Each December, it has become my habit to offer a general look back on Second Life’s progress through the year – as I recently published for 2022, using the Lab’s own look back as a foundation (much as I did in 2021). In some of these looks back, I’ve included some personal notes on my own times in-world, although of late I’ve let that drop away, as is seemed rather self-indulgent. However, to break things up a little as 2022 draws to a close, I thought I’d toot my trumpet again and look back on the year and what it has meant to me.
Most notably on a personal level it’s been a year of evolving friendships, with two of particular note. The early part of the year was marked by times spent with Tasha, someone I’d met in 2021 and shared a good deal of time with having all sorts of fun, thanks to the two of us being in the same time zone and having fairly matching on-line times. Sadly, matters of the physical world meant that for the better part of 2022 we’ve had next to no time in-world, but the memories are precious.
More happily, 2022 brought me into contact with Tulsa, whose sense of fun and humour has prompted me to call her Imp, and whose companionship I’ve come to greatly appreciate, our sharing of a mutual time zone again making getting together easy, and allowing us to share a mutual interest in building. More recently, times in-world have been also shared with Wilhelmina, who has also been a welcome companion in exploring SL and visiting art exhibitions.
One of the things blog-wise I did at the start of 2022 was to write about how I came to name my avatar; I did so as a result of having received multiple questions on my name and whether it was connected to the short-lived TV series Firefly (quick answer: yes). Again, I thought the piece to be self-indulgent, but it proved popular among readers and on social media – so thank you on that! Further self-indulgence came in April 2022, when after earlier mis-communications, Strawberry Linden interviewed me for the Lab’s Spotlight series; something I found to be an honour as well, given the luminaries who have featured in the series.
Of course, exploring SL continues to be a passion for me, and 2022 saw me complete over 180 visits and write-ups on in-world public spaces (a handful admittedly return visits later in the year to places I’d dropped into early-on in 2022). It’s an activity I genuinely enjoy because it allows me to see the creativity of others in second life who, whilst not “content creators” in the traditional sense, nevertheless have the creative eye and ability to bring together the works of others in a manner to offer us all places of beauty, mystery, fantasy, and more, where we can explore, relax, play, and have fun.
Sadly, 2022 brought the news that one of the Second Life region designers I particularly admired for his ability – often working with Jade Koltai – to bring us magnificent interpretations of some of the most evocative locations to be found within the physical world. As I noted in a personal reflection on his passing, Serene Footman will be greatly missed by Second Life explorers and photographers.
In looking at some of the stats on the blog, I was also surprised to realise that 2022 has seen me visit and write about over 170 art exhibitions and installations.
The ability for Second Life to promote art is genuinely second to none. Capable of showcasing 2D and 3D art, whether produced in-world and / or with the assistance of external editing tools, and presenting the ability for artists to upload and display their physical world art, SL is an outstanding platform for artistic expression and audience reach. It has been, and remains, my delight and pleasure to cover art in-world as fully and broadly as I possibly can, although I cannot hope to cover everything, so to those who did through the year extend invites to their opening and exhibitions which I was unable to accept, I offer a genuine apology.
In respect of art and galleries, my thanks to Owl and the folks at NovaOwl and to Hermes Kondor for inviting me to display my own attempts at SL photography at their galleries this year (see: A touch of artistic self-promotion in Second Life and Fifty Shades of Pey in Second Life).
A habit I got into a while back, mainly as a means of offering an alternate kind of product review, was writing about the prefab houses I’d buy then promptly kitbash for use on the home island. It is something I continued at the start of the year, utilising a couple of Novocaine Islay’s builds (see: The InVerse Orlando house in Second Life, and The InVerse Nizza house in Second Life). However, I’ve not done anything like it for most of the latter part of the year, not because I’ve not (again) changed house, but because the current house is a scratch-build; albeit it strongly influenced by a commercial build.
In August 2022, I made a number of visits to see Cory Edo’s Jura Waterfront Cabin, trying to work out if it could fulfil an idea I had for a new personal home. Unfortunately, my examinations of the design revealed that I’d have to pretty much tear it apart in order to achieve my goal, so instead I went the scratch-build route, albeit using photos I’d taken of Cory’s design. As such, it’s not a build to be written about in its own right – and I hope Cory will forgive me my cheek! For those of you who are looking for a thoroughly engaging waterfront home, it’s a build I can still recommend it as design unlikely to disappoint.
And talking of homes, a genuine highlight for me in 2022 was the invite I received from Miltone Marquette to visit his exquisite in-world reproduction of Fallingwater, aka the Kaufmann House, the iconic house in the Laurel Highlands of southwest Pennsylvania designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The original Fallingwater is a house within which I’ve had a long (and indirect) relationship with for many, many years. I’ve been an admirer of many of FLW’s architectural designs, with Fallingwater being the one I have myself built and re-built in-world over the years, and to which I’ve often returned in order to build far more personal takes on the essential looks and layout of the main house in order to give myself a personal home in-world.
However, none of my builds have been as faithful to the original as Miltone’s; his is a genuine work of art in which no detail from the original has been missed. As such it was an absolute delight to be able to visit it and tour the rooms – and drop into two of his other reproductions of FLW houses -, and I wrote about in Miltone’s Fallingwater in Second Life. If you have a similar passion for Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs, I thoroughly recommend contact Miltone directly in-world and arrange a time when you might visit his reproductions of Fallingwater, the Robie House and the Jacobs’ First House.
Of course, 2022 has also allowed me to continue to inflict another pair of my interests on readers – those of space exploration and astronomy, subject which, like my love of sci-fi, came to me by way of late father. I have no idea how broadly popular Space Sunday might be (I try not to look too deeply ay blog analytics for fear I stop writing about what I enjoy and start focus on those subjects that gain the most clicks); however, I will say it is one of the hardest regular pieces I write for the blog; not because the subjects are hard for me to get to grips with, but rather because there is so much I want to cover, I have difficultly in reining myself in, so my apologies to those of you who might find the pieces a case of TL;DR!
Overall, however, 2022 has for me been nicely balanced between blogging and enjoying personal times. I’ll confess that on occasion in recent years I’ve wondered what the hell I am doing with SL outside of writing about it, so 2022 has been an opportunity – thanks in no small part to Imp and those close to me – to strike a new balance and get back to many of the things outside of blogging I enjoy. In this I also want to thank R, whose sage advice – given in 2021 – took root through this past year: do what you enjoy.
And keeping all that in mind, I’m keen to see what 2023 brings!