Friday, December 19, 2008

A virtual Christmas party

Well, I've been bad at posting lately (bad being I'm going several days between postings, and all when I really needed to get caught up with all those pictures I still have to post). I finally got all my Christmas cards out and I'm working on the last of my Christmas gifts (I made quite a few of them, which took a lot of time).

The other night, I attended the only Christmas party I got to attend this year. The thing was that it was virtual instead of actual. It was hosted by a wonderful author at a virtual place called "Second Life" where you go in and create a virtual you. Evidently, virtual reality is quite popular. This was my first experience with it and I really wanted to attend this party as it was going to be filled with authors, agents, writers, readers, etc. and I thought that sounded like fun.

I followed the instructions and went to Second Life and signed up. I came up with myself an online first name, then they have a list of last names to choose from (I chose Goldshark--it leapt out at me). Then, it basically deposits a virtual you (that you've picked from a lineup of around 10 avatars) on this island where all newbies go to figure out how to move around, change your hair, shape, clothes, etc.

I was standing there on this island trying to figure out how to move when I was approached by this guy. This is how the conversation went:

Guy: Hey.
Me: Hi.
Guy: So, have you figured out how this works yet?
Me: No, I'm not very good at this.
Guy: Do you know if people can be intimate here?
Me: I have no idea.
Guy: Want to find out?
Me: No thanks. Good luck finding who you are looking for.

Thankfully, he walked off after that. It was slow going getting around, trying to change my clothes (never could get the skirt of the dress I was wearing before I changed clothes to go away so it left me in a hot pink top, white pants, with that pink polka dotted skirt swirling around my hips). I really wasn't very good at moving around, but I thought it was good enough to attend the party.

I started trying to log into the party site at 4:00 pm my time. It took me an hour and a half to get logged in. Turns out that our computer doesn't really have enough memory to run that program, even when it is the only program open on the computer. I finally managed to get into the party at 5:45 pm and I valiantly tried walking around to get familiar with the layout. It really was beautiful. It was this giant tent set up in the middle of this winter wonderland. They had ice bumper cars, ice skates, a sleigh, an ice sculpture merry go round (all of which your character could ride!), and a tree under which you could pick up and open a present! There were three other party "rooms" for this author, but I didn't want to chance leaving the room I'd finally made it into.

I was there really early as the party didn't really get going for another hour. I did manage to get myself (slowly and painfully) into the ice bumper car and tootle around for a little bit. Then I tried to walk around and situate myself in front of the screen from which they were posting the ticket numbers for door prizes (actual ticket numbers for actual prizes!). I couldn't do it and after fifteen minutes the program kicked me out. This kept happening to me all night. It would take fifteen minutes to shut it down and get back in then I'd been in for ten to fifteen minutes before it would kick me out again. Basically, I just ended up standing in front of the screen. It was all I could do. But I did have some nice conversations with a few people, recognize a few authors and tell them how much I liked their books, and generally enjoyed watching other people and reading their conversations. And it was pretty funny to see a few naked people running around because they couldn't figure out how to get clothes on. Or they were bald because something had happened when they were trying to get hair. And there were about four others who basically just stood there in front of the screen like I was.

I really wish I had been able to "participate" more and take a ride in the sleigh, ice skate, open a present, and ride the ice sculpture carousel. Never mind it would have been neat to see what the other "rooms" looked like. I didn't even win a door prize (and there were some awfully good door prizes given out). All in all, I spent six hours sitting in front of that computer and I wasn't even in the program a good four of the hours! But it was fun. I probably won't go back to my avatar in Second Life because without the author's party, I don't have anywhere to go. And I don't want to chance hanging around on that island with weirdos. Never mind our computer really isn't fast enough so we can get around better.

I think this author will host another party next year and I really hope I have a better computer/connection so I can have all the fun I can have in the virtual world (with my clothes on).

No comments: