Saturday, July 24, 2010

stop staring at me like a bird of prey

For an entirely random reason, I came across the SLipsters blog, and I was absolutely stopped dead by one recent entry.

You are not your Xstreet account.
You are not the clothes you wear.
You are not the contents of your inventory.
You are not your fucking ozimal bunnies.

This is your Second Life and it’s ending one minute at a time.

Damn, guys. Damn. And the pictures that go along with it...even considering Second Life is a medium and the medium is somewhat crippled by the look of things in the game...the photography end of things is, quite honestly, amazing. Shadows, shading, fading, grunge, stains,'s all there.

And these are not steroid warriors, these guys. These are skinny little street punks with attitude. I swear, at least one of them has a concave chest.

More than anything, it makes me want to do better with my photography. Take it seriously for once. Play with angles and shades and light sources and tone things down; I got close to that once, a few months back (during the conflagration); but afterwards, I just slipped back to my old habits.

I need to step up my game, obviously. Plus? SL is so female-centered. And yes, I'm a girl, fine, that works for me, but--there needs to be good stuph for guys.

The SLipsters? They know that. And they've got you covered--at least, if you're after the vaguely collegiate cool drifter look.

(Which, trust me, not that I'm on the market? But I'm far likelier these days to talk to someone who's stepped away from the pack of big broad tattooed-everywhere muscles-on-muscles keyboard jockeys that populate the bulk of the grid. Just sayin'.)

Friend of mine showed me the Razor Naga a bit back, and, while I fully agree that it's droolworthy, I can't help but think that all those buttons--essentially, a programmable numerical pad glued to the inside of your mouse, for all intents and purposes--would work for me. It might work for others; and I'm not saying don't jaunt over and take a peak.

But maybe I just don't have enough hard-core gaming genes in me to fully make the jump. Especially not for seventy-two bucks (exclusive of shipping).

Conversation between a couple of friends, regarding a recent incident in a Valve game:

[7/9/2010 6:57:10 PM] FA: The Golden Wrench no. 27 holder, Grantz, was hacked and had his Golden Wrench deleted maliciously. He has since had his Golden Wrench reawarded by Valve.
[7/9/2010 6:57:19 PM] FA: Called it.
[7/9/2010 7:02:03 PM] HR: See? Thing is? Sounds like Valve will cover the losses.
[7/9/2010 7:02:10 PM] HR: Which makes it a non-starter.
[7/9/2010 7:02:36 PM] FA: Having your account hacked is a starter. I don't care what Valve does to fix the issue later.
[7/9/2010 7:02:54 PM] FA: If more people start doing this and getting their account hacked
[7/9/2010 7:03:02 PM] FA: Even if they manage to get their accounts back and the wrench replaced
[7/9/2010 7:03:06 PM] FA: That's bad customer Service
[7/9/2010 7:03:25 PM] HR: That's Valve. They pride themselves on their bad customer service.

I wanted to let a bit of time pass, see if anyone else got massively hacked (which thankfully, doesn't appear to be the case). But here was the scenario:

The same weekend a massive update is scheduled for Team Fortress 2, including many updates directly for the character of the Engineer, a competition is announced: a fairly random craft-and-it-could-be-yours contest of sorts for one hundred Golden Wrenches.

Seems simple enough, yes? But it had a dark side; in fact, it had more than one dark side. People were driven to get this item. Never mind that it didn't do that much, in game; it was the having of such a rare and valued thing that set people ablaze with desire.

And then the bans started happening. Long-term players of the game, long-term users of Steam, the online delivery vehicle/forum host/internet store for Valve, figured out the numerical assignments given each Wrench, and saw the pattern behind the coding. This was not specifically against stated rules, but everyone who discovered how often a Wrench would arrive, and fought to be at the top of the crafting heap to get one, got banned. At least one of these bans was someone well-known in the community, who'd done tutorials and mods of TF2 at the behest of Valve. Then Valve changed the delivery system, and the infighting started again.

This didn't just cause ire in the Valve community; it caused insane levels of dissent. Several people crafted rare items in the vain hope of getting a Wrench. At least one person put the entire thing on video. And at least one fellow had his account hacked, and his Wrench stolen, destroyed, or crafted out of sheer frustration.

Was this a good thing? I don't know. I like having special items, but honestly, I didn't want the Golden Wrench, so I wasn't part of the mania. I have sat back in stupefaction at the insane lengths people will go to, to get special things--a dear friend of mine actually bought a Mac for the sole purpose of logging in for a special Mac-only iPod headphone offer (the fellow in the video? He has a Mac; his Sniper character is wearing them at the end). So people will do bizarre things simply because there's some nifty one-of-a-kind (sorta) item on the deal.

So far, from observation, the only good thing about the Golden Wrench is that one of them is being deleted to raise funds for Child's Play, a charity dedicated to giving children in hospitals access to video game consoles and controls. (You can find out more about the charity, and the cause, at the link provided on the Wiki page. They're taking donations until August 25th.)

Seen at TuttiFrutti:

Caps lock,capslock,demotivators

I'm also amused that not far from that location lies a little pot with carefully nurtured virtual cannabis. It's very nearly twee.

And I'm not sure if it's cute, or bizarre--maybe it's both--that someone's taken the Gaelic Storm song about punching Russell Crowe, and made it into a Lego animation piece.

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