Tuesday, August 27, 2013

haven't slept since summer

Some news just in:
[14:43] Mocksoup Graves: okay this is a weird request but I need to go to Indiana and pick up [A], he's got pneumonia and needs to be seen but he hasn't gotten his insurance information from work, even though coverage was supposed to start on the 20th. So I am going to be driving 10 hours there, and 10 hours back. Can I get like prayers and positive thoughts? Thank you.
For anyone who wants to send out positive energies to the universe, to get her and [A] back home and safe, please feel free. I don't count myself as one of Mock's personal friends, I'm just another makeup devotee, but in addition to being an amazing designer, she also embraces her life--on and off the grid--with the whole of her heart, and as if that weren't enough, she's funny, smart, and kind.

That counts for a lot in my book.

So Project Sunshine is now fully implemented onto the grid, with the expected problems. Thing is, there have been far fewer problems than I, at least, expected, which is a good thing. The system still needs some tweaks, but we could be nearing the end of the greyface/cloudbaked avatar...for good.

This has presented us with some specific problems:

(from the scavenging album)

As you can see above, there's several examples. The new server-side baking system seems to divide the avatar textures into thirds--head, torso, legs. Sometimes we'll see everything grey for a bit (the ladies in the background), or one part of the avatar rez in first (the fellow on the right). In more rare cases, the avatar rezzes in all at once (the fellow on the left), or rezzes in everything but one section (as seen on the lass in the lingerie, front and center).

And no, don't ask me why she was standing in the center of Mad City in lingerie.

According to Ms. Nalates' blog, the best solution for this is to reduce your bandwidth to 1500, and your draw distance to a maximum of 128. She says that seems to be the fix for most people. But as with everything else in SL, YMMV, and we'll see how things go.

In other news, if you've ever wanted to own an original piece of art, but don't have the millions (or the contacts among collectors) to acquire one, how about a 3D printed version? Fujifilm--so far, working exclusively with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam--has developed a reproduction technique that will reproduce the original in exacting detail. So fine is the detail work, apparently, that they can produce only three reproductions per day, and it's far from an inexpensive process.

Still, it may be the closest thing we can get--currently--to owning the original works.

In other art news, Gracie Kendal is making a performance art showpiece called Binge and Purge. It's tied in deeply with her own eating disorder, as well as SL (and, by extension, RL) consumerism and collection. Over the course of her installation, she's hoping to delete everything in her inventory.
I fully admit, the concept both intrigues and terrifies--partially because of my own consumerism and collection habits. There are days I feel very accomplished for managing to delete a thousand items of unneeded items--but there's still so much to go.

As that entry was posted on the 14th, I'm not sure if it's still going on, but if it still is, check it out here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

dangling feet from the window frame, will I ever reach the floor?

People still wonder why some of us really dislike child avatars in SL...
Will me is going to tell yew about me famweee me has a greatest famweee in sl my mommy is a guud mommy amd me wub her wots. my daddy he is de most awesome daddy anygurl could ask for my nana her super nana and my pawpaw is a grest pawpaw me wub dem to def my unkie pso and my auntie jules are great my auntie sky is great tew and me bestest friens faiths me miss her rite her not on . auntie pru her a guud auntie tew me wub dem all. and me knows dem would all of dem would come at anytime me ne
Any questions?

Let me make this plain: I have no problem with the Babbage urchins. I have few problems with the children and wards in Caledon. I have no problem with the children who think playing a child in SL means playing an underage person.

(from the bizarre album; father and daughter fishing at Lucky Cat Games.)

I have HUGE problems with the kind of "Wook at mee, I so adowwabuh!" monstrosities like the chicklet mentioned above.

I've mentioned the folks behind the concrete shelters idea; this one's catching on everywhere from medical relief efforts to military installations. But in some areas, there's just not that much water to go around, or there's not electrical current to where the shelter is needed. What to do in those situations?

IKEA has a plan. They've partnered with a refugee agency within the UN, to design better homes for long-term refugee camps. The structures are still in the prototype stage, but they seem far more stable and more efficient than the tents refugees usually get, and they have the added advantage of lasting two and a half years longer than most tents. With time, they're hoping to design "temporary" homes that will last even longer.

Here's to more solutions working than failing. There are more refugees every day.

This is disquieting; this is disturbing; and this is some new level of financial hell. Though they're all worth looking at; your choice as to which ones sound best to drench your neurons.

Have some Pokemayans while we're at it.

This is this week's Coolest Thing Ever [TM], and you can find them at the Spencer's site (for US residents) or at the Fowndry site (for everyone else, I guess, though the Fowndry doesn't have the best selection).

Also, my last, tenuous shred of reality denial where the "New 52" are concerned has died in flames. Because that's not Lobo, that's a modernized Captain Harlock without the facial scarring. It's an abomination. I refuse to entertain the possibility that there will be a hope for the future, where DC Comics exists in any sense other than as an extreme parody of itself.

I'm sorry, DC. You've finally lost me. I guess I'm a Marvel girl now.

You bastards.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I am not part of God's well-oiled machine

Depression is irritating.

Which is about all I'm going to say about that, since it's irritating even to mention it here. Still, I have been gone some time from these pages, and, well...that's a large part of why.

We'll move on.

Let's talk horror games. Or at least horror imagery, and the ways people interpret those images.

Back in 2006, a YouTube user called ReverieNightengale uploaded a Silent Hill fan video. It utilized game and cut-scene footage mostly from Silent Hill 4: The Room, but covering some of the other games, as well. Overlaid atop the images was a truly excellent Oingo Boingo song, "Insanity".

"Silent Asylum" was a compelling video on its own, and extended by about two minutes from the cut of the original song.
I'd love to take you home with me, and tuck you into bed
I'd love to see what makes you tick, inside your pretty head
I'd love to hear you laugh tonight, I'd love to hear you weep
I'd love to listen to you while you're screaming in your sleep
At the time, while I'd heard many Oingo Boingo songs before, this one had slipped past me. And while the lyrics definitely fixed it in the timeline of the George Bush Sr. presidency, they still had a raw, disturbing relevance to the politics at the time. (Eight years later, sadly, they're still very relevant.)

So I went looking for the original.

The first thing I discovered is that the original had just as much horrific imagery as the Silent Hill variant:

Using a combination of live footage, stop-motion animation, destroyed doll parts and one of the most unnerving tea parties (trust me; anything involving little girls in white dresses, knives, and dolls is bound to be unnerving) I'd ever seen, this had power without the addition of Silent Hill footage. (But I may be biased; I happen to think if you remove all the visuals it's still pretty comdemnatory and horrific, just because of the lyrics alone.)

Around the same time, I discovered a similar mashup--this time using almost entirely cut-scenes from various Silent Hill games, over actual in-game footage, overlaid with Zombie Girl's song, "Creepy Crawler":

(Unfortunately, the original video can no longer be found; this is someone who uploaded it three years later, but when they did, they chopped off about twenty to thirty seconds of the ending. No idea why. But it's the best I can do.)

Now, Zombie Girl is odd even for industrial rock bands, but even so, this song's again on the unsettling side, from the lyrics alone:
There's something lurking
There's something lurking in the dark
I don't see it, but I know it's after me

There's something crawling
There's something crawling in the dark
I don't see it, but I know it's after me

'Cos I'm as evil as can get
Nothing's ever scared me yet
'Cos I'm as evil as can get
Nothing's ever scared me yet
Add in Silent Hill visuals, and not only does it induce a genuine creep factor, but we also realize just how much of Silent Hill deals with themes of forced sex and decay.

It shouldn't be surprising; whether all you know is the first movie's revision of game history, or the original game's mysterious pregnancy by some mutant, insectiform "god", that still means, at some point, Alessa was having non-consensual sex with someone.

Or something.

Another direction I hadn't thought to connect was the music of A Perfect Circle, with the visuals of Silent Hill. I suppose any song that calls to our hearts can be overlaid with visuals that also speak to us, but sometimes the results are jarring. Here, they seem perfectly attuned:

The song--called, disturbingly enough, "Pet"--comes off the Thirteenth Step album, which--interestingly enough--also seems (at least thematically), to deal with issues of recovery--which is another issue that seems raised a great deal through the gameplay and the images used in the Silent Hill series.
Head down, go to sleep, to the rhythm of the war drums

I'll be the one to protect you from
Your enemies and all your demons

I'll be the one to protect you from
A will to survive and a voice of reason
Which, in a roundabout way, brings us to Silent Hill fan films. I'm not going to say much about them, but there's a literal metric ton of fan-inspired media for this game series, some good, some mediocre, but usually all interesting--at least as far as wondering how the creators got from A to B in their various plots. I'd also recomment checking out Silent Hill Universe's directory of various fan projects. If you're a fan of the series, it's worth checking out.

On the second site I linked, there's also more music videos. This one struck me as being appropriate to the plot of Silent Hill: Downpour:

Now, let me say, I love Trent Reznor's original, but when Johnny Cash covered it, he added something truly his own to the lyrics.

In his hands, it became less about the struggle against drug addiction, and more about inchoate loss, and feeling as if his world was dissolving around him, under his hands. There's a helplessness about both versions, but in Reznor's mouth, it becomes despair and fear; in Cash's, it becomes frailty and the hope for some kind, any kind, of peace:

I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liar's chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear
You are someone else
I am still right here...
I do believe a large part of that is the subtle re-writing that Reznor agreed to, because Cash didn't like to curse.

And I think that's it for now. I have some sorting to do through entries I never polished off, they may or may not be published, we'll see how that goes. And not willing to go out on that very fragile limb and say I'm back, per se, but I'm...something. Near the path again. Maybe.

If only I knew where it was leading this time...