In the neighbourhood

In another sign, if one were needed, that I am some way away from being sufficiently immersed in Second Life to make this project a success, I completely missed my av’s first birthday at the end of last month. I only noticed when I saw the $72 charge on my credit card statement. I think that’s about the same as I paid last year, though the sterling price has gone up by around 50%, on account of the deteriorating exchange rate. Even so, $6 a month is pretty cheap, and I get $1.20 of it back as my monthly L$ stipend. Not that I ever spend any of it; my current balance is about L$12000

I’ve managed to spend a few hours on the grid this week, and I’ve concentrated on exploring the locality. I hadn’t previously paid any attention to where my land actually was on the SL map, but a little research has shown that it’s on the north-facing slopes of the mountain at the centre of Heterocera Atoll, the second-oldest of the SL mainland continents. The landmass is misnamed, since it’s obvious from the topography that Heterocera is not a coral island, but rather a volcanic formation. The central peak rises to a considerable height, and the rocks that are visible above the tree line appear igneous in nature.  The mountain is topped by a large bowl-shaped  feature, the Zygaena Crater, partially filled by a deep, still lake.

An old stone-paved road runs on the edge of this central lake, and I took a walk around it, stopping now and again to look in at some of the buildings that line the waterfront. The whole place was completely deserted, and the empty stores and houses had an eerie, post-apocalyptic air. In a huge railway terminus rows of clocks counted down the minutes to the arrival of trains that never appeared. A roaring fire burned in the grate of a log cabin that had no other sign of habitation. Neon signs called out to non-existent window-shoppers.

Night fell eventually, and as I stood on the shore looking up at the stars I began to see how people could feel that Second Life might have some sort of reality beyond the monitor screen. I should have more time to spend online over the next month or so, so I’ll try to do my best to get properly obsessed.

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