Monday, May 31, 2010

the difficult I'll do right now, the impossible will take a little while

I originally visited Reiko for the lucky boards:

Shopping,Japan,Second Life,Japanese,EGL,dollies

because I wanted to stalk them on occasion, being as I likely could not afford to buy the dresses in the non-lucky versions.

I have to state formally, I was wrong. And pleased and happy to admit so!

Second Life,doll,shopping,Japan,Japanese,EGL

First off, when you walk in, there are six dresses for free, plus a nifty little black-veiled hat.

Then there are the dresses themselves.

Second Life,shopping,EGL,Japan,Japanese,tartan,school,dollies

These come with the dress featured, in either red or green tartan (check the large picture for the green version), the shoes, the socks, and the small beret. For fifty Lindens, and that is not her sale price, that is her everyday price.

Second Life,doll,shopping,Japan,Japanese,EGL

These could pass for Victorian young person (there's two more shown in the larger image).

Shopping,Second Life,EGL,dollies,Japan,Japanese

These are definitely dollie outfits, and they come with the pantaloons, the bonnet, the cuffed socks, and I believe also come with the shoes. For--you guessed it--fifty Lindens, in white and pink (shown on the larger pic) and white and blue.

Not on the same topic, but I do have to state another intractable opinion on the blog:

Second Life,wtf,oddity,avatar

I know, me, opinionated? Everyone's so shocked.

But seriously--if your name is ho Starflare, you are NOT ALLOWED to go ANYWHERE as a child av.

Second Life,wtf,oddity,avatar

Especially if your concept of child-appropriate clothing includes tattoo layers, a ripped bra, Daisy Dukes of doom, and that much makeup.

Unless the look you're after is actually "Thai child prostitute", in which case, you've captured the look perfectly. Might need longer nails, maybe. And even most of them wear short skirts, not denim cut-offs.

Though--since I had my settings at 'show everything' instead of my usual chat/controls/HUDs off settings--check out the bit of preserved conversation in the lower left, in the larger image.

Fellow came in to the Solace Beach sales office. He wanted a house. We don't do that, we sell real estate for homes, but I tried to help him, and the first thing I did--the first thing I always do with these questions--was point him towards XStreet.

He honestly thought XStreet homes were only for mainland parcels.

I have two questions:

1. Who's telling newcomers that XStreet only sells goods for the mainland?

2. Who's telling people Solace Beach sells prefab homes?

Finally, I want to tell everyone, there's a new Radio Riel station, their fifth broadcast stream (and I'll be changing the music page and the in-world notecard I still give out to people to reflect this). It's called Reverie, and, while it's designed for stream play in Winterfell (and it will become Luctus Isle's standard stream the next time I'm home), anyone can use it to listen to medieval, pagan, and Celtic music and events.

Solace Beach,commercial,Second Life,shopping,building,prims
(Good Day Sunshine sim before the repaving gig.)

For the past three weeks, whenever I have time, I have been building sidewalks on a commercial sim. This has taken so long because I'm basically figuring out techniques on the ground--I've been building for three years in SL, I'm not perfect by a long shot, but I think I can say I'm a good basic builder. But mostly, I align prims by eye; I move textures just enough to meet on the average; that's been good enough.

This is a commercial sim, though. So I've been getting into the math, working with planar textures, making sure textures are as perfectly seamed as I can manage. In a sim with round corners on almost every section, plus some sidewalks are four meters wide, some are eight meters wide, and at least one section is ten by twenty feet wide in a huge rectangle...and most of everything I'm doing, I'm doing in megaprims....It will get easier from here. But the first sim, I won't lie, it's been grueling.

Solace Beach,commercial,Second Life,shopping,building,prims
(Good Day Sunshine sim after the repaving gig.)

Today, Lady Serra announced Reverie, and I flipped it up on the music stream, and three songs later, I had relaxed, and moved from corner to corner, seam to seam, and I managed to complete the final texture matching on a quarter of the sim. It's going well.

And I honestly think I couldn't have done it as well without Reverie. So this is my public thank you, to Radio Riel for consistently being the best at what they do; to Duchess Gabi for deciding Radio Riel could support five public streams; and to Lady Serra for giving her the idea and pushing her to finish it. It's lovely, it really is.

On that, back into SL to match more seams.

Friday, May 28, 2010

the unsuspecting victim of darkness in the valley

[2:41] DeePosed Updates Group: Hi to you all. The new free pose for June is available at the front of the store. It's the latest in the 'Framed' set. You can preview it here. Come and get it!. ....:) DD....btw...LL have appeared to have well and truly ruined 'Search'. If you are having trouble finding the store simply click the slurl on this message and pick up at LM from the LM dispenser at the shop.

What she means, if you haven't figured it out, is that under viewer 2.0 searching for anything remains impossible, but worse is that half the time, searching for anything under 1.0 versions is now impossible, too. Pretty much, we're learning that we have to know where a place is to go there; that the typical patterns of searching--under any setting, any search terms--are now akin to paying a psychic to divine locations for us.

It's even more possible that paying said psychic would result in less expense, frustration, hassle, and give us better results, as well.

Sometimes, translation aids help us in our SLives, at the very least by allowing people who otherwise could not communicate, talk to each other in broken variants of the home language. It's far from perfect, but usually, it works out.

Today? Today was fail:

[17:15] MystiTool HUD 1.3.1: Entering chat range: Viva Seminario (8m)
[17:16] Emilly Orr: Welcome, Viva. If you have any questions, let me know.

[17:16] Emilly's Google Translator: Viva Seminario=>Bienvenido, Viva. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, hágamelo saber.
[17:16] Viva Seminario: 理解せず

Um....yeah. I really, really didn't catch that, and moreover, I don't think she did either.

Is it just me, or is the fact that Sion Zaius put the Sion Chickens up for the Linden Prize just about the most infuriating thing (barring the OpenSpace debacle, and everything concerning Zindra) the Labs have ever done?

Seriously. The Linden Prize was set up to "recognize a Second Life Resident, or team, with a $10,000 USD prize for an innovative inworld project that improves the way people work, learn, and communicate in their daily lives outside of the virtual world." That's a direct quote from the blog. I ask you: how, on any world, do the Sion chickens improve the lives, learning abilities, or communication/interaction skills of anyone? Virtual pets that lag sims to death. And they're up for the Linden Prize. It's insane.

Speaking of insane, Symantec discovered a cache of forty-four million stolen gaming accounts, on a Chinese data server. Do go read that list, especially if you play WoW, City of Heroes or Aion. Then change your password!

The last thing I want to touch on, briefly, is something overheard in passing. Apparently, someone went looking for superhero togs at a well-known store tonight. They did not find them at this well-known store. In the store's group, they asked why. Among various answers, one leapt out at me: that some "nutjob" with a blog threw a gear and slammed them in entirely slanderous fashion, so they took everything down.

As I'm fairly sure I'm the "nutjob" in question, I need to honestly tell you: this is not what happened. And if you ask the owners of this store, they would tell you this is not what happened. I didn't slam them for making items that infringe copyright--virtually every maker of goods, large or small, has either made something or bought something that infringes on copyright.

I know I have. In my wardrobe alone, there are Babylon 5 uniforms; a Harley Quinn costume; several outfits relating to Jon Linsner's character, Dawn; an Ariel mermaid avatar; a Jasmine avatar; two different versions of the Wicked Witch of Oz; a Trill skin; a Sally avatar; a Queen of Hearts gown; and I'm not even thinking hard.

And I really doubt I'm staggering ahead of the infringing crowd--I think nearly everyone has something that violates copyright in some fashion, it's nearly impossible not to. We are fans; we are makers of things; thus, we are makers of things we're fans of. In some sense, this is inevitable.

It wasn't that. What I was protesting wasn't what they made their coin on; it was the morbid irony of them supporting the Step Up! campaign--which is still purporting loudly that it wants nothing more than to stamp out "content theft" on the grid--in a store which sold little beyond copyright-infringing outfits.

Did I want them to fold up and slink off, tail between their virtual legs? No. Never. I never hated them, I never wanted them gone, I was frustrated that that store and Step Up! rather colossally missed the point of what stopping copyright infringement is--whether you call it by the real term, or the inaccurate "content theft".

Does copyright infringement injure people financially? Yes.

Do the laws surrounding copyright and fair use confuse, baffle, and frustrate people, though? Also yes.

And I'll tell you something else--after those few blog pages of ranting, out of the sheer audacity on both sides in that case? That store still exists. And they're still making sales. Are they making as many as they used to? I don't know, and if the answer to that is "no", I'm sorry for whatever part I played in their loss of sales.

But clearly, the point was not made. Because now? The grid has an entire sim devoted to nothing but Na'vi roleplay, and the people running it and involved in it are quite handily and happily buying up Avatar skins, Avatar hair, Avatar eyes, Avatar attire, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt in my heart whatsoever that James Cameron doesn't have a single hand in it, at all. In fact, I really doubt he knows at all that that little 'fan tribute' sim exists.

The bottom line is, you want to call me a "nutjob" for saying mean things against a store you like? Fine. Feel free. But say I've slandered anyone, and that's where I have to stand up and say you're wrong. It's not slander if it's true. And it's not attacking them for no reason if it wasn't about what they made at that time.

But yet again, the point--copyright infringement on the grid being that point--is still falling on deaf ears.

It's just that these days, those ears are pointed, with blue stripes, instead of being flesh-toned, above spandex tights.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

she sits down to her colored thread

A friend of mine got me in touch with one of the Emerald developers today. I had what I thought was an inoperable problem with the new beta release--now, I grant you, it says 'beta', so obviously, at this point we expect glitches, bugs, halts in the program, oddities; all of which will be smoothed out as reports come in and that version moves closer to full release.

How'ver, when I downloaded the new beta of Emerald, I didn't get that. In fact, I didn't get anything. I got a black screen. With white words, those words including "Loading..." and the Message of the Day.

Then...plain black screen. No upper bar, no lower bar; no browser, in fact, at all around the perimeter of the unrelieved black screen. Just...nothingness.

I logged in once, defaulting to last position; black screen. I logged in a second time, defaulting to home. Black screen. I logged in in other sims; same thing. I went back to Emerald 1.23.

Then a friend of mine contacted the Emerald support group. This is the conversation that followed:

[19:26] Jessica Lyon: ok, hi
[19:26] Jessica Lyon: what is the error your getting?

[19:33] Emilly Orr: With the new beta release, no error. It just won't load. I get words on a black screen, the MOTD, and then that's it
[19:33] Emilly Orr: The words go away, and I'm left with black. It hangs.

[19:34] Jessica Lyon: have you tried logging into a different region?

I know, standard customer service question. I get that. But see, this is why to this day I still have an insane loathing for Frontier Linden--Frontier may have invented the cure for SL cancer, for all I know, in the intervening years...but when friends of mine needed help restarting their sim (back in the days of Live Chat), he asked them thirteen times "Have you cleared cache?" After the first two repetitions of "Yes, I always do that when logging off and logging back in"...then it becomes clear that your customer support is being handled by someone with low banging-rocks-together skills. It's hard for me not to make a snap judgement when the first thing I'm asked is something I try before contacting anyone for help.

[19:40] Emilly Orr: Can't log in. I've tried it set to home, set to last region, and set to a separate sim.
[19:40] Emilly Orr: So I uninstalled and went back to 1.23, which works except for the inventory issue.

[19:41] Jessica Lyon: inventory issue is easy to fix

OMG THANK YOU JESSICA screamed the inside of my head. Really? Emerald has a simple fix for the bane of my existence on Emerald, which I've been talking about for fourteen months solid? Oh, thank the gods, they have BRAINS THAT WORK--

Then she sent me a notecard.

Below, I present to you the text of said notecard:
To Fix inventory and other cache related issues.

1. Make a new folder on your computer where you will remember where it is, and name it Emerald Cache.

2. In Preferences ,, on the Network tab click the set button for "Disk Cache Location" and point to the folder you created,, then hit apply.
3. Relog to a quiet sim and wait for your inventory to reload.
4. to speed up the inventory rebuild process, try typing xxxxxxxxxxxx into your inventory search window.
That is verbatim, spelling errors and all. And all of a sudden I'm back to someone with low banging-rocks-together skills.

Crushing sense of disappointment, people. Crushing.

[19:49] Jessica Lyon: did you get the notecard?
[19:49] Emilly Orr: Well, I can try it again, but that hasn't worked in the past.
[19:50] Emilly Orr: Still, I'll try it again
[19:50] Jessica Lyon: make sure you follow the instructions exactly
[19:50] Jessica Lyon: it fixes it for 100% of our users

Glad she's so confident. But, I did tell her I would do this, so I will do this.

First, I created a new folder in a simple-to-find location and named it "Emerald Cache". I have done this before. This was at four o'clock.

Next, I booted up Emerald, and typed in Glidden, a small low-trafficked university sim. I have done this before. 4:00 to 4:03, to load the program, have it clear, and type in the new destination.

I set up the disc cache line to point to the new location. I was told that, when I relogged, my cache would clear. I have done this before as well. 4:03 to 4:05 to set up the new disc cache location, and log out again.

I quit the program and restarted again, returning to Glidden. I began loading in inventory. Logging in and getting to Glidden took from 4:06 to 4:08 pm; then from 4:08 pm to 4:36, I watched the slow, slow as frozen maple syrup slow, creep of my inventory count upward.

I will say this for their "100% cure" fix: it might have worked for me, save I'd been up since seven this morning and I desperately needed to lay down for a few hours after a physical evaluation (RL). So, when it stopped for the twelfth time, I didn't type in any new search terms to restart it.

This doesn't show things clearly, but it is an actual screen capture shot:

Second Life,Emerald,viewers,virtual worlds. wtf

that shows it stopped on 47,109. Which is, I will grant the Emerald support team and Miss Lyon this--it's far better than my standard 27,000+. And, if I had the six and a half hours it would likely take to load in everything else--I might actually be able to pull in my inventory using this method.

And then have to do it again the next time. And again the next time. And again the next time.


Second Life,Emerald,viewers,virtual worlds. wtf

using Snowglobe, where I have my total inventory count--of 72,517--brought onboard in under 90 seconds. Flat. EVERY DAMNED TIME, no matter WHAT sim I'm in.

I think I'm going to state my first case against Emerald: unless I need some specific functionality of that particular viewer, I'm done. I'm on SnowGlobe from here on out.

So we had another quest in Runes of Magic. This is yet again one of those odd, 'Adventurers don't ask a lot of questions" quests; to wit, the retrieval of cursed gold coins from various evildoers around and about the Sailors' Graveyard; a stretch of wreck-littered beachfront haunted by foul beasts and pirate revenants alike.

(Okay, okay, only the pirate ghosts are at the Sailors' Graveyard, the pirate revenants are next to the Throne of Wind...don't get picky.)

We were told to retrieve them from four different places close to the Graveyard, including Shackle Coast and Shadowmoon Cove. After tracking down each new hiding place of the cursed coins, we brought them back to the old man in hiding--who would tell us, each and every time, not to just pour them into his hands, because they were cursed, and the curse would rub off!

At which point we thought the same thing every single time--Well, hell, I've been walking around with these all day, am I cursed now? You could've told us that BEFORE...

But, at any rate, finally, we had them all together, so he carefully bound them into a bag, and handed the bag back to us. "Take these to the Throne of Wind," he said. "Sacrifice them on the stone and pray that this curse does not return for me!"

Yeah, okay, whatever, you're payin' off we went.

Now this quest gets odd. (I know, I know what you're saying--now this quest gets odd? But really. Trust me. Read on.)

Seems a certain teacher named Losi, and her student (named, I am not making this up, Kabuki Tabuki), just happened to be wandering near the Throne of Wind at the time. We took the coins to the center of the cascading winds, alight with powerful, green glowing energies--and threw them into the winds with all our might.

Whereupon, Losi and Kabuki waited until we left, and...gathered them up.


We know this because later, Kabuki finds us in the Abandoned Fortress (font of economic enterprise that it is; slated to win the Least Abandoned Fortress award for the 57th year running), and tells us what his teacher and he did. He tells us to go talk to her about it, in fact.

Me, all I could think was, You have a little curse on you there, Kabuki--you might want to get that off...

So...we go talk to her. And she says that they're amazing examples of lost Phant Dynasty coin minting (Runes has a lost Phant dynasty??), and she can't possibly part with them, but if we'd accept these small tokens (a lot of newer gold coins, experience, talent points to spend on abilities, and your usual selection of weaponry and armor) in exchange? She'd be very grateful.

This being the acceptable adventurers' cut for adventuring, we did. And then we noticed someone else we needed to speak to, so we went to talk to him. And that's when the game killed at least seven braincells in me, and quite possibly four in Fawkes (because he didn't see Black Swordsman on the cliff, but he did see the rowdy pirate gang show up to threaten us and then run away like babies.

Unfortunately, I lost more braincells, because of what Black Swordsman was wearing: a thin black thong, black boots, a black cloak, and what looked for all the world like a wrapped black bandeau top.

Seriously. I wish I had pictures, it was that mentally stunning, seeing it.

And then the dialogue between the NPCs began.

[Gunefo Maddis]: What! Oh, not them again...
[Rowdy Sailor]: You dare to violate the sacred ground of the wind? Go to hell!
[Rowdy Vagrant]: You are not welcome here!
[Crooked-mouth Adamon]: Get the hell out of here!
[Black Swordsman]: Black Swordsman is involved in this!
[Crooked-mouth Adamon]: It's Black Swordsman again! How unfortunate. Let's go!
[Rowdy Sailor]: Damn! You won't be so lucky next time!
[Rowdy Vagrant]: Run away! Run away!
[Black Swordsman]: Everyone, you are safe! Goodbye then!

Ah, amateur theatrics at their best. And off he ran. Back to wherever mysterious scantily-clad fantasy superheroes live, one would assume.

I am not making this up. We turned in instruments measuring magical energy in the area; four drunken piratical sots showed up to threaten someone; and the Caped Crossdresser posed on the cliff dramatically to cry foul--thus sending them running for the next hills over.

Maybe they're afraid of the Black Swordsman's Black Thong?

This game is getting more deranged the longer I play it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

been hopin' that the earth won't suddenly catch fire

Some days start off as deep, contemplative journeys. One simply wakes up introspective, and the day spins out, instructively and destructively in kind. There are lessons in every blade of grass, every artifact discovered, every material made by hands or by machine. There are days where this is a dark thing, where the thoughts--and the experiences--are morbid and painful.

This was not one of those days.

I found another nuns' habit at Bombard:

Second Life,nun,cloistered,shopping,fashion,costume

It retails for L$149, and considering the limitations of the grid, I think it could bid fair to be an allowable habit for Franciscan, a pale Carmelite, Dominican, or Urseline habits. Possibly even Benedictine or Cistercian orders in the right setting.

It comes with all layers shown (on the large photograph), plus sculpted hood and wimple, and rosary cross necklace.

Wandering the oddly named Tropical Bliss sim today, in the Plains of Kataii, I was momentarily stunned by truth:

Gor,John Norman,Second Life,quotes

Just sayin'.

John Norman was tragically flawed as a writer, deeply so, on par with L. Ron Hubbard on occasion: but yet, at times, solid unwavering truth shines through. This was one of those moments, at least for me.

(For those who don't load pictures, the quote in question:
"All creatures are not the same, nor is it necessary that they should be...To be sure, values are involved here, and one must make decisions...There is no single humanity, no single shirt, no correct pair of shoes, no uniform, even a gray one, that will fit all men. There are a thousand humanities possible. He who denies this sees only his own horizons. He who disagrees is the denier of difference, and the murderer of better futures."
It was taken from John Norman's Savages of Gor.)

We move on.

What if...there was a Rifts MMO? Personally, I think the game world is too diverse to allow a successful MMO, it's just too much content. But there are interesting points made in that article, nonetheless.

And from another columnist, five things that need revising in the MMO game structure. Me personally, I like instances, but I'm weird. To that end, Richard Aihoshi went on a guided tour of the new Chapter III content for Runes of Magic, and he's liking the look of it a lot.

And overheard in one of my groups:

[2:44] Rowanquinn Wickentower: So what have we learned here today: you can drink hoho's if you mix them with whiskey and [viewer] 2 is awful plus someone who is obviously an escaped labratory mouse and trying to take over the world has hacked into emrald, but that's ok because a snowglobe with a hippo in it is available for all SL users ????
[2:44] Mari Moonbeam: and if you rotate on [its] axis --you make a perfect prim !

Um....okay. That was sufficiently baffling, I think.

Finally, someone posted the podcasts from the joint concert between Amanda Palmer, OKGo, and Evelyn Evelyn. It's in two parts, and it's well worth seeing, whether you're just a fan, or interested in the future of musical representation and artist support. A lot of pointed questions asked and answered, some by the artists themselves, plus music, laughter, and general celebration at being free of their respective labels.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm losing yet another fragment of my memories of you

The last petals of May to fall through storm and lashing wind. This very late night, this very early morning, I wondered where I'd been in Mays before.

I went and found out.

May 23rd, 2007:

Girl in the aether, figuring it all out for the second time. Made life choices for another life, and remain fairly happy with them, but's been all about dizzy love and desperate passions and delirious dancing. And frocks. Good gods, we cannot leave out the frocks.

May 24th, 2008:

back to contemplating safe spaces again
defining safety
defining protection
I leave my gates open
I plant poppies next to the gate
but I want to wrap barbed wire around the stems

May 24th, 2009:

There are things in my past, in any world, that I regret. I have made the amends I could. Now it is time to stand strong and look forward, not back. That, too, after all, is "guarding and treasuring" myself. And all of us, at least once, should try to do that. After all, we are precious and our time is finite, here. It is not ego nor is it self-delusion to decide to treat ourselves better.

If we know great care, then we can give back great care. If we know pain and fear, we are only able to give back pain and fear. The simplest of equations is this: we are the emotions we surround ourselves with.

May 23rd, 2010:

It's lucky I hate to be taken seriously
I think my ego would fall right through the cracks in the floor
If I couldn't count on men to slap my ass anymore
I know my destiny's such, that I'm all stocking and curl
So everybody thinks that I'm a fucking suicide girl...

Emilie Autumn, for all that our lives are wildly different things, speaks to me these days more and more. And those who know me know why I laugh that this is the song of the moment, and has been for the past couple of days...but even it is relevant in its own dark way. Whatever it is that compels people to me, sometimes to the detriment of their health and mine, in so many ways...remains mysterious and I do not treat it with reverence in the least. I treat it as an impediment, for so it's proven in the past.

And a short retrospective it was, wasn't it? Thank you for coming. Please leave a little something in the box by the exit.

But one last thing--where would we be without vintage advertising? So here's a representation of my sales pitch from December of 2009:

Finally, you may have noticed a new addition to the sidebar. Yes, it's from Amazon; yes, ordering things from there will give me some small store credits that will add up, at some point, to an Amazon gift card, in which case I can likely go in and find cool stuph and get it sent to my house.

Yep, that's it, that's the sales pitch. I'll try to keep new items rotating in and out; if you see something you want, consider ordering through the link, rather than Amazon direct; but it all goes to Amazon, eventually.

About once a month, I figure I'll mention it; likely even less pressure than this one, which was very nearly comatose with the lack of selling frenzy.

You're welcome. :)

I do try to keep a handle on what's in there; at this point I've abandoned the concept of appealing to the general public so most of what you'll see are things I want. Sociologically, this becomes somewhat fascinating, because really, the biggest two things I see when I sit and watch the slideshow? Ornate cake pans and Asian horror. How's that for cross interests?

Anyway, same thing. Order through them, if you like; no big deal. I have all of three dollars in credit earned last Christmas. At this rate I can afford a....well...let me think on that, I'll get back to you.

But hey, I'm not in this to make money. Some money, maybe, I won't lie about that. And if anyone out there feels like hiring me to rant professionally, do let me know.

Otherwise, I do okay. And the Amazon thing becomes just a slideshow of the cool stuph I've tracked down on Amazon, a handy little reminder service for later.

And with that...G'night. Or good morning. Or whatever the time is in your part of the world, reading this.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

for where I trusted I am begeld, and all for love of one

but still, I've got to get out of this place
'cause I don't think I can face another night
where I'm half sick of shadows
and I can't see the sky--
everyone else can watch as the tide comes in
so why can't I?

It's been a bumpy morning so far, and it started last night.

[02:23] Second Life: Your object 'Object' has been returned to your inventory lost and found folder by you from parcel 'PRIM BONUS LAND - NO MORE OBJECTS' at Good Day Sunshine 133, 239.

This is what happens when we build while tired. Oops.

Though I admit, there's heavy irony in building something--by sanction of the sim owner--on something explicitly labeled "NO MORE OBJECTS".

and you were there when I
built my tower like pebbles in the rain
trying to balance all that I had left
with what I didn't have anymore

Most of it, I honestly feel, comes down to interrupted sleep, and almost nil social interaction. I'm working on both, but I admit, I'm pouring heart and soul into the sidewalk project currently, so even if I got offers to socialize, I'd likely turn them down.

If I'm in world--and I'm not at the sales office--I'm generally building. I may take brief small breaks, just to breathe a bit, but then it's back to working or sales.

and would you tear my castle down
stone by stone
and let the wind run through my windows
'til there was nothing left but a battered rose

On the other hand, this is also what I do when I'm wounded. I withdraw. I push people away. I make excuses, I turn aside, I make jokes, I fall apart only when alone and unobserved.

I'm not saying these are good ways to interact, either with myself or with the world. It's just how I am.

we need a helping hand
we have lost our touch
if his shadow appears
we're going to fall apart
I mean we got addicted long time ago
but that spooky, old giant won't withdraw

In the meantime, still dealing with tower metaphors, because I'm still rebuilding. I may be for some time.

(Tower card from the Legacy of the Divine Tarot deck.)

"In a moment, it is over. The Tower is rubble, only rocks remaining. Stunned and shaken to the core, the Fool experiences grief, profound fear and disbelief. But also, a strange clarity of vision, as if his inner eye has finally opened. He tore down his resistance to change and sacrifice (Hanged man), then broke free of his fear and preconceptions of death (Death); he dissolved his belief that opposites cannot be merged (Temperance) and shattered the chains of ambition and desire (The Devil). But here and now, he has done what was hardest: destroyed the lies he held about himself. What's left is the bare, absolute truth. On this he can rebuild his soul." (from the">Aeclectic Tarot site)

It's not just that the tower has fallen. All the hopes and dreams, all the lies and self-aggrandizing claims, all of it rubble--that's not the important thing. I have fallen before, I have rebuilt before, I will do it again, I am doing it now.

That's not the point.

The point is that this is the first time I'm trying not to rush through things. I am very much past good at spackle and picture-hanging, obscuring damage with a fresh coat of paint and a trailing hand gesturing towards the view. "Look, it's so much better now, you can see the ocean from the clerestory window." Ignore that the structure is sinking beneath the sands and the foundation is broken...

I will swallow
if it will help my sea level go down
I'll take a deep deep breath
but I'll come back to haunt you if I drown

And this is both a new and fresh boon, and the thing that's driving those around me mental--because progress in slow steps looks exactly like stagnation and lack of any forward momentum, at times, from the outside. And I can't seem to find the words that I need to tell them I'm still working on things, say I'm still working on things.

I want to apologize to everyone, but at the same time, I have to move slowly. Carefully. There's a lot of damage, and I'm dealing with it on my own. Those who love me can support me--and are--but at the end of the day, it's just me inside the same head. I've said this before, but it doesn't stop being true.

I need to know that this isn't going to be another wrapping of broken limbs while I push myself to get back to life at large. I have to take the time it's going to take. I have to heal. And I heal slowly, I always have.

etiolation emphasized by merry thoughts
once broken by
oh, brighter to have never loved
than gather ghosts of the blinding
relentless sun idealized in you--

And it may go without need of speaking it, that I am not used to this. It sends me spinning on occasion, off-balance, but--even that, I have to accept, and take in stride. I will have bad days and good days; I am healing. I will have stable days and unstable days; I am healing. It's just that there's nothing I can point to, no outward sign, and even I do not know if I'm getting better, or getting worse, and I won't until I'm on the other side of it.

I'm moving yet, but am I moving down or up? I don't know. This is such a precarious position to be in.

so you've returned to lengthen my shadow
to once again shatter my windows...

And yes, it is like this. Yes, I wonder if I've made mistakes, am continuing to make mistakes. Yes, I wonder on the what ifs. Yes, I worry that whatever I'm evolving into will be something harder and harsher and stranger, and maybe someone less able to love, and be loved.

I can't help that. I am trying to talk, and stay open, and still heal, and still move,'s so tiring, it's exhausting, and it's never over, and won't be for some time to come.

you were my everything
my apparitional faith
where are you when I am screaming to my God
what am I coming to

But there's nothing else I can do. I have to do what I feel I can, I have to heal as best I can, and tell myself that, while "normal" people may not see things at night, it's not as if this is new territory for me, and if it is a sign of some deeper trauma, then we'll deal with that when we get there. No one's dog is telling me to kill people. Angels inside my head aren't telling me to hurt my family. In that, at least, my hallucinations are harmless and (mostly) non-traumatic.

(I could do with less bugs on the walls.

(But we move on.)

out of bed I creep
to climb this tower of shame
but the hour's still the same
only madness knows my name

Because that is the current rock I'm clinging to, these days, the aphorism that states, If you think you're going aren't. Because mad people don't know they're mad.

And I am rather desperately hoping that's true, as I watch leaves flicker into characters on trees, and read words that aren't there on the metal railing above my bed. I am really, really hoping this is just a phase, and when I'm more stable, when I'm better, all this will stop.

if I had another place to go
would you break me? is it that you know
I have no choice but to rebuild again
I'm tied so hard I can't remember when
I last walked free upon these feet of mine

And do I have a choice? I've made the choices I've can, and I may yet move to make more, but--right now, this is what I've got. Even if it's a small circle of earth between my feet, this much is clear. And I will widen my territory as I can, and allow in those I can trust, and it will feel less like standing still and more like recovery.

Day by day. Hour by hour. Moment by moment, if I have to. I am not dead yet. So I'm not down.

(Lyrics taken from Emilie Autumn's Shalott; Emilie Autumn's Castle Down [first & second selection]; Bel Canto's Shimmering, Warm & Bright; Emilie Autumn's Swallow; Faith & the Muse's Sparks; Faith & the Muse's Patience Worth; Emilie Autumn's Castle Down again; Emilie Autumn's 4 O'Clock; and one last time, Emilie Autumn's Castle Down.

Friday, May 21, 2010

tell me, Mrs. Lincoln, did you enjoy the play?

So--after being forced to admit they've been gathering sensitive data on people who use their search engine--Google's making an offer to encrypt searches for interested clients. We don't know at this point if that will be the start of another witch-hunt against those who want privacy on the net--but it's at least moving in a reasonable direction for privacy mavens.

Meanwhile--while I laud anyone who pushes that hard to get prizes from Runes of Magic--I think there's something hinky about the Grand Prize winner for the Race to 58 on RoM's Facebook page. Why? Because they announced the contest at five pm on Friday, May 21st...and as I write this, on Friday, May 21st, at 6:13 pm PST...there's already a winner.

This? Is not possible. Flat out, one cannot level from start to 58 in one hour, thirteen minutes. This cannot be done. The fighting of monsters alone would take more time.

In other baffling news today, tech giant IBM went to the largest Australian tech convention, AusCERT, partially to demonstrate how foolproof their new security measures were...and distributed virus-laden giveaway USB drives to people who dropped by the booth.

Gee, thanks.

It's all the stranger because something nearly exactly like that happened to Telstra two years back...also at the AusCERT convention.

The incomparable artist and designer of the Windrow-Ravenswood card deck (Winneganfake on Twitter) is having a spot of trouble. Unexpected back injury has meant he's had to drain his resources reserved--prior to the injury--to afford the cost of pain medication and hospital fees.

I understand this--we've had those debates on food versus pain meds for the girl. (Just for the curious? Pain meds win. We can invent food, somehow, or beg from friends and family--but she goes off pain meds, and she seriously starts to think life might not be worth it anymore. There's no future in that kind of thinking.)

He's sent out a statement saying he is markedly improved--which is a good thing--but he can't ship out the thirty orders he has sitting on his desk without selling (he figures) four or five more decks.

If you don't already have this deck, and you have a fascination for vintage ephemera, cogs, cephalopods, and bones, you need this deck anyway. Help the man out and go order a deck if you have twenty US (or, if international, the equivalent of twenty US plus six dollars US in shipping) if you haven't. I can guarantee you won't be disappointed, because they are truly beyond gorgeous, durable, come in their own patterned box...what more can you ask for?

Join the trend--delete your Facebook page. (I especially like the term "Zuckerpunched" in that article.)

If you insist on keeping your Facebook page, even after all the screaming and pitchfork-waving, then, for the love of all gods, go here and read through that, because you will want to know. It explains in depth where each and every Facebook privacy setting is, how to get to them, how to set them correctly, which will save you years of stress down the road, trust me.

And Fleshmap has a fascinating outlook on arousal in all stages--and with thousands of comparisons at this point, is painting some pretty accurate pictures of what and where people like to be touched, just for starters. Well worth exploring. And surprising in a couple of places.

All right, planting a tree, then off the net for a bit. Ta.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you

Taborea. Varanas. Evening wanes, dusk has long since fallen.

I have a month to do several different things, so as usual, whenever I get a free moment I sit on the floor of my house in Varanas, frantically studying cooking while rearranging things in personal storage and discussing the option of hiring a housekeeper with my French maid.

(It's Taborea. Apparently fantasy goes overboard on occasion.)

We'd had no luck for two days--maybe it's just me, but I have a problem interviewing row after row of pink-haired barrel-chested elves, wide, squat and arrogant (though I admit, I did like the one with ring-toss hair)--so in desperation, I hired the first housekeeper that looked vaguely like she could help me. She was due in sometime today, and both of us expected her to show up at any moment, but...neither of us expected Natasha had subversive motives.

Natasha Bening whispers... Hmm. Need servicing?

I beg your pardon. The hell?

She merely stared at me, as I sat cross-legged on the mostly bare floor.

If Master thinks I've done something wrong, he could always punish me...

Whoa, there, missy, I just met you. Plus, I'm not a guy. Plus...wait, what was that about punishing you again?

Well, I want to learn about Master's other "interests"...and eagerly await his "instructions"...

I think I "understand" what you're trying to "imply", doll. Suddenly I'm suspecting my two hundred thousand was paid to someone who's used to managing an entirely different kind of House...

(These are all direct quotes from either initial entrance conversation (the question about "servicing") or later "Chat" options from her menu. I'm not making any of this up.)

Then she tossed me a couple packages of food and said she was tired. I'm so confused. I've somehow managed to hire a submissive with a sex drive. All I wanted was someone to help with the cooking!

There's been some serious study going into why we like the women we like (as men, and as women) in video games, and there's a lass out there who even turned in her thesis on the topic. It is well worth the read, whether or not you've ever played Team Fortress 2, but if you have played it, it's phenomenal.

Let me state openly that I like Team Fortress 2, as it is. It is perfectly depicted, seamlessly integrated as its own internal structure--you play one of several different stereotypical male killing machines, and your sole objective, presented in several fun ways, is to capture the flag, essentially. More blood and mayhem than is usually involved in the real-world capture version, but it's a video game, it's allowable.

Up until recently, you had your choice of playing this or that guy, red or blue, period. And that was fine, that was enough. Women were playing this as much as men, it was all good fun, right?

But of late, several different forces have converged, asking: why aren't there women in the game?

And there are a lot of different answers, from the somewhat realistic to the seriously surreal. Some of these mods would be damned near unplayable, in my opinion (though yes, in the darkest, most damaged part of my heart, I do yearn for a twee kawaii little Japanese lolita, who would spin in petticoats and wave a sparkly wrench...and use the Engineer's voice pack to incur braindrop at ten paces).

While you've still got the thesis window open--or even if you didn't bother to read it--click over to the second page, and the brief bit on the Mirror's Edge character.

This was a video game where the main character was designed by men, yes, but designed to fit in to her game's universe. She is profoundly not made of boobs and guns.

The thing about Faith--the lass in Mirror's Edge--is that she was distinctive. She looked Asian, not Asian-drawn-with-Western-hair-and-frame. She had sharp features, distinctive tattoos, shag-cut hair that looked natural, clothing that wasn't bought at Sexpots R Us. So what was the problem?

An early reviewer of the game posted this revision to the cover art. He said it was a more "appealing" vision of Asian beauty. All of Faith's aggression, toned down--into near fear, if we can read that much into pixels. Her street edge, the makeup around her eyes--blurred into fluttery dark lashes. Her lips glossed, and parted not in exertion or anger, but apparent surprise. Her shag-cut hair changed in color, and morphed into a perky bob.

And she went up from an athletic A cup to at least a C--if not larger for her frame--with enhanced nipples.

The lead designer found all this depressing as hell, and so do I. Because that is the other side of the female game character coin--sure, most women won't respond to characters that are little more than sex on legs with added weaponry--but when they do find real, honestly depicted women, the rest of the gaming community wants to edit that reality away, and bring things back to the big-boobed, brainless bimbo arena. I realize that on some level, it comes back to safety and control--and maybe breastfeeding--but seriously, guys. You want your girlfriends to play, you cannot invite her over to try out the new 'nude levels' on your favorite game.

Unless she's bi.

And even then, I can virtually guarantee, she wants a character that does more than giggle and jiggle, trust me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I am bound by a fraying rope

Prehistoric siltstone phallus, the world's oldest sex toy, was also used as tool to ignite fires.

I really can't add a thing to that; that's just a stunning headline to ponder. We will move on.

Boing Boing calls this fabulously creepy; sadly, I'm thinking of people who see the world this way all the time.

Plus, what is the remix encouraging? Johnny's new mental assassination abilities means he never has to deal with scary demonically-possessed people? That's...good, then, for Johnny...right?

My number one reason to wander through Horribaubles now and again:

Horribaubles,horror,shopping,Second Life

I rest my case.

Stiv: Em, you on?
emilly.orr: Sort of? I was just leaving the keys, though. What's up?
Stiv: Oh ok
Stiv: Sooooo next semester
Stiv: I might be a TA
Stiv: I am so scared of that

emilly.orr: Why?
Stiv: I feel rather unprepared
emilly.orr: If you're good in that course, it might work out
emilly.orr: Study :p

Stiv: also not the best of moral fiber
emilly.orr: Pff, you think professors are?

I admit, I am actually beginning to enjoy God's brief little diversions into my life. Though his experience of college is more reminiscent of Animal House than The Paper Chase, still, it is amusing. And of his professors has decided to make God a teaching assistant next semester.

The world can begin trembling now, yes.

Stiv: I really consider responsiblity and power to be
Stiv: far
Stiv: far
Stiv: out of my hands for our own good

emilly.orr: Maybe, but how else are you going to learn about power and responsibility?
Stiv: touché

At least God knows his limitations, I suppose, but one wonders--if he was so clear on these limitations, why did someone decide to trust him in the first place?

And to introductory psychology, of all places. Those poor people.

emilly.orr: Think of it this way
emilly.orr: Your school is trusting you with a few minds

Stiv: Actually, it'd be intro psych
emilly.orr: It's not like your planet is trusting you to save them from an alien invasion
Stiv: so more like 200+
emilly.orr: 200 is still few
Stiv: True true

For some reason--maybe it's just me--I get the distinct feeling that Stiv is of the opinion he'd be better suited to battle alien invaders than fellow students. And maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but really, how many minds can he mangle as a TA?

...On second thought, don't answer that.

Stiv: Its strange to have the resposibility of teaching
Stiv: or grading
Stiv: while still in the process of having other seniors and teachers do that to me

emilly.orr: That's the weird affliction of being a TA
emilly.orr: You're sort of the in-between guy

Stiv: The transgendered of the education field
emilly.orr: Well, I think of it more as introduction to middle management, but sure
Stiv: Either way

His allegory deeply puzzles me, but then, you know, God's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma...soaked in alcohol...fingers welded to a PlayStation controller...

emilly.orr: Okay, I have about an hour before the poetry slam, so I gotta finish up with chores and such
emilly.orr: Remember to breathe

Stiv: Thanks, have fun drinking
Stiv: because I dont know what a slam is
Stiv: guessing booze is there

emilly.orr: It's in SL
emilly.orr: So yeah, there's alcohol, it's just annoyingly all virtual

Stiv: Oh what lame
Stiv: drink in RL

emilly.orr: Hey, but there's poetry! And we throw things after
Stiv: Again, I want destruction I can feel with my hands
emilly.orr cackles
emilly.orr: You would

Think he'd like the Poetry Slams, though, not that God exists in SL any more, in any incarnation. Then, there's the other problem of trying to coerce God back into SL...and introducing him to my friends, which is...always somewhat daunting.

Stiv: Speaking of which I found a secret path to the priests dorm here
emilly.orr: Why would you want to....
Stiv: But dont remember that
emilly.orr: Okay
Stiv: And Have A Good Day and poetry fest
emilly.orr: Thanks!

It may be worthwhile to note that God attends a Jesuit college. Then again, mayhap it's not, considering how often he shows up to these chats intoxicated.

I suppose, what the priests don't know...they don't have to answer for later at the hearing? Or something.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

what if I'm a crowded desert? too much pain with little pleasure


Along with, I suspect, easily a third of other Americans, I have a Netflix account. And Netflix has a fairly insanely varied list of films that can be watched online, without having the discs sent to my home. (This suits me, because I watch a lot of films, and it suits them, because I still pay them and they don't have to ship as much to me, so it's a win-win situation.)

But I've been trying to catch up on my Asian horror selections, and one of them I've wanted to see for some time is the South Korean film Arang.


Now, Arang at first glance seems your typical (Japanese, at least) Asian horror film--there is the expected long dark hair, there are the expected flashes of crazy eyes, there is an intensely creepy child who stalks men for no reason. All of these are becoming common images, familiar tropes at this point. And well they should be--they generally indicate frightening spirits of vengeance in Asia, thin hungry wraiths with lank dark hair, sometimes wet, and clawed or bleeding hands and eyes--so far sunk into mad rage that they inflict harm on anyone they come in contact with.


And I will say it's perhaps an overly ambitious film, for what it's trying to do; on top of that, it expected a lot of its audience, and (at least in the English translation) never bothered to translate any emails sent to characters (a large plot of the film), nor the end "tale of the legend" behind the name at all.


But the film is actually much deeper than that, and knowing more about it, makes it that much more frightening.

Arang was the daughter of a magistrate in the Miryang region of Korea, during the time of the early Joseon Dynasty. In a very odd twist on the 'kingmaker' legend, her governess--apparently seeking to overthrow the local power structure--hired a servant named Baekga to kidnap Arang and rape her, thus preventing her from marrying into a good family to strengthen her father's political alliances.

But Arang was the prototypical 'good girl'; she struggled with Baekga, refuting his advances, and in the struggle, he stabbed her to death. She died, her hair and clothing in disarray, bloodstains on her rent garments.

Now, for whatever reason (my personal belief is either Baekga or the governess burying her body without being detected, to encourage the story of Arang running away), her father thought she had eloped with a strange man, and he suffered a deep and crippling sense of shame from her actions. Soon after, he resigned his position as magistrate.

But here is where Arang's vengeance comes into play. The governess conspired to appoint a new magistrate, and that magistrate was confronted one night with the daunting image of the slain Arang, screaming her vengeance for her ruin. He fled the magistrate's house and the position. And after each magistrate was elected to this region, Arang would appear, and terrify the new man chosen into quitting. For more than ten years this went on, until the election of Yi Sang-sa, who was brave enough to survive Arang's visitation, and swore to her spirit he would avenge her.

He tracked down Baekga and the governess, and they led him to the body, mysteriously preserved; whereupon he had both arrested, and that seemingly brought Arang peace.

(The front gates of the Aranggak Shrine in Miryang.)

There is still a shrine that stands in Miryang, called Aranggak, where offerings to her spirit are made. While the official rites are no longer celebrated, for centuries rites specifically to her were held on the sixteenth day of the fourth month on the Chinese calendar.

(Behind the altar of the Aranggak shrine in Miryang; a painting of Arang.)

It sits on the rise of Yeongnamnu, above the Miryang River, and even though official celebration days have ceased, she is still honored for her virtue and for her strong will and perserverance.

fleur de sel,salt,grey salt,grey,Korean,bamboo salt

There is some odd link in all of this to Korean bamboo salt (not to be confused with bamboo rice) as well, an intriguing beauty aid produced in China and South Korea. The trick is simple: hollow out a stalk of bamboo; fill it with coarse-ground salt; then seal the ends and roast it slowly, nine times. Nine times apparently pulls out the bulk of whatever's beneficial in bamboo into the salt; it also darkens the salt to a fleur de sel grey.

Why is this relevant? Because it's purported to be such a great healing agent, able to reverse aging, to whiten and lighten the skin; it's frequently found anywhere from shaker form (for people to carry with them, and shake a bit on everything they consume, from snack foods to desserts) all the way to milled soap (and apparently there are companies encouraging people to use the salt alone as a bath additive, because it both 'cleans and purifies'), and everything in between.

And, since much of the film's action centers on the mysterious salt warehouse, it's one odd subconscious clue to the perversion of bamboo salt's curative powers, so even that Korean tradition aids in understanding of the film.

Asian horror,Arang,media,movies,horror films

Even that is not where we stop in trying to better appreciate Arang; because this film is not the typical supernatural horror flick. It has a surprising amount of heart, and, beyond that, it's a morbidly effective crime drama on its own merits. If we stripped out every paranormal detail, Arang would still be enjoyable because it's so sharp--why was the lead detective suspended? Why was her new rookie partner transferred from the city? Who's behind the unnerving website that each of the victims visited before dying?

Asian horror,Arang,media,movies,horror films

And then take one step farther back from that and ponder deeper questions: is it wrong to become a police officer out of vengeance, for example? Is it wrong to become a police officer because you've made mistakes, and you want to fix them? Can a woman who's been raped ever love again? How close do mothers tie to their children? How close do fathers?

Asian horror,Arang,media,movies,horror films

Ultimately, after everything, the last question is simple: what haunts us? Are our strongest haunts something other people give us...or do we ourselves store those terrors in our own heads? Arang is the story of people, and the choices, good and bad, that propel them forward. And it functions excellently on that level, as well.

Stephen King once said that being a true horror movie fan means we see a lock of shlock horror between the really great films. And if we're true horror buffs, we learn to relish the shlock along with the stellar pieces, not only because there's so much more of it, but because sometimes earnestness of heart counts, and we can see the edges of the film the makers were trying to record on celluloid. And sometimes, that's enough.

But he said that there's always a moment, and sometimes even in the cheapest, most ridiculous films, where the sudden heart-pounding terror rings like the finest lead crystal; whereas the bad moments will clunk and thud like the cheapest factory glass. "You can drink your Dom Perignon out of either one," he said, "but friends, there is a difference."

Asian horror,Arang,media,movies,horror films

Well, this may not be Dom Perignon out of a Flinstones jelly jar; the production quality is slick, there's a palpable scent of money behind this one, and money well spent (at least until the translation budget, which I swear the producers spent on dancing girls and beer, because the translations are ABYSMAL). But I will say there are more than a few moments I heard crystal ring, and if you're willing to put up with a bit of plot confusion, and some (by now) highly recognizable Asian horror moments...I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed. And you'll also detect the ringing of fine crystal embracing horror's finest.

At the very least, if you have a Netflix it there. It's not like you're out anything more for the month.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I've been doing it for years, the goal is moving near

This is another post ranting on SL children. While I by no means think that every SL child is some maniacal, sweaty-toothed pervert with dire intentions towards sexualized ageplay (I really do not believe that, though I still do maintain that Marianne McCann traipsing around Zindra when it first opened damaged the cause of SL children for DECADES), I will say there are just some children on SL who, by their very nature, make me want to strangle them. Or their mothers. Or everyone involved.

I will forbear quoting what came before this point, because really, there's no call for that sort of conversation in main chat, it's as offensive as sex HUDS used in public telehubs. Let me merely state that what started all this was shall I put this...'tummy talker' that located the anatomy in question, in which the virtual child was growing, considerably further south. (A friend of mine, more up-t0-date on current SL fetish shops, suggests that someone might have purchased a male pregnancy device. I'm not a prude, but beyond that my mind does not want to venture. Considering what said 'talker' said in open chat.)

How'ver, one of the "children" (and I use the term loosely) in question did have some comments to follow up:

[2010/05/16 23:38] Emilly Orr: Oh, gad, we had a child here for this language?
[2010/05/16 23:39] Emilly Orr facepalms

[2010/05/16 23:39] udder Philly: uh huh go figures
[2010/05/16 23:39] Shelby Easterling: you was mean to our mommy
[2010/05/16 23:39] Emilly Orr: How'ver, my work here is done. Off to Taborea!
[2010/05/16 23:39] Shelby Easterling: come on sissy
[2010/05/16 23:39] Proty Stenvaag: Moi? I was kind.
[2010/05/16 23:39] udder Philly: dat girls ober dere made fun of our baby sissy (that more girls waiter made fun of our baby sissy)
[2010/05/16 23:39] Shelby Easterling: me cans reads
[2010/05/16 23:39] udder Philly: otays
[2010/05/16 23:39] Shelby Easterling: not nice you wasnt
[2010/05/16 23:40] Proty Stenvaag: Can reads but not can spell
[2010/05/16 23:40] udder Philly: :P
[2010/05/16 23:40] Proty Stenvaag: Have fun 'kids'

No doubt.

I know I harp on this at least twice a year, but really, this kind of nonsense needs to stop.

ONE: If your first name is "udder", you should be henceforth BANNED from playing an SL child. For the love of God, make an alt.

TWO: Children may lisp, and children may mispronounce words, but they will rarely, and I do mean this sincerely, get entire tenses wrong--so while "dat girl over dere" might well be heard, it will never be "dat GIRLS over dere". And what was up with "that more girls waiter"?? What the hell does that even mean?!?

Also, this passage from udder's profile is positively crippling to the senses:

dis ish me and my sissy...she's da bestest sissy anyone could eber habs....

I'm with Proty--LEARN TO SPELL. Also, CHILDREN DO NOT TALK LIKE THIS unless they have severe head colds. Dear gods, where do these people come up with this nonsense??

THREE: And I realize three is an odd point, but I feel I must make it--confusing people on who is who is a good way to get banned, imitation children. To wit: was your mother insulted, or your baby sister? Because you mention both in this snippet of conversation.

And people wonder why I have no children in SL. THIS IS WHY.

Next up: aggressive greeters.

Friend of mine told me there was a female AO at Point's Animations. I came in and immediately there was the drop-down blue menu with several options: receive a landmark, gift, or join Point's group, or I could choose "No Thanks" if I didn't want any information from them. There was also the traditional "Ignore" button beneath all the options.

[17:06] Point's Greeter shouts: MizzMello Soulstar, you chose to ignore this message ~
If you like this place,
add it in your profile picks, please
you could be paid for that!
I wish you a wonderful day!

All of that in green spam, exactly as sent--line by line on my screen. So, fine, that's bad enough, but it really didn't sink in until I'd made my choice:

[17:07] Point's Greeter shouts: Emilly Orr ~ No Thanks ~
~ Thank you ! ~
If you like this place,
add it in your profile picks,
you could be paid for that!
I wish you a wonderful day!

Now I was irked. Every avatar who comes in gets the drop-down screen. Then for every avatar who selects any option, that message is shouted: what they picked, their name, and because it's a shout that means avatars up to 96 meters away hear it.

Never going to Point's Animations again. EVER. That's rude, and a ridiculous way to operate a business.

I'm still not sure how affective playing a virtual reality game is over actual anaesthesia, but I do know that for more than ten years, some dentists in California have been offering headmount systems for their patients over general anaesthesia. And they've said the same thing--pain requires attention. If you're not thinking about it, you're not feeling it.

And lastly, though this sidetracks completely from the realm of the virtual to the realm of the all-too-real...we really won't miss Texas if we just wall it off, right? It can be its own realm of deeply stupid, and the rest of us can actually go off and keep learning and educating ourselves about the reality of the worlds we live in.

I'm feeling magnanimous, I'm perfectly willing to toss in Arizona.

Who's with me?

twenty years, sinking slowly

Oh, this post is exquisitely devoted to too much caffeine. I really need to stop making a pot of coffee...and then drinking all of it. It makes me vibrate for hours.

The Ratemyava post is back up; and that, I'm fairly sure, is enough of that.

So the buzz today (on Twitter, at least) was all about privacy, and what expectations we should have for privacy, online. (Apparently, according to leaders at Apple, Google and Facebook...the only reason we'd have to prevent full access to every single detail of our lives, is that we're perverted criminals seeking to hide awful details.)

I can't speak to anyone else; but while there are things in my life that are well within the province of the traditional open book, there are things (exactly where I live, things that tie to my actual real name, my phone number, my browsing history, for example) that I do not want to, nor do I expect to, reveal in toto to the world. Do I think anything I'm doing is morally, ethically, or technologically wrong? No. But these things should be my choice to reveal; not Google's, not Apple's, and most certainly not Facebook's.

In more Apple news, the company is researching how to bring us several steps closer to the future. Personally, I'm looking forward to the heads-up display. Because a hop, skip and jump past that are headjacks! least, I'm fairly sure. At some point. There will be.

Though one wonders when one can blink and access the internet, what privacy issues we'll be dealing with then.


Just as an aside...I don't intend to pull my blog into Solace Beach land sales, but I have to share this one...

Meet Parcel #1594. It's called Annabel Lee, and is currently tropical, though for L$8000 per week rental, I'm fairly sure it could be made any terrain style desired. For that fee, you get 65,504 square meters, and a grand total of 3,746 prims.

Someone needs to pick that up, or toss me L$8000 per week so I can! Because it's amazing, and it's an island, and it's for sale...and Miss Ayesha Lytton, who owns Solace Beach? Gets the reference, because that posting starts out, "Build your own kingdom by the sea on this beautiful sim."

And you really could. You really, really could.

I am so in the wrong tax bracket, I know--even ditching my Winterfell isle and Morgaine wouldn't put me towards renting one-third of that place. But still. Briefly, I indulged a little dream....which is also part of why I'm telling people about it here. Who knows? Someone may think it's perfect!

That is the hope, anyway, and we move on again.

Article on neurochemistry and response bears some looking at again, despite being written in 2009: "It's not that the old meds are getting weaker, drug developers say. It's as if the placebo effect is somehow getting stronger."

It is a valid question--just why are placebo effects displacing actual medication? What does that mean for human brains in the future?

Peter Serafinowicz has an excellent article up on Gizmodo about the relative ease of downloading versus buying--the triumph of the digital over the physical, in one sense. (Though I did and do adore his description of iTunes as 'better than free', because it's cheap, it's easier to download, and subsequently access, and it's easy to upload to new media after initial purchase.)

I really think if more sites made it so easy, there'd be more sales, and I don't think that's just a pipe dream. A lot of internet music sites went to pricing their songs anywhere from twenty-five cents to ninety-nine cents per tune--those places are selling songs legally, by and large. And even big bands who sell their own CDs are learning to change levels of buy-in--for example, on OKGo's site, you can buy just the songs alone for nine dollars, songs on a physical CD for ten plus shipping, or get an all-in-one package of t-shirt, tour poster, behind-the-scenes video diary, plus the songs and all related bonus materials, for something like two hundred and fifty.

Some artists have gone beyond that--I believe it was Evelyn Evelyn who offered dinner on the moon with Evelyn Evelyn for thirteen million dollars. That's probably only within reach of one collector...maybe.

"Frank Zappa once said that Communism could never work because people like to own stuff. I felt a similar way about CDs when music began to arrive in MP3 form. Now, my music happily resides in my iTunes library, spread over various computers and iPods."

And while Serafinowicz--and Frank Zappa--are right, there is a definite feeling of ownership of virtual goods. Just ask the couple currently suing Second Life because the Labs canceled their virtual accounts, thus deleting their access to all their digital worldly goods, plus their digitized lands. All bought with real money, of course, which they're claiming as a classic bait-and-switch, and the Labs are saying was no big deal, because anyone should have understood their use of the phrase "own your own virtual land" was intended as a metaphor.

(I'll go out on the limb and assume that metaphor translates as, "Give us all your money and don't ever complain. Thank you, here's a Linden home.")

Another very relevant (I think) passage from the article:

I recently directed the music video for Hot Chip's "I Feel Better". Contractually, the video had to be hosted on EMI's official YouTube channel, which disabled non-UK users from viewing it, limiting its audience by around 80%. Frustrated, I put it up on my own YouTube channel with no region restrictions, and at time of writing is just shy of a million views. EMI then remotely disabled embedding on my version, thereby limiting its audience again. If you're in the business of promoting a band, why would you want to stop people watching their promotional video?

That's what I have forever wondered. Does it prevent downloading that video? No, people will just find a way around that. Does it prevent new ears hearing your band's music, though? And that answer is absolutely, so why would a music company ever want to restrict access?

There's also something of a buzz behind Kathy Sierra today, who's not only closed her Twitter account, but also stopped updating her blog. It is a shame--she was clever, bright, and funny. She will be missed, at least until we figure out why she's folded up shop. Then there will likely be mass screaming.

Speaking of mass screaming, I realize the point of the art of Francois Robert is to reinforce that violence is bad,'s just so pretty.

And this? Cutest. Cover. EVER. (Save for Scala's "I Touch Myself", of course.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

if it was a game why couldn't I play?

Why is this study surprising people? Marion Zimmer Bradley said once, "The mind writes deeply in the body." And she's right, it does. If we imagine exercising, we're better at exercising in RL. If we see ourselves being held, we feel as if we have been held. People have woken up with bruises from being bruised in dreams. We accept what our minds tell us to accept.

We always have.

Sort of in the same vein, though turning much more towards thoughts of self-improvement, I found this. Advice--from someone who knows pain--on why pain hurts, simplistically, and how we might help pain not hurt so much. It's a short piece and that's really all it says, but it's revolutionary in how it says it.

She says we need to feel our pain, experience it, be in that moment of pain and wounding, because we need to listen to the signals that pain is giving us--but we need to not fear the pain. Because fear makes us contract. Fear makes us pull back, and tighten, and become strained and rigid--in thought, in emotion, in the sheer movement of body muscles. And that contraction, she what truly causes that pain to hurt.

It's a revelation, in that sense. Get hurt; try to relax. Get injured; think of things to soothe, not things to block.

Emotional blow? Think about it, talk about it, let it go. Imagine it as something else, and be open to it. Relaxation, over repression. Acceptance, over abolishment, over bitter rage.

This will be hard. But it's a good lesson.

Jaime Skelton over at MMORPG turns in an excellent report on the ongoing court case on Linden Labs and virtual property ownership. Like many residents of Second Life, I think the people bringing action against the Labs won't win, and moreover, should have known better in the first place--but I'm with Skelton that the case itself is highly interesting, and relevant.

I can also see how the people involved decided to file suit in the first place--because the recent change to the Terms of Service reversed a long-standing suggested position of 'We host it, you own it'. Virtually every news story, many of them out of Linden Labs directly, featuring Anshe Chung has made a great deal of noise over the fact that she owned--owned, outright--so much land in SL.

Now? The Terms of Service state:

Virtual Land is the graphical representation of three-dimensional virtual world space. When you acquire Virtual Land, you obtain a limited license to access and use certain features of the Service associated with Virtual Land stored on our Servers. Virtual Land is available for Purchase or distribution at Linden Lab's discretion, and is not redeemable for monetary value from Linden Lab.

The Service includes a component of In-World virtual space that is stored on our Servers and made available in the form of virtual units ("Virtual Land"). This "Virtual Land" constitutes a limited license to access and use certain features of our Service as set forth below. Linden Lab may or may not charge fees for the right to acquire, transfer or access Virtual Land, and these fees may change at any time.
Something of a difference, indeed.

There's an odd translator on the grid now. I don't know which one it is, but I know it's not working. Witness the exchange below:

[15:10] Emilly Orr: Welcome, Angelus. Let me know if I can help you.
[15:10] Angelus Braham: merci
[15:10] Angelus Braham: "thank you",[["noun","thank"],["interjection","thanks","thank you","ta"]]

Merci equaling "thanks", that I knew. Merci equaling "thank you"/"thanks"/"thank you/ta"/interjection/noun...That one's new.

The Nextgov blog reports on military science and Second Life. It's called the "Military Lands" project, or "MiLands", and if they can work out the security issues, they say they might be able to make great strides on military research projects.


I say they need to talk to IBM; IBM's been doing the virtual thing for far longer, and they might be able to help.

In the meantime, God--you remember God, right? Well, I remember God, even when the rest of his semi-faithful have forgotten--has problems:

King God: Hail
emilly.orr: Hail
King God: Em, if there's one thing I kinda miss
King God: It is being treated as if I were a god
King God: Ironically or not
King God: Godhood is fucking sweet
emilly.orr: Well, you did leave.
King God: Well, freshman year I didnt have a laptop that could run it
King God: Also, I upset that one woman something fierce
King God: if I do say so

Ah, the plights of gods, far beyond the ken of us wee mortals...I asked him what woman it was he so upset. He can't recall. But apparently it coincided with upsetting a girlfriend of his, off the screen, so go figure--life in parallel.

I have friends who send me odd things, but this has to be one of the strangest--that is Peep sushi. Or as Serious Eats names it, Peepshi.

Yeah, I can't make this stuph up.

(Don't like Peeps? Traumatize yourself with gummy worm sushi instead.)