Sunday, October 15, 2006


To date, much has been said about cyberspace, online worlds, virtual realities, and soforth. The Internets (which, if powered by Mesa Boogie, would be a series of vacuum tubes) knows no shortage of such views. When I come across, I usually like to say what I do. This may take some aback, but is it agreeable the opinions I henceforth express are my own alone? With blobs like a hungry Venn diagram linking me to the shared beliefs of my fellow people.

Inshort, I'm not out to replicate what perspectives someone else has on a given set of topics, nor is it accurate I'd take an idea and put a "twist", altho it sometimes ends up being similar. Think about the Olympics. Think about multi-rows of swimmers, side-by-side. Don't think about the competition aspect because that is irrelevant for this portion of the exercise. But do consider parallel existence: a world besides our own.

Not "besides" as in "an alternative to", but "an additional choice".

You cannot shoot (most) guns without bullets, and when you do, in a video game, you're often offered a choice of ammo. Or, as the famous Contra model goes, various upgrade that arrive in eagle-shaped containers.

Consider the eagle: symbolic of freedom, power, perhaps patriotism. Consider the turkey: symbolic of Thanksgiving.

If I could eat a meal every day, it'd be turkey with lush stuffing. Now why's that? Because I have a lot of thanks thanx to give, and turkey's a good meat. Tasty. But domesticated turkeys aren't generally regarded as the prettiest avian: they're rather rump-heavy. Turkeys are high in tryptophan, and lead to sleep. And from sleep, comes dreams.

I'm nearing the end of My Tiny Life by Julian Dibbell. It's a great read. I like how he's written the "RL" sections of the book in a manner which appears like simulated LambdaMOO descriptions. In doing that, he's flip-flopped reality and the dream. Or is it a dream, for some?


Waking Life. Second Life.

Thick in the heart, some of you may be familiar with "Augmentation vs. Immersion". I can see how other people may choose one predominantly over the other, but for me, I've long wielded both like the quadruple-barreled shotgun of the Phantasm films (Halloween draws nears, kiddies). For I am more of an AND person than an OR person. My RL has become much better because of Second Life, but I also enjoy using it as a fantasy space; not to much to "get away" from anything, but to explore deeper into aspects of myself which were frozen in time years ago, and which I'm only recently rediscovering.

Avoiding idealogical incest, however, is fundamental. I make it a point to visit more online worlds like There: Virtual Laguna Beach and simply and empirically experience. Often, it doesn't make sense to me what is happening, or what has happened, until some days, or weeks afterward. Chronologie (spelled the JMJ way) gives perspective, sequence, and insight.

I get bored easily. Pass the haiku please.


Part of the thrust behind a word's train is in its propagation: if noone else knows what you're talking about, it may as well be meaningless to you. A term like "avatar" has a precise gravity denoting your inworld incarnation in Second Life, but to someone not familiar with computers (and it still does happen), yet acquainted with Hindu philosophy, their perception will clash with what they come to learn, when you bring a high-powered laptop their way.

In getting bored, I came up with terms to describe things. "Camscanning" (camera + scanning) is when I'm maneuvering the camera around with varied permutations of Alt, Ctrl, and Shift modifier keys to get a better view of my surroundings. When I think of non-graphical worlds, this the difference is absolutely astounding: you may know "look" is a popular command in text adventures, and you can often look at the room (or other thing) you're in, as well as zoom into places (e.g., a mailbox a la Zork). But, your granularity of choice, aka angles you can take pretty pictures from, thus preserving your memories... unfolds. Beyond this, the Snapshot controls become more than just a "tool": they're a facilitator to sharing actual human warmth. Which I'd argue is both augmentative AND immersive, so I can't wait to use a tool like Scrapblog (thanx Baba!) to elevate this type of emotional technology.

Couple of threads here: (1) I immediately think of Dibbell's ride in the scarlet balloon as recounted in MTL, with textual descriptions being pulled from the surface; and (2) the Welcome Area balloon tours that used to happen long before I ever joined. This was in the classic Ahern-Morris WA, before it underwent a complete redesign to become the earthy, vine-laden construct with synthetically aged tiles it is today.

Had I read MTL before I came to SL, I would have been able to use it as a point of reference before enjoying my first balloon ride. And I haven't taken any rides lately. But what gives me awe, something that sends emotion surging through my veins is seeing the landscape from so high above, in an ever-growing world. It's personally reminiscent of the vid to Bjork's "Joga", or even Cassius' "The Sound of Violence", but with a lot more personality.

Seeing what people are doing below — not hearing but taking guesses — is, in some way, like watching aliens make out (but not recognizing it as such). Trying to figure what is going on here, overcoming cognitive dissonance, all of these things.

Sitting in a vehicle and watching the world go by makes me feel good. It reminds me that no matter how big, how expansive things get, you need to have time for yourself, quiet reflection on your own thoughts + feelings. You — or at least, I — need to be able to throw everything on the table, like all your old toys from the closet, then begin to sort them out. So it all makes sense.


  1. "A term like "avatar" has a precise gravity denoting your inworld incarnation in Second Life, but to someone not familiar with computers (and it still does happen), yet acquainted with Hindu philosophy, their perception will clash with what they come to learn, when you bring a high-powered laptop their way."

    Nuh-uh, it's a very appropriate anal-ogy. Virtual worlds are shared illusions dependent on human beings, just as the "real" world is a shared illusion dependent on godlike beings for its creation. In SL it's, "got an avie? Here's the show," just like in the physical universe it's, "got a body? Ok, here's the show."

    It's layers of an onion, or, more to the point, SL is a lower harmonic of the same patterns which created the universe. I've been startled to watch the same process of degradation and rubble-making happening all over again, in fast-forward.


  2. Hey Ananda, that's gooood. I'll go with yours. :)