After trying the rambling, homeless lifestyle, I finally gave up. I’d been wandering from sim to sim, finally settling down on a park bench in a park sim to send IM’s and learn how to better use the viewer. As long as I dutifully engaged the “last location” option when I logged in, I was able to avoid the sight of the empty field of my former home. My last log in, however, caused a bit of a stir as the park bench I rezzed in upon was already occupied by a couple evidently in need of their own private space. Oops!
So I decided to once again get a virtual home. That left me with two options: either rent from someone or upgrade to premium and purchase some land. My sole requirement as to the type of land was that I be able to control the audio stream, so I could do soundchecks before shows or even have a private show on the parcel. Other than that, I wanted someplace that would make an interesting place to live and the more prims the better. But since prims = lindens = $$$ I had a feeling the good old days of plentiful prims were a thing of the past.
After spending a few hours checking out land, I was starting to get discouraged with what I was finding on the rental market. I guess I just have expensive tastes. My friend Durzle pointed me towards his rental area, the quite beautiful Willowdale. In general, though, the parcels I liked I couldn’t afford and the ones I could afford, well, there frankly weren’t any rental parcels that caught my eye at a weekly rental rate for which I had budgeted. Things were no longer as cheap and plentiful as they were when I purchased Tyta.
Ah, Tyta! That was actually my first blog entry, and one of the first things I purchased when I started SL.That 512m2 sat right next to a section of the Great Wall of Linden or whatever it was called. It was admittedly a small parcel but it gave me the chance to practice terraforming, which I exploited to the fullest. Even after I moved to Koyro, I still kept my Tyta parcel “just in case.” Then a large country and western wear store took over a bunch of land surrounding my meager 512m2 and I got tired of always being given notecards from their unusually wide ranged notecard giver. The land pretty much laid dormant until I downgraded my premium account and abandoned it.
Now, however, I was starting to get intrigued by the thought of purchasing some land of my own. So I started looking again for land sales and decided to go for land on the mainland. While the private islands certainly offered some good properties, they were still going through a third-party intermediary. If something happened to the sim owner, then I’d be out. By sticking to the mainland, I’d be gambling on the company staying around (a pretty safe bet as if Linden Lab shuts down, we’re all screwed regardless!). I’d also not have to deal with convenants, which are private contracts as to what can and can’t be done on the land. On the mainland, as long as you comply with the ToS you’re on your own.
The flipside, however, is that land on the mainland can be cluttered and look like crap. Your neighbor can start building a ten-story plywood monstrosity next to your land and there isn’t much you can do about it. Finding a nice piece of land on the mainland was going to take some searching, especially given the small size I wanted and price I felt like paying. I had just over L8,000 left in my account. That represented what was left of my prior earnings from my live music performances and “royalties” on sales of my SL songs. I figured it would be more than enough to purchase a nice parcel and do the build the way I wanted. While I had still had a lot of furniture and other household stuff in my inventory from prior builds, I wasn’t sure whether or not the scripts would still work. Besides, half the fun of SL is purchasing new stuff and playing “dollhouse.”
At any rate, after much searching I settled upon two possible pieces of land.The first was a waterfront property on the edge of a Linden lake. That meant that no one could build in front of my land a and interfere with my water access. The price was about L1,500, which I thought was a reasonable amount for the parcel (or at least within my budget). I checked out the profiles of the adjacent parcels. On the left side was a dock owned by a university somewhere and on the right side was an empty parcel owned by some guy into the Gorean lifestyle. Behind it was a residence. I could deal with these neighbors well enough. My only complaint was that on the edge of the lake, but still within my usual draw distance (the amount of distance your Second Life viewer will show you on the screen) was a large nightclub. It wasn’t the most attractive building, but at least it did bring some life to the sim.
The other parcel was an inland parcel right next to a railroad and subway line. What I liked about it was that there were no other buildings in the immediate area. The majority of the land owned by some mysterious group that either needed the prims for a build elsewhere on the sim or had a super skybox somewhere up high. Of course, it could mean that they were in the process of building their own country and western store and I was going to get squished once again. One never knows in Second Life. On the left side of the parcel was a 1024m2 piece with a nice small forest look, lots of trees and a small stream and sitting area. There was a limestone wall at the end of the parcel next to the railroad tracks.I found that I could go around the wall and either walk along the tracks (dodging the trains when they came through periodically) or cross the tracks and there was a nice size Linden city, complete with shops, a park area, and some apartments. The catch to this property was that it was for sale by a land auction, which meant I’d have competition for it and the price might increase from the current amount of L250.
A third possibility then arose, which was to claim a Linden Home. These were something I had never seen but I had run across while reading Inara Pey’s Living in a Modemworld blog. It turned out that if you become a premium member, as a perk the Lindens would give you a… well, a tract-home, that you can live in. There were four different themes and a variety of house types to fit each neighborhood. When I saw them, I was reminded of the song from Weeds, Little Boxes, by Malvina Reynolds:
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
They were a bit ticky-tacky, and quite close together. But they were free (well, after you paid to get premium status). They were definitely a development area, similar to what you’ll find on the outskirts of many US cities. Selection of the parcel itself was on a random assignment, but you could try up to four times a day to get a nice place. While I wasn’t overwhelmed with excitement at the thought of living in a virtual suburb, I figured it would be at least a place to start if I didn’t find something better. I checked with one of the residents living there and confirmed that the audio stream could be changed. So it met my criteria.
Regardless of which property I purchased, however, I would need to upgrade to a premium status in order to own land. The free, basic accounts can’t own land, but they can rent it from others. If I was truly going to get back into performing in Second Life, I figured I could afford to spend ten bucks a month or so to help keep the whole virtual world up and running. Time was also somewhat of the essence as the auction on the inland parcel was set to expire in a day and I knew that the lakeside parcel would go quick if someone was looking for it.
The problem was, I couldn’t decide which parcel. Both had pluses and minuses. I enjoyed the thought of living near a city with an actual railroad, imagined taking strolls around the town and exploring the alleys and shops with friends. The lakeside parcel, however, offered water. I’d always wanted a place on a beach, where I could rez a sailboat or jet ski or do some snorkling. It would be very different from the inland parcels I lived on before, and with the snow still falling where I lived in the real world it would provide a bit of sunshine–albeit virtual.
So I hemmed and hawed as to which to purchase keeping an eye on the auction site (damn!,someone else bid 250L for the property so now I HAVE to make a decision!) and logging in at various times just to check out the parcels once again. The thought of the lakeside parcel ultimately won out over the inland parcel. I liked the old dock house that was already there and figured I could IM the owner and perhaps purchase it to keep on the land. It was a two story building and the first floor could be used as a small live music venue and I could live upstairs. It could be a place where I could do some shows and I knew enough musicians that I could have a couple of others perform, or maybe even set up a regular open mic night.
I was starting to get excited about the water location and did a bit of searching on the SL marketplace for watercraft and beach stuff. The lakeside property was going to be perfect for my return to Second Life and I thought it might offer something different for any visitors that I would have over. So in the morning before I left for work, I logged into SL to purchase the property. Only to discover that it had been sold.