Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Taking stock

Some people join Second Life either knowing exactly what they want out of it, or soon finding out. There are people in SL who have been designing and selling clothes and accessories, building various objects, scripting, speculating in real estate, and more, ever since they started. They have often become people of some influence, and their skills have shaped what SL has become since its inception.

That's not me. I came into SL not knowing which end was up or what I wanted to do. I was just looking for a second, different, virtual life, whatever that might be. I imagine this is fairly common. Like many, at first I basically wanted to find my way around and have fun. Later, when I looked at my credit card statements and the amount of real currency of the realm I was bringing in world, I realized I wanted a job of some kind.

I have worked as a dancer, a stripper, a hostess, and a model, all pretty much low-skill jobs, none of which earned me many lira. I thought about building, scripting, and terraforming, but I soon realized that there were truly talented people in all those areas (such as my dear wife Patrice, a highly skilled terraformer and landscaper). If I worked hard enough at any of them, especially scripting (since I am a software developer in my first life), I might be able to compete, but they just didn't get me fired up enough to put in the effort. I do like to script from time to time, but it's mainly for my own use, although I have given away a few simple scripts.

Starting my counselling practice was the first step to a more focussed second life for me. Even though I am only a beginning counselling student, I have at least some instinct for it, and I think I've actually helped some people. They paid me anyway! As I've noted previously, it was counselling in SL that led me to becoming a counselling student in first life, which before too long—a test of my patience and persistence—will result in a career change. I'm still intrigued by how Second Life opened up possibilities for my first life that I'd never thought of.

The counselling biz has been rather slow for quite some time now. It might be because there are people in SL who do it for free, as well as trained clinical counsellors who have practices in SL. I get some activity at my notecard dispenser, but very few appointments.

I continued to look for a niche. I started modelling for Activ8, but it turned out that Activ8 wasn't really so much in the modelling business, and now is out entirely. I have ended up sometimes dancing and sometimes DJing at the Activ8 Club, and the pay is fair, but it has not proved to be a very good place for tips, at least not so far.

My modelling these days consists of doing occasional shoots for my friend Eloria LeShelle, who makes and sells cool clothing at her Battered Boutique shops. Those sessions are fun, and it's fun as well to see the results. I don't think I care enough about modelling to chase down the big agencies, although I might change my mind.

I started writing for PixelPulse Magazine. This was basically an outgrowth of my inveterate blogging. I checked out different SL-related publications, and PixelPulse was the one that really intrigued me. I didn't want to write for a joke publication. As well, Cheri Horton, the publisher, is a friend of my friend Cala, so I figured she was good people even before I met her. Writing for PixelPulse takes time and effort, but I'm proud of the results and proud of all the good writing that's around me in that magazine. And Twittering with Cheri and fellow staffers Lienna and Julian is extra fun.

I mentioned DJing at Activ8. I'm genuinely enthusiastic about DJing, and have been for some time. I talked to some people, got the right software, got more of the right software, ripped tons of stuff from our CD collection onto my rapidly shrinking disk, bought more tunes through legitimate channels (honest!), and went in search of gigs. I did some fill-ins at the Velvet, and then Push let me have Mondays. I love that gig! I have so much fun. A month of Mondays usually covers the rent and some shopping, which is really all I need. I did a substitute gig at Activ8, and I'd like to look for more of those. Because of time constraints, I don't want another regular weekly gig, but occasional club dates or parties would be fun.

Just as with counselling, DJing has had an influence on my first life, not quite as profound but interesting nonetheless. I'm now constantly searching for more material, both old and new. It's been especially exciting to discover new (or new-ish) material of which I had been unaware. I'm so happy to have found Bloc Party and the New Pornographers! Boy, I've been asleep for a while. Glad to have awakened.

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