Monday, March 31, 2008

never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down

So, more things I've found along the way...plus yes, more endless commentary.

Courtesy of Vernian Process...

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The Clockwork Dolls (who are currently running a HYSTERICAL bit of Aprille foolery) have a Myspace page. It seems to be their only web presence.

Also, the Honkytonk Dragon discusses the Stroh Violin. Quite intriguing.

And also, I've been thinking, well, theramin music, that might be steampunk--save what I've been thinking of as the theramin is actually the glass harmonica, and the theramin is the precursor of the Moog which leads to modern synthesizers.

And just for kicks and giggles, Wikipedia defines both steampunk fashion and steampunk music as vague and undefined things:

"Steampunk" fashion has no set guidelines, but tends to synthesize punk, goth and rivet styles as filtered through the Victorian era. This may include Mohawks and extensive piercings with corsets and tattered petticoats, Victorian suits with goggles and boots with large soles and buckles or straps, and the Lolita fashion and aristocrat styles. Some of what defines steampunk fashion has come from cyberpunk, and cyberlocks have appeared being used by people adopting a steampunk look...

"Steampunk" music is even less defined, and tends to apply to any modern musicians whose music or stage presence evokes a feeling of the Victorian era or steampunk. This may include such diverse artists as Abney Park and Vernian Process.


Well, gosh, that helps everything so much. Basically leaves us with music made by people wearing goggles and/or corsets. *facepalms*

And of course a lot of people are pointing at "steampunk" on one hand, and meaning neo-Victorian.

So okay, what about individual songs? I think some of the background ambiance, the clanking noisy bits of Depeche Mode's People are People sound steampunk/industrial. Winter Ventura says, steampunk to her is equivalent to the instrumental version of Doubleback played by ZZ Top (track specifically starts at 4:14 for those wondering) in Back to the Future III. And Mr. Allen mentioned a bit from the musical strangeness that is Across the Universe, a cover of For the Benefit of Mr. Kite, sung by Eddie Izzard--which is again that synthesis of battered marching band instruments, the sort of stripped-down calliope-on-acid music, and in that instance, specifically, Eddie Izzard doing some frontal-lobe-bruising imitation of Rex Harrison.

And honestly, I think a song like Perfect Drug by Nine Inch Nails is only 'steampunk' (or even neo-Victorian) because of the video, not the music at all. But by the same extension, I think--visually, musically--a song like Thomas Dolby's Europa & the Pirate Twins does qualify.

At this point, I've identified several different strands feeding into the "genre that doesn't exist":

Emilly Orr: Okay--I've been boring people all morning trying to verbally analyze this
Emilly Orr: Essentially--
Emilly Orr: We have 'steampunk music' as defined as coming from goth/industrial, and hence 'darkwave'--Vernian Process goes so far as to identify (if he doesn't say 'steampunk') what he does as 'cinematic darkwave'
Emilly Orr: Which tracks back to bands like the Cure, Depeche Mode, the Damned, Massive Attack--dark industrial, oldwave, darkwave
Emilly Orr: We have 'steampunk'-as-neo-Victoriana, which gives us influencing bands and artists like Tori Amos, Emilie Autumn and Rasputina, which also gets us into so-called 'faery music', which I'm trying like hell to avoid entirely, but at the same time, the fae were big in Victorian culture, but I think it wouldn't be good to explore that out
Emilly Orr: And then we have people like VP again, pointing out other 'contemporary steampunk bands' like Legendary Shack Shakers and Beat Circus, which leads us back to people like White Ghost Shivers and Tom Waits (for Legendary Shack Shakers) and the Dresden Dolls (for bands like the Beat Circus) and...
Emilly Orr: this is when I sit in stunned amazement, wondering why I'm now considering early electronica, wave music, goth/industrial and American roots music as equivalent influences for one genre that doesn't sound like any of these
Fawkes Allen: Because again, you're thinking of Steampunk in the wrong way. Which is the issue of saying "Steampunk Music"
Fawkes Allen: I mean, maybe you can. But personally it sounds like you're trying to define "Cyberpunk" Music, or "Fantasy" Music. They are very general catagories. What works for Girl Genius, is not going to work for Wild Wild West, but both *are* Steampunk. What works for a darker goth Steampunk, like let's say Dark City, (Which though low on Steam definitely has a lot of Steampunky style) won't work for Skies of Arcadia.
Fawkes Allen: In the end, there's a lot of styles in Steampunk. Steampunk is a Timeline. You have to imagine our world, having followed a line of Steam over Gas. So we'd have Rock & Roll, Goth, Grunge, Rap, Hip-Hop, and so on and so forth. What would make it Steampunk, would essentially being from that Steampunked world, using technology they developed that we didn't.
Fawkes Allen: So you need to focus on bands that go for unique sounds. Things less "Electric Guitar" and more The Osciliating Guitar. Which uses Crystals and you run your finger up and down the strings versus plucking them. Which again, makes Steampunk more a state of Mind or style, rather then an actual *sound*. Though it can be sound as well.


Which means, there's never going to be that moment of realization--that, "A-HA! Steampunk music is [X]!" statement. Because it's a style, not a genre. It's like Visual Kei for Japan--while it ties in to J-rock as a 'genre' (progressive Japanese metal/orchestral electronic balladry, in a broad sense), it's mostly a clothing/cultural thing.

(And how do Japanese bands and artists fit in, anyway? I mean, Mizerable by Gackt seems to fit the tone, sort of, but not musically--and songs like Shima Uta fit the sort of sound of deconstructed semi-acoustic music, but fly much farther back than neo-Victoriana would allow...plus the additional complication of the fact that first, Japan did not so much have a Victorian period, and that as a folk song, of sorts, Shima Uta is also used as sort of a tribute song, or allusion, to the devastation visited on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII....

(We're getting lost again. And the problem on that is one of culture, not genre, anyway--because of the other part, the "visual" part of Visual Kei--because it leads us into pathways of exploring Loli/EGL and Aristocrat/EGA fashion movements, and how they have influence on the modern neo-Victorian styling seen in Europe and America, but how does that influence steampunk in general and steampunk music in specific?

(And just when did we become so goddamn narrowly defined that everyone, almost every single person I speak with about steampunk, nods sagely and says, 'Goggles'. I mean, W.T.F.? It's like, goggles and a top hat and you're steampunk? Since when?!?)

We're getting lost again.

Okay. We seem to have three thematic feeds into the larger pool:

Å What I call 'roots revival', or 'American roots' music, as typified by the White Ghost Shivers and Legendary Shack Shakers: essentially, music drawn from disparate places, but mostly from jazz, blues, and Appalachian hill-country music, which originally came from Elizabethan caroling traditions, when the original English settlers first came and colonized the East coast of America, and thence moved inland;

Å Neo-cabaret, or what I've started calling the 'Opheliacs' movement, for lack of a better term--as typified by Emilie Autumn, Dresden Dolls, Rasputina, Tori Amos and even Evanescence, to a certain extent: generally, bands that are voiced mainly by women who also create their own clothes, create art, and play modern music on more traditional instruments;

Å Goth/industrial/darkwave--which could and in some cases does include Abney Park and Vernian Process, but also includes bands from the Cure, Massive Attack and Clan of Xymox to Apocalyptica and Apoptygma Berzerk: dark, driven repetitive music with similar themes of loss, pain, and dystopian deconstruction;

(and I'd started to toss in:

(Å Progressive metal, varying from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Royal Hunt, Yngvie Malmsteen, clear up to some of Opeth and Luca Turilli...but you know, they're not really steampunk....so I'm retracting and stopping here.)

So...

*sighs*

I get to stop again, saying, tired of thinking now. I'm going to walk away from this for a few days. Trying to label a musical style by identifying what its antecedents might have been...GAH!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

now it's up to you, you know what to do

During yesterday's long haul through musical back alleys, I found something I truly think deserves closer consideration. That being...

Miss Emilie Autumn's Rules for Wayward Victorian Girls

Rule No. 2: Your corset is your armor. Lace it tightly. Breathing is unimportant.

Rule No. 3: Your stockings prove your virtue. Be certain they are clean, and free of tears.

Rule No. 4: When properly attired, invite yourself to the nearest tea party, or host one yourself. Guests are optional.

Unfortunately, I cannot track down Rule No. 1, nor any others past 4. Apparently, they are available on a tour DVD that Miss Autumn has released; I'll endeavor to see if there are more rules available.

And two interviews with her and her Bloody Crumpets:

"Honestly, I didn't really care, I did it just to do it." (nearly ten minute interview, cuts off for a few words in the middle)

"Victorian culture, it's fascinating for so many reasons, but one of which--they prided themselves on the asylum, [the] mental health care center...Of course, what nobody likes to talk about is the fact that...90% of the, the people, men and women, but very largely women...that were locked up there, were not mad in any way." (another nearly ten minute interview.)

Perhaps we're looking at this from the wrong angle. As with every societal movement, it starts from a certain space, and spirals outward from there. The steampunk movement, I still maintain, started with creators like Guy Davis and Gary Reed, the minds behind Baker Street, and K.W. Jeter, who first coined the term, because he was trying to find some comprehensive, understandable term for the works of Tim Powers, James Blaylock and himself.

So where I come from as a steampunk fan is from that position of acting against the powers that be, the eccentricity, the invention and the Things That Cannot Be, both biological and scientific...Mad science and madder experimentation, absinthe-laced and laudanum-fueled, dystopian Victoriana with a crunchy clockwork center.

There are many steampunk fans who do not agree with me that this is steampunk, pointing instead to William Gibson's and Bruce Sterling's seminal revisionist history work, The Difference Engine, which spawned a nigh endless number of "what if" alternate-reality works...most of them with a fervent sense of invention as well, but invention from the basis of the proletariat as it reconfigures itself in new technological spaces, from neo-Victorian designs and devices. There's more of a sense of 'can do', of hope, of creation, not destruction, in this form of steampunk.

Girl Genius fits into this latter category (but also, I do believe, fits into the first). Most of Tim Powers' and K.W. Jeter's works in the field fit into the first definition. Legend, covered here previously, I would say, fits into the latter extraordinarily well. One can play pick and choose all day, but in the end of things, it just comes down to personal interpretation.

In this view, though, on either side--it may be less about ideals than I think it is. Of course it comes down to fashion, to the look, to the presentation--just as so many crafters, creators, artists and dreamers are drawn to the 'modern middle Ages', so are many drawn to the lace and the watch-fob, the satin stripes, the button-up boots.

But I may be too narrowly interpreting the sound of the thing, which is part of it as well. For example, Rasputina and Emilie Autumn I always viewed as aural heirs to Tori Amos, along with the Dresden Dolls. But I don't consider Amos and the Dresdens to be, per se, steampunk musicians. Am I being too restrictive?

So what is steampunk music, then? If I--not a creator of music, myself, I sing, but I don't create--were pressed to define, I would say--music created by musicians from this era, using musical instruments, surviving audio recordings, and thematic elements from the Victorian age.

Which brings us back to Abney Park and Vernian Process (very interesting Brass Goggles "definition of steampunk" essay I found along the way, while we're on the topic), but let's bring up Sepiachord, which is not a band, but a reviewing service for--as they say--the 'genre that doesn't exist'.

Okay, so reading over that, what we seem to be nearing is DIY/homemade music, in a sense. Like 3-chord cigarbox guitars compares to Agent Ribbons and Tom Waits....except, aren't we talking American roots music again? Which is 1920's, at best? Like the Dresdens are in that musical hinterland between European and American burlesque traditions.

So maybe, right now, it's Vernian Process identifying as 'steampunk' that makes him so...save he prefers 'cinematic darkwave', he's said. And Abney Park, who identifies as 'steampunk', well, most of their stuph is still darkwave/orchestral goth.

*turns up the gaslight*

We're lost again. And maybe that's part of it--I don't know what it is, the listener says, but I know it fits in with what I think of when I think steampunk.

Maybe.

So I'm throwing it open--who do y'all think of when you think of steampunk music and musicians? Name 'em. We'll see if we can get a consensus.

~~~~~

So: identified music (of a sort): the Wild Wild West soundtrack music (TV series, not movie). Named by at least one person as an influence.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

open arms, empty hands

I dragged myself from cold limbo back to the grid, arriving at the same time in-world, in Antiquity, that my aether connection opened to begin sorting through missives sent to me through the long night.

Imagine my surprise, then, when a comment from Vernian Process unspooled before my wide eyes.

He gravely pointed out certain errors I'd made in the post on Abney Park; for some few hours henceforth, I listened to offerings on his Myspace page, among others. I listened to more of his work.

"I must state that I find it quite odd that you feel that instrumental music can be any less steampunk influenced, than vocal music," he said in his comment, and I read back through my words, and it very much does read as if I'm implying such.

Such was not my intent.

It also doesn't help that at the time, I had hurriedly found The Approach of Dawn, I think, and The Curse of Whitechapel, both very gothic and moody in feel. Very atmospheric, yes, but very darkambient, very not steampunk--as I've been interpreting it personally.

But Rust Part II for instance, with or without the visual element created for the music, is most definitely steampunk in feel and execution. And Behold the Machine nearly relies on metal-on-metal sounds to advance the progression.

(He's got others; in addition to the MySpace page, he's got his own channel on YouTube.)

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(Vernian Process [Joshua Pfeiffer]; Image taken by Pasha Smith, Tristan Cane, or Joshua Pfeiffer himself.)

All right, so who is Vernian Process? Well, you could always go to his web page and ask that question, and I'm more than half tempted--as he's leaving me comments--to ask him directly for an interview, but--to preserve something of that "people don't notice this blog" mystique (I know, I know, we're blown six directions on that one already)...I decided to see if I could find out on my own.




Under an ominously flashing red sky, I began to research.

Let me mention the web page again, first: he's put up very nearly the whole of his back catalog up for free download. Some may see this as a desperate act. I do not. I see it as the first step towards a possible breakthrough, for both him and the genre in general. Because keep in mind, the more ears listening, the more minds become educated, the more demand ensues. First law of something, I'm sure, but in the meantime, you can listen to what he's produced before, and get a good idea as to where he's going.

Secondarily, in a Sepiachord interview from 2006, he says he was the first one to tag "steampunk" onto the music Vernian Process put out. He prefers the term "Cinematic Darkwave", and Sepiachord advanced "Scientific Romance" (sounds headily like Gaslamp fantasy, Studio Foglio's term for Girl Genius, doesn't it?), and he agreed there was some of that as well.

In that same interview, he advances influences as disparate as Danny Elfman, Clan of Xymox and Massive Attack. I'd also suggest there's more than a little Peter Murphy in his vocal intonations.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say, before artists like Vernian Process and Abney Park decided to move forward with steampunk-as-music, we could name bands like Frontline Assembly, Front 242, and Leftfield, or solo artists like Laurie Anderson, as substantial guiding influences. In this sense, it's a direct path of evolution for machine-assisted, human-guided sound...but the rise of steampunk as a genre, and its growing acceptance in the goth/darkambient music communities specifically, leads us here.

One channel feeds across territory that spawned Joy Division, the Damned, and the Cure, dragging us through broken-eyeliner scribbled landscapes of post-apocalyptic dread; another channel leads us back to Vernian Process, Abney Park, and all the others, just starting out in copper-clad ruin, arrowing in reverse to the cobblestone paths one century before last.

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(Another view on Vernian Process [Joshua Pfeiffer]; Image taken by Pasha Smith, Tristan Cane, or Joshua Pfeiffer himself.)

He mentioned he also runs post-punk.com, where there are more compilations for download he's participated in or remixed, including one called An Age Remembered he specifically wanted my attention drawn towards (and oh, boy, am I going to have fun listening and researching through that grouping of mass talent).

But in addition to bands/artists on that compilation I already knew, like Emilie Autumn, Rasputina and Chris Vrenna, he mentioned bands like the Clockwork Dolls (who actually seem to have a negative web presence), the Legendary Shack Shakers (which I don't see as steampunk, really seem more American roots performers, rockabilly unplugged at best, though they're a whole lot of fun and very good), and the Beat Circus (though I was torn between linking that one, and the video for the Mime Gag just for oddity, but...again, I see them more as American roots musicians, possibly edging into the burlesque territory that the Dresden Dolls so capably scamper through).

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And then I sat stunned for a moment, realizing I'd been accessing aetheric music records for the past six hours. I was dizzied by all this and needed time to let it settle.

At the end of everything? I still don't know who Vernian Process is, other than talented; and I desperately want to see if he ever gets the "chamberpunk" project off the ground; and I'm again more than halfway tempted to see if he'd be interested in playing live on the grid...

...but it's also four in the morning now, and this kitten must sleep! Digesting this much musical food for thought will take time.

We will come back to this, I think. In the meantime, have fun wandering through the back alleys of YouTube, hearing faint strains of history, absinthe-soaked in harpsichortical array, for your viewing and listening pleasure.

[17:38] Scandaroon Beck: My mind is dirty because it has been busy working. A clean mind, like clean hands, is a sign of inactivity.

Indeed it is.

out where there's a hillside of heather, curtsyin' gently in the breeze

The mist of May is in the gloamin'
and all the clouds are holdin' still
So take my hand and let's go roamin'
through the heather on the hill...


Brigadoon! The call went out, our Guv'nah gathered those few wakeful souls at such a late hour, and pled us go henceforth to Caledon, were we not there, and the heart of Brigadoon, if we were, to spy on wonders henceforth unrevealed!

The mornin' dew is blinkin' yonder
There's lazy music in the rill,
And all I want to do is wander
through the heather on the hill...


I arrived late.

I had time only to snap one picture with imprecision:

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The stone hare, ancient to beloved Caledon, atop a pillar...in the center of enchanted Brigadoon, from whence modern Caledon Brigadoon sprang.

There may be other days as rich and rare.
There may be other springs as full and fair.
But they won't be the same--they'll come and go...


And then it faded, first thatch-roofed cottages, then the glowing golden light, then the cobblestones beneath our feet...as we scattered to the four winds o'er the low stone bridge, as it too, faded from our view.

When the mist is in the gloamin'
and all the clouds are holdin' still,
If you're not there I won't go roamin'
through the heather on the hill
The heather...on the...hill.


Watch for it. T'will only appear once in a great while, and on no fixed schedule--the village at the heart of Caledon Brigadoon, ancient Brigadoon in truth. Where the old traditions that power Caledon, in part, to this day...were new-minted inventions themselves.

Thank you, Desmond, and Sir Zen...it was an honor and a privilege to be allowed to view such a sight.

Brigadoon, alive for only one day...mayhap, much less, depending...but watch for it. You just might catch it...one future day.

(Lyrics taken from the musical Brigadoon, and the song "Heather on the Hill".)

Friday, March 28, 2008

and it's not the weather, hand me my leather

NNNNNG. Replica razor? Sure. But from the prop! It's so pretty...

Also, lipsync technology for machinima. Has Professor Sputnik heard about this?

And Damen Gorilla is evil. After carefully debating my finances, and the new Clomps shoe advertisement he sent through the group, I have decided that yes, I could be conservative and buy the four pair I think I absolutely need to fill out color ranges I do not have for doll shoes...or...

*hangs her head in shame*

...buy the 'super fetish pack' of all ten colors for L$650.

DAMN YOU SALAZAR! ...I mean...DAMN YOU GORILLA!

...actually, no, we like Damen, we do. Okay, no damning. But EVIL, yes, evil. Him and his wicked cool-shoe-designing ways.

All right, back to serious stuph. Leapfrogging from the last entry on the topic to this one...I may indeed have to post a retraction of the "Stroker bailed" assertion.

This is going to be a lot of links at first; be patient.

First of all, September 2006's plague of sim crashes seems to have, in fact, been caused by Catteneo and a group of other hackers with the deliberate intent to clone the SexGen engine for resale. A content creator and I were just discussing this possibility last night, and bingo, they find a link for me confirming that very possibility.

Part of the new (very irritating, and very non-rational-seeming on the surface) policy LL is doing of random region restarts is, in fact, directly intended to foil such plans.

So LL cares a little about content theft. Yay.

From there we go to the SLX forums--for some back-and-forth chatter on the topic. Let me lift the relevant info from that long posting, though, if you don't want to read through all of it (and it is worth the read-through):

This I posted in comments to the last entry; it's the announcement of settlement.

But later in that forum commentary, a Fox News story is mentioned--in the context of, apparently, the Tampa Bay Online story was trimmed from that Fox News story. So the Fox News coverage--weirdly enough--is more in-depth.

(I will say there's one highly relevant comment leading back to the 'he bailed' turf in this: "The settlement does not involve money or any admission of wrongdoing, court documents show." But even with that, let me be absolutely fair--pursuing a nineteen-year-old idiot who lives with his grandmother for any financial gain whatsoever--and even, one may say, pursuing him for the finer ethical points of establishing case law--it might easily be seen as the more rational course of action to put your hand in a blender and hit "frappe"--in the long run it would cost less, cause less stress, and take less time to recover from, than a protracted law suit conducted at the speed of court.

(Let me also note that's the general tone of the other forum posters--"I know it was aggravating, but it would have been nice if you had actually pushed to establish case law for cases like yours" is the overall tone of most of the responses. However.)

And here is the Chez Nabob interview in full--for anyone who doesn't know, he's the mind behind the "parodying" (oh, how careful he is, using that word) of PETA's ad campaign in the first place.

Having read through all of that, I will now say this:

While I still believe it would have been better for Serpentine to push for establishing precedent of case law on this issue...it would have been a huge financial commitment, taken even more years off his life, and beyond all that, been a hassle of monumental proportions. So I can see, believe me, why he eventually chose the lesser of things here and went for settlement.

And let me make this also very plain--again:

I am not saying content theft is a good thing in any way. I'm saying insisting that content theft is the only reason sales are down is not understanding the issue that the SL economy faces. Moreover, I'm saying that--even though it's something that could cause harm to PETA, which I am completely for--it's still stealing someone else's intellectual property to protest stealing intellectual property.

Which has been my issue with things all along, the vast and untapped reservoir of irony behind that statement that is not being perceived.

Now, then. Before the train wreck actually catches on fire again from four posts on this one topic...I'm going to declare it reasonably closed (though comments are always allowed), and move on to lesser offenses and picture fluff.

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Or, y'know, back to fishing.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

dialogue as a diagram of a play for blood

Going back briefly to the last content theft entry, Miss Cerveau was having a sale--as were many people--coming off Easter weekend.

I found another poster.

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This is Stroker Serpentine, of Strokerz Toyz fame. Wired ran a story on him last year, and it's absolutely true--if you were an erotic performer in any sense, at some point, you walked through Amsterdam. All of us, every single dancer, escort, stripper, a ton of new folk who started out camping all the time and worked their way up--all of us went through Amsterdam, and most of us ended up with SexGen equipment along the way.

I'm not saying this is, this was, a bad thing. There was a club--may still be, I don't know--called Babydollz in Amsterdam that was actually a great deal of fun to hang out in when I first started, before I was hired by a club in my own right. I have no objection to what Serpentine's done.

But he's the first one on one of these ads, I feel, has a genuine almost-right to claim what the posters claim. Because he's the one who actually filed a court case. (Though, I have to admit, there is a loss of respect here for Serpentine--and why? Because he bailed on the court case--when he had the ability to be foundational and establish, once and for all, case law for intellectual property online. So there's that to consider, as well.)

And Miss Ziggy Quirk actually did a stunning thing back in February I just tracked down now--the typist, or as she says, "the human behind Ziggy Quirk", came forward and made an eight-minute vid for YouTube laying out her perspective on content theft.

Now, let me say this. I still believe the bulk of the SL economy's problem--at large--is not content theft. I still believe it's the number of island owners who lost serious money when LL killed gambling, and ended up reselling their islands or just walking away, trying to dump the equipment and mostly just deleting it--or having LL delete it for them--and as a result, getting sick of the game and deleting their accounts, never to return--because that is the reason for a lot of the problem with recirculation of funds.

How'ver, the problem of content theft? Is not what I'm disputing. There is content theft, yes. Is it getting worse? Yes. Can it be stopped? I don't think so. (I think there are ways it can be slowed down, but stopped entirely? That's going to be rough, that's going to involve a lot of investigation, and to date? The Labs really don't seem to care.)

The homogeneity of product that Miss Quirk speaks of--yes, I believe it's possible that SL is headed that way. And it would be a massive tragedy, of truly epic proportions, and yes, players would flee at speed for other platforms. Because part of the joy of SL for many is content creation. And if the major content creators get sick of creating, and leave, that leaves even more of SL subsisting in a vacuum of ghost-town abandoned zones and low-use islands. Eventually LL would end up reabsorbing a ton of dead sims, as they've had to do over the past year, and make their best attempt at resale to recoup their own losses.

But is the answer to restrict new users from using the tools that established users enjoy? I don't think so. Is the answer to restrict folk who don't have payment information on their profiles from entering sims? I don't think that's it, either. I think part of it is in how LL is letting their new 'community orientation' zones help new players into the game--because it used to be, you had to learn at each station, before you could move to the next, and now? If a new player really wants to get on the grid, all they need do is walk past everything and port out--ten minutes tops, they're on the grid. And how does that aid new players in understanding what made, what makes, Second Life unique in the first place?

Answer: it doesn't. But again, it comes down to fixing a problem that Linden Labs doesn't care about.

Should the Labs be concerned about content theft? Yes, as much as they should be concerned on the whys behind Pontiac and other large corporations choosing to leave SL. Should they be concerned about it over such issues as Windlight and voice not performing optimally in game? Yes. Is this going to happen?

Hells, no--because it's not as cool and sexy as working on the next fun feature. And that's a bit of programmer elitism, there, same as fixing the old bugs in the code rather than try to patch over them so they pop up later when the code breaks.

So yes, I'm saying there's no easy answer, but I'm also saying--protesting that it's all about content theft won't fix the downturn in sales. Figuring out what works--and what profoundly doesn't, and why--in Second Life's economy might.

But even that's only a might.

Because sooner or later, someone else is going to come up with something that shares enough of what draws people to Second Life, in a platform that actually works, is more stable, and doesn't have the weekly Wednesday and Sunday epic failure rate that we've all sadly become accustomed to in SL--and that's where the gamers, the builders, the lovers, the dreamers will turn.

And then Second Life really will become the ghost town that the press has been claiming. And that would be the worst loss of all.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

you don't remember me, but I remember you

Spent a lovely afternoon at the A.R.t Galerie at the New Boston Art Colony today. It's a lovely little space, the cherry trees are in bloom, and the gallery itself has a clean, fresh, open layout. But what I think is so unique is what they're displaying, right now.

Unfortunately, today's the last day to see this exhibit, so I'm going to try to make this quick, so some of you who see this might be able to get down to the gallery!

Remember when kid's art was relegated to the refrigerator? Curators of the A.R.t. Galerie, Miss Teofila Matova and Mr. Karl Nostram, wanted to change that over February and March:

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Young artist Rachel Diana Sowers, exhibited on the first floor of the Galerie, died at age seven of acute leukemia. Part of today's Radio Riel closing of this exhibit was to draw attention to that. In addition to a donation kiosk outside the gallery for the RFL, there's also one by the docks specifically for donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Foundation, and all proceeds donated to the Galerie today will go towards research into the cure for that Foundation.

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Does Miss Sower's work have more or less power, knowing she's no longer with us? Does her work have more or less impact in an art gallery setting, than it would in a home, on a corkboard, pinned by magnets to a fridge? These were questions that kept occurring as I walked the exhibit.

I thought of hobo chip carvers, of Hmong refugee textile art, of Hmong and Amish quilters, and found art in general. What gives art its power? What moves us?

This exhibit brings such questions back to the beginning, with how art evolves, how figure and concept are realized, through the eyes of the very young.

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Miss Kati Bruekner exhibits on the top floor, and there is such an exuberant vitality to her work, especially in a gallery setting. It's very nearly embryonic--one can see the seeds of artistic expression here, gain insight into what the artist may explore, if they keep creating, as an adult--which makes the first floor of this exhibit all the more poignant, for the loss of the artist shown.

On the second floor, just for that sense of whiplash, are shown some truly stunning exhibits of an adult artist, Tony Bartlett, whose photographs of sea and sky are vividly captured, intense and striking. But it's the art of children, found on floors one and three, that really shines.

Do come if you can. Artworks shown are for sale, and remember, there are donation kiosks outside the Galerie. Support research for the cure, if nothing else.

Monday, March 24, 2008

for the gag and the bind and the ammunition round

The early cars
Already are
Drawing deep breaths past my door


Apparently the "SL brand" argument hadn't been made quite obvious enough. That's the only thing I can figure, as to why we were all confronted with a new ToS to agree to, on world entry.

So, okay, LL wants us all to know that "Second Life" is a brand name for a product. We knew this already. Why was it necessary? Got me.

And last night's phrases
Sick with lack of basis
Are still writhing on my floor


To that end...I've mentioned it a little, of late, but there's some growing hysteria amongst content designers, about content theft, and it's starting to get rather shrill. Maybe I'm not properly understanding the issue, but I just don't get it.

And it doesn't seem fair
That your wicked words should work
In holding me down


I noticed it first when Miss Tigerlily Koi at Calla put up posters imitating a well-known PETA campaign to protest theft; now I've found a poster over at Miss Solange Cerveau's place:

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that does the same thing.

No, it doesn't seem right
To take information
Given at close range
For the gag
And the bind
And the ammunition round


and Miss Laynie Link's designed a protest skin--which, double irony points here, she's giving away free--to protest content theft.

What gives?

Conversation once colored by esteem
Became diologue as a diagram of a play for blood


See, here's the thing. All these designers screaming that they're being hacked? And they may well be, I don't have all the specifics...but where did it start, really?

And it doesn't make sense
I should fall for the kingcraft of a meritless crown


Because if all the skin designers are freaking out over content theft because of Eloh Eliot? Eloh Eliot released all her skins as open source. That means exactly what you think it does--change them, don't change them, repaint them, totally reconfigure, repackage as is--you, as the end line consumer of product, have complete freedom to do what you will.

Which is not how most designers run things, I get that.

But truth be told, I haven't seen a lot of supposedly "stolen content" popping up. So, it's confusing for me.

No, it doesn't seem right
To take information
Given at close range


And what's most confusing about the content theft hysteria at present? Traces back to whomever lifted PETA's no-fur campaign in the first place. Because, I'm sorry, kids, that is just plain pigheaded arrogance to scream "content theft" on the one hand, with a series of posters featuring ideas stolen from someone else to protest stealing.

Am I the only one seeing this?

For the gag
And the bind
And the ammunition round


And maybe it's also me, but everyone currently bemoaning the drop in sales due to "content theft"? It's not "content theft", it's the economy of SL. Which traces back to the loss of gambling. Which made a lot of players with a lot of disposable income leave the game.

See, it's that whole world split thing again. Second Life's economy is still largely dependent on an influx of income from outside SL to function. Because most of the big money players are still making that money, and taking it right back out of the game, instead of buying in-game and recirculating funds.

Which is fine if you've got disposable income you can do that with. But making money in SL? If you're not starting by plugging money in? Not easy.

What is this posture
I have to stare at
That's what he said when I'm sittin' up straight


Which again, is not the complaint. The complaint is, SL reflects RL. And RL, we--at least in America--are recession-moving-into-depression at speed, economically. Which is starting to show in SL. That, combined with the loss of casinos, gambling, games of chance...which leads directly back to the impact the economy has on SL's sex industry, which, hello, brings us back to shopping--because, trust me on this, strippers and escorts? Like them or hate them, but they dump a ton of their income on outfits.

Change the name of the game 'cause he lost
And he knew he was wrong but he knew it too late


And if they don't get tips because the gamblers in the game don't tip them--because the gamblers in the game don't have casinos to play in--because LL killed gambling on the grid, even though there were six different ways to avoid American litigation than the way they chose--I mean, complain about "trickle-down" economics all you want, but that's pretty much what we have--the risk faction comes in with money; the pretty girls angle for it; then the pretty girls go shopping. It's sexist as hell, yeah, but it's also SL to a large degree, and it's what's not happening anymore, because the money's slowed down to a radical degree.

But I'd like to choose right
Take all the things that I've said that he stole


Which is, in my opinion anyway, why designers--good, bad, known or unknown--have stopped selling as much. It's not content theft. It's the choices Linden Labs made that they never thought through before they made them.

Okay, enough of the rant. Just had to say that.

Put 'em in a sack
Swing 'em over my shoulder
Turn on my heels
Step out of this sight
Try to live in a lovelier light


This deserves some appreciation, as a good conversational redirect--I found these stacks:

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behind a display in Miss Arcadia Asylum's booth at the Clothing Fair. Talk about attention to detail. And attention to detail most people won't see--because both those stacks of decaying paper goods? Are behind a sign.

Nice. Totally cool, and wau for the texturing, and most people? Will never know they were there.

And some really random images to tie things up, that I couldn't post for two days, 'cos they reveal hunt locations for the FallnAngel egg hunt.

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Sadly, I didn't get the idea to start capturing the cooler eggs until we were nearly done with the hunt. He'd made a lot of the eggs for this year after Ukrainian traditional hand-painted designs. Just amazingly lovely.

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Obviously, this is not an egg shot. How'ver, it's just as good--because the skin is one of Mr. Azriel Demain's new Geisha line of skins, and OMG. Just OMG, they're perfect. (Also, the hair--though not in this shade--was also a hunt giveaway. Though the shade picked to go in the eggs was Lamanael Party, not Lamanael Red. But you see why I had to run and pick up the hair in red, don't you?)

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Another lovely egg design, that was found tucked away under the waves below a lush little cuddle spot. Next to the Barn of Evil, if I remember correctly.

I'll have to see if I have any other images, but I know I didn't take many. More's the pity, I should have. The eggs this year were really lovely, and the hunt itself? Amazingly challenging. Actually had to ask for help! That doesn't usually happen!

(Lyrics taken from Fiona Apple's "Not About Love".)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

how much love is it gonna take, to prove I'm not another heartache

Mass-produced Steampunk? Isn't that a contradiction in terms?

And "short region outages" are planned, all day? Glad I'm in limbo, then. Yeep.

Wanted to talk a bit about February's Ode Butterfly hunt. Last February at this time, I was hip-deep in shatter, the train wreck fully ablaze, and running around trying to manage things with various designers and a large entertainment concern. I not only didn't have time to spend several hours hunting, I wasn't in any place where I could have heard of it.

This year was substantially different. This year--more or less--I had the time. I had to leave for several hours in between hunts, but I was able to make a few of the larger ones.

Pictures. On how deranged it got.

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(For all of these, I highly recommend just clicking for the larger picture for more detail.)

This is taken from the Ode hunt in Ode, Worthwhile Valley. Check on the mini-map in the upper right corner, packed with little green dots. That'll tell you how many were in the sim when I first went there and snapped this shot. There were more before I left.

I came in flying and could barely move, even in flight. The barely rezzed winged sort you can dimly see in front of me? I watched fly over, from right to left, for five minutes before I could fly forward.

[13:18] Neome Graves: Lotsa flutterbys, very few items
[13:19] Emilly Orr: I haven't rezzed in any
[13:19] Emilly Orr: Not even li'l grey squares
[13:20] Emilly Orr: okay, found a pool
[13:20] Emilly Orr: man, they like drowning
[13:22] Neome Graves: Oh?
[13:23] Neome Graves: Need a hand?
[13:23] Emilly Orr: Think this one is picked clean, unless they're in mountains again
[13:23] Emilly Orr: Got a couple of items
[13:23] Neome Graves: Could be
[13:23] Neome Graves: And yeah, I got a couple too.
[13:23] Emilly Orr: I'm gonna drift around the water sources for a bit, port if we find dead ones :)


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The rest of the images are all from the Africa sim. This was taken when first rezzing in to Africa. Again, point your attention towards the mini-map. Allll those green dots. All those avatars. Awaiting a butterfly release, for this particular hunt, of 1500 butterflies.

It was chaos.

[13:24] Neome Graves: And I found 1 whole twilight piece and it's an earring. =P
[13:24] Emilly Orr: hee!
[13:24] Emilly Orr: I'm not even reading but I found em/rose, I know, and one of something else
[13:24] Emilly Orr: ooh living ivory
[13:25] Emilly Orr: they drift alive for a bit, then 'die'
[13:25] Emilly Orr: learning butterfly behavior :p


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I quickly threw on a less prim-heavy, flexi-heavy outfit, retaining hair--damn it, no, I refuse to go back to Linden hair for any reason until they make it more attractive--while women were shouting at each other to take off scripted items, jewelry and shoes. Again, in flight, came into the sim in flight, and could fly about as well as your average brick when thrown. Massive lag. Insane lag.

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This is actually taken from underneath the Africa sim. Something we noticed with the butterfly releases--they would gather and die in water sources--the bases of waterfalls, the bottom of ponds--but also, they would gather and die in less usual places--below mountains, below valleys, embed in walls--I mean, let's leave the question of unfairness aside, let's just talk how weird that is. Small little scripted insects, they're released, they flutter, they die--okay. Small little scripted insects that then seek out places to drown or to bury themselves in sod--buh?!?

And then, there was the butterfly generator--essentially, a small cube buried in the dunes in the Africa sim that spawned particle butterflies--that were the exact same shape and size of the Ode hunt butterflies!

Guess where a butterfly release was planned? Yeah.

[13:55] Emilly Orr: [*$%^] ME RELEASE OF 500
[13:55] Emilly Orr: I CAN'T CLICK FAST ENOUGH
[13:55] Neome Graves: Port?
[13:56] Emilly Orr: oh evil it's RIGHT over that butterfly generator
[13:58] Neome Graves: Got a couple
[13:58] Neome Graves: All amber
[13:58] Emilly Orr: Puts us up to seven
[13:58] Emilly Orr: If one of us joins the butterfly group we can trade for sets we want for our sets
[13:58] Emilly Orr: but DAMN


Pretty much we hunted in random packs--porting each other around the sim when we found pieces--following others who'd stopped hovering in place, others following us when we stopped. Grand sense of cutthroat competition about the whole thing.

And this was all on the 14th, staggered throughout the day. Woof.

Though...I also have to share this, because it's just funny:

Miss sachi Vixen and Mr. Damen Gorilla run Adam & Eve. This is known. They have a group reserved for news of upcoming releases, and--on occasion--the sort of mania I've come to expect only from ISC Chat. :)

Miss sachi announced the early release of a gown to the loyalists on the group, one day before she'd put it up as a freebie for the rest of her group. Initially, we were responding to that...but it took a turn for the weird.

[14:19] Emilly Orr: See, sachi and Damen *rock*, and this is why they have a loyal customer base, and why we pimp 'em to our friends when we can.
[14:20] sachi Vixen: I have free golden gown with shoes going in store tomorrow ladies
[14:20] Damen Gorilla: I m the best
[14:20] Damen Gorilla: I rock
[14:20] Damen Gorilla: she just trails in my wake
[14:20] sachi Vixen: yw Emilly ;)
[14:21] Emilly Orr: Damen, you're gonna get in trouble again...
[14:21] Lorrie Jefferson: LOL!
[14:21] Lorrie Jefferson: indeed, Emily... that is sooooo true. *grins*
[14:22] Damen Gorilla: and I m awfully romantic
[14:22] sachi Vixen: Well we won't say nice things about Damen until he stops chasing sachi round the sim with a crocodile humping his leg
[14:22] Damen Gorilla: when i push her off the platform I do it gently today, it being valentines
[14:22] Emilly Orr laughs
[14:22] Lorrie Jefferson: <~~~~~ loves romantic men...
[14:23] Lorrie Jefferson: hehehe
[14:23] Lorrie Jefferson: LMAO! i'd pay a quarter to see that....
[14:24] Damen Gorilla: I m so romantic I make myself sick


I think I didn't stop laughing for ten minutes, just that image of Damen, running around the sim with a crocodile attached to one limb. Chasing sachi around.

Everyone has their own Valentine's Day traditions, but Damen? Wins hands down for most bizarre. :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

the past is gone but something might be found to take its place

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona duit!

So, advance warning--the grid? Is going to suck this week. Above and far beyond the normal, nothing-works, grid suckiness.

*sighs*

And I'd be more impressed by this campaign:

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if they hadn't blatantly ripped it off from PETA:

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I mean, yes, I'm all for reinforcing intellectual property rights, but...ripping off someone's ad campaign to do it? Isn't that irony overkill, or something?

The SLRFL events are upon us again, and this year's Clothing Fair is part of it. It opens today and runs until March 23rd. The four sims are frequently filling up today, so keep that in mind--though lag is surprisingly light considering how many are in the sim, there is high lag, and it will close to teleport often:.

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(Ignore the small picture, click for the full-size one and look at the mini-map readings!)

How'ver, if nothing else, the four sims are lovely to just walk through. They're quartered seasonally, and kept there, so Autumn has fallen leaves, Winter has ice, and so on. They're quite beautiful. Above and beyond the Clothing Fair, it's worth a wander.

But the Clothing Fair is packing the sim, and every booth has at least one outfit whose proceeds will 100% be donated to Relay for Life. So, sometime in the next week, do go and check out the Fair.

Also--as can be seen in that pic--they're running a hunt during the fair. Six antique chests have been hidden across the four sims. Find them all, find very special outfits inside. If you can actually brave the lag and catch the sim reasonably empty...

How cute is this:

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(Miss Maja Stransky outside Adam & Eve's booth, where Winter meets Spring.)

It's a painted paper bag. The back says, "I don't need many prims for lag-free!" She gave me one. Apparently it's from kaguya*, which is a body/shape store in a Japanese sim. They also have traditional kimono, and some lovely animations and poses for women in kimono. Do stop by.

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Unfortunately, last Sunday's Doll Cotillion in Salutaris featured an astounding level of fail for my cam. I got this picture intact, nothing else came out. Though Mr. Case Wrangler took some astounding on-the-spot pictures (one of them's currently my front-page profile pic), and there will be a doll calendar put out featuring dolls from the event.

I have to mention this again, since we're talking dolls--all the communities I've been in, every community I'm part of on the grid--there's always some point of divisiveness, some fracture point.

The doll community? Doesn't have these problems. Barring the infighting in the latex and rubberdoll communities--and really, by and large? It is infighting, just within those communities with each other--the dolls? We don't seem to have these problems. And you'd think we'd have them worse than most--because the doll community consists of everything from child doll avatars all the way up to fully-programmed futuristic sexbot dolls.

But there's this level of acceptance, I've never found anywhere else, and it stays our hands. You are doll, it says, therefore you're family. Toy soldiers, child dolls, broken dolls, vintage dolls...robotic constructs, warbots, gynoids, owned dolls...we're all...one people. Or one community of various representations.

Not to be overly egotistic over this, but I'd love to see....however it is we do this...catch on in other communities. It'd be nice to see.

Anyway, the Cotillion was lovely, too. A gorgeously Baroque ballroom greeted us as we walked in, our steps clicking on pink marble to the dance floor. A Queen and Consort of the Cotillion were crowned--the adorably cute Zilvara Short, in a pretty pink ballgown, was Princess to Queen Petra Clawtooth's royal white and blue splendor--yes, it was a Disney moment, but it was a cute one. And the dancing was just lovely--the dance machine was in a teacup above the floor, and a spinning pair of rainbow-colored spheres spawned couples' dances wherever couples stood. Inventive idea.

I'd love to see more 'formal' doll events. And I think we'd all enjoy more doll get-togethers. But between Subversive Vavoom's working with various members of the community, and the establishment of the Clockwork Cafe, slowly, we're getting more doll events on the grid.

This? Is a good thing.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

calm down my heart...don't beat so fast, don't be afraid, just once in a lifetime

(A brief bit of proscenium-breaking, re earlier RP. Bear with me.)

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This is Aki Shichiroji's "Nebari" skin/shape/outfit mix, out of the box. Untouched. Hair, eyes, shape, skin--that's entirely hand-painted, by the way; Aki may be the only start-to-finish, brushstroke-to-scanned-in digital--hand-painter of skins on the grid--this pretty much is Chiana from Farscape.

Don't believe me? Here, Chiana, for reference:

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Chiana, played by Gigi Edgley. You can see Aki's done a marvelous job remaking her for the grid.

Now, then. Why we're here. When I got this av, while I liked the Chiana look, if I was going to spend any amount of time in it, I needed to soften the edges. This is what I came up with:

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Now, I swear to you, this was completely off the cuff. Just what 'felt right', so to speak. Adjust a few sliders, soften the planes of the face, I didn't substantially change the nose, just altered the lip mesh shape a tad...I didn't do a lot, and I stopped when I hit here, fairly satisfied with the result.

How'ver, there's a known Nebari nemesis in Farscape. Her name? Varla (played by Skye Wansley):

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Considering it's literally been years since I saw this particular episode of Farscape? It's kind of creepy how accurate the quick little mod I did of Aki's shape comes, to this character. Very nearly surreal, in fact.

Anyway. Various and sundry of other note.

Is my grid elitism showing if I ask why do people still voluntarily choose to look noobish on the grid long after their noob years? I speak, of course, of Rivula's brief wandering terror, sacsnow Jacobus.

Why am I publically identifying her? Well, for one, I walked in on her naked in my home. And for two, she wouldn't answer a polite IM. And for three, she then wandered into other private homes in Rivula, while I watched.

And for four? She looks like this:

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Note: I am not singling out some genuine noob for savagery, here. She's been on the grid for nine months. She's also a member of not one, not two, but four public nudity groups.

So why, for the love of little green apples, is she rude, is she still breaking in to peoples' homes, and moreover, STILL IN A BASE SKIN?!?

That's not even prim hair. There's no excuse for this.

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In other news of the week, we finally got rid of that annoying patch of flicker on the ceiling at the store. Yay. And today's tribute to Walt Disney went amazingly well:

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I don't know if I've spoken about Tribute Island before this; if I haven't, I should have. Because Nikk Huet, one of the main organizing forces behind the Island, is entirely too self-effacing for words, let me effuse for him: Tribute Island is an amazing idea. Just start to finish.

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I'm going to have to go back and do another run at the Island, for pictures--this was part of a set where I was running full HUD/browser visibility, for other reasons. So ignore the small one and click for the larger one, it's dark, but more impressive.

For anyone who doesn't know, this is a tribute to Arlington National Cemetary in Arlington, Virginia, well within driving distance of Washington, D.C. I haven't actually walked this one from the ground--this was intended to be an overflight capture, just to see how HUD-capture photography was going to look--so it may be at a tribute to those lost in wars-in-toto.

But I have to say, overflying this, dressed for the event that paid tribute to all lost in world conflicts from WWII through Viet Nam, this stopped me. Sight of this, literally, stopped me in flight, put my heart in my throat. Arlington does that, too, sometimes even in picture form--because there are so many of those small white markers, so very many...and knowing it represents the merest portion of humanity lost to the horrors of unresolvable difference...war between realms, between nations, between concepts of good, bad, restriction, allowance, religion, rights...and now we have a portion of Arlington on the grid, and it has the same impact.

All of Tribute Island is like this. Tribute Island is for all residents of the grid, to share, to learn, to experience who we are, whom we honor, whom we hold dear. From public personalities to the deeply personal, fandom to family, anything is allowable (following their build guidelines). Because in the end, it's about what we hold up, that will teach future generations--this we lost. This we once had. Know this. Feel this.

It's a powerful message, and one we desperately need, right now. Even virtually, reconnection to the common soul which links us all--that vast mythpool of concurrent experience we all dip into as a culture, as a society, as a planet--we can learn great and humbling things from each other, on Tribute Island.

Look it up sometime, go there. Learn more. Help out if you can. Remember the value of remembrance and loss. You won't be sorry you did.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I picked up the pieces of my broken ego

((RP mode...ish.))

Had a desperate need to see less in my inventory, yet again. So very long ago, I swore to go down at least 10,000 items over the course of a month.

Well, it took me a month and a half, but I went from a bit under 47,000 to a bit over 35,000, which isn't bad, really. Realistically, that's fairly impressive.

Then, several hunts happened, and much freebie-gathering, and a bit of building here and there...and I slowly crept up again. Down to 32,000 and change at one point; back up to 38,000...back down to 35,000...

Finally I found myself at 37,814 and said enough. And started making storage prims.

Frocks. Pretty little minis. Furniture I didn't want to get rid of. Scripts I had no clue--yet--on how to use. One prim. Two prims. Three.

The fourth? Photographs. And therein, we hit the snag.

So afraid to open your eyes
You know too well that which awaits you
Something undefined there in the halflight


The exes. The loves departed. The loves nevermore to be.

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The man-hater. Gone, both bitter and sweet, never to return. Never could get around that one obstacle--that she hated more than I loved. Gone and gone and away from the world.

Do you still hear their laughter
So hard to describe
You never forget the faces that haunt you


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The kitten. Gone, but not forgotten, never forgotten. Still catch words through the aether, now and again, but it doesn't lessen missing him. Glad for him, glad he thrives in lands beyond, but...I do, I do still, miss him here.

Can you remember
a day when it was not, not like this?
Unsure of yourself, unsure of your thoughts
Unable to know if what you think is right or wrong


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The vampire. Gone, dead and gone. Mourned and gone. Nothing left of the Warrior I knew, so long ago now.

Like someone pushes a blade through your mind
There on the edge where no-one will find you
Still hearing them laugh


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The misunderstood. Gone, and never to understand again...and so much with him.

The demon without
The demon inside to plague and torment you


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And gone, my Raven, gone, in some battle I can't even lay name to, some ridiculous border conflict that claimed him before I ever knew to miss him. Gone and gone, gone as the land we held so dear.

Nothing is wrong
The demons they have left you
You were not left behind


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And gone, the demon, gone, in so many ways...gone and turned, and gone and bound against, and riven even from his own skin, gone from me--

So long ago. All of them, so long ago. So why does it still hurt? Why do I still hurt for their loss?

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But there's a change...finally, a change.

Though whether it bodes well, or ill...that, I don't know.

Yet.

And...down to 35,453. It's a start...

(Snips of VNV Nation's "Left Behind" used.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

see heaven, flash a horrorshow

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(Where you'll viddy the platties, ponya?)

Okay, sure. Y'all can come for the freebie outfit, if you want.

But droogies, sweet devotchkas, oh, what you'll provisteen if you don't prevy--

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(The Moloko at an iddy-otschky.)

Yeah
My Durango (Yeah) Number 95 (Yeah)
Kick boots and ultra live
See heaven (Yeah) flash a horrorshow (Yeah)
Knock it nice and smooth, step back and watch it flow
Yeah--


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(Some cuddlesome spots while you wait with your droogies for the latest Vellocet.)

Welcome to the Milk Bar in Braunworth. Come all by your oddy-knocky, y'might still have some sladky radosky without a dobby drat.

Britva?

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(Horrorshow radosty, droogs, nearly better than the in-and-out. Slooshit true.)

Lots of mestoi to sit, come see. Skvat the platties and the spovarit--that'd be the Nadsat/English dictionary, for the uninitiated--cop a squat, stanya, stay a bit. You'll be glad you did, certain-sure.

Never gonna stop me,
Never gonna stop
Never gonna stop me,
Never gonna stop--


Mebbe even peer about upstairs, but be careful the grazzy Millies don't take you for a nazz--be cautious, droogs, be careful with the pitskas and the malchicks, and boodyisheen beeolassny, ya?

Yeah
The devil (Yeah) ride a dinosaur (Yeah)
He paint the monster red so the blood don't stain the floor
In out, (Yeah) real savage show (Yeah)
Sorry as a shot came sickness, watch it flow
Yeah


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(Joy-joy fun for girls and boys, put plain, and pure-pure as milk. From the Moloko, at least, yah? Go see.)

(Some lyrics from Rob Zombie's Clockwork Orange-inspired song, "Never Gonna Stop".)

there's something wrong with the world today, the lightbulb's getting dim

Now, I will admit, sometimes, ISC Chat--the main chat channel for all of Caledon's variable personalities-at-large--can be a silly place. Occasionally terrifying, usually outrageous, sometimes scandalous...rarely, rarely boring.

Some nights, though, confusion rises to the level of total impenetrability. Enter one Mr. Chairperson Effingham, on one of these nights.

Now, to date, we'd been discussing chocolate bubble baths, frilly bonnets, and two-prim sculpted trees--don't ask--when...it happened.

[1:21] Chairperson Effingham: em wants to meet with ms. orr
[1:22] Emilly Orr blinks.
[1:22] Chairperson Effingham: whats's the so i did
[1:22] Emilly Orr: Wouldn't that be recursive? Em wanting to meet with me? Mostly I'm Em.
[1:22] Kirawill Collingwood wrinkles her nose at Emmy-Orr
[1:22] Chairperson Effingham: and gave line to the gershwin blots
[1:22] Muse Messmer: What is the matter with your eyes, Ms. Orr? Got some sand in them?
[1:22] Kirawill Collingwood: Em. it's early. yer hurtin mah brain.


So that bit was odd, and never quite explained, but then...

[1:28] Chairperson Effingham: where're yall on line>?
[1:29] Chairperson Effingham: Emily, you especially, aren;t you anti Victorian


Now. 'Anti-Victorian'? That's a fairly specific accusation. But it was never really explained, either.

[1:29] Emilly Orr: Am I what now?
[1:29] Muse Messmer: Perhaps antideluvian
[1:30] Emilly Orr: How so anti-Victorian?
[1:31] Vivito Volare: Showing ankle?
[1:31] Emilly Orr: I mean, I'm on the mainland right NOW; but I do have a home in Caledon.
[1:31] Muse Messmer: I don't know, her Person-ness said it.
[1:31] Emilly Orr looks down
[1:31] Chairperson Effingham: friend, If i shoot myself in the foot now, it'll be qualitatively identitical to shooting mystelf then
[1:31] Chairperson Effingham: I'm a genius honey
[1:31] Emilly Orr: Well, I'm definitely showing ankle in this outfit, yes, but it's my bloodspattered Loli outfit, it's sort of insistent about such things.
[1:32] Kirawill Collingwood: mmm annabelle
[1:32] Emilly Orr: Well, no, mine.
[1:32] Zealot Benmergui: In that outfit, the ankle goes up to mid thigh
[1:32] Emilly Orr: Though I own Annabel Lee.
[1:32] Kirawill Collingwood: :)
[1:32] Kirawill Collingwood: you made one?
[1:32] Emilly Orr: This was my first attempt at a sort of, hmm, tutu skirt?
[1:33] Chairperson Effingham: next week, I'll have the primer that i've given prime pleasant for gieng
[1:33] Emilly Orr lifts an eyebrow.
[1:33] Chairperson Effingham: sorry
[1:33] Emilly Orr: Gieng. Translator failure. Resend, please?


I have an onboard translator from typonese. It used to function much better, when I was involved with the vampire princeling, because his prime means of communication is typonese. It's not as effective now I'm mostly around people who can spell properly.

[1:33] Chairperson Effingham: haha
[1:33] Chairperson Effingham: don't be crude
[1:33] Emilly Orr: What?
[1:34] Emilly Orr: I have a translator for typo, mostly it's fine.
[1:34] Chairperson Effingham: i mean
[1:34] Zealot Benmergui: gieng..sounds like something the dentist tells you not to have
[1:34] Chairperson Effingham: i am listening to oratorio
[1:34] Elegia Underwood: Or perhaps a Chinese herb for hot flashes...
[1:34] Elegia Underwood: & polka dots...
[1:35] Chairperson Effingham: in the foratora for the second life for us
[1:35] Elegia Underwood: Yep. Thought so.
[1:35] Chairperson Effingham: indeed
[1:35] Chairperson Effingham: per nada!


Several of us blinked, stunned at the 'per nada'.

[1:35] Elegia Underwood: The Chair is definitely speaking a different dialect of typonese than that which my translator understands. You, too, Miss Orr?
[1:35] Chairperson Effingham: fuck
[1:36] Chairperson Effingham: nono
[1:36] Chairperson Effingham: we're all
[1:36] Chairperson Effingham: we're given something triite


The conversation was definitely going downhill. And for the life of me, I still couldn't figure out what he wanted in the first place.

[1:45] Emilly Orr is still wondering what would define her as an anti-Victorian. She has defiantly chosen a lifestyle not centered around marrriage...but then, so have many Caledonians... :)
[1:45] Magdalena Kamenev: Surely there were free love advocates among the Victorians?
[1:45] Chairperson Effingham: still wondering what would define her as an anti-Victorian. She has defiantly chosen a lifestyle not centered around marrriage...but then, so have many Caledonians... :)


This wasn't the first time Mr. Effingham repeated statements made earlier; this amped up the confusion factor for the channel.

[1:45] Xanna Ziskey: for what it's worth, Miss Orr, I consider you fully Victorian
[1:45] Edward Pearse: And so did a few notable Victorians for that matter
[1:45] Chairperson Effingham: hahaha
[1:46] Chairperson Effingham: so mrs Orr
[1:46] Melanippe Karas: Poor Em.
[1:46] Chairperson Effingham: where might we meet to talk?
[1:46] Emilly Orr: Well, hmm, I'm not sure I'd go *that* far, either. I am frequently seen in non-traditional attire....
[1:46] Emilly Orr blinks
[1:46] Emilly Orr: There needs to be a meeting?
[1:46] Chairperson Effingham: nono
[1:46] Emilly Orr: What've I done?
[1:46] Chairperson Effingham: no
[1:46] Chairperson Effingham: haha
[1:46] Chairperson Effingham: honey
[1:46] Magdalena Kamenev: Is someone saying that you are NOT Victorian?
[1:46] Chairperson Effingham: it's not to a point
[1:47] Edward Pearse: Just show up as pink jelly Em.
[1:47] Chairperson Effingham: haha
[1:47] Emilly Orr: I am not responsible for the turkeys, I warned you!
[1:47] Chairperson Effingham: ugh
[1:47] Chairperson Effingham: don't be crude


And there he goes again, 'don't be crude'--by saying what, precisely??

[1:47] Magdalena Kamenev: Mayhaps you are a precursor of the Bloomsbury group, Miss Orr?
[1:47] Zealot Benmergui: hmm..clumsy pick up attempt in open chat, and he tells HER not to be crude...
[1:47] Chairperson Effingham: haaa
[1:48] Chairperson Effingham: neither
[1:48] Chairperson Effingham: you're both being rough
[1:48] Chairperson Effingham: and presumptive
[1:48] Emilly Orr: I am?


At this point we began to wonder if we were:

a) being had;
b) in the hands of some badly-coded channelbot;
c) in the hands of a non-English speaker with a bad translation program;
d) or all four.


[1:50] Emilly Orr tilts her head
[1:50] Emilly Orr: Am I the only one confused, here?
[1:50] Chairperson Effingham: i rather don't understand who's else for us
[1:51] Magdalena Kamenev: Not at all, Miss Orr.
[1:51] Jayleden Miles: I have been confused since the Guvner went to bed
[1:51] Jayleden Miles: lol
[1:51] Zealot Benmergui: We MUST introduce this fellow to Wilber
[1:51] Chairperson Effingham: (one sec. . . .)
[1:51] Audrey Fotherington puts her hand up as completely confused
[1:51] Edward Pearse: Bwahahahaha
[1:51] Emilly Orr: Oh, dear, really? That's sort of a staggering punishment for a mild indiscretion.
[1:51] Magdalena Kamenev: Two personages enter, one entity leaves?
[1:51] Chairperson Effingham: I KNOW


And he just kept going. It got so it was less about the odd, more about the irritating; then it went past irritating into sheer astounding levels of bafflement.

[1:51] Chairperson Effingham: ok
[1:51] Xanna Ziskey: Fine idea Mr. Benmergui
[1:52] Chairperson Effingham: no
[1:52] Chairperson Effingham: don't be silly
[1:52] Chairperson Effingham: my benmergui
[1:52] Edward Pearse: I don't think he's yours
[1:52] Zealot Benmergui: Your benmergui? Why Sir, we have not even sodomized yet!
[1:52] Xanna Ziskey: no, no MY Benmergui
[1:52] Edward Pearse: You'll have to fight his wife and she dosen't play fair
[1:52] Chairperson Effingham: please don't be crude
[1:53] Zealot Benmergui: Not when Sodomy is involved, no sirree bob
[1:53] Zealot Benmergui: Oh dear..I have not even come close to crude yet...ask anyone


And the second appearance of that line, 'don't be crude'. Said usually after the most innocuous statements. One wonders upon what he was basing his assumptions...

Then out of the blue, came this:

[1:58] Chairperson Effingham: my asshole parents thought about me
[1:58] Emilly Orr blinks
[1:58] Zealot Benmergui: ok...anyone want to figure out that one?
[1:58] Xanna Ziskey: Language!
[1:58] Emilly Orr: And he's been telling US not to be rude. :)
[1:59] Edward Pearse: Not even going to try
[1:59] Chairperson Effingham: I'mj where I started


Which I suppose was good for Mr. Effingham, but not the best place for the rest of us.

[1:59] Melanippe Karas: I call golem or really drunk, and I suspect JJ Drinkwater in the Library with a Script.
[1:59] Magdalena Kamenev: Rum, sodomy and the lash?
[1:59] Emilly Orr: That was a good album.
[1:59] Chairperson Effingham: non
[2:00] Edward Pearse: I'll just have the rum if it's all the same thanks
[2:00] Zealot Benmergui: I'll take the lash
[2:00] Chairperson Effingham: nono
[2:00] Edwina Heron: did I get that right...he wants to be the Baron of Syphalis?
[2:00] Zealot Benmergui: so that just leaves Sodomy bringing up the rear
[2:00] Elegia Underwood: lmao
[2:00] Sphynx Soleil stares in disbelief
[2:00] Edward Pearse: Boom tish
[2:00] Magdalena Kamenev pours liberal libations.
[2:00] Emilly Orr facepalms
[2:00] Elegia Underwood: And it's a large scaly bum at the mo'.
[2:00] Zealot Benmergui: Thank you, I am here all week..tip yoru waitress
[2:01] Chairperson Effingham: it's per nada
[2:01] Neome Graves joins in on the rum, having a feeling she will need it if she stays in this chat.
[2:01] Jayleden Miles: And which way should we tip the waitress? upside down?
[2:01] Zealot Benmergui: per nada....
[2:02] Zealot Benmergui: *just stares helplessly...


We were all staring helplessly at that point, I think.

[2:02] Chairperson Effingham: hqhq
[2:02] Chairperson Effingham: haha
[2:02] Chairperson Effingham: per nada
[2:02] Chairperson Effingham: it's what they smile out today
[2:02] Melanippe Karas: It's DE nada.
[2:02] Chairperson Effingham: nono
[2:02] Chairperson Effingham: haha
[2:02] Zealot Benmergui: It has been ages since I smiled out anything
[2:03] Chairperson Effingham: haha
[2:03] Chairperson Effingham: honey
[2:03] Edward Pearse: If the wind changes your face with stay like that
[2:03] Chairperson Effingham: next time I give my money to the winds change
[2:03] Zealot Benmergui: what, sweetheart?
[2:03] Magdalena Kamenev desperately hopes someone will blog this.
[2:03] Chairperson Effingham: the fire will lift leaves
[2:04] Xanna Ziskey winks at Miss Kamenev
[2:04] Emilly Orr: The future may well be blogged, yes.


Not that it's going to make that much sense...even in reading over it, I can feel large stunning patches of the conversation hit my brain again, and stop thought dead.

[2:04] Elegia Underwood lands on a trolley wondering if it's a male dragon. It seems to be spouting smoke the way male dragons do.
[2:04] Zealot Benmergui: another good example of why heroin and internet connections do NOT mix
[2:04] Elegia Underwood nuzzles the trolley.
[2:04] Chairperson Effingham: NO
[2:04] Chairperson Effingham: We can't be baby foolish evolution video stripes
[2:04] Magdalena Kamenev: Miss Underwood, DO please let us know if the trolley nuzzles back.
[2:05] Chairperson Effingham: (I shall mum)
[2:05] Elegia Underwood notices that the male dragon is NOT nuzzling back, but it IS purring.
[2:05] Zealot Benmergui: alright, he's doing it on purpose now
[2:05] Melanippe Karas: It's a goooooleeeemmmmm....


I was beginning to agree with Lady Karas. And being unsure why an improperly-coded golem would descend upon ISC Chat.

[2:05] Chairperson Effingham: I wish the dragon would nuzzle back!
[2:05] Chairperson Effingham: but shit!
[2:06] Magdalena Kamenev: Purring is an awfully good sign!
[2:06] Zealot Benmergui: hmmm...I think that might parse out to an attempt at an insult, but I am not sure
[2:06] Chairperson Effingham: we're griving per new signs
[2:06] Elegia Underwood does not LIKE this dragon. It pushed her off the bridge & into the water ... causing a small cloud of steam & a decrease in the water level.
[2:06] Zealot Benmergui: anyone else want to chime in on this?


I think many of us did wish to, but we were struck dumb in astonishment, for the most part.

[2:08] Chairperson Effingham: haha\
[2:08] Chairperson Effingham: honey
[2:08] Chairperson Effingham: it's post reality
[2:09] Emilly Orr keeps reading back, and hoping it will make more sense, and it's just...not...
[2:09] Jayleden Miles: I bet that leaves a mark
[2:09] Magdalena Kamenev: Don't, Miss Orr!
[2:09] Edward Pearse: Right there with you Em
[2:09] Zealot Benmergui: I have surrendered
[2:09] Emilly Orr: Might be wise.
[2:10] Melanippe Karas: 20 dinars I have it right.
[2:10] Neome Graves: Don't do it, Emi, It's not worth it, live in the now!


I was trying to, but I was also trying to figure out just what it was in our midst we were trying to communicate with--live mind, hive mind, or directed mis-programmed construct of some kind...

[2:13] Chairperson Effingham: what d'your have per--Now the Days Jam master Jay gets to shea
[2:13] Magdalena Kamenev: Oh no ...
[2:14] Chairperson Effingham: right
[2:14] Chairperson Effingham: serpentine!
[2:15] Chairperson Effingham: I skinned em!


Now he was getting personal.

[2:18] Emilly Orr: 0.0
[2:18] Chairperson Effingham: no
[2:18] Emilly Orr: You did NOT skin Em!
[2:18] Emilly Orr has not been skinned!
[2:18] Chairperson Effingham: I'm sorry mrs Orr
[2:18] Neome Graves: Nuuuuuu!
[2:19] Chairperson Effingham: NOOO
[2:19] Edward Pearse: "Miss Orr" last I checked
[2:19] Chairperson Effingham: Yes
[2:19] Emilly Orr: Well, considering the 'partner' field is still annoyingly blank
[2:19] Emilly Orr: That flaw in LL's theory of partnership and all. :)
[2:20] Edward Pearse: That's coz it only has room for one....
[2:20] Neome Graves smiles at the Emilly
[2:20] Chairperson Effingham: Don't be crude
[2:20] Chairperson Effingham: I'll beat you


And there it was again--'don't be crude' after several absolutely innocuous statements, followed by a threat to beat me. And I'm wondering...for what, precisely?

[2:20] Emilly Orr: You say that so often, Mr. Effingham, I do not think it means what you think it means.
[2:20] Edward Pearse: *blinks at Mr. Effingham*
[2:20] Elegia Underwood thinks they are safely tucked up in a castle. "Drat!"
[2:20] Chairperson Effingham: but our bottles have us tyring nothing


[2:21] Chairperson Effingham: those Whom you'll meet me tomorrow
[2:21] Chairperson Effingham: my name!--
[2:22] Emilly Orr: Anyone? Was that a potential threat to be beaten?
[2:22] Emilly Orr: Because, you know, that's not entirely a deterrent, but at least coffee first


Well, it's a point. Of small order, but had to be made. Didn't seem to matter, it was ignored--and for once, not responded to with 'don't be crude!'

[2:24] Chairperson Effingham: again, you're beign crude

...or so I thought.

[2:24] Adzer Thorne: did gyre and gimbal in the wabe...
[2:24] Melanippe Karas: See?
[2:24] Chairperson Effingham: I will a slillig with living toves
[2:24] Edward Pearse: I don't think that word means what you think it means Mr. Effingham
[2:24] Emilly Orr: Define this 'crude'
[2:24] Melanippe Karas: Sorry, thanks - told you I couldn't remember.
[2:24] Elegia Underwood: All mimsy were the borogoves & the mome wraths outgrabe?
[2:24] Chairperson Effingham: mr pearse,
[2:24] Neome Graves: All mimsy were the bouroughgroves and the mome wraths outgrabe
[2:25] Adzer Thorne: and the moomraths outgrabe...
[2:25] Neome Graves: I always add extra U's to that. =P
[2:25] Melanippe Karas: Beware teh Jabberwock, my son!
[2:25] Chairperson Effingham: I knew what you meant before you meant you thought you meant


Now theories were being tossed around intently. The golem theory surfaced quite a bit; the irritating griefer-by-language theory; the translating from Japanese--badly--theory. Plus others. Nothing seemed to quite fit, but what else would have explained an entire night of this?

[2:25] Chairperson Effingham: mum
[2:25] Elegia Underwood: Vicodin would do it.
[2:25] Melanippe Karas: GOLEM!
[2:25] Elegia Underwood: It spins!


We just nodded at 'Golem' at this point. It seemed the most appropriate answer.

[2:26] Chairperson Effingham: if you didn't mr Pearse, you'r one in some 200,000
[2:26] Muse Messmer: Ware the Frumious Bandersnatch!
[2:26] Chairperson Effingham: and i'm glad for you
[2:26] Melanippe Karas: Claw that catch?
[2:26] Chairperson Effingham: so grow yourself!
[2:27] Muse Messmer: Hehehe
[2:27] Melanippe Karas: ClawS, sorry.
[2:27] Chairperson Effingham: Friends
[2:27] Chairperson Effingham: Grow
[2:27] Edward Pearse: Only 1 in 200,000 thinks you don't know what you're talking about? I think you over estimate the odds.
[2:27] Chairperson Effingham: don't be crude pearse!
[2:27] Chairperson Effingham: we need to tell them that we're tire


And we were, was the thing, but mostly, we were tired of Mr. Effingham being impenetrably confusing.

[2:27] Muse Messmer: Ms. Orr seems to have forgotten her classic children's literature. Never worry, Ms. Orr, tis quite harmless silliness.
[2:28] Chairperson Effingham: we feel you
[2:29] Chairperson Effingham: we want to find our


And he never explained that either. "We want to find our"...what? Way out? Ban button?

Sanity?

[2:34] Chairperson Effingham: i apreciate yout r apeciaqte
[2:34] Chairperson Effingham: hahaa
[2:34] Emilly Orr's translator begins to emit faint blue smoke
[2:34] Emilly Orr: Oh, dear.
[2:35] Chairperson Effingham: badly mis spelled lines
[2:35] Edward Pearse: Maybe he's already met Mr. Beaumont then :-)
[2:36] Chairperson Effingham: you can't pell us; you can't drive a rough beard; and you might not spelled since
[2:36] Chairperson Effingham: I mean I'll give chins
[2:37] Muse Messmer: Would somebody please hand Pr. Effingham a copy of Babbler?


He grew ever more impenetrable, and eventually, stopped responding at all.

Much later, Mr. Beaumont, perforce our chief proponent of typonese and gibberish on channel, appeared, and once the situation had been explained, began to take quite personal umbrage at the 'upstart' on the gibberish front:

[3:25] Wilberforce Beaumont: vert wel I may take a peek or two - send away
[3:26] Wilberforce Beaumont: But mark my words can this fraudster maintain quality gibberish day after day???
[3:28] Jayleden Miles: well that depends on the level of their drunkness at the time
[3:29] Elegia Underwood: I'm sure he was a golem...
[3:29] Elegia Underwood: I think Miss Orr was correct.
[3:29] Elegia Underwood: She spotted him almost right away.
[3:30] Neome Graves nods.
[3:30] Elegia Underwood: No brain, just paperwork.
[3:30] Neome Graves: Emilly knows high quality giberrish when she sees it.
[3:30] Wilberforce Beaumont: I have glanced at it - as I suspected this is amaturish work, not the work of a true Master of Gibberish
[3:31] Elegia Underwood: He said nono & "don't be crude" a lot, but I think that was just to throw us off & make us struggle all the harder to make sense of the rest of what he was saying.


Did we ever make sense of what he was saying? I don't think we did. Mr. Beaumont challenged him to a duel by gibberish, though. We'll see if anything comes of it.

In the meantime, I need to go take the dizzied head to bed. My translator has been strained enough of one evening, thank you muchly.

If I miss the Great Gibberish Duel of '08 in the process...*turns on sarcasm generator*...I'll be very sad, I'm sure. *turns off sarcasm generator, and staggers off to sleep*