Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Bill and Pam Havercamp

Written 2 November, 2006

Bill and Pam Havercamp

I’ve known Bill and Pam Havercamp (not their first life last names) for many years. Every fall, when I go to Cape Cod, we get together for two or three days to hang out and play music. Bill is a phenomenal guitar player, and knows just about every Top 40 song from 1963 to 1974. Pam sings like an angel. I play along, trying unsuccessfully to keep up with Bill, until in frustration I set my guitar aside and concentrate on singing. We have a wonderful time.

Bill and Pam are noted performers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and celebrities in Second Life, where they perform many times a week, both publicly, at venues like the Hummingbird Café or Art in the Park, and privately, at wedding receptions and parties. They are phenomenally popular, and they make a good SL living by doing something they both enjoy-- making music.

When Bill and Pam told me about Second Life at our annual October get-together, I was skeptical, but intrigued; as soon as I got back home, I visited the Second Life website and my life changed.

I muddled along my first two or three days in SL, looking for money trees and camping in chairs. Then I telephoned Bill and Pam, and they changed my life. They teleported me to Lion Sands, where they showed me around their beautiful chalet and the adjoining Beatles museum and gave me an entire floor to use as my home, rent-free and for as long as I wanted it. Then they made me a gift of a considerable purse of Lindens and Pam took me shopping.

Before we left, though, Pam asked me to go into Appearance, and, over the phone, she gave me settings to improve the shape of my avatar. There are more than 250 sliders in Appearance, changing everything from height, to the amount of body fat, to jaw configuration, to breast, hip, foot, and head size. Just for eyes, there were sliders for, among other things, size, distance apart, eyelid fold, eye angle, and brow thickness. Pam was passing on measurements which she had been given during a consultation-for-pay from an expert. And I tell you, they work! Pam is gorgeous. She’s a seven-foot-six-inch goddess! And now I’m a goddess, too (although a little shorter).

Finding Chey’s New Look

I had been impressed by the beautiful woman who spontaneously made me a gift of my first look as I was sitting in the Ahern Welcome Area. Before I could thank her, she had disappeared, but not before I had a chance to admire her beautiful black ponytail. It gave her a regal look.

I found something similar at Mystikal Hair, the first shop I visited with Pam. I made my first SL purchase, a BubblePony brown flexi hairdo with feathered ends. I wore it out of the store.

The BubblePony has become my signature hair; later, I returned and bought it in blue, for Halloween. I’m glad I did, for the last couple of times I visited Mystikal, I didn’t see the BubblePony on display.

Flexi hair is neat, as it swirls with one’s movements. The only problem is that when teleporting it often arrives after one’s avatar; the bald head base makes one a bald-headed woman for a minute or two, especially in high-traffic areas. I’d give anything for a pixie-cut hair base in BubblePony brown!

Next, Pam took me to PixelDolls, which had-- and it’s still going on-- a terrific sale. Outfits which once sold for $250 or $300 were only $50 Lindens. In fact, everything in the store was priced at $50L. I bought eight or nine outfits, enough to give me a basic wardrobe. I liked the outfits so much I went back and practically bought out the store. Think about it: twenty outfits for only $1000L!

Next, we hit a mall, where I bought two pairs of Glimmer shoes, one in black and one in white. They came with built-in bling, which means they sparkle, and there’s a sexy walk built in as well. Many female avs have admired the shoes, and more than a few male avs the walk. I went back later and picked up a pair in silver. I wear the Gilmmers 90% of the time.

Then it was off to Rick’s ("Everybody goes to Rick's place"), a great place for jewelry. I bought earrings, bracelets, and ankle bracelets in silver. A few days later, I returned and bought similar styles in gold; I also picked up some gold-toned sunglasses.

Our last stop was at a high-end skin shop (which I won't name as it would be a shock to run into someone who looked just like me), where I paid an astonishing $3000L for a set of skins. Skins provide the surface detail of the body, and this set was worth every penny. I got eight levels of makeup, from day casual to full evening to go-for-broke. I put a skin on, and I instantly looked fabulous.

The tone of the skin was, as promised, Olive. I like to think I look a little like a young Sophia Loren. From certain angles, my avatar looks almost scary real.

In less than an hour, I had gone from rather plain to drop-dead gorgeous. And I had a fabulous wardrobe. Alas, I became an instant clothes horse. The jaws of my real-life friends would drop if I were to tell them that.

Bill and Pam teleported me to their performances, introducing me to their friends and to various SL musicians and concert organizers. Bill set me up with software that allows me to stream live audio. He also gave me four or five of his absolutely fabulous guitars. They are SL works of art, absolutely true to the originals. It took me a few days to figure out how to adjust them so the built-in animations looked right, but once I did, I was one guitar-playing momma!

I must say, though, my absolutely favorite guitar is an Ovation that was given to me by my stellar friend, Melissa Yeuxdoux. It’s the one I will be playing if and when I perform in SL. Not surprisingly, it’s a Bill Havercamp creation.

Bill’s guitar shop opened in November (search Bill Havercamp’s Guitar Shop). The grand opening featured some five or six hours of live music, with some of SL’s top performers playing Beatles songs. I was so proud to be there!

Now Bill has made me a saleswoman for his shop; I get a commission for every product I sell. And there’s more than guitars, folks! Bill sells amplifiers, microphones and stands, a Beatles drum kit, Beatles-themed purses, and a Beatles record player with a built-in skip. He also has hundreds of t-shirts with band logos. In fact, every time I see him he has created something new. Most recently, he gave me a violin and bow and I found myself playing the haunting theme from Ken Burns’ PBS Civil War series, “Ashokan Farewell.” It’s a song that always makes me cry. Crying was guaranteed, for the fiddle came with a letter from a Yankee (you might say Union, but I live in Atlanta) soldier to his family, written on the eve of his death.

Bill also gave me a record player with one of my own songs built in. I was astonished to find my name and the song title on the 45 on the turntable, along with the distinct 1970s Capitol Records swirl.

Most recently, Pam has opened a Christmas shop. I’ve purchased a bunch of trees to give as gifts. (I’m giving them early so people can use them in this year's decorations).

Having friends one knows in both SL and RL is a bit different than having friends in one or the other. The bleed-over can be shocking. Imagine running into a Second life friend and learning in Chat that he or she is ill in real life, or that there has been a family tragedy, or that he or she has won the lottery. It’s almost surreal.

Bill and Pam are wonderful friends, and I love them both dearly, and in telling me about Second Life, they have changed my first life. If they had not been my friends, I would not have been writing this and you would not be reading it.


Photo: Bill and Pam Havercamp in concert.

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