Monday, June 29, 2009

get up and shake the glitter off your clothes now, that's what you get

What...in...the... You know what? No. Just no. Not even bothering to try to figure it out.

Save for this--LOLspeak is more of a language than Simlish! WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!?

(There's also one for Lily Allen. My heart despairs.)

So yes, I did spend a few hours, going through my photos, and made this--partially, wandering around the last of Relic, how could I not? But also, that Fat Li'l Sofa (in Weimaraner, a color he doesn't even offer anymore) seemed to be ever-present.

Going through the photos was another attack of nostalgia, but I got through it. I realized so many things are gone, though, when I was assembling the montage. Ryce-kitten, for one. Le Jardin, and the Irish Rose piano I had there. Rivula, Lumindor, Svarga--there's a shot of Ryce and I on Relic mushrooms I rezzed out.

Savan, bastard boy, even gets a sidewise mention, because the shot I took for my profile in deep grieving is in there, with the Fall of the Day sofa I bought, back in...2007? I think?

So, yes. Had to do it. I will miss Relic, and the Isle, and the things that came from Relic, Sanctum Sanctorum, In Temptesta Nox, and Serendipity. Can't not.

Which leads us, not in any way concurrently, to This Way to the Egress. And this one's gonna be tough.

They have a MySpace page as mentioned, but...they don't seem to have anything else. There's a mention on Gilded Age Records, the collective begun by Vernian Process, but again...not a lot of info.

So I went name by name.

Taylor Galassi has worked with Argyle Johansen and is listed as playing cello, accordion & glockenspiel. The MySpace page, additionally, lists piano, both acoustic and electric cello, and vocals for Egress.

Sarah Shown, weirdly, didn't turn up as a Google listing even on her own band's page, but she did turn up this link--which is related to the band, somehow, but...no idea how. She's listed as backup vocalist, as well as playing flute, clarinet, violin, and intriguingly, mandola for the band.

Matt Venderosa turned up nada; but then, neither did a search for M@ Venderosa. According to the MySpace site, he plays drums, general percussion, and is also responsible for random screams and facial contortions when playing live. (And one would assume recording, as well, not that people could see the facial contortions.)

So I admit, I wandered their pics on the MySpace, and grabbed two at random (well, two I like, but yeah):

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(Taylor Galazzi [and now I'm pretty sure also seen repainting basement/garage for studio work, I think, in that vid] street busking somewhere in Pennsylvania, one assumes.)

And here's Taylor with the whole band:

(from the media album)

NO clue where they are for this, but I'm amused by the mylar curtain behind them.

So...there we have it. I can't find any videos beyond the studio painting; I can't find pictures that aren't on the MySpace page; no one's even covered them. My gods do these people need a press agent.

They do have a last.fm page, that's something. And there is music you can hear in both places.

And that's one thing I do know; they have a very vintage sound. Accordion, vocals that remind me of the Tiger Lillies if their main singer actually didn't sing falsetto that day, and the ratchet-clank of odd percussives in the background. Semi-growled lyrics, enticing, inviting, baffling all at once, and...

...why don't they have even one video out?!?

Anyway. Eloosive Moose, another Pennsylvania band, mentions they planned a tour with them this past Aprille...but whether that happened, or anyone reviewed it, your guess is as good as mine.

You know, this might be the first case of me banging on VP's email account and begging for more information! If he's going to be name-dropping, he needs to give out all the info!

I'll keep you updated.

you gave me wings, so I flew

Relic is closing.

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By the time you see this, going to Nameless Isle may be impossible; Baron Grayson and Sue Stonebender put things off as long as they could, but tomorrow, June 30th, all items will be removed from the sim and shuffled to XStreet at reduced prices. After that, you will be able to find Relic and Intemptesta Nox products only on XStreet until December, 2009.

And then they are gone, and not returning.

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Here's part of why, from Grayson and Stonebender themselves:

Several people have pointed out some rather nasty blog threads regarding our leaving. We have posted notes to our groups and on our blogs about our leaving, and our reasons why. While neither of us has any intention of getting caught up in blog drama, some very specific allegations have been made here suggesting we have somehow attempted to defraud people. This is upsetting for a host of reasons, and we are choosing to address these issues directly. We will not post further after this, as we have shared publicly our reasons for leaving and our plans for moving on.

1) Fraud

It's been suggested that we said that we would be be leaving and then chose not to in order to milk profits. This could not be more wrong. We are leaving. We did tell people how and when. In Baron's note to our joint group he said very specifically that we would be winding things down in two parts: 1) we would be leaving our products in tact on The Nameless Isle SIM until around the end of June, to give us time to move some things over to the XStreet web site, and 2) by the end of December that we would be taking that stuff down too. This was not to inflate values. In fact, we have both significantly reduced the prices on on our products. As for leaving things put for a time, we also said why we were doing this. Both of us have had our family incomes all but wiped out, meaning we have had a lot of difficult choices to make. Those choices included not carrying on these inworld businesses because we needed to pursue something that better kept the roof over our heads. We cannot afford to simply kill off that one remaining source of income that we had, which is why we said that we would wind things down slowly, instead of just completely pulling the plug. As for planning to remove our products completely, we still plan on doing this as neither of us is inworld to support them, and neither of us wants to leave legacy items laying around like a shrine.

2) Illness and the Economy

Baron never said he was leaving due to illness. I (Sue) did step back for a long time because of personal illness, which was posted in my personal blog and sent out in notes to my own group. We both acknowledged that the crash of the economy had played a huge role in our decision to leave, and both posted this in notes to our groups. This was also posted on the http://baronandsue.com web site.

3) Charity

I (Sue) chose Kiva as the means for investing charitable funding in order to [ensure] it was transparent. Fund invested are publicly shown here: http://www.kiva.org/lender/suestonebender There have been various private donations made from the sale of assets and auctions as well.


My (Sue's) Ad Lucem and Intemptesta Nox SIMs were transferred last spring to two different owners. Nox became a private residence and art sim for a couple whose names we will not disclose. Ad Lucem was developed by Alchemy and Immortalis Cyannis, who will also have ownership of Baron's The Nameless Isle SIM as planned by the end of the summer. The transfer of those SIMs also included a number of assets, including textures, scripts, web collateral and structures. Our original business plans are not wavering, but for the decision to not list on Xstreet. It's easier to simply leave it as it is inworld and delete the entire retail presence after Christmas as originally planned.

Sue Stonebender.


4) Note from Baron:

I have to sit back and shake my head at all of this drama. My reasons for leaving are 3 things specifically. 1) The slow economy. I realised my business plan at Relic could not support a family. It was a failure in the way it was set up. What doesn't work, has to end. 2) There was too much drama in the social side of things. I no longer had time for it, having to ramp up work and keep strict work hours. 3) The drama surrounding Sue's Illness. We're both sick of people sticking their nose in our business when we're handling it as best we can. Try working in SL with everyone imperiously demanding your time because everyone thinks they have a god given right to dish out advice on what one should do when sick, in the middle of your work day. If you have never been sick before, you would know the worst thing you could do would be to slow down on profits at work. How does one strengthen an income in a down economy. You look at what you're good at, and you look at what is keeping you from success and you trim and cut mercilessly. Her illness became fodder for gossip. What did she have, how was she getting it treated..on and on and on. I'm sitting on the side lines simply thinking..if only these people would shut the fuck up, she could actually handle much better the days that are hard. The stress of their "helpfulness" made her worse medically.

So in I step and I say. Sue..let's leave all of this shit behind. How can we do this gracefully? How can we preserve some of what we've created? How can we make a living and step away from all of these negative people.

You stick together. You stop chattering. You do things as gracefully as you can, and you get to work.


Baron Grayson.


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Personally, I shall miss them deeply, but the economy on Second Life has suffered. If it supported art and artistry once, it does so no longer. And while it may regain its footing, that doesn't help matters right now.

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I for one shall miss their creativity--and the beauty of their sims--deeply, and say no word against them. I wish them all future successes, and hope they can recapture the beauty and the art they made here.

I've done what I can to get people into the sim, through questioning in Caledon, and through this post. It won't be enough, not one one-hundredth of enough, but it's what I can do. For what we best adore, we must set free, and this time, we do not expect them ever to return.

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Be safe, Baron and Sue; be happy; and be assured that you will be remembered, at least by a devoted few. Miss Allegory Malaprop of Schadenfreude says it all much better than I can; I'm still feeling the loss.

along with the sunshine, there's gotta be a little rain sometimes

Every once in a while a game review comes along which is shocking, baffling and hysterically funny, all at the same time. Zero Punctuation's review of Infamous and Prototype is that review.

One way to keep an eye on things, likely not the best way: Warner Brothers ejects non-English speakers from its SL properties.

So let's talk about The Real Tuesday Weld. They're somewhat unique in that they have great critical acclaim while having virtually no popular acclaim. For a band that many, many people have heard without ever knowing it--that says something odd about the whole business of recording.

At times, simply due to the tonnage of film and animation work they've done, their videos seem more avant-garde art pieces than music videos.

Outside Left had this to say about them:
"They call their music "antique beat". It is an exquisite blend of the modern and the ancient that seamlessly mixes quaint Englishness with louche continental charm."
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(Stephen Coates of The Real Tuesday Weld; all rights reserved to Paul Heartfield.)

I admit, I love that term, "antique beat". Beyond the sheer catchiness of it, it also drags in the deep vintage, along with the allusions of Bohemian coffeehouses and soft-step swing. That, and here we are again, defining "steampunk" as "using whatever's on hand"--his own label admits Stephen Coates is equally as likely to employ a piano or a drum set, as poker chips, kazoos and pedal organs.

At this point, The Real Tuesday Weld boasts twelve members, which officially beats out Big Pig, who at their height toured with singer, guitarist and eight percussionists.

They apparently do a great deal of work with the Puppini Sisters, a wonderfully wicked vintage burlesque set of songsters who hail from Italy and Britain:

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(I don't know too much about them--yet--but I have to say, I adore the shoes.)


One of the best examples I found of their joint work is the gleefully morbid Apart of Me. You'll never think of maggots in the same way again.

They've also done a lot--and I do mean a lot--of film scores, commercials, and incidental scoring for both film preservation efforts and museum presentations. In fact, the odds are good that you have heard them; you just didn't know it at the time.

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(Five members of The Real Tuesday Weld at the OPB studios in Portland, Oregon: right to left, my best guess is Don Brosnan in black, I think Gary Bridgewood in the pale blue shirt and bowler, Clive Painter in the leather hat, Jed Woodhouse with the lizard, and Stephen Coates on the right with the green glass goggles. ...I hope.)

On the bio section of their official web page, Stephen Coates starts off the revelation with this:

"I grew up in an old fashioned house where Thirties British dance band music was played (along with a dash of easy listening). I was very reserved - I played the recorder, piano and trumpet and I read mythology. I developed a prediliction for hallucinogens and became a cross dresser. I was a student at the Royal College of Art in London, dabbled a little with music but started to meditate and decided to become a Buddhist monk. I spent four months in the Spanish mountains abstaining from drink, drugs and debauchery on the path to enlightenment. I came down. I really came down. I collapsed into a psychic heap, split with my paramour and entered into a shadow world. I began to study Jung and James Hillman and to pay attention to my dreams. I visited a shaman and had a series of very strange experiences in London and in the Cambrian mountains in West Wales.

"One night I had a very strong dream in which the British crooner Al Bowlly appeared to me in Piccadilly circus. I took it as an omen that I needed to become a musician. The next night I dreamt of the actress Tuesday Weld. I started to make funny little songs which reminded me of the way I heard music through the walls of the house I grew up in. I read an article about a girl who ran a little record label and who sold her sports car to finance a single. I sent her something. We met and she (Tracy Lee Jackson) and I released a series of records on her wonderful Dreamy imprint."


This is not your average artists' bio. But then, Stephen Coates and company are far from your average artists.

The Blog Critics review of The London Book of the Dead would push them towards an even greater vintage sound; Flak Magazine wonders if Coates is enamored of the tease at the expense of the payoff. And eMusic lovingly describes their sound as "Like wandering out of the London fog into a studio full of laptops."

Yeah. It's a lot like that.

Some visuals and listenables:
Black Birdies Come, bittersweet and evocative instrumental number
The Cherry Coke commercial using "I Love the Rain"
The promo trailer for Nip/Tuck's second season
Dreaming of You, a collaboration with Cibelle
Last Words, later used in the film Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
Heaven Can't Wait, ethereal drifting melody mixed with a hushed beat to visuals that range from microscopically-enhanced genetic proliferation, to 1940's-era bathing beauties, spun together into one wide-ranging, yet surprisingly tight sound

Their current label, Six Degrees, has an excellent article on their evolution as artists, with emphasis on frontman and main songwriter, Stephen Coates. They also link to the band's MySpace page, and their official site.

Give them a listen. You've likely heard them before.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

farewell, cabarista, the writing's on the wall

That'll teach 'em.

In any relationship, be it business, love or friend, it takes two to fight, but it also takes two to mend. If we can do nothing else, we can at least step back and refuse to argue. Robert Scoble is trying to do this very thing. So am I.

Tonight, in fact, gave me an excellent opportunity to get back to something featured on this blog that has nothing to do with trains, or wrecks, or even fire--but music. Steampunk music.

I now have a whole new source of lists. Seems someone--Duchess Gabi? Edward? Someone else?--talked Josh Pfeiffer from Vernian Process into SL. In fact, he has an av now, name of--what else?--VernianProcess Steampunk. Figures.

But every couple of weeks, or so, on Sundays, he spins a couple hours of steampunk and steampunk-inspired music in the New Champagne Rooms in Babbage Square. Edward pulled me in half an hour into it tonight, and I admit, I was enthralled. Music I'd never heard, but could see how it fed into steampunk. Music I *had* heard, and had decisively labeled as potentially 'steamy' in nature.

Some folks danced, some--like m'self--sat on low cushions around low Moroccan tables, listening. It was well worth the bit over an hour I spent; I'll be looking forward to future events at the New Champagne Rooms.

So, as the lists come out, I'll add those to the music exploration project, and in the meantime, I'll add in a partial one from tonight.

The Real Tuesday Weld - listed as lounge pop/electronica
This Way To the Egress - listed as "electroacoustic" experimental
Man Man - no description, but they strike me very much as avant-pop with all the bells and whistles (and I do mean that literally. Is there a 'toycore' sub-genre yet? If so, they fit it)
The Tenth Stage - alternagoth/melodramatic pop, they say
Unwoman - she calls herself "postpunk classical", which kind of hurts my head
Gogol Bordello - who beats Unwoman in their genre description, of death metal/Japanese classical/melodramatic pop/gypsy-punk (the HELL)
Diablo Swing Orchestra - Wiki says they're a Swedish avant-metal band; DSO call themselves a rock/classical/jazz band (me, I'm going with Wiki, it seems closer, with a strong side of swing)
Humanwine - self-described as "2 step/lyrical/visual"; I'd compare them a lot to Rasputina mixed with a stripped-down Within Temptation. (Though sad, so sad--their lead singer has one of the facial tats I was considering getting. Back to the drawing board...)
Vagabond Opera - another dark cabaret venture, with a touch of swing and boogie-woogie
Paul Roland - In 1983, according to Pfeiffer, Paul Roland recorded a song named Wyndham Hill (I think, unless that was the recording label and the song was called "Paul Roland") concerning manned flight in Victorian England. He's naming it steampunk. So he's on the list to listen to, at any rate

And off we go, the next several entries, then back to the old lists! Muahahaha?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

ten thousand around me, yet I was alone

Because, if all goes well, my children's children, too, will have their tomorrows thickly sliced and sweetly scented, studded with memory, and appled with hope.

It's a good wish.

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With only a week or so left to go on the Hair Fair? I think Nushru is out of luck. "Coming Soon!" is rather optimistic at this point.

And on not infrequent occasion, the Japanese deeply, deeply confuse me. Forget the question of why would anyone want a motorcycle made out of two women; that's actually self-answering. It's the deeper question of why would you want the motorcycle made out of two women to be positioned in such a bafflingly useless fashion.

I'm with one respondent on the mention--the fan art from this is either going to be horrendous, or fantastically confusing...

In Americamura sim, Hani just opened:

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Note: "eyeblow". Um, I'm fairly sure I don't want that ever to happen.

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Also, if these are the "eyeblows" in question? Wau, do they make her look demonic.

Still, that could have an up side--all of the wicked fun with the nineteen yards of angst on the side; no horn headaches!

The other up side? Everything's half off for the opening, so this eye set, and the "nomal" (yes, that's how she spelled it) size ones are both L$32 a set.

In other news, life continues downhill. I shouldn't be surprised at this anymore...

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I rather figured this would happen, actually. The nature of things being as they are, the train wreck couldn't be peaceful forever.

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On the plus side, the train's mobile, and only slightly on fire. This is actually good news.

Now I just need to find the rest of the train...

Honestly, going back to Hair Fair for a moment? It kills me that people are still screaming about ARC. It's so flawed, it's so unreliable, yet so many people have seized it as the Source of All SL Evil; even I fall into that thinking on occasion.

ARC really only lags me; I do understand that; my best option for not lagging trying to rez in someone with over 3000 ARC is just to face the other way.

In Hair Fair, this becomes problematic, though; my choices seem to be 1) face the 3000 ARC idiots with overprimmed backpacks and belts, legwarmers and fluffy neko tails (and yes, it's tragic how many avatars that describes), or 2) face the sculpted 150-prim madness that is each individual vendor booth at Hair Fair.

There's no way to win.

On the plus side, Mr. Drinkwater's rez day party was yesterday, though his actual rez day is the 24th (I think...when last checked, that's the date I remember).

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So of course a party was thrown!

I'm usually the one detailing who was whom in the photo, but I have no clue. I know Duchess Gabi was the DJ in peach; I know Mr. Drinkwater was tattooed in the kilt; everyone (and it seemed like everyone I knew and then some popped in!) else sort of all blurred together. Just about everyone who could make it, did.

Pretty nice accomplishment for a fellow who walked into a grid with no libraries at all. Three years later, he's the standard everyone wants to emulate. That's just damned keen. And the best benchmark for excellence any of us could hope for.

Kudos, Mr. Drinkwater, and may you have many more rez days to come.

Lastly, before I tie this up, I've gotten into video-making...sort of. One True Media has a service whereby one loads pictures or video clips, then uploads music, and the service pairs them and presents them. You can then upload them to a blog, a web page, or my personal favorite, YouTube.

I started with one of my favorite movie soundtrack songs, paired with images of Harley Quinn and the Joker in various forms--Too Bad You're Crazy. Then I got introspective--the train wreck on the rails again does that--and turned out over the last four days Sleep and We Walk the Same Line.

I'm getting the hang of this, I think. I just need to not freak out so much on proper attribution of everything...

Friday, June 26, 2009

if I speak, I get an earful, if I don't, I'm a cad

Over the past few days, we have been trying to get through Hair Fair. It hasn't been easy. Everything I can find--most from designers and fashion blogs--squeals about how wonderfully low-lag the design is, and how perfectly sweet a setting was put together.

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(Tekeli-li provides a welcome break from the Candyland nightmare.)

They also go on and on about how much money went into this, which is...not the point, is it? And frankly, if you really have to pimp those who donated, more than you pimp the charity? Something's gone wrong somewhere.

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(Two chocolate jelly monoliths square off for battle.)

Locks of Love, the charity group behind Hair Fair, propels many people to come to Hair Fair and deal with the lag only in part because they love fun new hair--the other part is that they want to help support the gift of hair to those, frequently female, young people which through no fault of their own (cancer treatment, accident, or other autoimmune-system disorders that cause alopecia) have gone bald.

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(The best picture I could get of Honey Hair's dripping honey-pot cottage.)

Now, I know there's another side to the story but even so, that's recent behavior--and even that's recent-ish--it still doesn't count for the donations made, and the money raised, over the course of their decade of operation.

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(Pink and white, that's one thing. Cherries and faux whipped cream everywhere, okay. But shine? On just about everything??)

Now, some folks have been talking in the background about Wigs for Kids, which on the surface at least, sounds as good as Locks for Love does; but I would think the main problem would still exist, that of (at least American) donated hair being unsuitable due to frequent washing, application of products, and frequent heat treatments/dyes/bleaching sessions. So yet again, they may be set up to do much the same thing, and end up with a ton of hair they can't use.

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(Full bright? DOES NOT HELP.)

All of that's beside the point, though. I remember the first Hair Fair. I remember it was two sims, and there was that odd lag spike in the middle, but for the most part, it was a fairly easy stroll, and we all got through it. Then came Hair Fair 2008, on the Rezzable sims...and all hell broke loose.

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(I stood here for ten minutes for two reasons: first, I was trying to let the damned thing rez, and second, I was trying to decide if I really needed to know what all the yellow was flowing over the ground and out of the candy canes. I finally decided I not only didn't need to know, but I didn't need to wait, either, and snapped the pic.)

To this day I still don't understand the Aztec Sacrifice theme of Hair Fair 2008, but then, I completely fail to understand the cracked-out Candyland theme they've got going this year, so maybe I'm not the hair fetishist on drugs I need to be to truly understand their themes.

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(The Good Ship Lollipop comes to life.)

All I know is...it was somewhat hard to move the first year; impossible to move the second without stripping down to bare prims; and beyond all hope moving this year, even with taking off everything, wandering around stark nude in a dead black single-tone skin (and I mean actually black, the little bald shadow you can see in some of these pics? That's me), with no hair, shoes, HUDs, AOs, and with nothing running in the background on Firefox.

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(Milestone Creations' booth as seen from across the 'Chocolate Road' linking the four sims of Hair Fair '09.)

I pulled up some of the prim counts on the booths. I remember when it was ten or less per vendor display, and twenty or less per booth; now it's twenty or less per vendor display, and two hundred or less per booth.

Low-lag or not? This is insane.

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(This booth pissed me off. I never figured out who they were; the sign never rezzed in enough. But it wasn't bad enough they had candy-striped flowers, and full-glow baby-teal/baby-pink trees; oh, no, they had to have scripted particle-spewing things outside of this overtly pastel tragedy!)

The couple wandering around in this shot? Both registered above 3700 on the ARC, too. Now, I know the ARC is invalid as a judgement system; I know it mostly just affects one's own processing speed...but even so, they caused a fair amount of resentment in people, simply because half of us were doing our best to cut down, and everyone else didn't seem to care.

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(Miss Kyrianna Ares. Tattoos do not mean you're covered. This is another case of standing in one place for ten minutes, while she tried on various hair demos, and realizing she was never going to rez in.)

I won't even go into what she was wearing below the belt.

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(Sari's bright little booth at Hair Fair.)

Sari Telling's place, btw? For all that it didn't rez in either, it was fresh, clean, and entirely what I've come to expect from her. The only candy connection she had was to the waffle-cone siding on the place, and if I squinted, I could blithely pretend that was ikat.

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(Writhing dark tentacles on the moon...or somewhere sufficiently other-planetary.)


Enough complaining about Hair Fair. Remember when I said I was boycotting SL6B this year? Because the concept of celebrating six years of a company who doesn't ever listen to us, behave rationally, or learn from their mistakes is far, far beyond ridiculous?

Welcome to Cyber Octopus World. I got sucked in by accident, because the LKC notice didn't mention it was in SL6B.

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(The tale writ in green upon the space rocks...)

This place has a whole backstory, apparently. And--if you click either the floating 'baby' octopus overhead (give plenty of time to rez things, or you won't see it), or the tentacles poking out of the shattered space wasteland directly in front, you can get the octopus head to wear, or a full 'mother octopus' avatar.

...

Seriously.

I haven't checked them out yet, but I thought, hells, I went there anyway, seems kind of ridiculous to go home with nothing to show for it...besides, 'mother octopus' wear? That's still rare on the grid.

Maybe I can wear it to Hair Fair if I go back in. Along with three belts, 250-prim legwarmers for each tentacle, and all the scripts I can pack into a set of sixteen face lights...

*coughs*

No, I'm not bitter. Why do you ask?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

swallowed up in the sound of my screaming, cannot cease for the fear of silent nights

Of course she is disappointed.

That it all came down to a battle over one word, and one man. That it didn't mean more than that to anyone involved. That no one seemed to see it for what it was, but her. That no one seemed to honestly understand, but her. This is not the first time this has happened. Though that is disappointing, too.

Of course she is disappointed.

That she now watches warily behind her eyes, wondering what next will go wrong. Wondering how long the tightrope walk continues, love to love, event to event, friend to friend, and some not so friendly. She wonders if she's placed her trust in the wrong people, and is further disappointed that this is not the first time that's happened. She wonders what controversy will next arise to wipe this one away, and if she'll be at the center of that one, too.

Of course she is disappointed.

She listens to people talk, she watches them interact, she pulls out tales and contentions, thread by tendril thread, from those around her. And she hears story after story--"outgrown Caledon", says one, and "down to my last parcel there", says another, and "haven't owned Caledon land in six months" says a third. Story after story, tale after tale. How much of the old guard has moved on? How many new faces will it take before no one's left of the old guard to welcome the new ones in? This, also, is not occurring to her for the first time.

Of course she is disappointed.

Partially because she's still contemplating what to say to Des, who so massively missed the point entirely; and if he missed it, the point, her point, painted in brushstrokes so bright and vibrant that she thought a child of five would have winced at the impossibility...then she was far, far too subtle for everyone else. This is not the first time she's been more subtle than the situation called for.

Of course she is disappointed.

Because she keeps making the same mistakes. Because in all her years she hasn't learned the trick of communication, of telling her truth to other beings in a fashion that stays with them, for at least as long as it takes to leave a dance. Because she doesn't know how she wound up again in this place, where no word seems true, where all faces seem false, where nothing can be relied upon and all her foundations tremble.

This is far, far from the first time that's happened, either.

People. Listen. Leave Lord Bardhaven out of it--fine, he's angered and hurt a great many, he's been muted by more, he's earned the karma. Fine. How many times do I have to say it was not about him?

Listen. What I do in the privacy of my own home; what I complain about in IM; what I gossip about in other homes; that is (reasonably considered to be) private. Nothing stops that, nothing interferes with that. I'm sure people have been complaining about me this week in various places, and that's also not the first time that's happened, and that's also fine.

Private complaint; private ranting; private upset...hells, in the wide scheme of things, even though this blog goes before the eyes of far more people than it did when it started, even this qualifies as 'private', to an extent, from the grid at large. Does anyone else understand that basic point?

Public on the grid DOES NOT EQUAL private on the grid. Public even OFF the grid DOES NOT EQUAL private on the grid. And in public on the grid, WE NEED TO BEHAVE BETTER.

How is this unclear?

And there's the question of phrasing. That was part of the problem, because it presented a no-win situation. Comparable to "So, how long have you been beating your wife?" If you answer "a long time", even jokingly, you're doomed; but conversely, if you answer "I haven't!" or some similar retort, it doesn't wash, because the question is already in the minds of the listeners.

"Are you still beating your wife" = "He must beat his wife." (And also, he must have a wife in the first place.)

"Does he still have a brother in jail?" = "His brother is in jail." (And, conversely, also has a brother.)

"How long has he been a racist?" = "He's a racist."

It's a trap, it's a loaded question, and it's one we all fell into, pro or con; whereupon the unfriendly feelings for Bardhaven rose up and overwhelmed the partygoers. And fine, yes, that's not good either, but the entire question as posed was a goad to the crowd.

We have to be better.

Listen. For the love of all gods, listen. We need to consider our words, in public, if not in private. We need to realize that sometimes things have meaning far beyond the moment. And yes, yes we are back to this--we need to have better manners.

Or we're just a regular crowd of net idiots who like fancy dress, who have the manners and comported behavior of your standard 4chan reader. We have to be better than that.

Or the entire experiment's a wash, start to finish.

Speaking of large unsettling changes...Second Life might be banned soon in Australia. That could change large things on the grid, considering the Aussie residents of Caledon alone.

And in the wake of the news, Second Life releases the Snowglobe viewer--which is apparently just packed with fun and amazing bugs and glitches--everything you hate from viewer 1.23 plus crashing every time you bring a texture into world! Or maybe get a texture at all, it's unclear.

That would be fun, wouldn't it? An improvement for the viewer on SL that makes it impossible to shop? Why bother even having an economy then...

Tonight was also the Poetry Slam at der Hut in Absinthe, and I didn't get word out early enough, and I was pulled in and out of world, anyway, so I was very very much distracted.

What I wanted to share then:

Writing Poems on Antidepressants

Each day offers some little irony or a dream
or a blind albino woman
sitting next to you on the train
with eyelashes like white silk threads
attached like broom-straw to her one closed eye
as she taps her cane against the window
and you, the poet on antidepressants,
thinks: look at that, hmmm, interesting.
Did I buy dog food? Here’s my stop.
--Nikki Moustaki

But I'll leave it up here anyway. Remember, every Thursday from five (ish) to seven (is) pm SLT, you can come to der Hut in Winterfell Absinthe and engage in spirited poetry-reading. All weapons must be no-push, with temp-rez ammo. Bring a sense of humor and a love for poetry.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I am an anarchist, an Antichrist, an acolyte, an accidental

Not now, Jesus!

I love this stupid game.

So...apropos likely of a lot, I've been thinking of muting, and chat-blocking in general. In some places (Twitter springs instantly to mind), I have no issue blocking people. In Runes of Magic, I have a dedicated program; all it does it sit in the background, detect gold spammers, and remove them from my view. That's literally the only reason I have it; so I don't have to manually do it myself.

Yet there are other places where I have a tremendous difficulty blocking people. Several of my journals have been open to the public--regardless of whether what I'm talking about is actually safe, or desirable, for public view from any standpoint--because I have odd issues about journals at times.

Even in Second Life, it takes a great deal for me to mute someone. I never do it without serious thought; I never do it if there's a chance, even one single thread of a chance, of any form of social interaction past that point--even barely civil, icy contempt.

But a great many people aren't me, and even I am loosening my standards, these days.

Take for example Bewkie Effingham. Bewkie is one of a scant few thorns in my side, a person I would be overjoyed to discover that she'd forgotten how to log in of a morning, and never managed to regain the trick of it. I'm sure someone, somewhere, must care for her, would miss her if she left, but...no one comes to mind.

She is nearly single-handedly responsible for both the firing of a friend who worked for Absinthe and Arsenic, and the fact that we no longer attend their events. Even though she doesn't work there now, there's enough pain and suffering on my side that I have problems even just dropping by that club for any reason.

And we have argued publicly. Oh, have we argued publicly. And in group chats of the Lucky Kitties, where I was an officer before the group changed back to single-owner status. She came within inches of being banned from the group three times, by the way, and that I don't do lightly, either.

But the owner of the group sat me down, and essentially said, Look. I like you. I like her. Mute her.

And I had to ask her why. And she was honest with me. It was because she liked us both and she wanted the fighting to stop.

So for once, I didn't angst over it, I didn't spend hours poring over the ethics, I didn't wonder if it would be the right thing to do...

I just did it. One click. No more Bewkie.

But with that one click, no more fighting. No more upset in the LKC. And sure, I don't hear what she has to say, but on the other hand, what I don't hear, I don't want to bash her for. What I don't hear I don't have to take exception to. What I don't hear...makes things more peaceful.

It does make me wonder, then and now. Reevaluate my past position that muting was only a last-ditch, last-resort move, when nothing else had worked; that muting was only for when I couldn't take any more, it was stab them or leave world, that I was shuddering in pain, unable to bear any word from them, my head and my heart turned away and closed off to anything they could say or do...

It makes me wonder something else, too. Why do I let things go so far? Why do I wait until I literally can't stand it before acting? Why can't I just mute, or block, or ban...and have done with it?

It's not a question with an easy answer. But it's one I want to spend the time to think out. Because maybe muting isn't so bad.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

all your friends got behind my back and broke it

I look up to the little bird
That glides across the sky
He sings the clearest melody


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Crackle of frost, chill of the winter wind, save it's part of me, unfurling shiver down the spine. I am restless, discontent, I wander, place to place to place, never satisfied.

It makes me want to cry
It makes me want to sit right down
and cry cry cry, yeah


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Smoke over the mountains in Turkey; flowers in clay pots beside the tiled dance floor in Catalan. Sands sweeping between the ancient columns in Egypt. Wandering, drifting, directionless as snowflakes on the morning wind.

I walk along the city streets
So dark with rage and fear
And I...


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I go to the forest, trees reaching for the sun, thick flowers underfoot, and I am yet dissatisfied. My mind is more full of thoughts, recriminations, distrust, than there are flowers growing here. I relax against the thick moss and I am not comforted.

I wish that I could be that bird
And fly away from here
I wish I had the wings to fly away from here, yeah


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I walk to the edge of the sea, spray splashing me, salt stinging me, seafoam swirling in nearly recognizable patterns, and all this beauty is wasted on me, when the inside of my head cannot appreciate it. Cannot see past it. Cannot get past what happened.

But Mama I feel so low
Mama where do I go?
Mama what do I know?
Mama we reap what we sow


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I sit at Mystique's hot springs, reflecting on the amusement of all the poseballs being butterflies, but it doesn't last. The water warms my feet but not my heart, never penetrates through the chill skin.

This is my fault.

They always said that you knew best
But this little bird's fallen out of that nest now
I've got a feeling that it might have been blessed
So I've just got to put these wings to test


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I walk the mists at Stonehenge, thinking. The sky so bright and clear, it's like a silver mirror overhead. All the overhanging murk fades into the mist and I'm clear, I'm clear, crystalline as the snow in my wings. I have something, I hold something, and it's a truth, if not the truth.

This is your fault, too.

For I am just a troubled soul
Who's weighted...
Weighted to the ground


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Listen. This is important. "Drama" is what we create. "Roleplay" is how we act. They are not separate. Drama can come and wrap itself tightly around the play, and it is not separate, it is not dismissed. It shouldn't be.

But even more than that, there are times and there are places for all things. Dancing has more to do with the societies we create, not the roles we live within. It used to be said in some places that the dance circle was as sacred as the place of worship, and all animosities, all recriminations, all feuds should be set aside for the dance.

When did we stop believing in this?

Give me the strength to carry on
Till I can lay my burden down


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Sometimes our personal paths are strained and anxious, sometimes the paths we walk in world are dim and indistinct. We are, all of us, at least most of the time, doing the best we can, and some days are always better than others. Everyone falls, everyone fails. All of us. This is known, this is always part of how things work, when they work, when we make them work.

Give me the strength to lay this burden down
down down yea
Give me the strength to lay it down
Lay it down, lay it down


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But perhaps I'm forgetting when Lord Bardhaven dragged the owner of a neighboring sim into the center of Victoria City and cut out her heart. I mean, for such vitriol, such acid loathing, as I heard at the Edison ball...it would have to be something huge, wouldn't it? Something EVERYONE would remember. Certainly something his friends would know...right?

Am I wrong? Was there something that happened that would justify the spite? Beheading Duchess Eva, mayhap. Or walking into Mr. Drinkwater's personal library, and setting it ablaze. Something large, now, something of scope, something that would result in nine hundred and two pages of shock across the Caledon forums.

Hmm. Can't seem to find anything that fits. So what was the reason everyone decided Bardhaven would look better festooned with arrows? On fire?

But Mama I feel so low
Mama where do I go?
Mama what do I know?
Mama we reap what we sow


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Am I missing something? Because I stood there with the rest of you. I listened, I made token protests, and it's killing some part of my heart that I didn't yell back that you were all wrong. Even the people I work with, even the people I roleplay with, if it comes down to that.

Even the people who hold more of my life in their hands than they know, at least online. I am sick at heart that I was even a token protester to it.

They always said that you knew best
But this little bird's fallen out of that nest now
I've got a feeling that it might have been blessed
So I've just got to put these wings to test


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And it will not happen again.

If I have to disrupt what I think of as the serenity of the gig...if I have to stand up and leave, what I consider the ultimate unprofessional act...if I have to leave the home I've made in Caledon if it comes to that...

I will not stand by again, no matter who is under discussion, and let a friend of mine be treated to such disdain and loathing. I. Will. Not. Dances may no longer be sacred, but by my gods they will be neutral, and if the lot of you can't agree to that, I have no business being around any of you.

Other news.

The comments on Viewer 2009 are priceless, and deserve to be read again. Especially Penny Patton's. But changes are coming, and it's far more extreme than just a shuffling of buttons.

With the Lindens pledging to listen to user feedback all the way. Of course.

As they did so well with Zindra.

(Lyrics, of course, from Annie Lennox' Little Bird. Many shots were taken at Vegetal Planet. I highly recommend going, it's all sorts of amazing there.)

Monday, June 22, 2009

time it may take us but God only knows how I've paid for those things in the past

Apparently, all the protesting over the switching about of the pie menu? Doesn't matter a whit; we're moving to Steam-influenced drop-down menus, apparently.

Good to know the Lindens are in touch with what their users expect and want.

Ferrofluids. Wau. New concept.

(Several hours later--having now experimented further with the 1.23 viewer--the pie menu is still abhorrent and non-useful, even with the suggested .xml file fixes. Even worse? There are no prim counts anywhere under the Edit menus in 1.23. ANYWHERE.

(This is death for building.)

I guess now we just wait for Second Life 2.0...because 1.23? Is profoundly, and unworkably, flawed.

I believe my comment sums this one up. Sadly, it's very very long, so takes eighteen months to load. Apologies for that.

And this one is shorter, but no less baffling. And is that the Welsh dragon seen in the middle?

Back to Hair Fair. Guess I'm a martyr for lag. But I had a goal: Discord Designs had new braids out.

Thankfully, Discord wasn't that far away from the northeast beam-in point I'd chosen, and I bought the new Yolanda style, before I noticed something on an inner wall:

Niobe.

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How very Matrix.

Even better, Niobe is a single Linden, with all proceeds going to Locks of Love.

So with the purchase of one new release, and one dollarbie, I've now donated sixty-one Lindens to Locks of Love. That's not a bad deal at all for five different shades in two styles.

But there's so much Hair Fair to go, and so much lag...I may end up a box prim in two dimensions at this rate!

(Further conversation with Edward on the 1.23 viewer? He tells me that the prim counts were moved up into the top box section of the edit menu, you know, where NO ONE would think to look. Too late anyway. Uninstalled. They'll have to drag me kicking and screaming into 1.23...or upgrade to a new viewer before I stop playing entirely. This is ridiculous, it's UN. USABLE.)

won't you pick the pieces up, 'cos it feels just like I'm walking on broken glass

The Anatomy of Lag. I didn't agree with everything Gwyneth Llewelyn said, the first time she wrote on what actually causes lag in SL. This time, I'm on board with many more of her suggestions, and explanations. And--while I still want to go through and put the prim count next to all of the hair I'm keeping--I think she's dead-on where the ARC figures are concerned, too.

I'm actually wondering if I can get along with a simple one-prim scripted HUD object for basic, slow radar, as opposed to the Mysti with all the bells and whistles. I need the Mysti for building, yes, and for a couple of upper functionals I run on my own parcels, but I really don't need the whole thing running for events.

Also, per earlier's JIRA mention, this meta-issue has a couple of .xml files that purportedly restore the pie menu to functionality. I'll test it later, see how accurate those play out.

Still obsessing on yesterday's event, and twisting on the why of it. Going back on certain gentles' 'bad people' list...well, that happens, I adapt. And it's not the first time I've been in a conversation involving the verbal evisceration of an avatar (present or not).

I think it is the first time where I've felt current income (and future income) depended on how I worded things, and so, I didn't defend the one under attack as much as I should have, maybe. Or as much as I wanted to. And I get the decided feeling there was more back story to things than I knew, because people I would have thought had no reason to hold such damaging opinions were the ones with the greatest vitriol to pour into the conversation.

I pair with this the discovery that history has been rewritten in major ways, I wasn't there for it, and all I can do is stand back and be appalled. In considerably under a month, an avatar who was the bane of several individuals' existence has gone from the receiver of karmic justice to the tragic hero slain before his time. Somehow, things have changed, and changed in ways I cannot comprehend. How does one being move from "I'm glad he's banned" to signing a petition to bring him back?

If you're one of those people currently rousing support, do let me know how the switch happens. I'd be fascinated, though I can't guarantee I'll understand.

So...think I'm back to coming in for gigs, staying away from SL for a bit, and if I'm in, not talking. Because I really have no idea what to say.

More images from Runes of Magic.

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I admit, I took this shot mostly for the humor value, but it's worth the explanation.

Runes of Magic, as with all major MMOs, has gold spammers infesting it. Normally, to talk at all in main zone chat in Runes, one has to achieve five levels of experience. This is not a bad thing, mind.

But some spammers can't even manage to get that far, so they'll hang out at major port points in the game, speaking in local chat, advertising for cheap gold, no waiting. They're nearly instantaneously banned by 95% of all residents--because the management of Runes is very strict: they find you've bought gold or diamonds from people not them, they ban your account. No appeals. No reconsideration.

This fellow, then, was standing by the roadside to Varanas, the capitol city. One can only assume, as he was level one (to adventure in the regions around the capitol, it's recommended the adventurer be at least level ten), that some wandering beetle nipped him with a feeler and down he fell.

Only...he didn't resurrect. He just laid there, dead, spamming local chat with offers of gold and diamonds on the cheap.

I couldn't take it, I had to say something.

Needless to say, being dead, he didn't respond. Save to send out more local blurbs on gold and diamonds through his website.

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It's an MMO, you die a lot. This is the post-death look at the Demon Witch Ancalon.

Now, I will be honest, there are bigger and badder bosses in the game. But I do believe that Ancalon remains one of the single most adaptive and intelligent AIs Runes of Magic has. Why? Because she can anticipate; because she can turn and target individual characters, not just the one fighting her; because she has a HUGE area of effect (over 250 meters from her, she can still kill with a single wave of her hand).

She's fast, she's lethal, and she's tactically superior. This? Equals mass deathing.

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It's an oddity of Runes--at times I port into a place, and all the NPCs are floating in midair, arms extended, little legs kicking.

This is the first time I'd seen a floating horse, though.

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Think I'm just playing camera tricks and the horse isn't actually floating, just leaping? The larger picture will cement, then: it's me sitting under the horse.

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Back in the old armor, because it's now been subtly improved and protects better than the celery-green plate. Only problem is, the pants just do not blend in this version.

Fawkes' solution? Don't wear pants. I'm not entirely sure I favor this look on me...

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...even though Fawkes says he really likes the view from behind.

solitude stands in the doorway, and I'm struck once again by her black silhouette

Somehow, I have gone over--far over, actually--ten thousand views of this journal!

Now, while I know a good number are me, poring over my words line by line to make sure all the coding works, a larger number are other people traipsing in to read along.

You're all mad.

I thank you all.

Moving on, there's an odd game on the net I'm severely tempted to join. Fawkes introduced me to it here. Another baffling example details the tragedy of escorting...or something.

They go very very oddly, the calls and responses. Sometimes one starts with fart jokes, and ends up with bees. And sometimes, they start off wrong...and stay there.

I may sign up. I certainly can't make things weirder...

This? INSANELY important issue. I cannot stress the importance of this issue, and for me and many others, this IS a showstopper.

For anyone who has not actually tried out the 1.23 viewer yet, it does fix a lot of bugs. Yes, many things are better. And yes, they have the all-new sparkly-shiny, we-is-all-protectified-from-adult-content ratings in place.

They have BROKEN, utterly, the pie menu.

BROKEN. In cannot-be-fixed ways. In they-must-fix-this-NOW ways.

I'm serious. I cannot play using 1.23. I cannot! If I'm not flipping myself into Appearance every five seconds, I'm randomly ARing people. The game is non-functional now.

Valiant Westland said it better than I ever could:

As recently as Wednesday on Metanomics, M Linden stated that LL is "in the process of working on a major overhaul of the SL client." Making unnecessary / unrequested changes to the user interface (UI), that have a significant negative impact on user productivity, prior to the release of the the new client, is foolish at best and at worst, demonstrates a complete disregard for the users.

The release of a completely redesigned client will pose a huge training and documentation challenge for users, the Lab and those of us who provide client training and support. In addition to the hard and soft costs associated with transitioning to a significantly different UI, it will also cost the Lab significant amounts of "good will" capital. In anticipation of this, the Lab should be doing everything they can to build their reserves of user "good will," not squander it on unproductive and unnecessary interim changes.


Please vote for this issue, and pray the Lindens wake up. Because they've just destroyed how most people build, interact, get dressed, and contact each other. In one move. It's terrifying.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

and all the comebacks in the world are in your head, and it's just you and your imaginary friends

This scares me deeply.

News from Grand Tour III was surprisingly positive, in spite of the grid falling in shreds around the participants. Some animosities were cemented, some drama was created, though few want to talk about it and after this morning's contretemps at the last stop, I'm just going to keep my head down and not ask people questions.

(Actually...no. I can't let this sit here, though I really, deeply want to.

(But I'm finding I'm getting upset at Caledon all over again. What gives anyone the right to label anyone else--much less someone who's not even present--as "racist" simply because they don't favor the style of roleplay? Which in Caledon has always, always been voluntary? Or perhaps no other Wulfenbach staffer has had to put out fires of "Nazi roleplayers" but me? [And yes, it's happened.]

(People really need to think before they speak. And I'm including me in that, but I'm not the only one in this.)

Apparently the Duchess Sandwich over at SteamSky City really was a sandwich, too, which still hurts my head. But onward.

Spent the last few moments of the Fantasy Faire, wandering around. Not best pleased with this year, both in terms of personal poverty (Hair Fair's going to KILL me, and what IS it with everything happening at the same time?!?), and in terms of script usage.

What peabrain told the Fantasy Faire folk that excess scripted rotating objects decrease lag? Because I swear, they were EVERYWHERE--floating fish, floating PLANETS, swirling petals--every single sim had at least one inanely horrifying example of Why This Sim is Lagged; and they had nine sims this year.

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One vendor had set out that lovely swirling seafoam texture...on grass. With a dolphin leaping up. Talk about creepy.

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A view from three steps up on the 'pier' from the grass. Looks slightly more normal from this angle, but still...

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Apparently they did sink the land, a little, as witness by my standing in 'water' that was knee-deep. Even so, knee-deep is not dolphin-leaping deep in the least.

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One of the floating, flexi, scripted octopi at the Mer Market. Lovely, but...flexi. Scripted. Moving on its own.

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The Scripted Water Guardian Octopus...in the larger version, he's swimming over an entire primmed-out sunken ship.

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And the first trip into Hair Fair 2009...wherein the wisdom learned from Fantasy Faire was put into play.

....

Are these people ON CRACK?!? I mean, SERIOUSLY now. First of all, it's going to be several sims of candyland to see the hair; secondly, it's several sims of big sculpted objects to rez in! They've lost their MINDS.

So, okay, fine, we'll cope, or not, as it is, and get through what we can, and if it doesn't work--or we go made from sugar-prim overdose--well, it's only what they deserve.

Remember, Radio Riel Steampunk premieres Monday! We're still gathering music as fast as we can, but we're going to add to it and present what we have still on Monday, and keep things moving. Orchestral, industrial, early techno, goth, darkwave, dark cabaret, worldpop--whatever our DJs think fits. And we all have different definitions of what does, so it should be fun.

These are the direct-access codes you'll need, keep them in mind:

Old name^&^music.radioriel.org^&^New name^&^main.radioriel.org
Old name^&^music2.radioriel.org^&^New name^&^event.radioriel.org
Old name^&^music3.radioriel.org^&^New name^&^newtoulouse.radioriel.org
Old name^&^music4.radioriel.org^&^New name^&^graceful.radioriel.org
Old name^&^music5.radioriel.org^&^New name^&^steampunk.radioriel.org


Now, very few people knew beyond "music" and "music2"; on rare opportunities we advertised events happening on Graceful or someone else's permastream. But this is now all in-house, both to bring great variety to what we play, and also, because Duchess Gabi really felt New Toulouse and New Babbage needed their own soundtrack.

Which may have been a very good thing; since Dr. Obolensky has kidnapped the Clockwinder away, Radio Riel will be the voice of the resistance in New Babbage!

Can't stop the signal.