Monday, May 31, 2010

Alice In WonderSLand


Written 31 May, 2010

Alice In WonderSLand

I've been beating myself up for not blogging before now about the wonderful play Alice in WonderSLand.

I feel I've been granted a reprieve, for the run has been extended through 6 June. There's also a performance on the 5th. With luck, it may be extended yet again.

Sweetie and I went weekend before last, and let me tell you, it was the best performance I've seen to date in Second Life. I urge you to spend the $500 it costs and go see it.

Alice is the brainchild of Avatar Repertory Theater, directed by MadameThespian Underhill and Produced by JubJub Forger. Music is by Fred Kimmel.

Unlike most endeavors in group entertainment, Alice ran smoothly-- astonishingly smoothly. Animations were spot-on, and the settings were very Alice-like-- in other words, pleasingly quirky.

Some of the sculpties refused to resolve for me, so I couldn't make snapshots, but happily, Sweetie took plenty of pictures. They follow...

But first, take yourself to XStreet and search WonderSLand. Pick your performance and buy a ticket. You won't be disappointed.

-----

Audience effects were great. The chairs in which we were sitting suddenly disappeared and we fell onto the floor.


Later, we went swimming.


Big Alice...


At the duchess'...


The tea party.


Oops, wrong tea party!

I meant this one!


Croquet on the lawn...


I tell you, if the Red Queen catches you guys painting white roses red she'll be all "Off With Their Heads!"


The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:

"If this were only cleared away,
"
They said, "it would be grand!"


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Half-Assed Griefing


Written 29 May, 2010

Half-Assed Griefing

An avatar named Ariel Starflare very kindly sent me an IM this morning, notifying me of what she called a moderate griefer attack on Whimcentricity.

I rezzed on Whimsy Kaboom and found every free prim taken up by invisible boxes owned by an avatar named Donna Eberhardt. I looked at her profile; it was blank, and yet she was two years old. Yep, griefer alt. I banned her from my estates and returned her objects.

Whimsy was thankfully free from griefing objects, but Whimcentricity had 1300 boxes, most with Iraqi flags on each side. Donna again. I returned them.


By then Sweetie was looking over my shoulder. I flew over to Leaf Shermer's adjoining sim, Eccentricity, and found it covered with thousands of the same boxes. And yes, owned by Donna.

I filed an abuse report before I left Kaboom, and a second when I saw the flag pasted on the boxes on Whimcentricity. I cleaned up Whimcentricity, then sent an IM to Leaf telling her what had happened.

By now Sweetie was in world. "They griefed Leaf's pirate ship," she said. "That's just stupid redundant!" Here's her photo:


As griefing attacks go, Donna's was pretty half-assed. She placed an object spammer high in the sky. The object rezzed objects as fast as it could until the sim was full; if at any time prims were free, it set to work again.

The rezzed objects were all physical, which slowed the sims, but otherwise the effect was visual, annoying, but nothing worse.

I thought for a moment that perhaps the griefing was due to my blog posts yesterday, but I don't think so. Otherwise, why grief Leaf's sim? I think it was just another random attack of stupidity. It was easily remedied. If I get attacked again I'll just lock down my land by turning off build for a while.

Leaf logged on while I was writing this. "ZOMG!" she said, and cleared her land.

Here's what I have to say to Donna. Sing to the tune of My Bonnie.

Your griefing is really pathetic
Your griefing is really low class
At best it is barely annoying
Not even a pain in the ass

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Hypocrisy of Social Conservatives

Sorry to interject politics into this blog, but Ari Blackthorne's recent blogpost really stirred me up and I couldn't help myself. I urge anyone who disagrees with me to compile a list of hypocritical social liberals (with references) that matches or exceeds the list of hypocritical conservatives I compiled in just one hour. I'll even give you two to start: Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson. But consider, Bill Clinton just acted like a busted school kid when confronted with his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. He hadn't made it his life work to attack those who engage in extramarital sex. So maybe he shouldn't count. But feel free to have at Jackson.

Written 28 May, 2010


The Hypocrisy of Social Conservatives

Consider this amazing statement:

I find many liberals to be two-faced hypocrites of the highest order.

While liberals are hardly immune to hypocrisy, the list of high-order hypocrisy from prominent social conservatives is astounding; it's as if they attack their inner demons by denying and waging war on them. In fact, I'm morally certain that's what happens.

Consider:

* Several prominent Republicans and right-wing media types have made the astounding claim that there were no terrorist attacks in the United States during the Bush/Cheney administration.

Here's a Fox News report by Dana Perino that makes that claim.

And here's former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani saying the same thing.

Now consider the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. And the anthrax letters. And the shoe bomber. When was all that? 2001? And who was in charge?

Bush!

I take that back!

I really meant Cheney!

Teabaggers and others who have drunk the conservative Kool-Aid should go here and take a peek at the successful and foiled terrorist attacks in the U.S. in the years 2002-2008.

And who was in charge?

Right!

So, how much hubris or bad memory would it take to make such a claim? There were no terrorist attacks in the United States during the Presidency of George W. Bush. Puh-Leaz!

I'm not a huge fan of liberal commentator Keith Olbermann (although I admire his sincerity), but I love the way he hoists conservatives like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, and John McCain, by their own petards by playing video clips of their hypocracies alongside their earlier words.

Here's a great clip from Keith's TV show Countdown in which Idaho GOP hopeful Vaughn Ward
is shown giving a speech which is a blatant plagarization of Barack Obama's 2004 speech at the Democratic Convention. It's frigging hilarious to see Ward and Obama on the screen giving the same speech. And which one was earlier? Oh, yes, Obama.

Ward, of course, would deny having plagarized Obama if he thought he could get away with it (and I'm sure he will in the future), but under the spotlight, he instead tasked campaign manager Mike Tracy with misdirecting reporters. Tracy said, "[F]olks are getting desperate -- they're saying anything to get Vaughn to go after him. If anyone thinks he's anything like Obama, they're dead wrong."

Watch the side-by-side video. Please!

The list of hypocritical prominent social conservatives is absolutely legion. Consider the anti-gay crusader George Rekers, who recently got busted when returning from Europe with his hired rent boy. Consider the high numbers of anti-gay ex-gays caught in gay bars-- for instance, ex-gay John Paulk, who was recognized by gay activists cruising in a gay bar. And consider Idaho Senator Larry Craig, who was arrested for playing footsie with a cop in an airport bathroom stall. Consider the Reverend Jimmy Swaggart's repeated falls from grace due his addiction to prostitutes. Consider Rush Limbaugh, who announced on his radio show in 2003 that he was addicted to painkillers and would be checking into a drug rehabilitation clinic (and who came within a gnat's ass of going to prison for his illegal drug use). Consider, oh, the national attention-grabbing hypocricies of Pat Robertson, Strom Thurmond, Bill Bennett, and Jim Bakker, and...

I could go on and on...

Now consider:

* Rekers was an repeated expert witness against gays. In a 2004 case involving gay adoption in Arkansas, which had banned LGBT people from adopting in 1999, he argued that "it would be in the best interest of foster children to be placed in a heterosexual home" because the majority of people in the country disapproved of homosexual behaviour, putting further stress on children who were already likely to suffer from psychological disorders. This was in fact a blatant lie, because Rekers knew there were studies which show his statement to be untrue. See here for a 2002 review of outcome studies of gay and lesbian parenting. Hypocrisy.

* Paulk is author of Not Afraid to Change; The Remarkable Story of How One Man Overcame Homosexuality. In other words, Paulk made his living by proclaiming he was no longer gay, all the while hanging out in gay bars and doing you guess what. Hypocrisy.

* Craig's role in the persecution of President Bill Clinton for his sexual behavior while in office. Hypocrisy.

* Before his day of reckoning, Swaggart was instrumental in the defrocking of fellow minister Marvin Gorman for infidelity.

* Limbaugh has said, of users of illegal drugs, "The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river..."

Hypocrisy. Pure and simple, unmatched on the other side of the political fence.

Now, I'm not saying social liberals aren't hypocritical. Certainly, many of them are. But one has to be politically blind not to realize there's something endemic going on here in the social conservative movement. There's a lesson in human behavior here, for those who allow themselves to see it, and that is that people who go out of the way to attack others for their behavior almost always have, uh.... issues.

Those Darn Intolerant Homosexuals!

Written 28 May, 2010

Those Darn Intolerant Homosexuals!

Here's what Ari Blackthorne recently said about gays, who he considers intolerant.

Homosexuality is another example [of intolerance from people other than Ari]: I have no problem with it. Whatever you do in your own home is your business and none of mine. What I actually do have a problem with is you always trying to rub it in my face by forcing a public discussion of it like I have a need to know.

This is an old argument. It goes like this: You homosexuals are welcome to be yourself, so long as I don't have to hear about it and see it. So no discussion about it, no demands for your rights, no hugging or kissing or handholding in public, no pictures of your partner on your desk at work, no sending your kids to my kids' schools, no gays in the military-- and no gay marriages, for god's sake! And by the way, do you have to be so butch/faggy? Can't you act "normal?"

If gays and lesbians hadn't been in people's faces these past 40 or so years they would still be routinely beaten to death in back alleys with bricks and routinely arrested and sodomized by the police.

Oh, wait, that still happens!

But thanks to gay folks doing exactly what homophobes don't want to see or hear, they are today less marginalized in the business community, less often made the butts of jokes, less often harassed and ridiculed, less often excluded from the military, less often deprived of custody of their children, and more likely to be able to socially legitimize their relationships.

It's strange. A man and woman kiss on an escalator, how charming. Two gay men hold hands, they're flaunting their lifestyle.

Sheesh.

Socially Mundane, Indeed!

I'm posting this here rather than on the blog at question because I couldn't figure out how to leave a comment there.

-----

Written 28 May, 2010


Socially Mundane, Indeed!


I awoke this morning to find Sweetie bouncing off the walls. Literally. On a prim.

"What's up with you?" I asked.

She was so flabbergasted she couldn't speak for a few moments. Then she told me about this post made by Ari Blackthorne on his blog Socially Mundane.

The piece is called "Your God-Given Human Right to NOT be Offended?" and its logical inconsistencies were driving her nuts.

It seems Ari has a dragon somewhere on his land. It seems the dragon may have some sort of Muslim symbol embedded in it.

And it seems Ari got a mostly polite request in broken-English saying 20-some Muslim Second Lifers were offended by the symbol's placement and asking him to remove it.

Now, if I wanted to deliberately offend someone I might put, oh, say, Andre Serrano's Piss Christ on my land, or reprint those Danish cartoons that depict Muhammad. But certainly, if someone requested me to remove something I just happened to have on my land because they found it offensive, I would at least take a rational look at the object with the possibility in mind of altering, covering, or removing, or at least warning folks they might find it offensive.

But not Ari. He went off on an amazing twisted rant in which he proclaims himself the most tolerant person ever and then proceeds to attack gays, liberals, Obama, the media, and, indirectly, Muslims.

Some of Ari's diatribe is meant to be ironic, although he mostly fails in his irony. He shotguns pretty much everything he disagrees with (now I'm being ironic, for I suspect he disagrees with lots more but didn't have time or energy to be inclusive). Then he protects himself by saying calling him intolerant would in and of itself be intolerant. It sounds like Level II Kohlberg thinking to me.

I've not yet figured out why Ari illustrated his intolerant (yes, I said it!) rant with a photo of a young girl. To show his amazing level of tolerance, perhaps?

I traveled to Ari's throne store to see if I could spot the dragon-in-question, but didn't see it. I also visited a Muslim-themed (see, it's full of minarets!) capture-and-collar role play sim


which is in Ari's picks, but didn't see the dragon there, either.

Maybe the dragon is in or around Ari's home, which might account for the intensity of his tirade.

It's hard to know where to respond to Ari's vituperation. To his attacks on the (he thinks) left-leaning media? Has he heard of Faux News? To his attack on Obama for not stopping BP's catastrophic oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico? (How strange that conservatives rail against government and systematically dismantled constraints on big business then cry and demand government action when there's a disaster.) To his attack on the word holiday and the de-Christianization of Christmas? To his homophobia?

I think I'll stop being personal about Ari here and do posts about two of his amazing tolerant beliefs.

And Ari-- chill, man! Someone just asked you nicely to do something.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

China Tang Empire

Written 27 May, 2010

China Tang Empire

Day before yesterday I got an IM from Valor Renilo. He told me he liked my blog and especially my sense of humor and told me about his sim, China Tang Empire.

So of course I took myself right over there.

What a nice place!

The sim owner, Valor Renilo, told me he sees it as a gateway between the East and the West. I think it's perfect for that.

The sim is classically Chinese, with a big temple and formal and informal gardens. I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

The sim is amply provided with offshore mountains and rocks, making for a nice vista.


The approach to the main temple is wide and handsome:


The spaces and textures are pleasing.


And the gardens are peaceful.


Valor had told me it was late for him (I'm almost certain he is in China), so I was surprised to find hsi avi still online. He was AFK, so either he forgot to log off or he did as I once did, stayed online just because he didn't want to log off while he slept. :)


I was using an unfamiliar keyboard, one with a small Alt key, and found to my surprise that one of Valor's smaller buildings was moveable. I discovered it when I, because I had my thumb on the wrong key, sank it two meters or so into the ground. I put it back and told Valor about it so he could fix it. Notice the movement arrows on the photo that follows!


China Tang is a brand new sim, just opened yesterday. It seemed complete in terms of prims, and the music stream was beautiful, but I wasn't hearing any environmental sounds. I gave Valor the full permission environmental rock that some folks in Second Life are selling, telling him he could place the rock inconspicuously here and there or pull out the scripts and sounds and put them in any prim for which he has permissions-- plants, for instance-- and save a few prims.

(I'll right about this great freebie soon).

I have only one criticism of China Tang, about which I've not yet told Valor. The grass he is using is on full bright and just overwhelms the gardens. See the photo.


We had the same problem on Whimsy. We set out a bunch of flowers and grass and didn't realize until we saw it at midnight that it was so bright.

I'm a little late to post this, so some events will be already past, but there are celebrations in progress for the sim opening. Here's Valor's notice:

------

Opening celebrations will go on from May 26 to May 29. There will be two music events on May 26 by MoShang Zhao (9-10AM SLT), jaynine Scarborough (1030-1130AM SLT) to mark the opening. On May 27 (12PM - 130PM SLT), there will be an acoustic rock performance by Mankind Tracer. On May 29 (Saturday), there will be four music events by Moshang Zhao, Young Zeid, Andreus Gustafson, and Quinton Diavolo.

This sim is created to be a doorway to a part of the Asian/Chinese culture. There are many people whom I have met in SL, who have yet to travel out of their towns.. and some cannot even make it out of their own homes. For those who cannot explore the world, who cannot see - aside from books and television, what lies beyond their backyards - SL is the perfect medium for them to embark on their exploratory conquest. It is my fervent wish for this sim to be just that.

The ground level of the sim is Tang dynasty compliant in terms of builds. As you enter the front gate, you will face the Tang palace. On your right lies the zen garden and a stone pagoda. On the left, another pagoda, which also houses a temple. You can find the plaza at the back of the main palace, strewn with taichi and kungfu balls. A love island awaits at the corner of the sim.

In addition, there are 3 levels of underground for one to explore. We have added various nooks and crannies for those willing to look and travel a little further.

I would be more than happy to show you around.

Thanks and regards,
Valor Renilo


*** Opening Week Music Performances ***
MAY 26 (Wed) 9AM SLT - 10AM SLT
MoShang Zhao

MAY 26 (Wed) 1030AM SLT - 1130AM SLT
jaynine Scarborough

MAY 27 (Thu) 12PM SLT - 130 PM SLT
Mankind Tracer

MAY 29 (Sat) 9PM SLT - 10PM SLT
MoShang Zhao

MAY 29 (Sat) 3PM SLT - 430PM SLT
Andreus Gustafson

MAY 29 (Sat) 5PM SLT - 6PM SLT
Young Zeid

MAY 29 (Sat) 7PM SLT - 830PM SLT
Quinton Diavolo

Friday, May 21, 2010

Here We Go Again!


Written 21 May, 2010

Here We Go Again!


Grrrr! those darn Lindens! Here they go again, advertising the more mundane aspects of Second Life existence at the expense of the fabulous.

They're pushing marriage! Not that commitments aren't important-- they are-- but where are the ads showing giant dragons and stupid steampunk builds and tiny street fairs and residents creating t-shirts? Where are the Linden ads for Second Life art and live music? Where are the ads for educational institutions and nonprofits?

Can Linden Lab really not think beyond their noobie houses?

Grrr!

-----

THIS IS A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN TEMPORARILY TAKEN OVER IN THE NAME OF M. LINDEN. WE ASSURE YOU MS. PALISADES HAS NOT BEEN ISP-BANNED FROM SECOND LIFE AND REMOVED TO A SECRET VIRTUAL GUANTANAMO WHERE SHE IS EVEN NOW BEING WATERBOARDED. WE'RE SURE, WHEREVER SHE IS, SHE IS CONTENT AND HAPPY AND LOOKING FORWARD TO MOVING INTO HER FINE NEW LINDEN HOME, JUST AS SOON AS HER REHABILITATION IS COMPLETE.

-----

Hi! My name is M.

Look closely into my eyes! Closely! You see my Linden tag. You cannot resist!

You will download the Second Life client. Say it after me. I will download the Second Life client.

Good!

Listen to me carefully and repeat each sentence.

I will be a good Second Life citizen.

I will not be a furry or a robot or a tiny.

I will not be a vampire or a Gorean slave.

I will not go to Zindra for sex.

I will not learn to build.

I will not learn to script.

I will not make art in Second Life.

I will make a paid account so I can get a swell Linden home.

I will buy Lindens with real-world currency and fill my 117-prim limit with expensive sculpted furniture.

I will spend thousands of Lindens on ridiculous "haute couture" fashion with scripted attachments.

I will meet another avatar of the opposite sex. It does not matter if the typist is male or female, only that we appear in world to be a happy heterosexual couple.

We will fall in love and buy one another expensive gifts on XStreet.

We will have a lavish wedding, spending megabucks on dresses and tuxedos, flowers, DJs, and rental of a garishly decorated wedding chapel.

We will invest in a talking tummy that will make everyone around us retch with pronouncements from the virtual fetus about the progress of the "pregnancy."

We will recruit friends to role play our babies.

We will maintain our Avatar United accounts and pay our membership fees promptly and be good Second Life citizens. Meaning we will live happily forever after within our prim limits and asking no questions.

When you awake, you will follow these instructions, but remember nothing.

Snap! Wake up!

Finding Nemo

Written 21 May, 2010

Finding Nemo


A year or so ago Sweetie and I found a charming French steampunk build, with dirigibles and hanging stairways in the sky. I was poised to write about it, but then it disappeared.

Creator Sextan Shepherd has now created Nemo, a build inspired by Jules Verne. It's-- it's.

What can I say? There are STEAM-POWERED SHRIMP!!!

The build wasn't quite complete when Sweetie and I visited, but I got plenty of great photos. Here are a few.

The surface gives only a hint of what lies beneath...


A steam-powered elevator...


... transports you and your Sweetie...


...below the surface ...


... to a series of marvelous workshops...


... and laboratories...


... connected by watertight tunnels.


There are many marvelous machines...
... some of which are for sale!

Sextan makes prolific use of sculpted prims...

... and he creates his own marvelous textures, some of which are for sale at his shop. So are clocks and an orrery and two huge dirigibles.

Sextan is creating a commerical area...

... which will connect to the mines via a rail car.

If you like steampunk, or if you don't, Nemo is a must-see sim!

Back in New York


Sweetie's Secret Mountain Lair is Within Hollering Distance of New York City

Written 21 May, 2010


Back Up North

Yesterday, Delta kindly carried me to New York and deposited me gently in White Plains. I'm spending three weeks with Sweetie and typing this on her computer.

I worked for four weeks on the census job, which took a turn to weirdness just before I left.

It seems 3/4 of the crew to which I was attached were turning in timesheets without really doing any work.

Call me a sucker, for a pounded on a lot of doors!

I worked through all the binders I was given, and then told my supervisor I had been invited to give a talk in Albany. I told her that if more work was expected I would come back-- if not, well, Sweetie lives only 150 miles from Albany.

So I'm here and will be for a while.

Tomorrow morning we will arise early and drive to Albany. It will be rather a Thelma and Louise road trip, for Sweetie was involved in an unfortunate incident in that city. We're going straight to the talk and straight back home. We won't even be taking advantage of the free room night offered by the conference organizers.

Fortunately, Sweetie is a mistress of disguise, so there's little chance the Teleportation Security Administration will spot her. And if they did, well, she'll be amply supplied with exploding lipsticks.

I've done little in world these past weeks except stand around on Kaboom watching the humpback cavort. I think I've been recharging my psychic energy.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Rose Theatre


Written 7 May, 2010

The Rose Theatre

When a furry black avatar raved about the Rose Theatre, I jumped there to take a look. Just for a quick moment before going to bed.

Two hours later I was still exploring.

The Rose is a large edifice that hosts an opera house, a theatre, and a fine furniture store. It's impressive from the outside:


And inside:





The grounds are extensive and gorgeous, with formal gardens...


... water features...


... and delightful secluded places:


Sharp-Eyed readers will have noted by now the extensive on the sim use of a rarely used feature: bumpiness. Note the grainy texture on the bridge.

The theater is lush...


... and the furniture in the on-sim store is of the highest quality...


... but the jewel of the Rose is the opera stage:


Oh, to have a seasons pass here!

There are many sections of the building:



Intan dance balls are everywhere, so bring your partner and enjoy.

I believe the sim can be rented for special events.