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31 January 2010

 
Strange.


 
What's the name of that very short experimental operatic piece that runs forward, then is performed backwards? I saw it in Vancouver at the UBC in a really fine student production directed by the unforgettably-named French Tickner.

I vaguely remember a 1930s era, Middle European drawing room and... I think a murder. But I saw it once, thirty years ago, so who knows. Anyway, it was awesome.

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30 January 2010

 
My writing of the last post was interrupted when I needed to ring the police and ask them to visit the house next door where a nude and drugged-up couple were having a knock-down-drag-out and each climbed over the (high) balcony railing and threatened to jump.

I didn't see, I just had to interface with the authorities. I'd say "it makes life interesting," except it doesn't.


 
Oh, fare thee well, Ordinal.

Update: the initial "hate" statement has been changed a few times, Molly informs me, indicating Ordinal is struggling to make sense of things and express her thoughts clearly.

So many good and interesting people have turned away, and I can understand why although I'm not going anywhere. A climate of playfulness drew the brightest to Second Life, and the combination of the wide degree of freedom offered by Second Life and the quality of the inhabitants themselves helped to create an initial burst of enthusiasm that lasted a number of years. Following that, the relationship with the company itself has soured a bit, and the normal end of that unsustainable enthusiasm has led many people to walk out of SL entirely.

I don't think they are wrong, exactly - I know if I'd not lost my health I'd have had no time for it. However, I'm glad I'm in SL, I'm very lucky it has been here to enrich my life, prod me into a number of hitherto unknown regions (making animations! coding ineptly!), and serve as a social portal that places within my closest circle individuals whom I would not otherwise have met. A couple of years ago I tried analysing why SL made me feel breathless all the time, and some of my half-baked thoughts were:

  • There are no boundaries in SL so everything feels like it's happening in the same place at the same time and with equal importance (in RL I'm not sad to miss goings-on in, say, Cameroon, because it's far from me, but things close to me gain in importance).
  • The playfulness and fun that I enjoyed are still what I enjoy - but I have to concentrate on it a little more. I'm not sure why that is, except that it's all a state of mind and the "no boundaries" and "equal importance" operate to make me feel like I'm running a race - which doesn't let me feel light and relaxed and playful. I feel like I'm burdened, working, running a race - but I'm aware of that and I fight it.
  • I looked at how I felt about seeing my things copybotted and more or less stopped making things to sell to avoid future pain. That was just a personal thing; almost everything I do is free at the moment, although I might change that.
  • It's really hard to get a crowd going then keep them involved. It takes a ton of work. Far more than it's really worth.
  • I've never, in my entire life, seen such overinflated egos. That goes hand-in-hand with wishing to create a serious, "I'm working," "this is the first time that _____ has happened ever in the world," "making history," self-important, "I'm a bigshot"-type place.
  • Linden Lab has lost a lot of good will, but I don't know if they understand that. One place where the wires get crossed is when people have monthly budgets that are blown out of the water. People are angered when business plans depend upon things that aren't dependable, creative dreams are razed, or because they just feel the company demands a cut every step of the way. One particular last straw was "SL Certified Vending Machines" offering "guaranteed delivery." If one buys from XSTSL shouldn't every delivery be guaranteed? What's the incentive to fix the delivery mechanism if an additional commission is being made upon that guarantee?
  • There's a ton we never get to hear about, good, bad, and compelling reasons for decisions. It really is an us and them situation. We really have no clue, but one thing that's very, very clear is that SL and LL don't include us.
  • The game aspects of SL have been phased out in favour of work aspects. It's hard to feel as enthusiastic about another workplace.

I want the company to succeed but in a way that is meaningful to me. I struck that through as it's a stupid thought. They'll do as they wish and as they need to.


 



Back in December I started hatching a Sekret Plan:

SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
YOU MUST KEEP THIS A SECRET!


*barely audible whisper*
I've got a Secret Plan.
It's about Lucy Tornado... and ducks.
Backstory here: http://sitsup.blogspot.com/2009/12/perfect-gift.html
After I read that I made a duck avatar, and I've been waiting for the perfect time to unleash an army of ducks on poor unsuspecting Lucy.

*muffled voice*
It's meant to be a way to worship Lucy, as she's so awesome.

I made the avatar, but I need YOU to make this happen.


The Date: Saturday, 30 January 2010 at 2pm SLT
-------------->TODAY!!<--------------
The Plan: Put on the avatar. Go to the landmark area underwater.
Wait until you get the go-ahead, then all ducks pedal towards the island where Lucy will be standing.
All ducks pedal up onto the island and quack (touch activated).

1. PUT ON THE AVATAR "Buy" the duck egg and the contents go into your inventory. Wear the avatar - it contains everything you need.
2. GO TO THE UNDERWATER WAITING PLACE
3. WATCH THE ISLAND AND OTHER DUCKS There will be a go-ahead signal (maybe I'll yell, "LUCY! DUCK!") but if you see all the ducks moving and Lucy's on the island just start moving.


A crucial part of my plan was making Lucy wear a special hud with all the duck textures, so we'd be ducks not grey blobs of unloaded sculpties/textures.

After we surprised and worshiped Lucy we went cruising around the grid to various places, including P Squared.

IT WAS AWESOME AND CAME OFF PERFECTLY.

I made a Ducks! group and we may pedal again, so join.



29 January 2010

 
"Vampire Ratz is now following you on Twitter!"

Shouldn't that be "Vampire rats ARE following you"?



 
LL has bought Avatars United, a Swedish FaceBook-y site for avatars. It's fun connecting to people I know, and I slopped Combat Cards and my blog onto the feed there. I really want a way to associate all my avatars in all the different worlds on this site. And am trying to see how groups work, except I keep getting distracted.

And I really want to be able to change my background without paying.



28 January 2010

 
Oh, J.D. Salinger has died.

His "The Catcher in the Rye" was an important coming-of-age novel to many, but I think in a way it was his reclusiveness that paradoxically caused attention to be focused on him.


 



27 January 2010

 
Corpsicles
I was just reading a somewhat comical article in the New Yorker about corpsicles (as my sister termed them), otherwise known as frozen people hoping to be revived at some unknown date far in the future. The NYer wouldn't let me read it online (even though I've been a subscriber for eons) for some unknowable reason which will miraculously self-heal, I'm sure, so I can't excerpt it here, but tcha, who cares. Basically a cryo-dude said if you aren't religious this is your only shot at an afterlife :-D I thought that was funny, for some reason, and played into my belief/disbelief thing.

Their chart:
-----------------------works | doesn't work
Get Frozen |-----------live --------die
Don't get frozen |---- die --------die

The New Yorker said it reminded them of this chart:
-----------------God exists | God doesn't exist
Pray a lot |---------- live-----------die
Don't pray |--------- die------------die

It brought up someone frozen perhaps against his wishes, which made me wonder what would happen in this case (this is if what the corpsicle people believe is true):
--------------------------Unbeliever | Believer
Get frozen |---------------- live ---------??? (accidentally frozen)
Don't get frozen |--------- die--------- live

Of course, I think you'd just stay frozen until the power goes out, then turn to sludge. A big* cryogenics company is in Arizona, which makes that even more likely and ewww-worthy.

* Relatively - at least one hopes it isn't really big.

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Freelance Whales

We get up early just to start cranking the generator
Our limbs have been asleep, we need to get the blood back in 'em



26 January 2010

 


 
I just had another stupid idea. A ground floor of a house could be made up of umpteen square-profile recycled plastic rods that can be raised or lowered to form things like table legs, window seats, dais area, sculpture stand, benches, vertical parts of bookcases. Each would need to be drilled at intervals, and the would need to be a method for raising/lowering, but it wouldn't be something you'd do every day - maybe every few years if you wanted to change your house all anound.



25 January 2010

 
Super Soaker Attachments

My pals came on Sunday (after I'd said NO! because I had a machinima job I had to ring them up and say COME! when I didn't get the nda in time). Mrs. Pal showed me her implanted catheter, which I'd wondered about as it can stick out anywhere (it's low in the abdomen on her though). It's not a red tube anymore - flesh-tinted and a foot long like a scrawny penis (as C said). I told her she should get a super-soaker attachment for it, in case someone gives her trouble. I can just imagine it :-D If such a thing doesn't exist I don't know why.

Writing in the snow is also a possibility.

Update:
E: I think the catheter super-soaker is great, tho I doubt she would be able to build up enough pressure to make it spectacular!
O: No - the gizmo makes the pressure. Right now she has to empty her bag all the time, but with a Super Soaker attatchment she could target shoot for fun!


 
One Day in Cowell
Enj and I pass the time of day with a couple of odd-looking girls.



24 January 2010

 


The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

Mispromoted as a comedy in the USA (for God knows what reason), this gritty Romanian film travels with a 62 year old man as he wends his way through the medical system.

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81
Lucy pointed out this article from Duke University, called The End of Civilization as We Know It? which discusses the waning of books as physical objects. A divide, they say, has appeared between the book people and the digital information people. The costly role of libraries, providing central access to books, may be on its way out. "The astonishing capacity of database technologies has already begun to short-circuit the centralized distribution function of libraries."

I'm from the age of books as physical objects, of course, and from a very bookish family. The objects themselves - books - are among the best and most beautiful and satisfying of any the human race has devised. Like everything that made up life before the digital age, a book had texture, a smell, reflected its age, had more individual characteristics (pages to cut, leather binding, glassine over the plates) the older it was. I remember once putting my hands on a monastery wall and closing my eyes JUST IN CASE a bit of the Middle Ages could be discerned. Books are like that, in that they travel through time. Strange old books turn up at bazaars, like The Road to En-Dor. Books, the weight and texture of their paper, the cover materials and sumptuousness or lack thereof, the old bookplates, handwritten dedications, glued-on library pouches, the worn and dog-eared corners, foxing, crumbling, broken binding, travel through time and space and keep us connected to the past.

I've decided (through my thinking about individualism and togetherness) that everything I think is right is actually wrong, since to have a kind of one-ness it stands to reason that differentiation needs to be reduced, the ties to the past weakened. When libraries first got computers I thought, "Oh, good," but a few years later when everyone had net access I decided libraries should ditch computers (used a lot for downloading material the patrons didn't want on their PCs I think). Perhaps, though, what should happen is for the money to be channeled into providing net service for people. I'm too old, and I'll never not want books, but the divide is there and seems only to be likely to grow wider. Books may be relegated to "precious object" status, like butter churns and looms - used by a few, but not a general part of human life. It makes civilisation more fragile, as it will not have distribution for a non-digital world should things break down, but we have already accepted that in many, if not most, areas - people can't grow their food, weave their clothes, etc., although if one has a few good books one can learn from them ;-D



23 January 2010

 
I for one welcome our Tiny alien elephant overlords.


 
Every once in a while I have a crazy idea for Combat Cards that makes Doc roll his eyes silently, like my great idea to have XY text boards, one per player, set up that displayed, all automatically-like, suitable comments based on the score/points lost :-D So imagine both have 100, then one hits the other and the other tries to hit but is blocked. It would work in chat, too, but XY text would be funnier.

100 Board 1: HA HA!
82 Board 2: You'll get yours soon enough!
then
93 - Board 1: You'll regret that!
82 - Board 2: *sneers*
then
93 - Board 1: What are you waiting for?
82 - Board 2: You weasel!
then
93 - Board 1: Bwahahahaha!
55 - Board 2: OMG BASTIGE
then
79 - Board 1: Yikes, you devil!
55 - Board 2: Take that, cur!
And so on.

Another great idea (haha!) was to do a special flirtation HUD that would be a bit like a demo deck with a fixed cardset, each only used once with a fixed number of turns, and the players would just wear the server (a flower or something). Upon meeting another player (like Hippos, a bit) a game might ensue.

Player 1 saunters along the waterfront in Cowell and runs into Player 2. They each start choosing the order of the cards they want to play (which I am just now making up as I don't recall the original plan and they are mighty lame, I admit).

Player 1 card: A card pops out of his head which reads - "Your hair is lovely - I hope you don't mind me saying that."
Player 2 card: "I am not interested in talking to strangers." (tips her hand by getting rid of that card early on)
Player 1 card: "I really must get back to my project."
Player 2 card: "Oh - tell me about it."
Player 1 card: "I'm a bit shy."
Player 2 card: "Just joking!"
Player 1 card: "I think I've seen you around here. Have we met before?"
Player 2 card: "I really don't know."
Player 1 card: "This place is so nice!"
Player 2 card: "I'm a bit shy."
Player 1 card: "Let's go dancing."
Player 2 card: "Let's go dancing."

or:
Player 1 card: "I am not interested in talking to strangers."
Player 2 card: "Oh - tell me about it."
Player 1 card: "Let's go dancing."
Player 2 card: "I'm a bit shy."
Player 1 card: "I really must get back to my project."
Player 2 card: "I really must get back to my project."
Player 1 card: "I think I've seen you around here. Have we met before?"
Player 2 card: "Your hair is lovely - I hope you don't mind me saying that."
Player 1 card: "This place is so nice!"
Player 2 card: "Just joking!"
Player 1 card: "I'm a bit shy."
Player 2 card: "I am not interested in talking to strangers."



22 January 2010

 
Picking Through UI Comments
to get what I like ;-D

People had these Viewer 2 + comments/suggestions:

Hopes:
avatar alpha masking
fixing the appearance editor to show you your avatar's height, ways to check your avatar's proportions
have a tool people can download to see their Performace Score
64 bit code
smarter cache
SLI/Crossfire support
be able to move a few menus onto a second screen...have my inventory, chat, and building tools on my second monitor and the world on my main screen.
sharable windlight settings

Fears:
hoping very much that the debug settings are still accessible as well as the ability to record full screens for us machinimatographers

Cheers:
2.0 will get the Snowglobe render pipeline with threads. Snowglobe media API s made to be 2.0 compatible so media and web is all separate processes now.

Sadness:
No meshes yet

As for me, I'd like it if those freaking object chat sprites would not persist forever* when the UI is suppressed, and for control-alt-shift-H to work, but we shall see.

* Has been a constant annoyance and footage-ruiner for YEARS.



 
Belief/Disbelief

As I've said before I don't really have the knack of believing anything - but that goes two ways, so I don't really disbelieve anything, either. I'm not saying it's good - or that I'm trying to be this way. I'm not trying at all, and it just is what it is. I've started wondering what the purpose or function of belief is in the natural world.

It's hard for me to identify, truthfully. Is it limited to human beings? If I see a herd of poor dairy cows, their udders almost dragging on the ground, packed up by a gate lowing for the farmer because it's their milking time and they are in pain - would one say that they believe the farmer is going to come and escort them into the barn? If not, then what would you say - that simple habit and learned animal response after the fashion of Pavlov's dogs causes them to assemble in that spot? I can't know what cows think, so I'd better stick to human beings - not that we are much more understandable.

To be continued (for no reason).



21 January 2010

 
Sociological Problems/Technological Solutions

A redesigned viewer* is on its way, arriving perhaps as early as next month. By streamlining the interface LL hope to make things easier and more intuitive, and hang onto some of the customers who fail to log in more than one time.

A redesign has been needed for a while - and not just a reshuffling but a rethinking. I hope this has some of the highlights of the long-ago Viewer 2009 preview: namely Friend categories and tabs. Teleport history is not high on my list, but I can see that a new resident would make very good use of that feature.

Because I love the UI (the substance not the format), and spend time exploring it, and have always directed kindly and grateful thoughts at LL for allowing us that rich territory to explore, I wonder which things have been removed. I wonder, for instance, about Hovertips, without which I feel I've lost a sense equal in importance to sight. Calling cards could go, unless there's a need for them in the new Friend categories. Some of the innovations the third party viewers have come up with - a "Worn" tab, texture preview in inventory and temporary upload would be nice to have.

If third party viewers can still present the same menu choices we have now that will be fine - as long as there is one to use. I still miss the removed camera controls, and the window sizer function is not useful to me since it moved because it gives the entire window size not the video size, but for the most part what we have now is all right. Although Howard says, "We can't at the same time work towards expanding our user base to a broader, consumer market and address all of the needs of our high-end Residents. We need help from our robust, passionate developer community to develop "power user" and more niche market viewers," I'm not sure why. LL is a for-profit business and you'd think they could have a leading edge viewer team to fully develop and completely integrate things like shadows, projected textures, and so on. We have a number of viewers now, but that isn't always the case, but in any event some customers don't like trusting unknown coders.

There's going to be a divide as far as seasoned users attempting to help new people, as we won't know what they are looking at. The HUDs and OI experience of a few years ago were a bit that way (User: "Help me - I'm STUCK HERE and I can't get this thing off." "Open your map and teleport." "It won't let me1!!" - I heard that many times). I'll try the new viewer out, though, and will try to keep an open mind. I might like it.

Someone pointed out that part of the "logs in once but never again" statistical group is griefers. They are common and throwaway accounts are their disguises. I'm not sure how many, though, and it would seem the majority of single log-ins are ordinary people.

Out of those, I would assume a great many just don't have the hardware. They log in to an unrezzed world (typically at a crowded and laggy OI I reckon) and log out. Another group logs in, is faced with the unruly and immature mob at an OI (noobie-baiting is a common pastime for some types) and log off thinking they've experienced SL. In this case good-hearted people - employees and volunteer or employed mentors, as well as ordinary "in the same boat" potential friends could make the difference between staying and going.

I know LL want a technological solution. They've been trying a million different methods to solve the problem, and there must be failures to the various social aspects that I have no clue about. Maybe they'll find one, too - I hope so, but there may be no real substitute for boots on the ground.** My (ages back) suggestion of a downloadable offline mini-SL - that would let people practise walking, changing their avatar, and getting their bearings in private before hitting the crowded public square - always seemed to me a good way to let people have a taste without feeling overwhelmed. Possibly the very ability to log in without cost works against SL, too, in a way, as there's nothing pushing the new person to persevere. However - maybe there's a tech solution - and maybe it's this very one.***

I met a new person this evening, at the Moth Temple. She is a student at a college, studying uses of technology in education, I think she said. I told her everything is in SL and to tp away if she runs into something she doesn't like**** - and gave her my Resources for New Residents notecard I compiled of useful (Public Help Island, Caledon Oxbridge), interesting (Innsmouth, Bentham Forest), and commercial places with offers for newbies (free hair, cheap skin, etc.). We chatted a bit about coping with lag and things like that. I gave her the ed wiki page url, and she said she was getting overloaded and would go exploring. I think she'll be fine.

* I'm positive it will have
Ctrl+Alt+Shift+H.
** Judging by the emptiness of Ryu et al there may be no substitute for boots on the ground. Update: my bad, I forgot that was in beta.
** /me tries hard to be optimistic (why, though? I'm not even a part of it, so why do I feel that way? Rightfully I shouldn't care... but I do. I love SL - it doesn't love me back, though).
*** like Thomas Kinkade paintings


 

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Shoemaker/189/120/25


 
Disgusting
The American Supreme Court has ruled against precedents that set limits on corporate political spending. The corporations had just a bit of difficulty buying elections, but now the way is completely clear for them (oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, evil "food"* corporations like Monsanto, chemical companies) to get what they want. Great move.

*"food"

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20 January 2010

 
There's a waxing and waning to light, which we ignore. We are expected, or expect ourselves, to get up at X time, work from Y to Z at the widget works, eat dinner at A o'clock, go to bed at B, winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Life, which should rise and fall with the seasons, has lost its variation. Perhaps everyone should have four jobs - or even one main job and two refresh jobs that are just intended to serve as a counterpoint to your usual occupation (if usually inside - your spring/autumn jobs might be physical work outside).

In the winter you might work from 9 to 5 at the widget works five days a week designing widgets, but in April you work your springtime job planting flowers in the local parks or working in a fish hatchery from 7 to 2 four days a week. In May you resume your main job, but sometime in the autumn you again work at a different job - say driving a tractor or installing solar panels.

Well don't shriek - it's just an idea.


 
Time

We have a completely different idea of time than, say, cavemen. Cavemen experienced days of differing lengths because... uh... days are different lengths. We measure them all at 24 hours, but cavemen (as an example) wouldn't really be concerned with the part when they couldn't see well and were asleep at least part of the time. Like everything, days grew in size then became small, then grew again.

We like to force things into a measured, all-alike chunklet. It seems like it's missing the point to do that, although it certainly makes shopping easier. The automobile lights law here is like a caveman-think law, though, because it's concerned with darkness, not time. When I used to have lots of animals, one thing I noticed was that they wanted to be fed at nightfall, whatever the clock said. There is probably a list of similar things human being are affected by, too, and which, if we take notice of might make living in the world a bit smoother.

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Oh, thank you (???:), HBA for pointing out this site:

Elves Are Not Fake

According to the thirteen year old proprietor (he might be lying about his age - he seems younger), "The Lord of the Rings is a awsome story baste on a awsome vidio game that came out a few years ago and its mostly about a habit named Frito and his other habits and it has dwarves and wizards and stuff but mostly it has some sweet Elves in it and Rivendell is so much like where the real Elves use to live by Lake Bonneville so its rilly awsome!"

Frito. You don't say!



19 January 2010

 
Sing Faster

I hate it when I play something on Netflix then immediatelyt see it on YouTube, so this time I looked first, and found Sing Faster there. The picture quality is bad, so it's worth watching elsewhere, but the documentary itself is very good. Its full title is Sing Faster: The Stagehands' Ring Cycle and as you might expect it's the stagehands-eye view of The Ring Cycle. The production is gorgeous, and the unusual viewpoint most interesting.

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Prediction

I hardly ever make predictions, but try this on for size:

Someone will start marketing lenses that increase the saturation and contrast (and so on) of whatever you look at - so you can wear these contact lenses or spectacles or what-have-you and everything will look MORE. "More what?" you ask. More like computer graphics. More "real." ;-D



18 January 2010

 
HURRAH!

My electrizzities have come on!



17 January 2010

 
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE GRIEFER

I was just setting up to film a bit when I was called to Ambat because of griefing. I defused the situation (helps to be uninvolved) and then danced for ages with a formerly outraged Ambatian - it was fun. It had been complete madness when I arrived - people yelling and swearing, shooting, aggressive actions, and some very large body parts used as griefer tools. EVERYBODY was acting nutty so I just yelled at everyone then talked to everyone and danced for ages. The griefer was actually very sweet - although this isn't a good start to a career. As griefers go I liked him, however.

Osprey Therian: I've always wondered what the thrill is.
Osprey Therian: I should interview you!
Young Man: I get an adrienline rush when enraged and they did start it
Young Man: And I consider this training for the real world
Young Man: And I tell everyone I go up against where to find me in real life
Young Man: So this isn't no kiddie shit because this can be real shit anytime they want XD
Osprey Therian: Why ask for trouble?
Young Man: I get a thrill out of it and I get respect when I come out on top
Young Man: And I feel my violence when directed at those who deserve it makes the world a better place
Young Man: You will
Young Man: but I bang the hardest
Young Man: Nice meeting you though
Young Man: I think I saw you fly over here like once
Osprey Therian: You too
Young Man: But you never come in and say hi
Young Man: I figured you where in the area and saw the local chat and where like wtf
Osprey Therian: I'm around - and on an alt as well
Young Man: Oh did you see how X destroyed the local chat with spam?
Young Man: Not going to get more into it
Young Man: I speak the truth, an invidual started it
Young Man: I took him down, his girl came in, I took her down
Young Man: Old man here took a shot
Young Man: Had some newbie try to make a copy of my avatar, but I took my dick out and kept bumping him around and he just said you freak and logged off fast
Young Man: and never came back
Young Man: But you can say I'm the aggressor and if you head all the details my actions would sicker you way more than anything they did but they did start it
Young Man: He is dickriding but play along
Young Man: I'm out in a few
Young Man: Just know when I'm back I'll have an alt.
Young Man: I'm a retired greifer and hassler
Young Man: I mean new account not alt
Young Man: But I come out of retirement when provoked into it
Osprey Therian: oh, you :-D
Young Man: Well we're friend then
Osprey Therian: :-D
Young Man: Come by your place more
Young Man: you should
Young Man: I never knew you where a real real person
Young Man: But I've never talked to you
Young Man: Only second time I've ever seen you
Osprey Therian: gawd
Young Man: I caught a Glimpse of you ages ago
Young Man: You where either away here or flew over fast

Verdict:
Young Man: Distraction is often the best weapon and you used it well

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16 January 2010

 


Together
A Seventies commune with a lot of tensions finds the dynamics shifting in unpredictable ways when a woman and her two children seek refuge there. I enjoyed it.

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15 January 2010

 
You, the Living

In this poetic film from Roy Andersson plain-speaking characters reveal their truths at times directly to the viewer. It's just become "play now," due to it not functioning as escapist entertainment.

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Curious that it took most people this long to figure out who Wallace Linden is. I don't even care, and I knew who it was.


 
Out the window at about 5pm

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Mary Dutton

For some reason I'm reminded of an incident that took place many years ago. I was at the Whitney, in New York, in the lobby along with scads of other people, and I was looking at some books or something, and a woman, not young (60? 70?), came directly up to me. Introducing herself as Mary Dutton, she explained that every day (I think it was) she came to the Whitney and something led her to chose one person out of the crowd. That person... ooh, what was it - something about it being good in some way, I don't remember. Anyway, she had chosen me.

She was a VERY interesting person. Her mother had been English, her father a Harley Street specialist who nevertheless was American. She was able, at a young age, to choose her nationality, manipulated by her father, who placed a British passport and an American passport on his desk, and said, "Now, do you want this plain old thing here, or would you like to have this wonderful *American* passport with the eagle on it?" Of course, she chose the American passport and pleased her father. I can't remember much else, except I did subsequently speak with her on the telephone, and she was very nice. A Christian Scientist, as I recall (not that I have a clear idea of what that entails beyond reading rooms and refusing medical care - an odd thing for the daughter of a doctor).

That was 1990, the year I had a show of my paintings in New York, got sick with m.s., and was rudely thrust from my marital home. Fidget died that year. That was an about face in many ways.

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14 January 2010

 

www.msf.org/

The situation in Haiti is dire.


 
Meaningless

I had a weird day. I stayed up until 3 or so, but got up at 7:30ish and wanted to check something so went online. I'd contacted, the night before, someone about the NA infrastructure damage, which was collected as landmarks in a notecard and passed on to a different person a year ago. After a few times asking for updates, a nowty reply put me off asking any more, so six or seven months later I gave the notecard to the first person in this confusing (and pretty meaningless) tale. Although enthusiastically received at the time it wasn't acted on, nor was it remembered at all today, so I wound up transcribing the ugly great list into Notepad and appending it to a ticket. I hadn't done that at first as I was specifically told it wasn't a DPW-doable project. I felt a bit guilty for being less cheerful than usual, but I hadn't had any coffee at that point and this six years worth of damage just weighs heavily upon me. I know they are busy, and it's low down on their list, and that no matter how simple the fixes would be (copy selected for almost everything) it still demands time. I'd do it if I were allowed, but alas I am not.

Then I did a lot of completely odd things like taking part in a UPenn research event just to see how someone did research events (I got burnt up in a fire because I wasn't motivated to run out of the building) and talk to the attendees. The first one I talked to had transferred from the TG a year ago, and gave me a brief outline as to how things fare over there (not well, apparently). There was a tall, blue Avatar movie avatar, about eight feet tall, and a very tall tatooed man with a horse's tail who placed first (I placed last hah - but I think I was the only novice and I had nothing motivating me). I don't have any idea why I went. I attempted a number of good deeds for sufferers asking for help on the forum, one of whom had something spamming her with messages on her sim (which I ran down), a non-English speaker who rejected my help (hah), and so on. Someone asked to pose for CC and even though I was not prepared I let him, and I got at least one decent picture out of it. There was some confusion at first as I couldn't see the anims he was playing; finally I understood and told him to play inworld not locally, and it was fine.

I started working on a blogpost explaining step by step how to fight as a Tiny, but was waylaid by my poser (who was quite nice).

A completely meaningless list, like my meaningless damages list, I suppose.

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www.msf.org/


 

As seen on Laughing Squid - Penney Design's movies-as-retro-games.



13 January 2010

 
It rained and rained, both night and day.
Mud Bay at about 4:30 pm


 

This engaging little film won't shatter any worlds but it's very enjoyable.

This deck is in a dream sequence:

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Crackpot Theory No. 576858565

Ooh. I suddenly realised.

Well, how to explain? Having been dropped into a timeline at a kind of random point, like everyone else, I thought things (what things... individuality, unique personalities, whackiness) were increasing, when actually there are two mechanisms. One, the one I thought was increasing, is actually decreasing. It's decreasing because of increased social and entertainment technologies and through the break-downs of societal taboos and things like manners. The technologies have a kind of homogenising/diluting effect as individual traits of whackiness and extremism disperse through the population of the world, and are no longer hidden. The increased population and decrease in manners create pressure on people to conform. The isolated places with homegrown personalities and tolerance for nuttiness, or actually nuttiness not being regarded as nuttiness at all, get fewer all the time. And by nuttiness I suppose I mean unique, not crazy, ways of behaving. There's a more predictable experience™ but all that does is give the lawless more room to maneuvre.

The generation which would be about 110 or 20 years old (except they all died) always seemed to me to be an amazing group of people. My friend Harold, sent off to live in an orphanage as a boy, had acted there in many Gilbert & Sullivan operettas and knew all the words and would sing them at the drop of a hat. He was called in, one day, to speak with the headmaster, who asked him what he would like to learn as a trade. He stammered that he didn't know. "What did your father do?" "He was a naval architect." So Harold became a naval architect and built ships in Tien Sien, China. When the Japanese invaded he was dressing for dinner and kept the commanding officer kicking his heels for half an hour. He was a virgin until he was in his 40s (he told me) and met an American nurse; they married and settled in California, and a whole new set of extraordinary things happened. He'd always been First Foot, and indeed I was a guest one New Year's Eve and let him in :-D He said he'd been first foot every year, and if a year came when he wasn't first foot he'd die, which is what happened.
And he wasn't anyone special.

Mildred was another friend of similar age. She grew up ironing tablecloths and serving diners who arrived by tour boat at her parents' resort on the Hood Canal. As a young woman she taught at a one room schoolhouse, and I can just barely remember a story she told of the man who was supposed to pick her up on arrival not doing so, and Mildred having to walk through the wilderness and hearing the screams of a mountain lion close by. I believe she almost fell into a big hole, too. At the school she taught a group of exhuberant children who, one day, sneaked into the schoolhouse and nailed down everything on her desk. Arriving early the next morning, she discovered what had been done and un-nailed everything - never saying a word once the students came in. They were perplexed, Mildred had an internal laugh, and when she reached for her ruler she discovered it was nailed down - she'd missed it in her rush. Then she moved to Paris to study sculpting with Maillol. She shared living quarters with a Russian woman, and at times when the rooms were filled with nothing but Russian speakers felt meek and misunderstood. She was called home by her parents, and accompanied the corpse of a young friend on his journey home on an ocean liner. Later she had a cabin across the canal from her parents, and one night, while being rowed across by someone, the lantern blew out and the moon on the water revealed a pod of oh, she called them bluefish or blackfish, I forget - but they were orcas. Then she moved to New York and worked at Sloan-Kettering (and had some amazing stories from there), and had a friend who worked for the Annenbergs. This friend needed time off for something like an operation or something, but was frightened of losing her job so Mildred filled in for her as a nanny to a very spoiled little boy. Full of disgust (and she had tales to back up her feeling), she would wrinkle her nose when she spoke of the Annenbergs. She would take a red wagon to buy the Sunday papers, as they were so big :-D Then she moved to Taxco, Mexico (she had all her teeth pulled before she went: "Oh, WHY did I do that," she'd say.) And so on. That's just the beginning.

It's clear that they were amazing and probable, too, that they seemed amazing because they were the elders I knew best; if I'd known those who were born in, say, the 1850s I might've compared the two, but I didn't. The world, for at least some, was functioning in a kind of Beta stage. Things were working, the feeling was effervescent and they were full of joy and hope. We seem to be in a kind of 2010 SL world right now, so maybe watching where we go in VR will shed light on things to come in the world.

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This is neat - sent along by Molly Montale, it's the
VINTAGE AD BROWSER



12 January 2010

 
Apparently Walker Spaight is now a Linden (I only care because he might have something to do with the proper forum - then again maybe not). There's a lot of shuffling and known-quantity reshuffling - at least it feels like it from out here in the cheap seats. One second a Linden is helping me do something, then the next day he's gone.

A funny thing about going to any VR is that a lot of the same people are there. I don't do the social networking thing, by inclination, but I see webs being spun all around. Everyone is hella busy.


 
Haiti has had a 7.3 earthquake :(


 
Hamlet's post about depressed Avatar fans perhaps able to find happiness in a Second Life Pandora-based sim had a link to this article on CNN Entertainment website. That was rather startling to me. Of course I assume it's overstated, but still, unless it's out-and-out lying some people are sad because they "long to enjoy the beauty of the alien world Pandora."

A couple of things that immediately occured to me:
We already inhabit a world of incredible beauty, and by setting standards very low and based almost entirely on money, have managed to uglify large swathes.
Being depressed because one can't "enjoy the beauty of the alien world Pandora," go to Diagon Alley, fly like Peter Pan, or pilot the Millenium Falcon is something that no one over the maturity level of about age ten will experience.


 

As seen on Drawn! - a blog for interesting letterheads:
LETTERHEADY



11 January 2010

 
I've never lived in a time that had such a focus on social icon cud-chewing. I suppose it must be that people have grown up sharing icons, and have the interest in echoing ad infinitum (Homer Simpson as a Mapplethorpe photograph subject only MADE OF LEGOS). It was amusing the first time.


 
I don't understand why people relentlessly attempt to eliminate the game/puzzle aspects of life, such as finding your way to a new place using a map, but then buy games.


 
Candide sent me the link for this fun, little game: Continuity


 

Amazing Satellite Photograph.



10 January 2010

 
Katharine Berry has a website to help people find the megaprim size they need: http://megaprim.sl/



09 January 2010

 
Snake Shirt

From a prehistoric Seattle Times article:

She doesn't believe in ghosts and she's never been to a seance, but when the chance to design costumes for the movie ``Ghost'' appeared, Barbary Stenderu believed in herself enough to say yes.

Stenderu, a local textile and clothing designer with a shop near the Pike Place Market, designed some of the clothing Whoopi Goldberg wears in ``Ghost'' and the cloth that covers the seance table in the movie.

In the film, playing at several area theaters, Goldberg plays a charlatan psychic who discovers her powers are authentic when she starts communicating with ``ghost'' Patrick Swayze.

Stenderu, who usually designs one-of-a-kind fabrics and clothing, was asked to design a jacket and blouse plus 30 yards of fabric for the seance tablecloth, draperies and pillows in Goldberg's apartment.

``I had never done two pieces that were exactly alike before,'' she says. ``. . . I had to make several exact duplicates of each one so there would be spares in case some were damaged.

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Natural Disasters
Cali just had a 6.5 earthquake. The largest I've been in was a 6.8 (the Nisqually Earthquake) and I was very, very close to the epicentre (at Wa He Lut just south of the delta on the west bank of the Nisqually River). The ground rolled and there was a sound like a train for a fair amount of time - I don't know, forty seconds or so. It feels like a long time when the ground becomes plastic.

I think the first town I saw with a lot of earthquake damage was Santa Cruz, shaken AND stirred by the Loma Prieta quake a few years before, which was a different kind of quake to the (later) Nisqually earthquake. The first earthquake I remember was a small one in Pennsylvania - just big enough to feel.

I was in Kauai during a time it was trying to recover from a hurricane a year or two before - nice for the casual visitor as hotels were closed and the island was more real. Tropical Storm Agnes was memorable to me, too. Nature is powerful.


 
Farewell, Zero Point
Some additional pictures are here:
Postcard from Second Life.


 
A few minutes ago

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Ugh.
I wanted to watch a film called "Togetherness" last night, but it started to load then stopped, and Netflix said, "We can't make this film load - find something else to watch." I picked something in a hurry and it turned out to be very lousy. "Duck" is a modern fairy story about an elderly man who loses everything and has no reason to keep going until a duckling imprints itself on him. It's completely unrealistic and stupid.

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Being a Child Was Not Good

When I was a child I had rotten eyesight (as now) but I didn't have glasses until I was er... I don't know, ten? Eleven? I was constantly in trouble at school for peering too closely at the page, and I couldn't see the blackboard. It's funny I've never really thought about this before. I was always in trouble for writing in too cramped a hand in Penmanship, but I distinctly remember trying to comply and then one word taking up an entire line, which I lost point for (angry red marks). I couldn't see a damnedthing. It didn't hold me back from reading like a fiend and spending most of my time on the back of a horse miles from home, but it gives me pause now.

My parents regarded school as exclusively my business, in fact they wouldn't write me notes when I had off for being ill. I had to forge them just because they never could be bothered. Children in those days had not achieved the lofty pinnacle of importance they hold these days, for good or ill. Somewhere a bit ahead of the dogs, but with far greater responsibility and subject to seering verbal lashings for every mistake, children in those days were no one's focus, least of all that of adults (which was better all around), but were expected to be useful. If told to do something we were expected to turn, mutely, and go and do it, and I still do that sometimes.

Once after we moved to this country I was issued a penpal. Mine was an address on a sliver of yellow paper (that's how I remember it, anyway) and the street was something-Lindenbaum. I remember it as Spaanse-Lindenbaum but that's undoubtedly wrong but it was something like that. I believe I either never wrote or conversely received no reply, the former being likely as where would I have got stamps?

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08 January 2010

 
Holy crap - this is amazing.

The Third & The Seventh from Alex Roman on Vimeo.



And all done in Vray and 3DStudio Max.



07 January 2010

 
/me crosses her fingers. This is huge.

Babbage Linden: "As of 10 minutes ago, Mono scripts now rez in 100 us instead of 15 ms on my development sim. I will try to get the fix deployed as soon as possible."


 


Marc shaves off his moustache and everything changes.

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06 January 2010

 

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Heat.


 
[2010/01/06 13:08] Candide LeMay: stop sounding bitter
[2010/01/06 13:08] Candide LeMay: that's my job
[2010/01/06 13:09] Osprey Therian: "The part of Candide is being played by Os Therian"
[2010/01/06 13:09] Candide LeMay: well ok, i'm not here much
[2010/01/06 13:09] Candide LeMay: and it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it
[2010/01/06 13:09] Osprey Therian: You have trained me well, master.

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05 January 2010

 
ZOMG

I had a package on my doorstep. I noted that it was from someone I haven't seen in ages, and couldn't imagine what it contained, although I adore her and knew it would be something I'd like. I opened it... and it was a book I'd loaned her a million years ago - an awesome book I think about at least once a month, called "The Road to En-Dor." I literally gasped to see it.

Her enclosed card said many things including, "I think of you often - and not only when you get your picture in the paper! Our friendship was a great pleasure to me, your talent and bravery an inspiration." I don't know about bravery - I'm foolhardy and can bear any amount of suffering and would cheerfully gallop into battle against a huge foe, but that's not bravery to me. And what's this "was"? I'd've said "is." Must force her to visit if I ever get heat.


 
I love this:

From Candide :-D

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I'm absolutely ecstatic! I've been working for WEEKS trying to get music at Ambat, having to contact and get permission from the stream owner as well as dealing with multiple helpful Lindens and LL its juggernaughty self. Finally, today the music was set up. I rezzed my Syncdancer and within a minute couples were dancing all over the infohub :-D It was awesome fun, and I even got a nice IM from someone who not only wrote an nice blogpost, but said, "ty for creating Ambat! This little mound of dirt has been a very important place to me :)"

That's Blondin by the Hippobookamus. He was the one who threw the switch. Thank you also to Joppa Linden, Teeple Linden, and Martini in the Morning radio.

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Lake Pictures of the Day

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04 January 2010

 
My Day

My landlord was due here this morning, so I locked the door leading from the hall into the garage so strange men didn't wander around while I was not wanting them there (like, say, if I was dressing). I don't usually lock that door as it's easy to lock myself out (well also because I never lock anything but my landlord really wants me to so sometimes I lock things just before he arrives heh). Anyway, at 8 something a knock on the door heralded a water heater man, and I pointed him to the (outside) door into the garage. Then my landlord enraged me by turning up and when I was not that enthusiastic about seeing him, and was somewhat (extremely) cold and stiff, he, in a passive-aggressive way, asked me if I was all right - like RICHARD NO I HAVE BEEN IN A BROKEN HOUSE FOR WEEKS I AM NOT OK AND WHY IS THAT A SURPRISE TO YOU???*

Then a gutter man parked blocking the drive, so I indicated I'd need egress in forty-five minutes. I was feeling rotten, so I was just a tiny bit unsociable. At ten I bolted to my car and zoomed away to see Frank, who had an operation a couple of weeks ago. Last week at my appointment he was subdued, but he seemed recovered today. "I'm back," he said upon coming back into the room and I said, "Yes - I can see you ARE back, and I'm glad."

I felt like death warmed over but needed some grocerterialsationing - at least a bit, so I did, which was rough going, then flung my frozen peas into Sha and drove slowly home. I was hoping A) they'd be gone and B) the heat would be on. They were gone! Yay! The heat wasn't on... boo :( I had just put my key in the car lock when someone drove up and came in through the outer garage door. It was Art2, who turned out to be a reasonable-seeming man of cheerful and open countenance.

Art2 said he has suggested a new boiler to Richard many times, which I'm sure is the truth. He indicated my landlord is working on a long-range plan. Shorterange - get boiler working - longrange - replace boiler supposedly. Then he said something about the deck that faces the drive, and I said I don't go out there in the winter as it's too slippery. He said, "I don't know why I always forget!" Me: "You mean you didn't wear your crampons?" Him: Bwahahaha! He left and immediately I saw the inner door was locked so I had to essay the slippery drive-side deck to go to the front door.

Then I went online for a bit, and did some Combat Cards-related duties.

Oddly, last night I was online, here in the cold, and I didn't have the spaceheater on because, you know, sometimes I don't want it on, and I suddenly though.... I'm not cold... in fact I'm hot. I think I'm getting used to it, except I don't want to, since there no getting used to being so stiff I can hardly move.


*Candide and Enjah both had the same pithy comment to make regarding my landlord.



03 January 2010

 
Innsmouth



02 January 2010

 
Idea for Customer Retention

This is a nice idea by Botgirl Questi for new customers to choose paths that interest them, then be guided along until they attain the skills:
"Treat Second Life nubes like conference attendees. When they sign-up, have them register for a specific track. Then provide a series of classes, self-guided courses and resources to lead them from neophyte to journeyman."



I still like my noob tree, though.



01 January 2010

 
Worst Album Covers
I stumbled across this site, and wasn't sure if I'd seen it before or not - "worsts" can look similar, but don't usually fail to amuse, briefly.

 

.

Site Feed

vivian-oblivion

oblivionstore

firemist red

Combat Cards

Blip TV Rocks

So many things to do, so little motivation

Backpacking Burro

Salazar Jack

Lucy Sits Up and Blogs

Tina's Universum

Nova Albion Detective Agency

Playing Statues

Yarn Miracle

Baedeker

Don Carson Creative

Flummer, Flummel, Flummo

Elle Coyote

Painting Soul

Upload Video and Images - Putfile

Artists Union

Tempietto

2002-10 2002-11 2002-12 2003-01 2003-03 2003-04 2003-05 2003-06 2003-07 2003-08 2003-09 2003-10 2003-11 2003-12 2004-01 2004-02 2004-03 2004-04 2004-05 2004-06 2004-07 2004-08 2004-09 2004-10 2004-11 2004-12 2005-01 2005-02 2005-03 2005-04 2005-05 2005-06 2005-07 2005-08 2005-09 2005-10 2005-11 2005-12 2006-01 2006-02 2006-03 2006-04 2006-05 2006-06 2006-07 2006-08 2006-09 2006-10 2006-11 2006-12 2007-01 2007-02 2007-03 2007-04 2007-05 2007-06 2007-07 2007-08 2007-09 2007-10 2007-11 2007-12 2008-01 2008-02 2008-03 2008-04 2008-05 2008-06 2008-07 2008-08 2008-09 2008-10 2008-11 2008-12 2009-01 2009-02 2009-03 2009-04 2009-05 2009-06 2009-07 2009-08 2009-09 2009-10 2009-11 2009-12 2010-01 2010-02 2010-03 2010-04 2010-05 2010-06 2010-07 2010-08 2010-09 2010-10 2010-11 2010-12 2011-01 2011-02 2011-03 2011-04 2011-05 2011-06 2011-07 2011-08 2011-09 2011-10 2011-11 2011-12 2012-01 2012-02 2012-03 2012-04 2012-05 2012-06 2012-07 2012-08 2012-09 2012-10 2012-11 2012-12 2013-01 2013-02 2013-03 2013-04 2013-05 2013-06 2013-07 2013-08 2013-09 2013-10 2013-11


I want to ask for thoughts about improving the world -- what do people need? How can things be organised?