Saturday, February 18, 2012

Destinations: Memento mori...Remember your ChouChou

This is a reprint of an old forum post of mine (September 8, 2010).  I thought I'd trot it back out (again) because of all the wonderful articles recently published and the pictures on the SL Feed celebrating the reopening this year of one of my all-time favorite sims.  I think Chouchou represents the best of what can be in Second Life.  It's magical.


The Memento mori region is where the cathedral is located in Chouchou. It's not an activity sim. The effect, for me, is most like being a tourist in Europe in a parallel world. It's a sightseeing sim.

The old cathedrals in Europe are enormous, weighty, cold and beautiful. This place recreates that mood. The region's environmental settings are dark and cold. My avi is wearing a t-shirt and jeans, much as I would in life, and I can just feel that familiar shiver of going from the sunny outdoors to the dim and shadowy interior of a historic and spiritual stone sanctuary with a colorful tourist pamphlet in hand. People come and go in the same numbers and time as tourists do in real cathedrals. I go in and see one couple wander about while another person decides to sit in a pew and another goes to take a look at the piano. All the while there are sounds...the bells of the cathedral, a piano playing, angels singing... the wind.

This region pushes my sense memory buttons. That's a big reason for why I respond to it the way I do. It's that and it's my utter appreciation for people who have the vision, energy and patience to create something that is so beautiful and can push my sense memory buttons so satisfyingly. There's also something lovely about knowing there's an unspoken connection to strangers based on something like this. I get it. I get what they were saying with this and while they don't know me, they get me on some level. Same with anyone else who responds to this place the way I do. Silent communication and connection. It's cool, man. 

My mother, who died in 2003, was a Brit living in the states. My Dad, an American, was in the Air Force and then later had a civilian career. We lived in England for a time and traveled around Europe and returned for visits regularly, not only to see family, but to see that part of the world. I've literally been travelling and seeing the world since I was a baby. 

So we traveled. We also saw movies. I grew up in a household that relished the whole experience of going to the movies. When I was a little girl, I stood in a line that literally stretched blocks, the very definition of blockbuster, to see a movie that had created the most palpable excitement among almost everyone I knew. My parents brought games and snacks and a blanket to sit on and we waited. Chewbacca worked his way down the line and stopped to give me a "May the Force Be With You" button and to pat my head and give me a thrill to break up the wait. And then I saw the premiere of Star Wars. It was amazing. I loved the movie, but I also loved the energy around it. Excitement like that, in my little mind, makes a community out of strangers for a moment. I think that's cool too. But I'm easy. I get a rush out of seeing crimson curtains swing back and forth while the projectionist cues up the flick at old movie houses. Seriously. That's all it takes.

Something as simple as giving me that cinematic HUD and letting me loose in a pixel cathedral really gets my amateur cineast juices flowing. I feel shades of Roland Joffé's The Mission, Alex Proyas' Dark City, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain, Steven Soderbergh's Solaris and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, even a little of John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven and Michael Crichton's Westworld. It's like catching a whiff of tobacco when you don't smoke anymore or smelling baking cookies when you are hungry. It's little hits of something oh so good. Hits of things that make you yearn a little and stretch that particular emotional muscle.

I also have a love of music that I won't go into here and now, because this post is already too long and I'm about to bury it, but I know the power of music too. And clearly, so do the sim builders.

So I love to travel, I love movies and I love music and I love the evocative power of architecture and art and film and sound and I'm one big jukebox of sense memory. 

This region is nothing more than a pixel build meant to resemble a cathedral with some sunlight, a piano and a streaming soundtrack. It's a bunch of prim pixels and some music. That's all there is. Period. You can walk through it. You can sit in a pew. You can listen to the music. You're done. This is really much ado about nothing. Unless it hits you. And what are the odds of that?

It's also one third of something that two Japanese artist-musicians chose to build over the last two years in order to experiment with sight and sound and to themselves...share? Why build it?

As simple and humble as it is, it hit me right in the core. It's just a moment on the cartoon side of the old internet, but I think it's beautiful. I don't romanticize relationships, so I romanticize...other things.

No, I take that back. I don't need or want to apologize or diminish or qualify. This sim is beautiful and I was simply, gloriously, happily blown away.

Related links:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wanted: Debaters for the Affirmative

Resolution:  Pep and Storm are inappropriately, excessively and unnecessarily rude, offensive and mean to other Second Life residents and forum and feed posters.  Pep and Storm are not funny.  They are sometimes hyperemotional.  They use sockpuppets.   They should stop.

Affirmative:  Eloise

Negative:  Pep and Storm

Please, no flaming or histrionics.  This is a serious request for a serious question.  Plenty of room to fight bare knuckles elsewhere.  This is intended to be a rational and reasonable debate among adults.  Thank you.

No really.  Oh, c'mon.

Monday, February 13, 2012

(Not) Arguing About Pep and Storm

I'm going to borrow terms from debate for this post.  There is, after all, a long running debate playing out across the Second Life related forums, feeds, blogs and sims.

Resolution:  Pep and Storm are inappropriately, excessively and unnecessarily rude, offensive and mean to other residents and forum and feed posters.  Pep and Storm are not funny.  They are sometimes hyperemotional.  They use sockpuppets.  They should stop.

Affirmative:  Eloise and Steampunk

Negative:  Pep and Storm

This is a summary of one small part of the debate.  You can read the full transcript here.

Storm states a premise.  "I have over 50 posts to SLF with my alt. Not ONE has been returned (RIC'd, or moderated.) The conclusion I draw is that people RIC the poster and not the post.  I would like to add that in the last 6 months over 25% of my posts as Storm have been RIC'd.  Prior to the last 6 months I have 5000+ posts without a removal."

Venus states one:  "Another conclusion is that mods do not read/review for context.  A lethal combination."

Steampunk Gears questions the premises.

Pep questions Steampunk.

Eloise questions the premises and adds evidence by way of a testimony about RICing one of Storms' forum posts.

Storm acknowledges Eloise's evidence and point.

Zinnia affirms the posters.

Pep makes a joke.

Perrie Juran makes an observation and a joke.

Dres makes a joke.

Perrie makes a joke.

curiousaboutsl interrupts the discussion to ask technical questions about the Feed.

People reply to curiousaboutsl.  Lee and Venus take it off Storm's feed and answer curiousaboutsl in more detail on curiousaboutsl's feed.

Zinnia disaffirms Pep.  Zinnia uses her own judgment about Pep's joke and decides it is not funny and that it is offensive, and therefore not so much a joke as an actual accusation.  Zinnia affirms herself.

curiousaboutsl makes an ironic comment and asks more questions.

Steampunk Gears makes incorrect assertions.

Eloise makes an assertion that she is pretty sure Pep is a troll.

Storm asserts that Steampunk Gears is clueless.

Lee introduces Steampunk and curiousaboutsl to each other.

Storm introduces cocktails.

Lee makes an observation about Steampunk's general posting style.

Lee and Storm discuss the Forum Confidential blog and John Updike.

Pep affirms his virtual identity and makes more jokes.

Zinnia describes her own observations of Pep, criticizes Pep and makes the request that he "be nice."

Steampunk Gears states a premise, that Pep bullies, intimidates, humiliates, harasses and trolls and does not employ humor correctly.  This makes the second "Pep is a troll" assertion in the discussion.  (Steampunk and Eloise)

Steampunk also predicts punitive reactions from Linden Lab towards Pep.

Steampunk then implies that the discussion Lee and Storm had about Forum Confidential was a threat and would have been a violation of the ToS if the Feeds were moderated by the Lindens.  He then makes assertions about the entertainment value of Forum Confidential.

Steampunk then makes more assertions about Pep claiming that he has "hidden like a coward," lied and cheated and wasted time and trolled.  Although this remains the second "troll" premise as Steampunk made it before.  So we still have a count of Eloise and Steampunk asserting that Pep is a troll.

Steampunk makes the extremely difficult to support assertion that no one wants to listen to Pep and no one cares about what Pep has to say.  (More likely a typical neener-neener dig than an actual assertion.)

Steampunk then tells, presumably Pep, to "fuck off."

Pep says he has written a rebuttal to Steampunk on his (Pep's) feed.

Pep asserts that everyone is a little bad, he's just better at being bad.

Dres employs sarcasm.

Pep asks clarifying questions (about which blogs are being discussed).

Amethyst Gears asserts that Pep makes insults that belittle his opponents and suggests they are illiterate.

Pep asserts that he does not suggest his opponents are illiterate, he merely points it out when they are illiterate.

Eloise asserts that Pep claims his opponents are ESLers, uneducated, stupid and hyperemotional with no grasp of their intentions when they post.

Eloise states a premise couched as an observation:  "You're mean, pure and simple. I can be mean, we all can, but you do it for what seems like a living. I make no judgement. I simply observe."  She also asserts that Pep picks on others while Storm does not.

Eloise asserts that she sees Storm as posting in a manner similar to how Pep's posts to his opponents has been described.  She adds that "others" see Storm as the "epitome of a hyperemotional response."

Storm states that he is "in it for the drama" having failed at comedy.

Storm makes the extremely difficult to support assertion that he posts without emotion.

Eloise asserts that Storm and Pep are mean to others, but do not allow anyone to respond in kind or to be mean to them in any way or degree.  She asserts that this observed stance does not make sense.

Eloise states that she is aware of both sides of "this argument."  She asserts that she is not affiliated to either camp.  She positions herself as being against the mean posts of Pep and the hyperemotional posts of Storm and the stance both take with regard to how they make and receive posts.

Storm asserts that he is not affiliated with any camp.

Eloise asserts, via a question, that Storm is defending a camp or stance, with an added implication that Storm is defending Pep.

Eloise asserts that Pep "stirs up trouble" for others including Storm.

Eloise says she bites bait and the trolls bite her.

Storm states that he finds Pep to be humorous and entertaining.

Eloise asserts that neither Pep nor Storm are funny, though both are entertaining and "drama queens."  She states they are "scarily, obsessively mean" and that both have been banned from the forums, implying this supports the argument that Pep and Storm are mean.

Eloise and Storm parse the argument that either (or both) alts or sockpuppets are bad.

Storm asserts that his SL Forum ban was for questioning moderation, not for his posts in general.

Eloise asserts that Storm was banned for a sustained offensive.

Eloise asserts that some of the posters are reinforcing the idea "that when Pep misbehaves you all encourage him."

Dres makes comments about the SL Forum moderation.

Lee makes sidebar comments.

Dres asserts that Eloise has some valid points in a reasonable manner.  Lee agrees.

Eloise affirms Dres.

Storm asserts that the responses to Eloise have been reasonable as well.

Eloise makes a joke and then returns to what she sees as the point, "is what Pep does acceptable? Not to me. Not today, or ever and while people defend his behaviour...on your heads be it when you want SL to listen to you."

Storm responds, "The point was the OP, not your point Eloise."

Eloise and Storm both make the near-indefensible claim that they were not arguing with anyone or at all.

Venus explains her prior comment was a joke.

Dres states that Pep is an asshole, but Dres still finds reasons to like Pep.

Steampunk makes an attempt to get Lee's attention, but once again gets the facts wrong in the attempt.

Steampunk asserts that there is a type of observer that relishes in the misery Pep and Storm dish out to other residents and supports what Pep and Storm say regardless of how far Pep and Storm take their comments.  Steampunk offers no evidence to support his assertions.

Eloise states that she realizes she will never win peace on the forums or feeds, but she seems to suggest she'll have a good time trying.

Lee observes people making judgment calls on jokes again.

Venus asserts that jokes are like pornography.  "Jokes are like pron. I know it when I see it."

Lee asserts that she is "lightening the mood a little, giving encouragement, responding in a polite and rational manner."

Lee suggests that she sees stating one's point in the context of continuous back-and-forth opposing commentary to be "an argument."

Dres affirms Lee.  Lee affirms Dres.

Storm suggests the "argument" is merely a "dance."

Storms says he is a "drama ho" and  implies that he aims to please.

Venus states that she flashed her boobs.

Eloise attempts to claim, somewhat ironically, that she is not making assertions.  "I'm not making assertions Lee. I'm responding to the way that others post. I'm explicitly referring to the way that Pep posts and the responses his posts garner. I have no view on anything other than how rude Pep's posts are and how quickly the same few posters come in to defend his behaviour. Whatever you think of me, I would never be that incredibly rude. I would never condone that behaviour and I remain surprised by those who do."

Lee suggests it may be time to define our terms.

Venus brings up the old hotbutton of the question of interpretting "condoning behavior" and "silence" and "loves."

Dres reasserts that Pep can be an asshole and that he does not condone that behavior and that there is more to Pep than that.

Colleen peeks her head in to make a quick joke.

Venus and Dres wink and hug.

/end summary

You may judge this section of the debate in the comments section below or in the applicable feed.  There are actually numerous premises and assertions stated in that discussion.  I chose the main one, despite it not actually being the subject of the OP.  Please feel free to comment on any of the resolutions, premises or assertions that you observed in the feed discussion.

Thank you.

To be perfectly clear...I am NOT making any digs at Eloise who I thought handled herself quite well in the feed discussion.  I mean to be respectful and not disrespectful to Eloise.  There is no snark there.  I posted this because I am interested in framing the age-old topic of Pep, Storm (and the Fuckwads before them) as a debate, rather than a flamefest or tantrum or random drive-by shootings.

Do I need to explain that "Resolution" does not mean that I have personally resolved that statement as a fact? It's a debate term. It means that statement represents the main point of the argument now open to being discussed and debated by both sides (affirmative and negative).

ETA & Update:
Steampunk has dropped out.  We need more champions for the affirmative.

I've updated the "Defining Our Terms" blog post.

More related links.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Is Second Life honestly better than Utherverse?"

It's a common question in the Utherverse forum.  What do you think?

Related links:
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