November 6th, 2010: Mako Kungfu

November 6th isn’t a significant date for me, other than that it’s in fall, and fall is when I usually embark on new projects. Those projects differ wildly: former years have included training for a marathon, heading to art school, starting a business in RL, starting a business in SL, etc. Every fall I also think about grand plans — biking across the country and climbing Kilimanjaro are on my list.

I don’t really know what to talk about, other than Second Life, since that’s the thing we all have in common. I have been in SL for three and a half years. I joined because I thought it would be a good professional move… as though someday soon clients would say, “We’d like a branded identity, a website and a virtual presence, please!” I don’t regret joining, but everyday it becomes obvious that the reason I am still in SL has nothing to do with my career. I’ve stayed for the people.

I think SL is both a wonderful and a terrible beast. Wonderful: I have lots of ridiculous fun with my girlfriend and with a few great friends — SL lets me play with dinosaurs and be a goofball in ways RL does not. I learn stuff, get to interact with individuals from all over the world, do a lot of messing around in Photoshop, take creative photos, collaborate with a few awesome imaginations, support quality content creation… Terrible: I waste a lot of time and energy — and sometimes money — on a virtual world that doesn’t give me much in return. Sometimes it turns my stomach thinking of the hours spent in SL when I could have been doing something — anything — else. I’m still in SL because of the people yet I often find the people in SL completely repugnant. I think SL celebrity is total bullshit. I’m constantly amazed by the SL mass capacity for stupid cruelty, by the appetite for drama and by the general communication clusterfuck.

Yet I’m still here. Almost 4 years in and SL still manages to delight, infuriate, amuse, bore, capture, frustrate and surprise me. That’s quite a relationship. Not sure what happens next.

____________________

Mako Kungfu is 35 and recently moved back to the midwestern United States after many years living and working in New York City. In RL, he’s a Parsons grad, a contributing editor to two art magazines, and a graphic designer/web designer/illustrator/writer. Sounds impressive, but in this economy he mostly sits on his ass. In SL, he owns the shops Atomic Owl and Mr Tentacle, hosts trivia and has been a blogger for Albero, Cioccolata and Starlust. He’s easy to find on Flickr and Plurk.

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