Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Yes, My Blog Has Moved

Catharsis (moderate)

This seemed as good an image as any to illustrate the process of moving my blog.  The fact that there's a move afoot to link google profiles with blogger and the annoying "security" process in place forced my hand.  This is annoying because I like blogger - it works.

I'm sure I've messed up various things and I'll try and get them fixed.  I'll also be tweaking but, I hope, no wholesale changes and at some point I'll figure out why links don't always want to work etc.

Two things didn't make it over - the videos I've posted are missing and my Travels Sorted by Maturity Rating.  I'll be starting a new page of them but the old one will remain for as long as possible.

I apologize to all of you using RSS Feeds and who kindly link to me on their blogrolls - but I couldn't take the chance that the blog would vanish completely.  I'm attached to it. :)

All future posts will be available solely on the Wordpress site.  I hope you'll continue to follow my inworld adventures!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Finale of the Avatar Games 2011 in Second Life

The Avatar Games Trophy

Yesterday was the finale of the first (and perhaps only) season of the Avatar Games.  8 of the eligible finalists ran the course - but there were some changes made.  First of all Bryn reversed the course so they started at, what had been, the finish and ran down the hill to the former "start".  She added an additional refrackenbackem and a lot of trap cages and she had the bridge over the cess pool rotate.  The only new rule was that anybody jumping off a cliff to speed their journey would be orbited.

You know things couldn't go smoothly, this has been a twilight-zonish experience from the beginning and yesterday was just plain weird.  The start was delayed when we found the contestants arriving at the finish line - the old start landmark. That took a while to sort out and for some reason a lot of really good suggestions thrown at them were ignored by the Powers That Be. 

Contestant #1 disappeared approaching the first turn.  We thought maybe Bryn was being a stickler and detected some foot fault and orbited him.  Contestant #2 vanished just before the finish line.  We couldn't figure out what happened to him.  Then there was a delay followed by a shout in chat. It turned out they'd left damage enabled and we'd murdered the first two runners.  sigh

Crap kept channeling Vera Lynn and a large contingent of french speaking audience members, with fine musical taste, rebelled.  Another member of the audience found a terrific old tune he really liked and decided to broadcast on voice.  I hid behind the curtains. It all got done in the end - but I was exhausted and I'm pretty sure Crap's medications had worn off.

I have to congratulate Bryn Oh on her build, Sasun Steinbeck on her scripts, Taralyn Gravois and Galea Yates for their work wrangling the contestants, Geo Meek for livestreaming and ColeMarie Soleil for her randomness. I also want to thank our audience who tolerated us and encouraged us and couldn't shoot for sh*t.  

In spite of months of abuse; forcing me to listen to him eat all types of comestibles on mic; working on Words With Friends, Twitter, emails, Facebook and Plurk instead of focusing on the runners; the day he ran (shall we say) "under the weather"; the constant denigration of both my professionalism and the nobility of our endeavour; I might, perhaps, in a while have some fond memories of working with Crap Mariner.  My agent owes me big time for this one.

Oh yes, the winner of the trophy and the prize of L$15,000 was Fei (Bourdeille) Feice with a time of 1 min 28 sec.  Congratulations to Fei and everybody who challenged themselves and this sadistic course.  I really hope to see you all again at a future games and I have no idea what I'll do now with those spare hours every week.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I need a Dictionary of Synonyms for Tyrehl Byk's Catharsis in Second Life

Catharsis (moderate)

"Stunning" is the word most frequently used by audience members at the conclusion of a performance of Tyrehl Byk's show Catharsis yesterday on LEA6.  But that isn't adequate.

The dictionary tells me synonyms would include beauteous, brilliant, dazzling, devestating, excellent, famous, fine first-class, first-rate, gorgeous, great, heavenly, impressive, lovely, out of this world, pretty, ravishing , remarkable, royal, sensational, smashing, spectacular, striking, superior and wonderful. We're getting closer but this post isn't long enough to do it justice.

Catharsis (moderate)

I'd tell you some of the other comments but you wouldn't believe me.  It would all sound like hyperbole unless you had been there yourself.

You start at a landing spot in a high flying group of caves, wander a bit til you find the Event Horizon portal and then enter the theatre.  Sit yourself down, remove all of your huds and scripted objects (this is important!) then hit escape 6 or 7 times and let the chair control your camera.  One of the unique aspects of this show is that all of you in the audience (with some discrepancies for connections) are seeing the same thing at the same time.  The experience is truly shared.

Catharsis (moderate)

I should try and explain "what" this is and the closest I can come is a particle show.  But it's not like any particles I've ever seen. I know he's done something along these lines before and I'm kicking myself that I didn't see it.

You must go see this performance.  Tyrehl will take you on a journey that affects you emotionally as well as visually and the music not only adds to the trip but injects some humour at stages where it is most appreciated.

I took my "son" to the show yesterday because he's been in a funk.  I wasn't really sure how he'd react but he was as thrilled as everybody else, from the most jaded to the most ingenuous, and I am confident you will be as well.

Catharsis (moderate)

As somebody who likes to take photographs this was a little frustrating.  I couldn't move my camera and couldn't adjust any settings - so these images have nothing of "me" in them. This is more than satisfactory on this occasion because the images you will see are spectacular.  My "screen captures" don't however give you the sense of movement and creation that is inherent in this show.

Set your view distance to 250, move the particle slider as high as it will go, remove everything scripted, set your sun to midnight, make sure your room is dark and just give yourself over to Tyrehl for the duration.  You'll be glad you did.  The schedule is always being updated so find a time that works for you and please, please go see Catharsis!

Catharsis (moderate)

Friday, November 4, 2011

We Interrupt This Stream of SL Posts For a Brief Dedication

Back in my younger days I fell in love with this older guy - one with smarts and a ridiculous charm and a complete disregard for many of life's rules.  It was a period of time when many of us avoided disco and the rest of the 70's and found country - in particular my never ending passion for Waylon Jennings which outlasted my affair with the man I'll call TM but is all bound up into the same memories.

He could be an ass at times.  The song above is one he insisted reminded him of me - and no my name isn't Susan, he'd substitute mine in the lyrics.  It actually didn't seem like a bad song for him to pick.  Years after we parted I passed through his town and had dinner with TM and his wife. The idiot got up in the middle of the meal and put this on the stereo and made sure she knew it was about me.  sigh

I learned today that there won't be a possibility of any future dinners together.  The memories though are mostly happy ones and I want to dedicate the next video to him.  To TM and to my wish that some people would just stick around.

A Campus d'Art Milestone in Second Life

Campus d'Art  (moderate)

Things move quickly in the virtual world and time is exaggerated or accelerated so that what would be a relatively short period in the physical seems endless in the metaverse.  I dropped in on a 4 year anniversary party for a couple last week and, in our world of immediate commitments and almost as instantaneous "divorces", they've been together forever!

Imagine then what it must mean to be celebrating the continued existence of an art sim 5 years after it first opened!  Campus d'Art is owned and curated by Cecilia Delacroix  and includes somewhere around 20 galleries. "(W)orks by nearly 180 SL/RL artists are now displayed in a campus setting along with exhibits of 20th Century contemporary art; nearly 900 works in all."

Campus d'Art  (moderate)

I love this area not only because I can see pieces by SL artists such as Em Larsson and Sledge Roffo but also view and educate myself about real world topics such as Art Nouveau. You can literally spend hours exploring and enjoying and learning on this campus.

Cecilia hasn't had a party here since the day she opened 5 years ago this month.  This will change tomorrow, November 5th from 2 - 4pm SLT.  "There'll be drinks and food (no escargot this time!); right next door will be the recently opened exhibit "Contemporary Glass Art".  Nearby are 26 additional art exhibits including a kinetic sculpture plaza, a coffeehouse with chess board, a wine bar, a park, aerial gondola ride, hang gliding and -- hopefully lots of artists whose works (she) fell in love with these last 5 years.  There'll be music and free gifts, too."

Celebrating success is always a good idea and celebrating an endeavour which has survived for such an extended period of time seems like a must.  So go party and enjoy and congratulate her and the artists because this is a "good thing".  :)

Campus d'Art  (moderate)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Fearless Nation in Second Life

Fearless Nation  (moderate)

There are a lot of misconceptions about the internet in general and virtual worlds in particular and no I'm not even talking about the proverbial fat guy in the basement (he's OK by the way, once you get past his grunting and unwillingness to take showers).  Relevant to this post is the idea that the technology is "alienating" and that we can become more isolated by becoming immersed in the "fake" lives we create.  This might be true for some but for others it provides a totally opposite experience.

We talk occasionally about the "good" that is done in Second Life, pointing to things such as Relay for Life and Virtual Ability.  One of the amazing organizations operating on the grid is Fearless Nation - a resource for those affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Fearless Nation  (moderate)

Fearless Nation welcome(s) all PTSD sufferers, their families, friends, and clinicians, war veterans, law enforcement personnel, emergency response workers, those traumatized by sexual abuse, child abuse, torture, human trafficking, hostage events and crime, man-made and natural disasters, and physical, psychological, and verbal trauma.

They provide information, access to resources, classes, workshops, support groups and more.  They also hold an annual festival to heighten awareness of this debilitating problem and the help that is available as well as education to address the widespread issue of stigma associated with any mental illness.  This year's festival begins tomorrow with a presentation by the organization's founder, Anya Ibor, and will last for 10 days.

Fearless Nation  (moderate)

Sims which are normally closed to the public for use by members of the organization will be open for you to explore and a hunt will encourage you to learn about the issue and treatment.  

Two additional sims have been added for the month and display fantastic pieces by some of our favourite artists.  Curated by the indomitable Eliza Wierwight you will find it easy to lose yourself for hours enjoying the works of:

Starlash Sweetwater   Claudia222 Jewell
Bryn Oh   kazuhiro aridian
Stephen Venkman   PJ Trenton
Glyph Graves   Gwen Carillon
Tricia Farella   Scottius Polke
Trill Zapetero   Lina Stigsson
Bonni Reid   Sabbian Paine
Nicole Steen   Starax Statosky
Rebeca Bashly    Eliza Wierwight

Fearless Nation  (moderate)

It's unthinkable to have a festival inworld without music!  And there will be plenty from the 4th through the 13th.  This will include live performances and amazing DJ's.

I don't know anybody, including myself, whose life has not been touched or altered by mental illness whether their own or that of a loved one.  One of the most heartbreaking aspects of this burden is the feeling of being "alone".  Second Life and Fearless Nation help begin recovery by first addressing this issue and then providing the support and assistance necessary to ensure that the appropriate treatment for PTSD is received.

I encourage you to learn more by taking advantage of this opportunity to enjoy a festival and to become  familiar with an extraordinary facility and resource that directly contradicts the notion that alienation is inevitable in our world.  

Fearless Nation  (moderate)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Falling on my Sword in Second Life


So I did something stupid yesterday.  I admit I'm not perfect and I screw up with probably more regularity than I'd like to think but this time it affected somebody else and I felt lousy. I told one of my oldest SL friends what I had done and she recognized the gravity of my transgression however, she also laughed.

She explained that anybody who knew me would have expected it from me because that's what I do.  I tend to "help" whether it's requested or not.  sigh  Now I not only felt like a rotten person but one of those infuriatingly sincere but annoying volunteers at a hospital I used to have to visit.  This day was not getting any better.

I decided I had to perform some sort of ritual in order to imprint the commission of this particular crime on my subconscious so that I don't repeat it.  I did some research on Sepuku and concluded that the full-blown traditional approach was probably not for me but I would tailor it somewhat.

First I searched my inventory for sword - not expecting anything but I thought it would be a good place to start.  It turns out I own swords.  In fact, for some reason I can't explain, I own a lot of them.  I could only carry 3 and not for any distance - those suckers are heavy.

Xena who?

I spent considerable time designing what I thought would be a tasteful, solemn and fitting ceremony highlighting both my regret and my awareness of the extent of my shortcomings. I choreographed the steps I would take and wrote a suitably sincere and dramatic script that involved much soul baring and vows to mend my ways.  The conclusion of the entire thing was to be very moving and, I felt, would result in the expiation of my sins.  There would also be pain but that's to be expected.

I then passed a lengthy period of time in meditation and contemplation.  I wanted to ensure that my mind was prepared for the task - I was not going to mess this up.

I headed out to a sim I felt gave me the proper backdrop for this type of endeavour and started to look for the right location.  It appears some renovations are taking place because there was a lot of rubble and odd gaps in trails and, as I struggled to carry my swords over the broken terrain, I tripped.  That's correct, I spent hours preparing for a ceremony that was very important to me and then did the inworld equivalent of running with scissors.

I guess that falling on your sword is easier to do than I thought.  I will try to remember the lesson even if the process didn't turn out as expected.

Dignity?  What dignity?