Thursday, December 13, 2007

Second Life Extreme Make-Over

As strange as this sounds, people seem to care as much about how you look in Second Life as they do in First Life. You may remember what this is: it is a world filled with avatars who fly around, have jobs, socialize and meet for education projects. And Second Life is like this too. After talking with people in Second Life, some told me that my avatar was unprofessional looking -- it was too generic and too new looking. It was like representing the school in a dirty rain coat. I had a lot of lindens (Second Life money) because a paid account gets an allowance. I rarely spend any money because I spend most of my time in education sites and projects were stuff is free or very cheap. But I started to talk to people in and out of Second Life and they said "yes, it does matter." I shows that I don't care what I look like, have not spent anytime customizing my avatar, and that I must not hang out with regulars and veterans of the virtual world. I was stunned at first but why would it be any different in Second Life as it is in First Life? I went with an acquaintance who decided to help me shop for skin, hair, eyes and clothes (out of mercy for me and to preserve her reputation as someone who does not hangout with newbie dorktards). It felt like a cross between "Frankenstein" and "Queer Eye." We teleported to all of these shops looking at avatar bodies. We picked one that looked vaguely like me if you were looking into a Futuroscope with squinty eyes into an alternative universe in which I was reincarnated as a male model. The skin has raging muscles, tan, gorgeous, and the package comes with a flaccid penis. You can wear it or not just like a pair of sunglasses. I never thought I would ever live to say that I would PAY for a flaccid penis. I bought hair, eyes that look like they reflect light and move, nice clothes, and a Rolex watch. My old avatar had died and was reborn in Orange County.

It is strange looking at all this as a Buddhist. There in Second Life, avatars are born, live in an essentially immaterial world and crave material things.

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