Ida Keen is the most unusual person I've met in Second Life. You'll recall that the people I've met in SL include Dirjha Summers, an exotic dancer who works in a midnight city prowled by vampires and demons, along with Tateru Nino, an androgynous figure in a long robe who works in an office floating high in the clouds. Ida Keen, however, is an ordinary woman who lives, along with her husband, in an approximate reproduction of her grandmother's house on the Florida shore. She wears jeans, a sweater, and sneakers.
We sat on the screened-in porch of her house and talked as the sun went down around us. The surf and gulls got a little louder, and the sky turned red.
All of this was in Second Life of course, in a simulation -- or "sim" -- that she built using SL's tools. It's beautiful, and remarkable work she's done, more so because she's been in SL for less than a year.
We even had coffee and cookies, Ida put them out on the table for us and showed me how to have my avatar take a cup of coffee. I figured out myself how to make the avatar drink the coffee.
When I drink coffee in-game, the avatar tosses it back like drinking a shot of tequila. Doing that in real life will sear your throat from palate to lungs, but it doesn't seem to do my avatar any harm.
Likewise, I can make my avatar laugh, but only if I want him to throw his head back and let out a huge, braying guffaw. Makes me look like an idiot. I haven't figured out a way to just chuckle knowingly in-game.
I discovered Ida through her blog, Baedeker, a tourist guide to Second Life. If, like me, you want to roam around Second Life and look at all the things people have built, Baedeker is a good place to go. It's the name for a real-life tourist guide begun in the 19th century.
Ida showed me a couple of the things she's seen in Second Life, including Roma SPQR, a reproduction of ancient Rome. I'm a bit of a Roman history buff, as well as a fan of the show on HBO, so I got a special kick out of Roma SPQR. We also visited Spaceport Alpha, a museum of spaceflight in SL, with reproductions of real-life rockets and other spaceships.
At that point, my Second Life client crashed and, by the time I logged back in again, I only had a minute or two longer before I had to return to real life (or, as we say in SL, "RL") and do some real work.