By Becky Shamen
Anouki comes to us from ancient Egypt. It is another name for Isis, "goddess of life." It's root is Ank, "life." With the added personal suffix, it becomes "my life," my being. In exploring Second Life for it's seemingly endless supply of new experiences and entertainment, for nearly four years and writing about it for the last three and a half months, the end of the road has ever receeded from view. I have become adept at pushing farther and deeper into life, in both the real and virtual world. Contemplating new places to explore and interesting people to meet, it dawned that I had overlooked one that was literally right under my own nose. For a large portion of the time I have lived in Second Life, I have had my home in Sunweaver Estates. I was one of the first few to move to Sunweaver Bay and got my choice of location. I built my house on a hill, overlooking the bay. After trying several houses, I have just recently completed one that takes full advantage of the great view. It couldn't have come at a better time, because the owner, Rita Mariner, has done a wonderful job of upgrading the scenery. Living on the bay is a constant source of joy. With it's personallized custom textures and decorations, the house has become an external part of myself. Seeing inside my house is like seeing inside of me. Even so, it can't tell the whole story. I try to live my life as an open book. Let's go inside and see what is written there.
Approaching the entry, you quickly notice, this person is into wood carving. More than just owning and looking at them, I love making them. I have carved and whitled since childhood and have made many notable works. Without a doubt, the most impressive hack jobs I ever did happened when I worked as a professional carver. I had to carve a scallop shell keystone for the interior moulding of a large entry door, in a thirty million dollar mansion. The main part of the carving was done in the shop, but the bottom, where the arch meets it, had to be carved after the keystone was installed, because it had to turn the tips of the arch into a fiddle scroll, like on a violin tuning head. When I went to finish the carving, there was scaffolding in the entry hall, which was topped by a dome. At the keystone area, thirty feet up, there was a narrow tongue deck, leading to the carving. Taking out the needed tools, the tool box was placed on the deck and I sat on it while carving for the next four hours. As I worked, I kept imagining this was how it felt to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling. I knew, after this Michelangelo moment, everything else, from there on, would just be humdrum work, compared to this ultimate adventure.
The doors on my second life house came with carved textures, but I wanted fancier carvings, which I found on the internet, along with other images used for making the Chez Sha plaque and stair rail.
As we enter the house, I am reminded of a "Michelangelo moment," experienced in my early days in SL. To make money, to buy clothes with, I would dance, freelance, at Escort Oasis. One night, I received a rather large tip from across the room and I responded with the "/me thanks _____ for his generous tip" (emote), as I searched the room to get a look at him. He was a tall, pale av, dressed in gothic vampire outfit, which made me a bit nervous at first. During the next half hour, we chatted, I accepted his friend request, and he kept giving large tips. When he said he had to go, I was somewhat relieved to get out of his "dark shadow" and amazed and shocked at having received..... L$12,000 , in only 30 minutes. Needless to say, the next day I went on a shopping spree and, within a week, had built my first mansion in SL. Shortly after, I got my first job, as an exotic dancer, in a club called "the Tiity Bar." I got rich, practicing my new profession, but never made as much, as quickly, as that night in Escort Oasis. One of the dancers at the Titty Bar had learned to make clothing textures for the prim breasts, that we had to wear at work. She taught me how to do it and, within two months, I rented my first clothing store. Within weeks, my shop started showing up on lists of the best places to buy clothing for implants. Ultimately, the owner of the most popular brand of implants invited me to have a free space in his main store, because many of his customers asked where my shop was located.
As we enter my new house, at Sunweaver Bay, and turn right, there is a large picture frame on the wall. The image in the frame changes every 30 seconds, like a slide show. Before buying this frame, I had paintings all over the house, that used a large number of my prim allowance. By using the new frame, I was able to gain 24 prims, to use for other furniture. The frame shows pictures of friends, wood carvings I have done and illustrations I have created in SL.
The wall, to the left of the picture frame, has a large bookself, which covers the length of the wall.
This looks like a lot of books for one person to own, but it's only about half as many as I have had in my real life library. Unlike some, who like to display books to give the impression of being smart, I have actually read all of my books and retain the information in my brain. If I say that I read something, on a given topic, I might not remember which of my hundreds of books it came from, but I will remember all the details.
Close to the bookshelves, I have a computer desk. This is symbolic of my SL position as a newspaper reporter, but also fits my real life as well. I began using computers in 1967, long before the invention of the PC. The first PC I used was one by Heathkit, which we built in the basement. I made the case for the keyboard from hand carved black walnut. Before I learned of SL, I had taught myself how to make 3D illustrations and videos, using various software packages. On seeing some of my creations, a friend told me I should join SL, a game that she enjoyed playing on line. I told her that video games didn't interest me, but she said it was not like those kinds of games. She brought over her laptop and walked me through the steps of getting an account and getting in world. We met, in world and she taught me things that take most noobs weeks or months to learn. She also turned out to be a vampire in SL and I got bitten in my first few moments in world. It took a year, before I finally got the wormwood treatment, to remove all traces of the bite, which bloodlines users can see. Since then, vampires have always been a turn off.
On the other side of the first floor, we find my music/livingroom, where the piano and harp can be played. This area has a large bay window, providing an awesome view of Rita's artistic landscaping. In all the homes I have seen in SL, I have yet to find any with a view to match mine. Thank you Rita. She improved the scenery, in hopes of renting out more lots on the sim. I hope, by writing about how much I like living here, that others will come see for themselves and decide to build their homes here.
Both the harp and piano contain animations and sounds. If you come to my house, by all means, try them out. I have been a musician all my life and have written dozens of songs. Having instruments in my SL home illustrates their importance in my real life and the joy they bring.
Across from the piano and harp, and sharing the same view, I have a couch and chair, each only one prim, from Primpossible. This provides a great place to chat with good friends. I have often written about the importance of chat, for developing Oneness and community. In real life, I am the founder of several on-line groups, including a classroom of ancient wisdom, called "The Keys of Knowledge." Behind me is the Stairs, with handrail made with a photo texture of carved palm tree. We will also find palm trees outside in my garden. These symbolize the fact that I now live in Southern California.
Between my group friends and SL friends, I have nearly 1000 on-line friends, many of whom speak other languages. Good communication is very important, to me, so, as an aid I keep a pile of language dictionaries by my keyboard. My SL neighbor, the fire chief, lives in Northern Italy and is also a fireman there. I bought the Italian dictionary when he moved to Sunweaver Bay.
Upstairs is a slightly more private area, furnished with a snuggle love seat and my custom made round bed, in which I have added a TNT sex engine. I tell everybody that it is the best in SL. After testing it out, or looking through it's menu, nobody has ever challenged my claim.
On the walls, I have photos of my three real-life daughters and one of my grand daughters and well as a portrait of me and a painting, both done by my dear friend, Shanti Bright.
On the balcony, there are two bean bag chairs, which are good for chats and meditation with friends. The balcony has the same wonderful view as the music room and also wraps around to the side of the house that faces the fire station to which I donated a fire truck.
Outside, I have a garden, with palm trees and flowers and a meditation area that seats four. Although I contemplate, as opposed to meditate, in RL, doing so in SL shows the importance I place on developing soul contact, as a means of bringing heaven and earth together.
I hope you have enjoyed the tour of my home and getting to know me better. If you come to Sunweaver Bay, whether I'm home or not, the door is always open. Feel free to enter and enjoy what it has to offer. If you meet me, offer friendship and I will accept you into my family.
Becky "Sha" Shamen