Searching for Nirvana

by Alphaville Herald on 19/03/07 at 11:51 am

God and the weather (channel) in Second Life

by Jimbo Quality, on temporary assignment to the Herald spirituality extreme sports desk

Jimbo Quality and friend

[Editor’s Note: We had hoped feared that correspondent Jimbo Quality had been lost forever in his ramblings around the grid, until we received the following dispatch, scribbled on cocktail napkins and the backs of credit card receipts, on March 15. Apparently, Jimbo filed it in response to an assignment that was originally due in mid-February. When we politely but firmly inquired as to the delay, Jimbo grabbed his check and made for the door. "Lag," he said over his shoulder as he bounded out of the Herald offices. All we could do was wonder why he was wearing that helmet.
--Walker Spaight

I was told to go find something spiritual in SL, and frankly the assignment had me stumped. I spent days weeks mulling the assignment as I camped in my favorite sleazy casino. Then, like a bolt of lightning, it hit me. Actually, that’s not right. The bolt of lightning hit some poor chick near me (see above), but it scared me enough to want to leave the casino.


The familiar smell of fried prim hair and ozone was still strong as I left the dark interior of the casino and made my way, blinking, into the sunlight. My thoughts are never far from my hero, Barney Fife of the Andy Griffith show, and I found myself wondering what Ol’ Barn would do if he were charged with finding a spiritual side to Second Life. And the it hit me: what if my beloved Barney Fife had come back to life here in SL? I would do a story on virtual reincarnation! I was thrilled. It seemed especially fortuitous, since at the moment I had the idea, the anniversary of the Febr. 24 death of Don Knotts, Barney Fife’s typist, was still a couple of weeks away had just passed.

So off I went looking for someone who might be Barney Fife reincarnate. I walked around several malls asking “Are you Don Knotts?” and “Are you Barney Fife?” and then the clincher, “Who was smarter, Barney, Floyd or Goober?” I wasn’t having a lot of luck with these questions, however, because all the malls I found were mostly empty, except for some in which people were dancing on small colorful circles. I made a note to come back and investigate these interesting dancing circles and decided to take this reincarnation search into my own hands and have a go at the search box.

Well, this was disappointing. There is no one with the name Barney Fife in SL. There is no one with the name Don Knotts either. I did, however, find that there is a Neil Diamond, a Danielle Steele, and a Prince Charming, along with FrancisFord Coppola, Franciss Coppola, and Francis Coppola. None of these people were online yesterday on that fateful day back in early February when I tried them, except for Francis Coppola, who didn’t reply to my IM.

Meanwhile, someone else beamed themselves into my empty mall, and I did my best to assume the air of authority of one who is involved in something important and who can’t be disturbed. The stranger, a surfer named Pablitin Couffer, obviously respected this because he didn’t say a word for the longest time. Finally, the strain of being superior got to be too much, so I asked him, “Are you Barney Fife?”

“Who is Barney Fife?” Pablitin responded, clueing me in immediately to the fact he must be hiding something. Everyone knows who Barney Fife is.

“Never mind,” I said. “Want to go skiing?” I’d been meaning to go try the new Weather Channel Extreme Sports stuff »on Weather Island «. Pablitin said he was up for it and off we went. I figured I’d either winnow his secrets from him as we skied, or I’d forget all about it like I always do.

Jimbo grills Pablitan on the slopes

The Weather Channel has provided SL with three exciting action sports to do on their island, and we get to do them in extreme weather. There’s skiing in a blizzard, mountain biking in the desert and surfing a giant wave. We did them all. They provide you with free skis, boots and poles for the skiing, a free surf board for the surfing and a free bike and awesome free helmet for the biking. I haven’t taken my helmet off yet, I love it that much.

The skiing is hard and I think I flipped and jumped and fell off the mountain every conceivable way there is, and probably a few ways the good people at the Weather Channel hadn’t thought of. Once I figured out to ski down the slope they provided instead of trying to make my own, things went better. It’s fun though, and I recommend it. The animation on the skis is pretty good, and once you get the hang of skiing (and stick to the slope) it’s fun to see how well you can ski the hill.

Jimbo demonstrates the complicated Ass-Over-Teakettle skiing maneuver

The surfing was my favorite. My acute reportial senses made me suspect that it isn’t actually finished yet after I saw a big sign that says something like “come back for surfing on such and such a date,” but we found free surf boards nonetheless. It was a blast. The giant wave looks a little goofy until you’re in it, and even then it can look a little goofy if you get in the middle of it, which might be the part they’re still finishing, but it was a blast! (A blast, I say again.) Pablitin agreed that this was his favorite of the three also.


The desert biking was fun and I didn’t wipe out at all, which was actually a disappointment since they gave me such a cool helmet. Key combinations will get you a variety of tricks and jumps and there are lots of big rocky hills to jump off. I couldn’t get the bike to go anything near as recklessly fast as I’d like, but I kept the bike and plan to take it to the aforementioned empty mall, or maybe the Herald newsroom, and show off and practice, so maybe I’ll get faster as time goes on.

While action sporting, I occasionally grilled Pablitin about his relationship with Barney Fife. Finally, he broke me down and I had to tell him that I suspected that he was in fact the reincarnated soul of beloved actor Don Knotts.

“But Mr. Jimbo,” Pablitin said, “if your Don Knotts has only been dead for a year, and I’m much older . . . ” I stopped him there, he was right. I’d seen the error in my logic. If Don Knotts had been reincarnated, he would only be a year old at best, and everyone knows that babies are very slow typists and he would, as a result be a very boring interview.

I hit the search box again, looking for older deceased stars. Did you know that there’s a Jim Morrison in SL? I started doing the math and tried to figure out how old a reincarnated Kurt Cobain would be now, but math is not my strong suit. [What is? --Ed.] Next time we cover spirituality in SL, I’m going looking for Nirvana.

That’s it, Dear Readers. Until next time, hang on tight, wear your helmet, and always know where your towel is.

4 Responses to “Searching for Nirvana”

  1. Inigo Chamerberlin

    Mar 19th, 2007

    ‘Did you know that there’s a Jim Morrison in SL?’

    ‘A’ Jim Morrison? Get it right Jimbo – that IS Jim Morrison…

  2. Jimbo

    Mar 19th, 2007

    I knew it!

    It’s really Neil Diamond too, isn’t it?

  3. cameltoehunter

    Mar 19th, 2007

    Check out the classic male camel-toe on Jimbo in the first pic.


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