Sunday, July 18, 2010

call off the search, we've found her

There's a lot of relevant discourse on the new operating system behind the SL Marketplace, the final (?) stop on the drive off the cliff for off-grid sales. Now, in a move I still somewhat regret, I separated from XStreet soon after the announcement of the raised fees for low-cost items, because if I have to specifically advertise--beyond keywords--each item priced under L$10, there's no benefit to me, as far as paying my rent, and affording texture import fees--my two leading expenses in operating a business in-world.

Now, several folks who had originally left, have returned, and some never left when that change happened, so were present when the turnover occurred. According to irate sources, the Labs managed, in their quest for the new and shiny, to break most merchants' existing code on their ads, resulting in those selfsame merchants having to expend time and effort better spent on creation and sales issues having to recode all their listings. This was a massive fail at the time.

How'ver, considering I spend maybe one-one hundredth of the time I used to on XStreet, on the SL Marketplace at all, I hadn't considered that there would be other, perhaps more significant issues, as that article points out.

For one, why would the Labs deliberately minimize SLUrls for products? There are some things--houses and hair spring instantly to mind--that one really needs to see in person. I, for one, have never felt comfortable buying either on any web service, though I will buy hair demos if I'm wandering through.

For two, why seemingly--by placement, at least--discourage people from finding the items in world? This is where we're going to use them, after all. It's not like we're buying a house and rezzing it out in Iron Forge, or something. What we buy for SL is delivered in SL for use in SL, so...why discourage shoppers from using the Marketplace as a better browser, or, dare I say, a functional Search option, when Search in-world is so thoughtlessly mangled?

Some of the funniest amateur comedy I've found in years is on YouTube. And it's a twenty-something English fellow reading Twilight. Here's the entire series so far if you feel like indulging:

Alex Reads Twilight: Chapter One. "Bella says, 'My mom looks like me, only with short hair and laugh lines.' We don't know what Bella looks like. What a pointless description."
Alex Reads Twilight: Chapter Two. "And then it just says, 'The rest of the week was uneventful.' Brilliant!"
Alex Reads Twilight: Chapter Three/Four. "It's a bit like a subplot, but I don't care at all."
Alex Reads Twilight: Chapter Five/Six. "'There was the sun.' She gets so excited about weather! 'It was in the wrong place in the sky.' It was in the wrong place in the sky. Where was it?"
Alex Reads Twilight: Chapter Seven. "'I couldn't think about it here in the darkening forest, while the rain made it dim as twilight under the canopy.' It's the title of the book! Oh, that's what it means! It's a reference to weather...Typical."
Alex Reads Twilight: Chapter Eight/Nine. "Surely, no matter how attractive a person is, you're not capable of just smiling at someone and making them go boi-oi-oi-oing like a Hanna Barbera cartoon."
Alex Reads Twilight: Chapter Ten/Eleven "'My heart thudded, stuttered, then picked up again in double-time.' Which isn't...medically safe."
Alex Reads Twilight: Chapter Twelve. "But there's a subplot, in which Bella is making a sandwich, and quite a lot of the chapter is dedicated to that."
Alex Reads Twilight: Chapter Thirteen. "What if he starts, like, eating a deer in front of her, is she just going to get really turned on?"
Alex Reads Twilight: Chapter Fourteen. "Edward says, 'I've had the scent of you in my head all day'. Does that not make...any sense? That's like saying, 'I've had the sound of your laughter in my mouth all day'."
Alex Reads Twilight: Chapter Fifteen. "Now, we've had this problem a few times, with Stephanie Meyer plus science equals wrong..."
Charlie Reads Twilight: Chapter Sixteen. "See, I thought when she said 'an audible reaction', I thought she meant Bella could hear her own heartbeat. But no, other people can hear her heartbeat, too. Holy crap, what is up with you? Please go to a doctor! That doesn't sound right!" (Alex's friend Charlie, and Alex, traded video blogs for a day. Charlie's kind of a kick, too. And he has his own announcer!)
Alex Reads Twilight: Chapter Seventeen/Eighteen. "Because that's the thing about lions, they're always so tense."

Chapter Nineteen is apparently coming soon! Let's all hope for the best, because he seems to be slightly going around the bend, entirely due to reading this tragic, tragic book.


Rhianon Jameson said...

I will admit to having read Twilight. (I will not admit to having seen the movie, though, in fact, I have seen the movie.) The writing, I agree, is horrid. I don't know what the original target audience was, but I'll note that my at-the-time 12-year-old niece clutched a copy of it, which may say something. Even so, there are passages that should make a tween cringe with the sheer banality of it. Other passages should make said tween dread the high school years, if only because, according to the book, her days will be filled with mindless mooning over beautiful but vapid people.

Still, the book got readers turning pages. That's a good thing. One can hope that the teenyboppers who read this series, or one of its plethora of clones, find it the gateway drug to better novels. If so, Stephanie Meyers has earned her millions.

Emilly Orr said...

I really like Alex Day's sarcasm levels, and I like the bizarre little 'added' bits that he seems to have thrown in just because--the bit with the robot, the drawing of playing cards, the demi-fascination with Amy Pond.

I will admit I haven't read Twilight, though hating something I haven't even exposed myself to is always hypocritical. But this isn't the first 'read-through' I've accessed on the banality of the storyline.

What bothers me? Is not that _Twilight_ has been such a runaway success. It's part of a fad, it was written at the right time, fine, whatever. I have no problem with that.

What I am unnerved by is how translucent Bella is. What does she really look like, pre-movie? She's never really described in the book. The one thing that is described--in excruciating detail--is how abysmally depressed she is.

Do that many girls in this country--and presumably others--identify with Bella, and like this book, because they too are abysmally depressed? I mean, this is the girl who gets depressed when it snows. When it's sunny. When it's cloudy. This is the one who has someone absolutely fascinated with everything she can think to say, and most of what she says to him translates roughly to "God, I'm so depressed."

That worries me. That many people think there's no point to getting up in the morning, that they're perfectly willing to read a book featuring a protagonist that is bitterly depressed over waking up, too?

Rhianon Jameson said...

Points well taken. Sarcasm is almost always good. :) I get the impression that Meyers was shooting for the "typical" teenage girl: angst-ridden and moony. I'm with you: I hope to God she's wrong about how depressed kids are - even allowing for a certain amount of artistic license.

I honestly don't recall a lot about the writing, except that Bella almost immediately focuses on nothing but Edward, and has almost no reaction to finding out that he's a vampire. Sheesh, he's a freakin' vampire girl; would you be so blase if he were a convicted rapist? And yeah, sure, she wants a hunky boyfriend, I get that, but can we focus a little on, say, college? (And the fact that she volunteered to leave Mom in Phoenix to go to some dreary town in the rainy Northwest - not my characterization, so no offense meant - just so Mom can have some snuggle time with her new boyfriend seems absurd.)

Emilly Orr said...

I'm still trying to figure out the Mom thing. Mom got another man...and to spend time traveling around the world with him, Bella leaves Phoenix and moves to the Northwest? On her own?

Isn't she still underage? Does she live by herself? She has a car, which is great for her, but doesn't that sort of indicate she's post-sixteen? Because all the other characterization puts her thirteen to fifteen, somewhere.

(Oh, wait. Edward is supposed to be seventeen. Forever. So she could be sixteen, seventeen.

(...nope, still wrong.)