Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My First Home in Second Life

Written 11 December, 2006

My First Home in Second Life

After two or three days being homeless in Second Life, my first-life friends Pam and Bill Havercamp found me. Straightaway, they generously offered me a home in their chalet in Lion Sands. It’s a beautiful log cabin with four levels and glass all around. They gave me the entire third floor.

Bill and Pam’s sleeping space is above my quarters, in a loft, but they don’t need to go through my area, as the house is equipped with teleporters that can take them directly to their bedroom. I have free run of the house, although I don’t go to their loft. Well, I went once, just to see it.

There are decks outside my space, with great views and sounds. Waves crash against the beach, the wind whispers, songbirds call, a gull circles gracefully, and the dolphin porpoisefully does his loops. I have water textures turned on in my preferences menu, and the sunset is absolutely gorgeous, reflecting crazily on thousands of small waves. Moonrise over the water is equally spectacular.

It took me a while to learn the furnishings and workings of the house. What I took to be a large piece of wall art turned out to be a giant Sony television that plays music videos. I couldn’t figure out how to open one of the sliding outside doors, and Bill wasn’t able to fix it, so he kindly left it open for me.

The floor below me is covered with pictures of Bill with various music celebrities, including ex-Beatle Pete Best and his family members, Donovan Leitch, and Peter of the 1960s duet Peter and Gordon. The floor below that has a beautiful grand piano I am (magically) able to play, and a hot tub. Bill’s Beatles museum is next door, and on its roof there is a ‘50s-style diner and a stage for live performances.

It’s a beautiful place, and I am majorly grateful to Bill and Pam for giving it to me. They’ve told me it’s mine for as long as I would like, and have refused to set a rate for rent. Consequently, I tip them a lot at their performances.

If I were smart, I would stay here, but as Virginia Woolfe once said, or, rather, wrote, a woman needs a room of her own. It’s beautiful and private, but not really mine. I don't have the necessary permissions to fix the recalcitrant door, there’s no real place to put a bed without asking Pam and Bill to remove or shuffle around furniture, my friends sometimes drop by unannounced, and there’s no place to change clothes that’s not visible from any number of angles.

Hoping to screen myself so I could dress, I bought a variety of room dividers at a home decorating store that featured Japanese designs—but try as I might, I was unable to arrange them in a way that would shield me from avatars flying by outside.

Now I realize I could have made a big prim, hollowed it, applied texture so it would look nice, turned it into a phantom, stepped inside, turned it solid, and set a teleport landmark—or I could have built a small room with a door. I didn’t think about that until recently, but taking up so much of the space with my own primwork would be presumptous, so I won’t do it. I’ve begun to check the map before I change clothes, making sure no avatars are around, and I now select and change outfits before I log off at night, as the most frequent time for drop-in visitors is a minute or two after I sign onto SL.

Most recently, the video player has been spontaneously starting every two or three minutes, even though I have Movie Control switched off. That does a pretty good job of wrecking the peaceful setting. I know Bill and Pam are annoyed, too. It’s a bug, and the seller of the video system needs to fix it.

As much as I like my space at Bill and Pam’s house, perhaps it’s time I changed my home spot.

Especially since I bought land and have been preparing it for nearly a month.


Photo: The chalet at Lion Sands

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