-but where to begin from, that's the question.

I could start with the basic facts: Caucasian female living in Wichita. High school grad, no college. Fibromyalgic, maybe Asperger's - getting an official diagnosis is hard if you're an adult and uninsured. Currently jobhunting with a history of general labor and a preference for dealing with people as little as possible both professionally and personally.

But my name's not Aleyn Howlett.

Not offline, anyway.


On October 24, 2007, CBS aired episode 4.05 of CSI: NY - Down The Rabbit Hole, which introduced a lot of people to the world of Second Life*, myself included.

Is this a real site? I wondered. Possibly; they've brought in real celebs and performance groups as themselves, acknowledged real world events as part of the show's reality, why not a digital space? Wait a minute, is that where Bill Holbrook got Kevin and Kell's Ninth Life from? Huh. Probably not as seamless as they're depicting it, though.

By the time the end credits rolled, I was curious. After the plug for the Second Life CSI Experience, I was intrigued. Unfortunately, I was on third shift at the time and had to leave for work five minutes later. So it wasn't until the next day I got online and looked up the CBS/CSI SL site. Not bad, but going through there meant using their avatars (which I didn't like any of) and starting at their plot in Second Life. I said to myself, "If I'm going to do this, I'm doing it completely; not just haunting the one area," moved on to the official homepage for Second Life and signed up.

To make an avatar and account, I had to come up with a name. First part was up to me, while the last name (something the show had left out) had to be taken from a preset list. Howlett was the best choice of the bunch, as I've been a fan of Wolverine since before most of the US knew who the hell Patrick Stewart was, let alone Hugh Jackman. Didn't want to use any part of my legal name - first and middle aren't either favorites of mine, and my last name does not work as a first name. So I fell back on the old standby, I.E. The Complete Book of Magical Names opened at random.

Aleyn: Phoenician God of wind and clouds. (Later on, while trying to learn how the hell to pronounce it for voice chat, I would find it listed online as a variant spelling of Alain. So that's how I say it.)

It looked good. A guy's name, sure, but the spelling (I thought) could be viewed as feminine. Perfect for a world where you could change genders as easily as any other outfit. I finished the signup, downloaded the viewer, logged in to the newbie starting point and went from there.

Nearly two years later, and I'm still wandering around in there.


*Even if they did exaggerate/enhance the majority of the 'inworld' scenes for TV.
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