Doctoral student of psychology running body image study in virtual worlds

A Ph.D. candidate in Melbourne, Australia, is looking for a few good men.

Jon-Paul Cacioli, a clinical psychology student at Deakin University, is conducting a study on body image in the virtual would to see if the avatar can give us any insight into possible real-life psychological properties, he said in an email appeal to the author of this blog.

According to Cacioli, He has already conducted one study into this and requires some additional information, asking that males age 18 and up visit the link below and fill out a 20-minute survey. The focus of the survey is adult males who use avatars in Second Life or online games.

http://www.deakin.edu.au/psychology/research/virtualimage/

“Previous research has shown that the way people feel and interact with each other can be influenced by the individual’s perception of themselves. A discrepancy between how an individual perceives their own physical appearance compared to how they wish to look can lead to depression, higher levels of stress and anxiety and a poorer overall quality of life. The Internet has recently reached a level of sophistication whereby an individual can create a digital representation of themselves, such as an avatar, controlling each physical dimension. The purpose of this project is to investigate the differences between individuals and their avatars and examine their experience of how appearance affects them in real life and on the Internet, such as in programs as Second Life and World of Warcraft.”

A total of 300 people, all males over 18 years of age, will participate in this project. Participants are entered into a drawing for a $100 AUD Amazon.com gift
voucher, Cacioli said.

Jon-Paul Cacioli
Candidate, Doctor of Psychology (Clinical)
Deakin University
221 Burwood Hwy
Burwood, Melbourne, VIC, 3125

 

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Reason and passion (and appreciating point of view)

There are some learning experiences that are inspired by interactions within Second Life groups. I belong to a group called Play as Being, which gets together in Bieup to discuss things like meditation, mindfulness, the self, and play. Over time, we have evolved an inclusive method for discussion that helps all participants to be understood and appreciated.

It’s a gentle way to communicate, and especially well-suited to a virtual environment where we cannot see on anothers’ real life faces and so we must make an effort to show positive sentiment in our written chats.

In a Yahoo Group email list, we began to discuss an article written by one of our members, who is known as Bleu.

http://www.edge.org/documents/archive/edge342.html

Edge Seminar speaker Jonathan Haidt explored:

Why are humans so bad at reasoning in some contexts and good at reasoning in other contexts?

“Reasoning was not designed to pursue the truth. Reasoning was designed by evolution to help us win arguments. That’s why they call it The Argumentative Theory of Reasoning,” Haidt said.

Another friend responded with this exploration of reason and passion (Hume was one of my required readings a long time ago in college):

“That reminds me of Hume’s argument that ‘reason is and ought only to be the
slave of the passions.’

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/emotions-17th18th/LD8Hume.html#ReaOugOnlSlaPas

To this, our group founder and leader, who goes by Pema Pera in Second Life, related Play as Being’s way of gently exploring issues. He said:

“Once we realize that reasoning is mostly arguing,
a way to consolidate your already existing opinions,
we can discern different ways of doing so.

“The simplest way to reason/argue, is to confront
someone else saying ‘I disagree.’ Here is an example:

“A: I think X.

“B: I disagree. I think Y.

“Clearly, that’s neither very helpful, nor very pleasant.
Chances are than immediately both sides harden their
position, drawing battle lines, and defending X and Y.

“The PaB way of reasoning, as it developed very quickly
and is still developing, is more along the lines of:

“A: I think X.

“[ B thinking: X??? How odd, I’m pretty sure it is Y !!!
how interesting that a nice person like A can have such
a strange idea — I want to know more about that ]

“B: can you say more?

“A: … (saying more) …

“[ B thinking: aha, now I have more of an idea where A is
coming from and the context for thinking X. But let me
make sure I understand, before comparing with my ideas ]

“B: ah, how interesting. So you think X, because of …
(this and that) …

“A: yes, but not quite like that, more like … (such and
such) …

“[ B thinking: okay, that is very helpful, now I have a
more clear picture — though I still think that Y may
be more correct. Let’s see whether we can figure out
our differences. ]

“B: I see. That helps me to understand why you think X.
I myself had thought Y, but I may have to reconsider.
My main argument for Y, rather than X was … (gives
argument) … How does that fit in with your picture?

“At this point, A happily can extend the picture already
sketched and shared, in order to point out how A sees
things differently from B, and they both can walk around
the issue, looking from different angles, while together
finding new vistas.

“Initially, I had not clearly realized that this had become
the PaB way of reasoning by playfully ‘comparing notes’.
It only became clear when we had a few visitors joining us
for a while who were not operating in that mode. Their
much more jarring way of reasoning (like in many academic
forums, or political forums) was very helpful to bring out,
in contrast, what it is that we are all sharing here.”

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Shall we expect questions to lead to answers?

For the past three years, I have been sitting with the idea that it is the questions that are important, not the answers.

Today I realized I have been waiting for an answer about joy and sorrow. I had the question in my heart, is my involvment with the Quaker community my answer to the sorrows that life brings us? Is it THE answer, i.e., just about the only thing that will help balance the sadness of losing loved ones to sickness and tragedy and working in a job market that seems to separate us from our humanity?

What then is my question?
And also, is this a signal that my focus is shifting back towards answers rather than questions?

Then I realize with a laugh that, in the process of exploring this, I have just asked four very important questions.

It is not enough for me to simply place more trust in questions than answers. I think that I must also ASK the RIGHT QUESTIONS.

So then I am exploring whether trying to ask the rights questions just brings me back to an ‘answers’ mindset. How could this be the case? Well, it all depends upon my intentions when I am selecting the ‘right’ questions. If I am trying, in a well meaning way, to ask questions that maybe more likely to achieve a specific desired outcome, then do I understand what that outcome is?

And if that is the case, how shall I value that outcome against other outcomes? If the outcome seems to solve a problem in an area of my life where I have decided I have a lack, then that is one way of prioritizing the outcome.

Do I truly understand which aspect of my life needs work most? When I look at the various parts of my life which I usually feel need work, again the question comes up, how can I fairly and with my highest good in mind choose one area over another? In priorizing and ranking them, do I risk solidifying my thinking too much about something which is constantly changing?

When I sit in silence among my Quaker friends, I often have lots of prayers ready in the front of my mind. They are kind of like a wish list for Santa, although a bit less materialistic. Still, I am noisily (in my mind) asking for specific, tangible, measurable objectives – ha ha! The business mindset creeping into spirituality! If your intention is to sit in expectant silence, is it not just as materialistic to pray for a full time job in a certain field with a certain salary as it is to pray for an Xbox 360?

If this is happening during prayers, and when deciding upon the best questions to ask oneself, then what space does this leave for divine intention to be understood and/or made real in my life?

How can one human being possibly come up with something they want to pray for which serves their higher good better than that which God can come up with? Even if you don’t believe in a god which knows what you need at any given moment, perhaps in your life you’ve sensed some sort of subtle guidance from time to time in the form of seeming coincidences, and you felt that those coincidences had some kind of greater meaning (or, as I felt as an agnostic a few years ago, there were random happenings from which I chose to take meaning for my life, thus leading to some of the same blessings).

 

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Being Human, First and Foremost

This is a tough topic, because we have deadlines, priorities, family needs, personal goals, and lots and lots of obstacles. When these obstacles get especially tricky, sometimes our response can be to become callous, abrupt, thoughtless, cranky, and more.

Christmas season is tough for me anyway, with memories of my mom’s final decline (she died three days after her birthday, on Dec. 28) and doubts about the over-wrought complexity of American-style Christmas. A visit with my family was two years overdue and they were all living in Oregon for the first time in years, so I made travel arrangements to take Jim to meet my dad and stepmom before we get married. I combined some time off that I had saved up, plus company holidays, so that I could be off the last two weeks in December.

The company had planned in January to move me to the Internet group, a better fit for my skills and a way to make me more of a shared resource to all groups. I was excited about the transition and feeling optimistic about the strategic direction this was taking.

Going into Christmas season, one of the kids developed some pretty serious health issues and had to be hospitalized, which worried the whole family. At the same time, my dog Sophy was dealing with a recurring bladder infection and one vet had said we might need to check for bladder cancer. The last week before Christmas, I got some wonderful news on both fronts as both were feeling better and back at home with us – it seemed things were beginning to even out for us and I was full of gratitude.

Seeking to embrace hope, we managed to get the Christmas tree set up, plans went forward for family visits, and we purchased a few gifts.

A few days later, I was laid off from my job because of budget cuts related to the economy. Lots of people have gotten laid off during this economic downturn, but I have never been laid off or fired from a job in my life, so this took me by surprise. I made two decisions that day after filing for unemployment: I wouldn’t let this stop our plans to visit my father and family, and I wouldn’t let this discourage me about my own professional future.

I would have been off the week of Christmas anyway, but my time at home took on an almost feverish urgency as I began to do all I could to make sure my name was “out there” – I got my resume updated on three career sites and began applying for jobs that were suited to my skill set. I started thinking about contract work and freelance email marketing work, and this led me to realize something important: I was out of health insurance coverage. I either had to get COBRA or get added to Jim’s health plan.

Because he and I had planned to marry as soon as we could arrange it, deciding to move up those plans was easy, but figuring out when to fit in a marriage was the hard part. We’d be in Oregon for the last week of 2010 but we needed to do this right away – sort of a “shotgun wedding,” if you will! I did some research, and we ended up getting married in one day before a county clerk in Newport, Oregon, with my dad and stepmom there as witnesses. One I am employed again, we can plan a nice reception here in New Jersey.

The new year has brought with it some signs of hope. I’ve had several job interviews already and I am getting calls every day. I think it won’t be long before I am working again.

These challenges are opportunities for frustration or patience, despondency or hope, anger or humor, and so on. In other words, the important thing is to remain a human being, first and foremost.

I see so many people in New Jersey that are caught up in the grind, working hard and not really happy with their circumstances because the cost of everything keeps them from really having the freedom to explore in their lives. Many residents of the part of New Jersey I live in have families and all their decisions are in support of family needs and activities, understandably.

It’s hard for young people to strike out on their own in this state, because of how late they have to wait for driver’s licenses, the competitive job market, and the cost of rent and gas. They end up staying at home with their parents longer than they had planned, which can cause more frustration.

What I am seeing these days is examples of how people are still striving to be human, and to treat others humanely. They may still have gruff exteriors, but grocery checkers are occasionally unexpectedly kind and considerate, postal workers smile from time to time, bartenders remember my favorite ale flavor, and clerks of small shops still find the time to carry my purchases to my car. In fact, in the last month, a former employer recommended me on LinkedIn, many friends where I worked reached out to me to help me look for work, a family member sat with me in gentle conversation, another family member made us a wedding cake, former coworkers invited me to lunch, a toll booth attendant let me through without paying when I failed to exit in time, and recruiters gave me helpful advice on my resume.  There are so many more examples I could include.

You can get wrapped up in your life circumstances and start asking “why me?” but the fact is, there are examples of grace being offered to me (and you) every day. When others are human with me, it’s an opportunity for me to stop, take a breath, and reset my emotional condition. Chances are, I wasn’t being human with myself. Maybe I was judging myself, trying to push myself too hard, or commit other unkindnesses. This just makes me frustrated and cranky with others, too.

A very wise man told me once to give myself more grace because we are all imperfect. Through his example, he taught me to keep placing myself back on my intended path even after I mess up. I don’t really want to be perfect – what I really want is to be human.

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Echoes of Mom’s suffering

My mom died at the end of 2006, just after her 60th birthday. She died of a rare kind of small intestine cancer, but actually she died of kidney failure as a result of starvation after her innards refused to pass food for a while. She died in the manner she chose; no feeding tubes, IV lines or other heroic measures; the DNR (do not resuscitate order) was signed and posted on the side of the refrigerator. At the very end, she was living on oxygen, whipped cream and morphine.

I find that her journey, and the role I played in it, have colored my relationships with all the people I care about. I began to ask myself, how would I respond to my loved ones’ choices about what they want out of life? When should I sit quietly and try to just be a good companion and when should I take an active role in trying to bring about healing? It is so hard to watch people suffer and not do something, and yet there are times when there really is nothing we can do.

One of the hardest things I had to learn with Mom was how to just be there for her while she went about the process of dying. I wanted to FIX her, I wanted to SOLVE something that had gone so terribly wrong. She couldn’t take in food, something was blocking the way, I had to find a solution…and then again, I couldn’t. I read piles of books and scanned Web sites looking for answers; I mentally checked off a list of things that could be done for her to make sure nothing was forgotten. The surgeon had done what he could. The hospital did what it could. Her regular doctor visited her home and did what he could. They were in charge of cutting, medicine, therapies. What role did that leave me, the untrained and unprepared daughter?

Deep in my bitterness, I realized I could stand there and wring my hands, I could watch her puke and waste, I could try again and again to serve her food and drinks that might, this time, make it all the way through to nourish her body. And yet that was the only role I could have – it was uniquely mine, as her daughter. She didn’t seem concerned about what could be done for her; she seemed to accept the situation as it was in each moment. When I finally confessed to her that I didn’t know how to help, that I wanted to be of service but didn’t know what to do, she smiled and said just by being there with her, I was helping. I did precious little during my visits with her that year; and yet she said how grateful she was that I did so much. Mostly I tried not to scream and cry and tear out my hair every minute of every day that I witnessed her being squeezed dry by this relentless cancer that had her in its grasp. Meanwhile she said gentle words to me and squeezed my hand.

Now someone close to me wants to be skinny so badly that she has eaten almost nothing in the last two weeks. She ended up at the emergency room with dehydration and signs of kidney stress. For a completely different reason, she had been eating almost nothing; and yet it felt to me the same. If you give up on food; if you tell your body that it doesn’t need food, eventually it will believe you and you won’t be able to feed it any longer. I don’t know at what point this happens, but the very thought scares me so much. Here I am again, standing by helplessly, once again in a minor role of providing occasional comfort. I know better than to think that I can FIX this. Healing can happen, but it has to come from her and won’t be instantaneous. But why would she take her life so lightly that she could risk it this way? How could someone so beautiful to me think of herself as anything less than?

Still, as I try to settle in to wait, I wonder if this is the same situation or not. Before, Mom was clearly dying and had come to terms with that. In that case, I rightly accepted her choice and helped her stay comfortable. In this case, this young lady is not my daughter and I have no decision making responsibility for her. I must accept that this is true too. My prayer is to gradually understand how I may help with this; not from arrogance or false desperation, but from a true desire to be of service if my service is beneficial in some way. To feel this way, and be standing outside looking in, is the most painful thing I have ever experienced. This is life – there are so many things we are unable to change, such as illness and death; other people’s minds, the laws of our society, who our bosses are, and the weather.

My personal challenge is to find a way to accept those things and do what I can without succumbing to the temptation to give up and run off. That’s the faulty logic that if I can’t fix it, then I am going to get as far away from it as I can so that I might ignore it. But I  cannot ever escape my own desire to make something better melded with my knowledge that there is very little I can actually do. That will follow me everywhere I go, because it’s embedded in my personality, my soul, my life’s path. I will encounter these helpless situations again and again as people and creatures I love suffer hurts and illnesses; what then is my role, and how will I be content with it?

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The milling exercise: good for families?

I’m reading this book about anger called “The Cow in the Parking Lot – A Zen Approach to Overcoming Anger” and it’s written by a lawyer, Leonard Scheff (with Susan Edmiston) who felt that the Zen talks on anger sort of miss the mark with most Americans and he needed to explain it in a way most of us could grasp it.

In case you’re wondering, the cow in the parking lot stands for a way to visualize the person who just cut you off to take the parking space you had been waiting for. If you imagine it’s just a cow, and that cow had come to that spot every day for 3 years for a nap, your reaction might not be as angry. It’s all about the expectations.

The milling exercise he mentions is about how your anticipation of a good or bad interaction can cloud your perception of it during the interaction. I was thinking this is a great exercise for families, although he just describes doing it in workshops. In our family, sometimes what seems to be going wrong is more about family members’ perceptions of how others will treat them. This exercise helps you become more aware of the power of your expectations:

Step One: Everyone closes their eyes (no peeking) and mills about in a room that’s safe, with no sharp corners, etc. If you bump into someone, just set yourself another course and keep moving.  Do this for about 5 minutes. Afterwards, talk about how you felt.

Step Two: Everyone should imagine that the other people are toxic and that they will get hurt if they come into contact with them. Then close your eyes and mill about just as in Step One for 5 minutes. Afterwards, talk about how you felt.

Step Three: Everyone should imagine that the other people are kind and loving and warm and that they will be happier if they come into contact with the others. Then close your eyes and mill about for 5 minutes. Afterwards, talk about how you felt.

In Step Two, did you notice more stress? Did you imagine someone had bad intentions towards you, or even malice? Did you feel fear or  annoyance? In Step Three, were your nerves soothed? Did you find yourself smiling if you brushed someone’s arm?

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What would a day without expectations be?

Okay, maybe that concept is a little too abstract even for the most “zen” among us, but let’s try this:

What if we picked a day and, when asked for our preference/order/decision on something that day, instead described the outcome we’d prefer in more general terms?

We could call it the Flexible Wish Day. Or maybe Surprise Me Day. What would you call it?

Here’s how such a day might play out:

I’d wake up in the morning and do the stuff everybody needs to do to get ready for work. Instead of selecting the exact shampoo I want, I’d grab whatever’s closest. Instead of worrying about my outfit, I’d close my eyes and grab a shirt from my wardrobe, then select stuff to wear with it that matches.

Walking the dog, I’d let her go where she wants, wherever that might lead us.

At work, instead of listing all my “to do” items and ranking them by urgency/priority, I’d jot down 2 or 3 things that are foremost in my mind and then think, how do I want my morning to feel? If creative, I’d work on the thing that helps me feel that way. If social, I’d work on an item that required collaboration. If detailed, I’d work on spreadsheets and stats.

Instead of planning ahead and packing a lunch, I’d go to the grocery/deli and pick whatever attracts my eye first, without further deliberation over price or nutrition. I’d eat it with care and enjoy any surprise it delivered.

For my afternoon, instead of being pulled from task to task by urgent emails, phone calls and in-person interruptions, I would stop answering the phone and email, put on my headphones, and think, how do I want my afternoon to feel? Then I’d pick one of my priorities and work on that.

On the way home, I’d put on my iPod and hit Shuffle, even though I have 20 carefully selected podcasts saved which are exactly long enough for my drive home. Whatever played, that would be groovy. At stop lights, instead of thinking how I can get in front of the slow guy, I would look around at the faces of the other drivers and see if anyone is doing anything interesting, or better yet, if anyone would like to smile back at me.

At home, when one of my peeps asks me what I want for dinner, I’d smile and say, surprise me! If that throws them, I’d breeze into the kitchen and randomly put my hand on a box in the pantry or an item in the fridge, saying, why don’t we do something with that? Or, if the mood suits, I would say, I don’t care what I eat but I would like something spicy. 🙂

Or maybe we decide to go to a restaurant, only this time I am driving and my family does not yet suspect I am having a Flexible Wishes Day – great fun! I drive randomly until some restaurant catches my eye. I apply no criteria whatsoever to making the choice. We go in, and the waiter asks what I would like. I ask what he would like to bring me. He tells me the specials. I say, I want something warm and crunchy. And wait. Whatever comes will be a surprise! Yes!

Afterwards, the kids want to play a game. I say okay, and they ask which game. I say, surprise me! And they do.

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On expectations and blessings

This morning while sitting in silence with the Quakers, I began to explore the extent and impact of expectations in my life. What are the kinds of events/things/people/relationships we expect in our life? How do they steer our daily existence and our opportunities? Do they give us hope or do they limit our happiness?

We are a goal-oriented society; we all must to some extent have an idea of what we want, or we likely won’t get it. At least this is true for material things like jobs, cars, houses, or fitness. But is this the right frame of mind for experiences like relationships, people, and opportunities?

It seemed to me that the more detailed and complex my vision for my life was, the less space there would be for surprises (otherwise known as blessings) to occur. I explored that for a long time, thinking of each expectation, goal, or plan I had for my present life.

To me, blessings are a stealthy thing. They sneak up on you and wait for you to notice them. They probably won’t impact your life for the better unless you see them and let them in. And if you’re focused on the script for how your life is to play out, maybe you won’t see them at all. I visualized myself at the center, sitting cross-legged on a folded towel on a packed dirt surface. Blessings and love shone toward me from all sides, but between me and them was a round brick wall tightly encircling me. Each brick was actually an expectation of how my life should proceed, as in:

I will work for a marketing department.

My house should be clean.

There should be plenty of food in the fridge which everyone in the family can eat.

I should have friends.

My dog should behave herself.

My car should always work.

My man should treat me well at all times.

I should be a healthier weight.

My hair should not be gray.

Each of the kids should have a nice birthday with a cake I bake myself.

My cat should not puke on the floor or meow too loud.

The kids should always help clean the house.

New Jersey should be nice to me.

I should get over my mom’s death.

And so on – try this exercise yourself and you will begin to see how many you have too! I was amazed. It became clear to me that every expectation I had could obscure a blessing waiting to come to my life. And some of those blessings might actually help me with many of my goals and dreams, but what they required was serenity and trust.

I’m a type A from way back, so this is not an easy task for me. In fact, I immediately began to think of new goals that would help me get more blessings into my life. Aha. More bricks in the wall, not fewer. Okay, breathe, Sylvie.

Lacking in answers, I did a little positive visualization. I imagined myself punching out those bricks one at a time, after visualizing the expectation first. I give up my attachment to a constantly clean house. Kaboom. A little ray of sunshine sneaks in and bathes my shoulder with warmth. Another one – I give up my expectation that my man provide me with attention at every opportunity. Crunch. A little bird flies in through the opening and sings a pretty song to me.

I visualized punching out every brick and walking out into the world to be buffeted by chance and opportunity. I realigned my view of the world – now I was a leaf in a stream, spinning and swirling downstream past rocks and other obstacles, sometimes floating with other leaves and sometimes rushing past. Now it’s a journey and you take the impermanence of it along with the joys. I read that the Buddhists say change is the only constant. Also: If you can accept that inevitability, you can begin to be content.

So have I completely transformed my existence from this exercise? Heck no. That would be too easy. But this gives me some more information and some more questions to work on.

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January progress report on my life

I feel as though I am waking from a long and troubled winter’s sleep. Christmas was a hard time for me though I do feel I injected some hope into the season which will help me have a better holiday next year.

I was not suicidal and I don’t need antidepressants, but just going through a catharsis about Mom being gone from my life. Her birthday was Dec. 25 and she died 3 days after her birthday in 2006. Christmas is just not the same for me. Plus the shallowness of the holiday really wears on me – it has no real meaning anymore. Just an occasion for giving people stuff they don’t need anyway. We all have too much stuff and it pulls our focus away from more worthy endeavors.

I had a sore back around the same time and decided to go to a chiropractor /  sports doctor. I am feeling so much better and now doing exercises to avoid reinjury.

I restarted my yoga practice last week with Yoga for Restoration class. And just before Christmas I began visiting a nearby Quaker meeting, though I am not a Quaker (yet). I love their silent worship and how anyone can speak out of the silence. There is no pastor and the ugly issue of money hardly ever gets mentioned – they value simplicity as do I. I am meeting some kind souls there including one amusing older man who has invited me to a writer’s group at his house in Morristown.

There is a drum circle that meets once a month at the Quaker meeting house – not affiliated, just uses the space. But I intend to check that out as well. I am working to bring more positive energy and positive people into my life. And Jim and his family are a wonderful benefit for that.

I do have a new job as of Sept 09 and I am working to manage job stress better. It’s a pretty hectic scene sometimes. Sometimes I feel that I am actually an editor in a marketing manager’s clothing, LOL. I’d love to also have the chance to do more editing, esp. something related to my new life journey like health, spirituality, kindness, whatever.

And in the back of my mind is the comforting idea that I have with a friend from SEG – her name is Spring. We want to write and record meditations for podcasts. We are working on ideas and will be corresponding with each other about this as it develops. I hope to jump in and try one sometime in the first quarter.

I miss my friends and family who are scattered across the country – I am grateful to still be in touch with Dad, Lisa, Aline, Diane, Valerie and Julie and many others. I often get distracted and time slips by before I reach out again, but I always feel better when I do reconnect. I think about them all with gratitude and love.

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Visiting OSGrid

SD in OSGrid_001
Sylectra Darwin arrives in Havana, finding not much.

There is a lot of discussion going on about Linden Lab’s recent policy changes. Recently, XStreet SL has decided to charge content providers L99 per month to list a freebie item. Many of these content providers are altruistic and just want to share their work. Most content providers love creating stuff and have no hopes of making any money at it. So charging them for listing their freebie items is making them very angry.

They are often the ones who are paying a lot of tier on some sizeable land in SL. Yet SL is truly the biggest and most used 3D virtual world that’s not a game. We come back to it because of the richness of detail – the builds, the scenery, the people, and the content.

As other grids get past their operability hurdles, however, they will start to become competitive with SL. All that’s really needed is the completion of interoperability standards that allow avatars and their stuff to pass freely among the various worlds. For a decent couple of blog entries on the topic, see http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2009/11/why-second-life-needs-opensim/ and http://sorryafk.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/linden-lab-strikes-again/.

So it occurred to me that I haven’t really spent a lot of time visiting other worlds. Let’s see what else is out there, I told myself. I downloaded the Hippo viewer for Mac and visited OSGrid first.

Cascabel Emporium on Quirm, a Victorian themed storefront.
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Quirm/245/80/22

Aha – I’ve been here before – it remembers my email address and avatar name. I am reborn in the world with a basic “Ruth” shape but I quickly find a freebie avatar kit that contains jeans, hair and a hoodie. Yay.

Wanting to quickly wipe the newbie avatar stink off me, I head out to find more freebies that will at least help differentiate me from other avatars. In the process I hope to find content to buy.

In Cascabel Emporium on Quirm, I find a PrimBlender Importer for bringing my work in-world (once I know how to use PrimBlender, which I don’t). I take a free copy just in case.

Teleporting is an issue – can’t do a search in world and click the teleport. However, if you pull up a map you can teleport that way, or using SLURLs from regular web sites. Hmm. I am having trouble finding any recommendations of places to visit that also include SLURLs. Anyone have any recommendations?

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