by Alphaville Herald on 25/01/07 at 10:57 am
by Jimbo Quality
[Editor's Note: We sent Herald reporter Jimbo Quality out to cover the Second Life racing scene. His report below is presented as the first installment of his Traveling With the Idiot series. You'll soon see why.
To avoid looking like a complete nerd, I ditched the free SL Herald reporter’s hat they gave me before heading out into the grid on my first story. My assignment was simple; bring the thriving SL motorcycle community to life for our readers. I planned to spread the story out, start with the racers and then move to the bikers then start making up crap after that. “I can do this!” I thought as I started to work my special brand of magic on the search box.
“I totally suck at this!” I thought after a few searches had yielded no obvious motorcycle groups. Unbeaten and unbowed, however, I did what every other good Herald reporter does: I blamed it on the latest update and set out to make shit up.
Actually, I picked a place that looked promising and clicked my trusty steed, Teleport. I landed at a shop that sells motorcycle racing apparel. I browsed, took their freebies, and wandered around outside, thinking that this might be a long day after all. Just as I was about to give up and have another go at my nemesis the search box, I spotted a place that advertised Go Kart Racing. “Ah ha!” said I, already having mastered the lingo of reporting the news.
Being a good reporter, and fearing that this might be as close to motorcycle racing as I might get, I explored the Go Kart place. Being a cheap bastard, I explored it even more carefully once I discovered the sign advertising that they were “Under Construction, Free Racing Until January 15th.” As near as I could figure however, this freebie is only good if you own your own go kart, or if you feel like it might be fun to make your avatar run around the track. Neither state of being applied to me, so I prepared to move on.
My next search yielded an actual racetrack, the Fairgrounds Speedway, so I went there. (And you can too, via this teleport link.) I was busy reading the extensive welcome card when another traveler popped in and landed on my head. I said “ouch” and she apologized and I noticed that she was very cute and very much not dressed for racing.
“You’re not dressed for racing!” I quipped.
“Is this a racetrack? Oh Jeez, I’m so lost. I’m looking for garden tools,” she said. And thus began my relationship with the one person in SL who the search box hates worse than it does me.
Jenny (pictured at left) packed up and continued her search for garden tools and I went back to reading the notecard from the Fairgrounds Speedway, which is, I should add in the hopes that they’ll buy me a car, sponsored by the wonderful people at Pontiac. Reading the notecard the second time through yielded no new clues, and certainly produced no experiences as life changing as having Jenny the Lost land on my head, but it did introduce me to the word “pitywhoring.” I’m not sure what that is, but I love the word and I’m glad that the good people at Fairgrounds Speedway are stomping it out. I’m excited about this, it’s kind of a pure Pontiac excitement. . . .
Wandering around the track, I dicsovered that I had found my way to a place where they race stockcars. They’re not motorcycles, but at least they race here. My search skills are definitely improving. Just as I was about to embark on another search, I spotted a young gray fox named Nick and asked him if I could ask him some questions.
[14:38] You: hi nick
[14:38] Nick: hello
[14:39] You: do you race here?
[14:39] Nick: sometimes
[14:39] You: i want to write a story about if for the sl herald, can i ask you about it?
[14:40] You: you ok?
[14:40] Nick pops back and merfs “I’ll live”
Yes, dear reader, somewhere along about 14:39 a car came screaming down the track and poof! Nick went from interviewee to screaming hood ornament hurtling down the track. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in SL.
So, for Nick’s sake, we moved off the track and the interview resumed.
[14:40] You: wow, that was intense!
[14:40] Nick: that’s why i was suggesting we step outta traffic lol
[14:41] You: is that was you were typing when you were, uh, hit by that car?
[14:41] Nick: yesh
[14:41] You: so what can you tell me about racing?
[14:41] You: how long have you been doing it?
[14:42] Nick: well i started yesterday
This, in my mind, made him the perfect person for me to interview. It’s his first full day of racing and my first half-assed attempt at reporting. Match made in heaven.
It seems that down there at the Fairgrounds Racetrack they race at all hours for fun and excitement. There’s a little track and a big track, and thanks to people like me and Nick, there’s an obstacle course that occasionally screams. Nick is very excited about racing and has already purchased two cars, as they run different types of cars on the different length tracks. I talked to Nick for quite a while, and he filled me in on the ins and outs of the sport very impressively, especially considering that not long before he’d been hit by a car going 200 miles an hour.
I was most amazed that the sport is so cheap to get going in; a good starter car can cost as little as 100 to 150 Linden dollars, and the track is available most of the time. When I was exploring, there were perhaps three or four cars racing around. Apparently there are also big races that are fun to attend. My new friend Nick is sold on the sport and hopes we will be too: “People should come down, buy one of the cars and try the racing,” he says. “It isn’t too expensive and it is a lot of fun to come and do.”
Nick in his new “street stock.” While there are clearly defined categories of cars at the Fairgrounds Racetrack, such as this “street stock,” the author wasn’t bright enough to write anything down so he could tell you anything about them.
Personally, I probably will go back and try racing because it looked like a helluva lot of fun. I probably won’t do it soon, though, because I forgot to get a landmark and have well document issues with the search function. On a related note, dear readers, you will be happy to learn that my new friend Jenny was able to find some garden tools, and another racer at the track provided me with some names to look up for my upcoming article on SL Motorcycle racing.
Until then, friends, have fun and remember to always bring a towel on your travels.