag, I’m usually sunning my non-mesh self on a towel at the virtual beach. Which is why I had to put a warning in my Profile. Jeez, guys!
Happy 10th, Second Life!
Visit Daniel Voyager’s blog for events and updates about SL10B.