What’s in a name?

For no real reason other than ‘something to do’ whilst I counted the minutes down until l I could leave my RL office and enter my SL one,  I decided to ‘google-whack’ my name.  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, ‘googlewhacking’ is when you enter your name in a search engine to see what results you get.  It’s  bad enough finding your real name on-line for all to see, so I wondered what it would be like for Kitty, and what kind of results I would generate.. Before I proceed to share my results with you, I’ll let you in on what inspired my choice of Second Life name.
When you join Second Life you have to choose your surname from a selection provided by Linden Labs. There are loads to choose from, covering a variety of cultures and both real life and fictional characters, but you cannot  use your own surname unless of course it happens to be included in the current list.   (This is probably a good thing, as I don’t think this website would be half as much fun  if I’d used my real name, which for the record is Ethel Thundercrackers.  I could have called the blog ‘Thundercracking’ though I suppose…)

Anyway, the first name wasn’t under any doubt for me owing  to my love of cats and all things feline it *had* to be Kitty.  I did toy with the idea of calling myself Selina- both in reverence of the moon and also because Catwoman’s real name is Selina Kyle, but Kitty just seemed less pretentious:) The tough part was choosing a surname because there were so MANY of them!  I’d just been watching the BBC series of ‘Casanova’ on DVD (the version which starred Sir Peter O’Toole and David Tennant) and I guess  Sir Peter was lurking in my subconcious somewhere when I spied ‘O’Toole’ as an available surname.  I liked the way it sounded, and there you have it, my name was born! 

So I google-whacked ‘Kitty O’toole’ earlier…and was gobsmacked.  Most of the references were to this site and the few others that I feature on across the old t’internet, BUT I was utterly *DELIGHTED* to see that there is an old Irish folk song called ‘Kitty O’Toole”  It’s even been recorded by a chap called Jim Hancock ! So it gives me great pleasure to present you with the lyrics to the song, and they sum Kitty up quite eloquently I think…especially the last verse eh Jez?

Kitty O’Toole

A charming young creature was Kitty O’Toole,
The Lily o’ sweet Tipperary,
With a voice like a thrush and with cheeks like a rose, And a figure as neat as a fairy.
I saw her one day, oh, she looked like a queen,
In the glory of sweet one and twenty.
As she sat with McGinty’s big arm ’round her waist,
Oh, how I envied McGinty.

Six months after that on a sweet summer’s day,
The boys and the girls were invited,
By Mickey O’Toole of the cabin beyond,
To see Kate and McGinty united.
And when in the church they were made into one,
And the priest gave them blessings in plenty,
As she stood with McGinty’s big arm ’round her waist,
Oh, how I envied McGinty.

But the years have gone by, now McGinty is dead,
Shore me heart was all broke up with pity,
To see her all lonely and mornful and sad,
So I went and got married to Kitty.
And now when I pass where McGinty is laid,
With a stone o’er his head, cold and flinty,
As he lies there so quiet and peaceful and still,
Oh, how I envy McGinty!


Well, did you see it?

Have just sat down at my keyboard after watching the documentary.  The first thing I have to say is well done to Rivers Run Red, they made our metaverse look fantastic.  In fact, I’d be really interested to know if there is a spike of interest and join-ups following tonight’s broadcast.  I think there will be…

I know of many couples who have gotten together in RL via SL and have successfully managed to make it work, so I was really happy for the second couple featured in the programme.  It was so lovely to see their wedding, and nice to meet the mother of the bride and best man:) That was a great twist, and it was sweet when her mum said that she’d felt genuine emotions.

But it was Carolyn’s story that was saddest to watch.  I have no doubt that raising kids is a hard thing to do, and I’m sure SL was the perfect escape from reality that she needed.   Isn’t that why we all participate in world after all?  But for her husband it was clearly torturous.  It would appear that he adored her but it obviously didn’t fulfill Carolyn in the way that she needed.  Elliot did in SL, BUT  but from the instant they met in RL you could see their was no body language between them and he obviously had no feelings for her at all.  I felt really awful watching that bit..she must have been utterly devastated. He certainly looked uncomfortable, and I don’t think he managed to make eye contact with her once.(Although of course we don’t know the full story, I wonder how much ended up on the cutting room floor?)

There are issues to be explored here.  Was it proper that Elliott initially built up a relationship with a RL married woman with four children? It was shown that he was aware of her RL situation, so wouldn’t it have been chivalrous for him to back off? What about Carolyn’s husband;why didn’t he become harder and present his wife with an ultimatum because it was obvious that it was causing such great pain to their children? It did cross my mind at one point that perhaps Carolyn’s husband should’ve just gone in world and twatted Elliott with a big stick, but perhaps that’s just being a tad base.  (Jez put it very eloquently- ‘Cut the f *****g plug off the computer’)

I really hope that they manage to work things out, as they both seemed lovely people, but my gut tells me that it won’t be easy for them.  Carolyn has needs that are clearly not being met and if they can be met in SL then she will go down that route again and again.  SL is like that, it gets under your skin and it becomes your world,and yes I do speak from experience here!

The programme proved a very valid point -we all need to take a reality check from SL every so often. 

Yes, this wonderful virtual world of ours is to be enjoyed and exploited, but not at the the expense of our real lives.  If used properly, it can be a wonderful way of creating opportunities and realising ambitions in the real world, but it is a means to an end, and not the sum of all parts.  Out of all the parallels that it shares with real life, it’s unfortunate that heartbreak has to be one of them.

Kaneva be any good?

Here’s the thing..we all have to go through the rough to appreciate the smooth…to experience a tin of value beans to know that Heinz Baked Beans are phenomenal.  Not that there’s anything wrong with value beans, but they just are that-value. They aren’t as good, nor are they trying to be necessarily. They are an alternative, and we all know how essential it is to have those. So when ‘The Avastar’ announced we were going metaversal and would be including other MMO environments in our reportage I was exceptionally hesitant and quite frankly not interested.  SL is what I know, what I’m good-ish at.  I’m not a high achiever, I haven’t built a business empire nor designed an animation but I have learnt how to enjoy myself in the confines of our world, and that is what it is all about after all. Enjoyment and entertainment. Simple as.

 This week, as many of you will be aware, I’ve been investigating some of those other worlds so that I can gain perspective and build a presence in them that will hopefully lead to my establishing a network of contacts.  That way I should be able to help ‘The Avastar’ achieve its goals and generate some great articles.  Tonight I decided to give ‘Kaneva’ another go.

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I have just wasted over an hour of my life there. I urge you to go in there and experience it for yourself. No matter how bad the lag gets in SL it will never come close to the frustration I have just felt and the complete apathy that I was met with when expressing my concerns.  As you can see from my ‘Interesting Links’ column on the left, I’m not the only one to be disappointed.  Prokofy Neva has written a great piece which sums it up a lot better than this one, and he includes screen-shots too. I would have taken some myself, but by the point that the thought entered my mind I’d lost the will to live, having been booted out 6 times. 

I’m not a bitch, and I know we all have to start somewhere.  Look at how SL was in the beginning (For a fab example look up ‘Governor Linden’s Mansion’ in Search) and you’ll see we’ve come a long way.  I *know* Kaneva is in it’s Beta stage. BUT I cannot see the sense in launching an MMO in an already crowded market when you have superior products like SL and Entropia to go up against, and for it not to at least have some sort of edge to make it stand out.  In my mind, Kaneva doesn’t as yet.

Where to begin? Well, you look awful.  Your movements are odd. At least you have your own place to decorate and use as a base, but you seem constrained by the interface when moving objects and applying simple movements like sitting down.  In SL, we use the mouse.  Kaneva uses a menu. I just about got the hang of it and went to the mall to shop.   The shopping in no way compares to SL.  There were some nice looking avs bopping around granted, but the detail and the overall look of them  is not nearly as accomplished as in SL.  (But at least it’s superior to  ‘Ruth’! ) There only seemed to be a couple of shops in the mall that offered the potential to change your avs appearance, but the advice given was that to change your look  you had to log out, log back in and change your avs appearance settings at that juncture, rather than have the fun of choosing skins, make ups and hairstyles in boutiques like in SL. I asked a few of the better looking female avs for their shopping suggestions, and a few places were mentioned but I couldn’t go because despite purchasing credits via Paypal these hadn’t appeared in my account.  Logging out then back in as was suggested didn’t help either, nor did being in contact with the support people.  (So far I don’t have the credits and if they don’t appear I shall just ask for a refund anyway.  It left a nasty taste in my mouth.) Then we have the ambiance of the place.  Avs were dancing around or chatting but not as quick to help out a noob.  In fact, I’m rather proud to say I genuinely think that SL has a fabulous camaraderie and people often will help you out at the drop of a hat. (In fact if you check out the letters page in ‘The Avastar’ this week there’s evidence that supports this theory) I asked for help a number of times before I got a response, and when I did it was provided in a courteous but dismissive manner.  Not as forthcoming as I’m used to. 

So unless I missed something it doesn’t tempt me in any possible way to leave the virtual world I already exist in and inhabit this one. Surely if you spend the time, energy and money to launch a project like this then you have to have that certain *something* that other worlds do not, or at the very least offer that prospect.  I’m guessing that the  market audience that is being aimed for here  is  ‘Tweens’, (12-18 year olds), but if so then that makes me wonder why they aren’t logging onto the SL Teen Grid instead. Perhaps Kaneva is a viable option for those who have older systems? The thought crossed my mind but was very quickly dismissed seeing as my desktop and laptop are both top notch beasties and I was still suffering issues. It doesn’t seem to be that much of a safer bet!

Guys I don’t see the appeal.  If you use Kaneva regularly and enjoy it then please let me know what I’ve missed so that I can re-evaluate my experiences.  I want to give it the opportunity to interest me and retain that interest. Also, from a reporter’s perspective I couldn’t see anything that was newsworthy going on there! Surely I missed something?

To sum up my overall feeling at the moment is sheer frustration with the whole darn Kaneva thing, which has resulted in a renewed appreciation of Second Life that means for the moment, at least, I shall think twice before I open my gob to whinge about it again in the near future:)

Time to give ‘There’ another shot I think…what am I letting myself in for?