Travelog: Second Life

Have you heard of Second Life? It’s just like your real life, except it’s online, looks spectacular and is mostly empty. And there’s nothing to do. So it’s not like your real life at all. (Unless that does describe your real life, in which case– I’m sorry).

A couple of years ago, Second Life was all the rage. So, back then, I spent an evening in Second Life. It wasn’t the first time I was there, but it was the last. And it was the longest I had ever been. I brought back some pictures, which I’m sharing with you here, so that you never have to go.

I went to a concert, where someone gave me L$500 (Linden dollars) for being new to Second Life. That seemed like a lot of money, what did this person want in return? Nothing, it turned out. Because it wasn’t a lot of money. At the current exchange rate, it’s almost $2 (real US dollars). On the other hand, if someone gave me $2 at a concert in the real world for being “new”, I might run in the other direction. I kept flying around the concert, looking like an idiot, while all the cool kids seemed to be having a good time. Or at least their pretty digital avatars were smiling and self-assured.

I found a Bollywood area that was empty. A Hollywood movie area. That was empty. A political extravaganza starring the big flying head of Rudy Giuliani. That was empty too. In short, a lot of it was empty.

There were some truly beautiful parts of this virtual world. I wonder who created them and why. I flew over them for a few minutes, but like Ferris Bueller says about Cameron’s house, “The place is like a museum. It’s very beautiful and very cold, and you’re not allowed to touch anything.”

After a little while, I left Second Life and returned to my first one. Second Life had potential, but it’s like any other club– if nobody goes, then nobody goes. And if you’re there without friends, what do you do?

Travelog: Thatcher St, Boston Mass.

If you’ve been to the North End in Boston, you might know what’s on Thatcher street. It’s the venerable Pizzeria Regina. If you’ve never been there, but have eaten at one of the many Reginas they have in mall food courts, I weep for you. The food court Regina is an abomination, the original is an experience. It’s a tiny little place, and you wait outside snow or shine. The gruff, businesslike waitstaff are there only to serve you the best pizza– not to ask you how your day was honey, or to hope you’ll have a good weekend.

Here’s the line outside (click for larger version):