Friday, October 28, 2011

Grid Hop for EDU: Fake Cthulhu Threatened by Fake Dog

Location: Many Places, Including Vassar University in Second Life

I was extremely excited to do the otherwise hum-drum work of checking links for a recent VWER transcript. We had a great session on 20 October, where more than 30 educators' avatars posted Web and SLURL links to good resources for educators new to virtual worlds.

The entire transcript can be read here.  Because of the proximity to Halloween, I was in my "Loremaster" outfit by Tekelili Tantalus (plus top hat).

I arrived at the Sistine Chapel at the same time as a group of what I suppose were undergrads doing a SL field-trip. All of the avatars were from the latest bunch of Linden Lab starters.

Immediately, a German Shepherd told me "Ignatius, I could beat you up."

What was I to say in reply? "You and what dog-sled team?" or "I will suck your aura, canine primitive creature, until you are a withered mindless husk, one with Azathoth as he howls at the center of all matter, where shapeless horrors dance to the music of eldritch flutes held in nameless paws?"

No. I settled for "Go ahead. I'm a pacifist."

And very tired, after all of that grid-hopping. But there is still a lot to see out there in Second Life. Read about it and click those links here.

Students! I'm glad someone is still bringing classes into SL. Mine are off to OpenSim in a few weeks.  No dogs allowed. For that matter, no dark gods who walk between the dimensions, serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen, allowed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October Roadtrip: Epic Fail for Billy Badass

Billy Badass Fails 4/4
Location: Gnashing Teeth on Wellington Road
Soundtrack: Dire Straits (oh, of friggin' course)

Thanks to the kind help of SeVeN VanDouser, I acquired not only a '67 GTO, but a Goat in the best color of all: Billy-badass black.

And, not surprisingly, Second Life's roads are not up to the talent of vehicle creators. On my last roadtrip, in my Mini Cooper S, I at least got through a dozen or more sims before it became ludicrous.

This time, I got through half as many. Ban-lines and regular sim-crossings made simple navigation into a hellish experience. I had to detach the car, run on foot to the next rezz-zone, and try again. I'm sorry, scenes like this one are beyond retarded. I know how to drive a SL car. Billy Badass Fails 1/4
Simply put: cars are decor in SL. Nothing more.

Perhaps Will Wright's presence on Linden Lab's board can fix this. Or perhaps it's simply unfixable. Pity. That Goat would be the perfect ride.

Linden Lab, you spent a lot of time making these roads. Now fix them so we can enjoy them at more than a crawl.

PS to owners of real classics: urinal-deodorant blocks are keeping mice out of the badass '68 truck that my wife owns as well as a '65 Mustang ragtop we'll have on the road by Spring. Hope springs eternal, just not on SL's roadways :(

Friday, October 21, 2011

Why Doesn't Linden Lab Send Out E-Mail Like This?

Location: Basking in Glory

Received from Tiny Speck, the creators of Glitch. Rod Humble, you should pay attention to these stoned madmen:

If knowledge is power, then, having just finished learning Animal Kinship II, you are filled with power. Tingling with power. Knowledge-infused power is radiating from you, like the smell of freshly roasted chicken radiates from, well, a freshly roasted chicken. Look at you! The Freshly Roasted Chicken of Knowledge-Power!

Here’s what you just learned, chook:

Advancing on the path of Animal Kinship introduces some additional rewards for the basic animal interactions, such as increasing the amount of meat piggies give when nibbled and the amount of milk butterflies give when milked.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Glitch: I'm Inside Their Thoughts

Glitch: Getting Started 
Location: Petting Trees

And learning to jump, put things in my backpack, and pet piggies who give me a steak--not pork, I presume--for being kind to them. I'm getting advice from something that looks like a floating potato emitting rays of light. It keeps reminding me it's my "familiar."

Glitch as to be the strangest little casual game I've ever found. It seems a creation of people who took a lot of mind-altering drugs while reading the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. The look and feel reminds me of late, lamented Metaplace, but with more content ready made and a urge to explore.

Hmm...sounds like the promise of Second Life. It's a 2D game, but it runs in my browser smoother than silk.  All you need is Flash (sorry, iPad users).

Glitch: Spud Boy

The metaphors are clearly going to keep me playing Glitch.  It is an invented world focused on inventing a world so the inventors will grow. Yes, that makes about as much sense to me, too.

But it's not about sex or shooting things. I rather like the idea of massaging a butterfly and getting repaid with "butterfly milk" that has magical properties. The best soundtrack since that for Harry the Handsome Executive accompanies me as I trundle along.

Not much to report on this initial dispatch from Glitch, except I was laughing out loud as I finished the quick tutorial and began to explore my first destination.  The world seems to be made like Metaplace's; it's not contiguous like SL or an Open Sim grid, but regions light up when an avatar enters.

The game just went live on September 27. I followed Hamlet Au's breadcrumbs to the site, watched the trailer, and just had to give it a whirl.

There's something about being inside the thoughts of one of 11 "giants" who made this universe...ahem, cannot call them "gods" without offending those touchy about religion. So giants they are, right out of Lovecraft's fevered brain.
Glitch: Some of the 11 Giants 
So far I've not done much. I'm closing in, after 15 minutes of play, on Level 2, when I hope my little green man, Smoky Messerschmidt (I know, another hard-to-type avatar name) will begin to accrue enough in-world swag to trade it for a custom appearance.

Just like that other virtual world I've shed so much typing on over the years.

Update: It's not a grey potato. It's a pet rock.  And the trailer is so addictive I'm going to embed it right here from YouTube:

This thing must involve Metaplace alums.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Road Trip Attempt: Linden Lab, I Hate You

Location: Sim Crossing

You reek, LL. The perfect car, and at the first sim-border, I get this. Fix the damned physics.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Road Trip?

Iggy Gets His Goat 1/2  
Location: Looking at a car I would kill you to own

Pontiac GTO, 1967: the power and glory of a nation on a rocket sled. Men like young gods steer their street monsters into telephone poles, spewing testosterone and hubris. They want to be astronauts, but instead of Saturn V rockets they have Pontiacs.

My god, an SLer named SeVeN VanDouser made a '67 Goat that is worth my notice. IRL, I care for one classic vehicle (a hot-rod racing truck with some mice living in it) and I'd not want a real GTO until I had a better garage with climate control.

But in SL? Hell, yes. The '67 is The Machine That Must Be Worshipped.

Bring on the toys of the young gods.

Iggy Gets His Goat 2/2
So I guess I need to take roadtrip again, eh? Anyone care to visit the shop and get a car to race me?

Hint to classics owners: Urinal blocks keep the mice out, but your car smells like...a clean urinal. This, too, will never happen in SL.

Update: Next post will feature a road trip in the Goat. I also found out that, IRL, my Mini-Cooper S does a 0-60 time of 6.6 seconds, the same estimate as a stock '67 GTO with the 400 cubic-inch V8. As much as I love the Mini....the Goat still wins.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Burn 2: A Fool and His Spleen

<a href="">Koinup</a>  
Location: The Playa

Given Miso Susanowa's recommendation and nice machinma about this installation, I started with  Grail Quest by Trill Zapatero.

I clicked a face-down tarot card. As The Fool appeared, I read the following:

"If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise." -William Blake

Well, with that intro, how could I resist?  Blake and being foolish are two of my favorite pastimes.

The installation is more introspective than I'd thought it might be, and certainly more interactive than many of the other installations I walked through after. It's worth a long look, if only to meditate upon the abundant follies that surround us and that we contain.

As I bumbled about, I came upon The Insolence of Nature, entered through a gate labeled "Where I dragged my weakness." The artwork focuses on a giant prostrate figure, collapsed into nature. Say, perhaps I have found the political messages of past Burns, after all.

At Mystical Tree (Black Rock sim, next to Grail Quest) I was back into introspection. I followed the journey up from my root chakra through to the seventh and final one, the crown Chakra, where I flew.  I had to stop and meditate, however, at my spleen; I've been told I'm full of it.

The heart chakra was a bit intense, with the deep breathing and the heartbeat. But I rather like that.

It may be my mood, given the turning of the year in this hemisphere to fall. Or it may be the times, where the most vital form of performance art is on Wall Street and other places where the other 99 per cent have given voice to some long-overdue rage.

This year, Burn2 seems smaller, less populated. But I cannot be certain. After all, it may just be my foolishness, and Blake reminds us that "a fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees."

Friday, October 7, 2011

Burn2, 2011: Arrival

No truer words ever written  
Location: Hither and Thither on the Playa

A nasty allergy attack has limited my Burn2 time this week--only so much energy for grading a big stack of papers and other things. But today I got by for a get-acquainted look on my free blue bicycle.

I'll do a proper storyboard later in the weekend, after I really get around to see some art.

TV heads
Social messages seemed a little muted this year, but I've hardly begun my explorations. I do like a sign that reads "that humanity at large will ever be able to dispense with artificial paradises seems very unlikely."
Prim Memorial?
So I settled in for some fun. I met avatar Eleyn Zlatkes, and we wondered if an exhibit of prims were a type of memorial, now that mesh is on the scene.

Elyen Zlatkes Takes a Slide
Message, smessage! We decided it would be more fun to get dizzy on the big spiral in the display.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Goodbye Steve

Location: Mac keyboard

You were my favorite megalomaniac.

Robert X. Cringely said it best: If Bill Gates were George H.W. Bush, Steve was Saddam Hussein. He didn't want to be a rich country-club boy: he wanted to rule the f'ing world.

That I can respect.

They'll pull my Mac out of my cold, dead fingers. I'd give up my Springfield M1911A1 .45 caliber first. The Mac is far more dangerous.

God had better watch out. Or Satan. Either way, inside of six months, Steve, you will be running the place.

Don't forget all the PeeCee weenies I converted to use a superior OS, Steve, after your Second Coming. Be it heaven or hell, I want a job in the hereafter.

You were insanely great--love you or hate you, or both--you changed the world.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

While The World Burns, I Buy a Fedora

A New Hat
Location: Not at Burn 2

I know, I know. I need to go. I will go this week, if only as a break from grading papers and midterms.

Perhaps had I gotten my press pass I'd have been more anxious to go. I was all ready to put a little "press" ticket into my new hat.

Speaking of, I got in touch with my mesh self and wore a new mesh fedora to VWER, where we discussed the possible impact of SL's new technology on educators.

Several of us came by with mesh avatars or accessories. No one with an older viewer complained about my mesh hat. Maybe it was a sculpty and the guy just claimed it was mesh?

A log-in with Imprudence 1.23 confirms I got mesh. Perhaps my friends with other non-mesh viewers thought I was French and was wearing a boule instead of a hat.
Mesh hat...non mesh viewer

Looks like I'll wear my old hat to Burn 2. See you on the Playa!