Reflections on a year in SL

1. Man, that interface is tough: I spent my first weeks trying to make my avatar not look weird. While I figured out the shape controls very quickly (my current shape is the same one I made that first week, although as you can see in the pic, it took me a while to figure out the eyebrow arch controls were on the hair tab lol), understanding the concept of skins took a while longer. My first pic ever, taken at the incredible FuturePerfect (which has morphed into an estate of FuturePerfects now — I miss the old one :/) when I was three weeks old:

First profile pic

My greatest lesson or most practical knowledge would have to be having finally figured out the camera controls. I remember trying to shop flying from box to box, missing the box I wanted to see and trying to fly back again. Sooooo clumsy. I am the alt-click-camera queen now, tyvm.

It also took me weeks to figure out that I could take a snapshot, and I have to thank Willow Zander for that when she posted a snapshot tutorial to the late, lamented Pixel Pinup, my first SL blog addiction. Those were the easy days, when I could still be sure I’d read all the good stuff…

Aimee Weber's Chichen Itzá build for RFL 2006

2. SL sucks when you’re lonely: For my first three months in SL, I’d say I pretty much spent time by myself, exploring, learning to build, or shopping, or with my first friend in SL, Joni Vargas; unfortunately she’s from Finland, which made syncing up difficult.

By September I was getting pretty bored with the whole thing, and was finding it pretty much pointless. To be honest, my natural shyness had crept over into my Second Life, and I’d never really found a way to meet people and make friends. I almost left SL in mid-September.

3. Building rawks!: What kept me in SL was learning to build. After a month spent slowly going through the tutorials at the Ivory Tower Library of Prims in Natoma, I finally felt I had a grasp on what I could do in SL. The satisfaction I felt from my first builds, or my first waterfall (fun with texture anim scripts) kept me going for a long while.

Learning to build, as well as the admiration for the incredible things I’d seen in my explorations throughout SL in the prior months (including my newfound love for the art of Starax), brought out a strong visual sense that had been dormant in me for a long time. I love to pick apart builds, to see the bits and pieces (“Edit linked parts” is your friend), and to admire the texturing.

I’ve continued to build, although with all my other activities I tend to not have much time for it anymore, and I’ve started to learn Photoshop in order to create textures. It’s also impacted in my RL photography (need material to play with in Photoshop), and rekindled a need to create visually that I’m sure will be with me the rest of my life.

4. Fashion rawks too: I get some of my biggest visual kicks from the amazing designers that work in SL. I love how their fashions make me look and I love the incredible talent on display from the designers. I like to open up the the garments in appearance mode and gaze longingly at the textures, looking at the shading that they use (I’ve told you before, I’m quite weird), and how they get seams to line up correctly. I’m truly in awe of designers who can do this so often and so well (in particular, Ginny Talamasca and her fellow designers’ talent and volume of output blows me away).

So when my friends bug me about shopping so much in SL, I’d like them to understand that I’m not really shopping — I’m patronizing the arts.🙂

5. Friends rawk more!: And then I wasn’t lonely anymore. Somehow I hooked up with an awesome bunch of Mexicans, the Jocosos, and suddenly learned what SL was *really* about for *me*: Long conversations, late nights, tons of IM windows open all the time, gossip, togetherness, company, and laughing my butt off. Nadir, Bombi, Claudia, Bert, Anky and Gaafis made SL again for me, and made me/Aenea who I am today. I learned to love so much in here because of them that that’s why I’m always going on about hoping people learn to make those intense connections which truly make SL so worthwhile.

 

I also learned how SL moves through cycles; after three truly intense months, we all kind of moved on to other things. Couples got together and separated, people moved away and we all sort of moved on, and we just didn’t hang out as much together anymore. But the amazing thing is that I still almost always have an IM window open, devoted to my beloved Jocosos, who’ve grown to include more awesome people from the community at Reforma such as Helix, Allez, Chip, and Karlita.

6. Twins: An odd coincidental meeting changed my life. I was shopping at Soda when it had just opened back in October, camming around, as is my standard method of shopping. I got a bit disoriented, and then I saw myself at a distance. I tried to move myself, but my darn av wouldn’t respond! And even worse, for some reason I was already wearing one of the tshirts I had just bought at Soda (I *hate* the “Wear items now” checkbox in the buy confirmation dialog). So I escape out of cam mode and realize it *wasn’t* me, that I’d found my long lost twin, Bethany. We laughed about it, then chatted for almost an hour, and friended each other. We didn’t talk that often after that– I was just too caught up in the Jocoso phenomenon at the time, and Bethy had her own things going on — but when we did, there was always awesome chemistry…

And then we hooked up again at the end of January, at a time when we both needed each other. I was lonely again, and needed my next cycle to begin; Bethy was starting a new cycle in her life as well. So we finally got to hang out.

And I started to hang out with Idiots:

And this has all been a whirlwind now. My sister Bethy fills me with joy, makes me laugh and jump up and down, inspires me and teaches me. I like to think that I do some of that for her too, but I know that i’m getting the better end of the deal.😉

7. Writing: This blog has been a labor of love. This is my 170th post in 217 days (thanks to multiple posts per day, because I know that past week’s silence hasn’t contributed to that statistic😉 ), and I was fairly sure when I started that I wouldn’t make it past the first week. I originally wanted to just catalog all the things I was learning and reading on the many, many blogs in my reader, but then I found a voice, and an outlet.

But it’s not just the blog. SL has been conducive to learning how to write and express myself, as well. It’s honed my wit and sharpened my tongue, so to speak, and this is a new side of myself creatively that I never expected to find.

This blog has led to a great many things. I’ve always had something of a complex about the fact that I’m not one of the great creators in world, as much as I might like to be, and I’ve been glad to be able to make some machinimae that people have enjoyed. But this blog has an audience I never expected, and for whom I truly enjoy writing. My stats page is my top hit in my browser (and I’m seconds away from just setting it as my darn homepage).

My writing here has also led to attention from the media in Mexico as the Second Life phenomenon begins to take hold, which was quite unexpected. This reached its climax a month ago in a surprise that I’m saving for next month to post to this blog; that surprise will forever be a souvenir of this last year in SL for me.

. . . . .

Enough reminiscing… for now. I’m still in love with Second Life, more so than I was when I began, so I think it’s all good so far. I’m dreaming up projects to try and become a more productive member of society, but at the same time I know what’s important to me in my second life, and I don’t want to sacrifice that.

I’m celebrating my rezday this Friday jointly with Echo Seigo, Bethy’s partner in crime who coincidentally rezzed the same day as me — /me shouts HAPPY REZDAY, ECHO!! — at what is sure to be an amazing party where I hope to see so many of the people who made this last year so special for me.

Our party overlaps with Nadir’s rezday this Friday the 22nd — an amazing coincidence, when you think about it, which I was quite mortified over for several days there — so I will work up some energy to re-celebrate my rezday with him the next day.

Thank you, my friends. I love you guys.🙂