|Looking a little flat there, Father. Get this man a mince pie!|
As the big day approaches, I decided to investigate the destination guide for places I could go and maybe catch a glimpse of a virtual Santa Clause. I knew somebody must have built him a grotto, and, sure enough, I found one. Or two. Or several. Or more than I could count. The SL community are clearly invested in the holiday season...and why not? If Second Life offers an opportunity, a space, to replicate the things that we most love about the real world and our first lives, why shouldn't we be able to recreate Christmas? In fact - why shouldn't we be able to recreate Christmas every day? The answer, I imagine, is economical. And sure, Christmas is fun, and snow is fun. Your cousin's new karaoke set is...relatively...fun. But there are so many times you can listen to her sing "Santa Baby" before you wish you're wanting to hang, draw and quarter whomever built the infernal contraption, and the cold snow becomes a nuisance when you start remembering how fun last Summer's BBQ picnic was, and how good you felt with that Summer tan (I have never, ever, had a Summer tan. Ever). Remember the days when your feet and the bottom of your trousers didn't get trenched just going outside to call the cat back in? It all becomes just a little bit duller, a little less fun, as the days go on. We like the Christmas season, so long as it stays right there - within its own little allocated section of the year. We need variety. We need change.
Theoretically, however, we have the power within SL to return, at least in part, to the sense and atmosphere of that season - of whichever season, really - that we miss, even if it has long-passed. Now, having not searched for them before, I cannot say whether these Christmas sims stay up and running all year, or whether they only appear as the December days creep by. Perhaps the sims are used for different purposes throughout the rest of the year. I cannot say. But that isn't wholly want to I want to talk about.
What I find the most interesting - and the most bizarre - about SL is not that it follows the seasons in terms of important holidays, but that fashion follows those seasons, too. You might recall that a couple of months back, I mentioned an Autumn Hunt (or, at least, I believe I did) that I went on, finding small pumpkins in shops which held Autumn-related gifts and clothing. I have been getting notecards from shops for a while now, announcing their new Winter lines and Christmas sales. Better wrap our avatars up against the virtual cold...but what cold is that?
Now, I am guilty of it, too. As you may or may not have noticed, I am wearing a new woolly jumper in that screenie up there, which in new, for Winter, by Leezu. And I am not naive: I appreciate that shops have seasons to convince us that our previous wardrobe of clothes is completely inadequate to protect us from the unique trials of this new season. Perhaps in other countries, this is the case, but here in England...I think we have five truly hot days, and five truly cold days, a year - and the rest of the time it's kind of grey and rainy.
The virtual world has no temperature. Sure, some sims might be covered in snow, and I understand the logic of wanting your avatar to look the part, but, essentially, that is all it is - aesthetics. Kitti is not going to be cold wandering around the Antarctic, because she doesn't have any kind of skin and temperature system to be able to register that cold, any more than the virtual world has any way of physically creating that cold. The only way we can read the temperature of a sim is to look for markers, such as snow, or palm trees, or maybe an ice cream van parked on the road (though I have seen ice cream vans through the fuzzy fur of my rl winter coat's hood before now...seriously, guys?!). Whether or not you choose to recognise and adhere to the advice of those markers, however, is entirely up to your discretion.
And so, of course, I went against everything the polite Englishman within me stands for, and I decided to rebel against the system - just to highlight, in case it needed underscoring, the complete arbitrary nature of virtual seasons. Enjoy; doing these cheered me up immensely...for a short while.
|Hmm, where to start?|
|Tangled in the light box...or so the pose ball said...|
|A present for me? Aww, you shouldn't have!|
|Fancy a skate?|
Aaaaand just to flip it on its head - because I don't know about you, but this cold greyness is really getting me down -
|Yes, this is a Winter coat...yes, I got it from Leezu...go away!|
|Hmm...why isn't Kitti tanning?! She's been sunbathing all day!|
|Well, maybe you would need to wrap up like this to go and sit on Brighton Beach...|