Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Boob Couch

Before I get started, I'm not sure how I missed this, but I'm pretty sure it was written by Mean Mr. Mustard: Alyson Hannigan and the FCC's Policy on Nudity (via the Onion).

So recently I decided I should take a tour of Second Life. Not because I have any need to experience my corporation in a virtual reality instead of a primary reality, and not out of any need for cybersex. What I really wanted was to be able to complain about it knowledgably instead of second hand. While I was at the MHTA Spring Conference, the folks at MnSCU were pointing at second life and virtual realities as innovative and edgy. The Harvard Business Review notes that they're a breeding ground for leaders. I disagree. They're not all that edgy. They're not very innovative. And I don't want to be put under a manager whose primary qualification is that he led an ad hoc party of 20 to dispatch Twytch Wrympants the Fearsome Dragon Lord.

In addition, virtual realities, the kind like Second Life...they're pretty much old hat. I remember a developer I interviewed over seven years ago who showed me the virtual house he'd created to train housing inspectors. It looked pretty much like Second Life looks now. I can't speak with authority to World of Warcraft. With 20 million users and a newer interface, that's probably a very different experience, although I don't see myself doing it. But with only 38,000 people on at any one time and a clunky interface, Second Life is rather painful between trying to learn how the controls work and determining where the hell everyone is hanging out. As near as I can tell, Second Life consists of: 1.) big empty areas devoid of people, 2.) wanderers, lost in the big empty areas devoid of people and wondering where everyone went, 3.) self-absorbed individuals doing a bit of ad hoc world building behind red do-not-disturb police tape, 4.) people sitting around with their accounts on line, in idle, earning Linden Bucks by starring as window dressing to make a place look busy, 5.) Role players who have characters on line and dice off line (but are very nice - one of them was the first person to talk to me), and 6.) dancers - there are so many places where there are groups of people on a stage doing strange jerky dancing with each other.

After several hours, the highlights of my tour included the following. Checking out the ThomsonReuters Pavillion, devoid of people, yet sporting virtual screens that allowed me to kick up my browser in the background and access the company's news feed and job board. I can do this with my shortcut on my desktop rather than logging in, teleporting, then walking or flying the remaining distance, clicking on the virtual screen, and opening my real browser. Browsers within browsers. It was sort of like Hamlet. Somewhere there has to be a virtual browser that syncs into where you are in second life and another virtual browser you can access like you're playing Second Life. Sort of like when they watch the prerelease of Spaceballs on Spaceballs. I learned to ride a spider chariot, or car, or throne...it was a spider and it moved, and I figured out how to sit in it and rode it 20 virtual feet across a small stream. No one was around to applaud, but for a moment I felt something that was like pride, but distinctly was not, but was also not quite shame at whatever proto-pride I was feeling. And I found a boob couch and laid on it. There was another couch nearby, but I figure if you find a boob couch, you should use the boob couch. Never knowing when you'll find another, and it might just be really comfortable.

So here I am. Very relaxed, on the boob sofa, next to a fire. Idyllic. Without tactile gloves, I couldn't tell if the nipples were soft or poking me in the chest and balls (more like knees if you examine the picture). I could assert they were plush, like pillows, but that would be completely in my head and might give away my nipple preference, which is probably a secret I can save for a future post.

1 comment:

MeanMrMustard said...

Your elbow seems to be doing considerable damage to the boob couch. I'm not sure you're using it right.