To sleep…

Here’s another short offering derived from a writing group prompt. I do find myself dwelling on the darker side of the human psyche when writing about anything other than SL – if you’ve ever had cause to while away a couple of hours immersed in some of the other sections of this blog, (I recommend it – well, I would, wouldn’t I?), that’s something you’d be well aware of; but, I guess it’s because there are some darker depths to my mind that I tend to plumb, once the creative juices start oozing.

Now that I come to think about it, although I have a pretty positive outlook inworld, I’m sure most of my friends would say that the sparkles and fluffiness only barely manage to disguise a disturbing, and somewhat terrifying, undertone to my character.

I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing!

Read on… Alt. life: The Fear Factory.

s. x

In day dreams
In dark dreams
In dreamsleep
Attrition – Dreamsleep

Posted in Alt. life:, Philosophicalisticality, RL, SL, Unlikely stories | Leave a comment

Feisty

It’s a rare occurence that I’m temporarily lost for words, but it happened last night, and I’m still mulling it over today.

I’ve been reminded, yet again, that in the contrived arena that is SLife we are cursed with the ever-present likelihood of being wholly misrepresented and character-assassinated, purely as a result of other people’s misinterpretation of our actions.

Last night, in a public conversation, it was revealed to me that, apparently, one of my strong character traits is… My temper.

Excuse me? Did I read that right?

It’s a classic case of making an observation of somebody else’s character and applying one’s own standards to it, thereby completely misreading the signs and coming to the wrong conclusions. It’s something that the media routinely do intentionally to manipulate the audience to see a story from a specific perspective – both in word, image and video – the difficulty this presents to us is that it’s very difficult to disbelieve ‘the facts’ that we’re seeing with our own eyes; however, if the facts we are being presented with are manipulated, the conclusions that we’ll arrive at are unlikely to be objective, or correct. Similarly, as is often the case in SL, when we aren’t provided with a context within which behaviours should understood, we can easily jump to the wrong conclusions and make judgements that are strongly influenced by our own perspectives and experiences.

Which brings me back to the case in point. Those of you who have been long-time readers of this blog, or are in the unfortunate position of ever having had a heart-to-heart with me in SL, will know that there was a time when you would have been more than justified in accusing me of having a temper. Basically, a long time ago, I had a horrible, destructive, evil temper that I would invoke without provocation, frequently, and with predictable results. It resulted in broken relationships, ill-feeling, much unhappiness, and – on one memorable occasion – a fist-shaped hole in a wall.

Eventually, I reached a conclusion that things had to change and I taught myself to become a much more pleasant person to be around. I made a conscious effort to change and to step away from situations, rather than lose my rag. And it worked. I can honestly say that it’s now more than 10 years since I last lost my temper, and in all that time I’ve had only two arguments – there was a time that I would have said that was impossible, and I’m sure some of you may also struggle to believe it’s possible, but you’ll have to trust me on this.

That’s why it was such a shock for my ‘temper’ to be cited as an SL character trait.

However, on reflection, I realise that the way I am today is probably not the norm for most people. The majority of people will occasionally lose their rag and probably consider a good argument now and again as healthy and necessary – that’s probably the benchmark from which most people will apraise the behaviours of those around them. I suppose that people, having no other frame of reference or context, will therefore intrepret some of my behaviours coloured by their own perspective – much as we’ll accept the ‘facts’ of a biased news story when we have no background information to allow us to be objective.

I may no longer be an angry person, but I am principled, and I can be pretty forthright too. I’ve learned that there’s little to be gained in life from pussy-footing around and that it’s always better to be unequivocal when presenting one’s case, rather than ambiguous. This is particularly true in SL, since far too many people seem to think that hiding behind a monitor and a virtual presence gives them free reign to behave inappropriately or without regard for others.

In practical terms, this means I do not tolerate fools gladly, I don’t give second chances and I will, when necessary, firmly and assertively express my views. I have few qualms when it comes to muting, blocking and ejecting those who trouble me, and I have little patience with depressing, neverending conversations that monopolise open chat on topics in which I’ve no interest, whether it’s motor mechanics, football, Brexit, politics or Covid… I reserve the right to absent myself from such environments and find somewhere more enjoyable to be instead.

Those are all rational, adult and reasonable approaches to dealing with a variety of inworld situations that can arise, sometimes frequently, but I suppose that looked at from the perspective of someone for whom emotional conflict is an everday, or at least regular, occurence, (i.e. Normal people!), they may well interpret a forthright statement or leaving the scene as a manifestation of a lost temper. It’s not. Feisty, it may be – but never a temper tantrum, I promise you.

s. x

La tristesse durera
Scream to a sigh, to a sigh
La tristesse durera
Scream to a sigh, to a sigh
Manic Street Preachers – La Tristesse Durera

Posted in Philosophicalisticality, RL, SL | Leave a comment

Apotheosis

I’m going to make an assumption that pretty much everyone at some time has entertained thoughts about what the world might be like if we were God. In sure we’ve all toyed with the idea of how we’d use, or abuse, our powers as a deity and what it would be like to be omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent, if only for a short while.

I suppose the great thing about being almighty in that particular way is that the more savvy of us would, no doubt, depart from the more traditional expectations of an all-powerful being and have a sort of ‘God on our own terms’ setup instead – after all, we’ve all seen Bruce Almighty, and learned a few lessons about how not to do deity as a result!

The question remains however… Would we be any good at it?

It was probably Ben Franklin\Einstein\Julius Caesar\Hitler\Colonel Sanders (pick any of those and the internet will probably say you’re right) who said, “Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely”, and I can’t help thinking there’s more than a grain of truth in that assertion. The big question is, however, would we – an incorruptible incarnation of holiness – succumb to corruption?

I think that SL can give us some clues as to whether, if we should one day wake up endowed with godlike powers, we’d make a decent job of it or balls it up completely. The virtual world allows us to flirt with being demigods in a revealing, and sometimes disturbing manner. Inworld, we have the power to create and destroy, move mountains, spawn copies of ourselves and be in different places at the same time. We can fly, see through solid walls, make ourselves invisible and shape-shift, we can converse silently with others, eject and exclude people from our property, and control their bodies. All this, and more… But the question is, should we?

Just because we can see through walls, does that make it OK to peer into bedrooms, behind closed doors? Just because we can talk to everyone in the room about someone, but exclude them from the conversation, does that make it right to gossip about them behind their back? Just because we have godlike powers, does that give us carte blanche to exercise them for our own devices, without thought or care about how that may impact on those we target?

How be behave inworld can provide us with a great deal of insight into just how good a god we might make, but since that’s not every going to happen anyway, it’s largely irrelevant.

Or, is it?

You see, omnipotent or not, how we behave inworld can be a very good indication of the hidden side of our characters that we possess as everyday, run of the mill, human beings… In the relaxed and sometimes anarchic world of SL do we behave in a manner that we’d never willingly admit to in the real world?

I have a sneaky suspicion that maybe a large number of us do. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if most of us get up to things in SL that would cause us some embarrassment if we were caught doing it in real life. There may even be things we do inworld that might easily fall into a whole number of dubious categories if we were to undertake then in RL: illegal, immoral, intolerable and downright nasty are just a few that spring to mind and it’s surprising just how many of us seem to have no qualms about behaving in such a way in our virtual lives, but would never want to be seen to be associated with such misbehaviour in our real lives.

You could say that SL hides the moral compass that – for the majority of us – is inherently present in the real world. Given free reign to behave as we wish, with no constraints, even the most incorruptible of us can find ourselves slipping into disreputable ways, without the steadying influence of peer pressure, public opinion and the rule of law. And why do we do so? Because we can!

We can get away with such things, almost without consequence and if we were to look at ourselves objectively, we might wonder who on earth we were watching. When we can do whatever we want, that’s exactly what we tend to do, and unfortunately it’s so often the Mr Hyde, lurking behind the Dr Jeckyll of our psyche that’s calling the shots.

That’s a somewhat sobering thought, especially for those who might entertain delusions of godhead… If we can’t behave ourselves when given a modicum of power and freedom, how the heck are would we conduct ourselves if we possessed unlimited power?

It’s a frightening thought! More frightening still is the knowledge that we are entirely capable of such things, and given the chance, we’d go right ahead and do them anyway, and to hell with the consequences!

s. x

I will deliver
You know I’m a forgiver
Reach out and touch faith
Depeche Mode – Your Own Personal Jesus

Posted in Philosophicalisticality, RL, SL | Leave a comment

Breaking…

I’m occasionally topical on these pages, which can always be challenging, but thankfully many topics hang around, sometimes for years in SL. When it comes to the real world, some things are always topical, always have been, and always will be.

I also try to give a fairly balanced opinion when I write, and when I do deviate and take a biased, or occasionally, terribly unbalanced perspective, I’ll usually make it clear or it’ll be blatantly obvious – often for humorous effect or emphasis.

If only those with greater influence could claim the same responsibility.

This one will always be topical:  Alt. life: Breaking…

s. x

Take this, it’s yours
An anthem for a lost cause
Now ashes, bone and splinter
What once was a glittering prize
The composition rites
Manic Street Preachers – Anthem For A Lost Cause

Posted in Alt. life:, Poetricity, Rants, RL | Leave a comment

They’re back!

It’s taken so much longer that expected, and many thought it would never happen, but ‘proper’ last names are finally back, and those who’ve always despised being known as ‘Resident’, or in the alternative, have pitied those newbies stuck with it, can finally feel vindicated in having browbeaten Linden Lab into reinstating real last names.

Quite how long the process has taken may surprise you. Although long-established Second Lifers tend to think of Residents as being noobs, last names were actually done away with in 2010, so that noob you’ve always felt sorry for could well be getting on for being a decade old! That could come as a bit of a shock to many.

However, as for so many things related to SL, even though they’ve reinstated last names, Linden Lab has in some ways completely missed the point, and have shot themselves in the foot by doing so. Consequently, take up of the new batch of names is likely to be pretty limited and slow and certainly isn’t going to merit or justify the 10 years of anger, frustration, nagging and behind the scenes development that has gone into making it happen. It’s a shame but – much as I do try to defend the Lab when I think they’re being treated unfairly – it does paint a graphic picture of how sometimes LL really fails at understanding its own user base.

I’m not talking about the price point that’s been set by the Lab for the privilege of changing one’s name. There will, of course, be those who disagree with being charged at all and that it’s an option only available to Premium members, (especially since this ‘feature’ used to be the default for every account on sign-up). The cost, at $39.99 US, is also likely to cause sharp intakes of breath and raised eyebrows, especially for those who’ll find themselves in the position of having to upgrade to Premium and then shell out another 40 bucks on top of that for the name change. It’s even worse for those, like myself, not based in the US who are at the mercy of the strong dollar – I’ve seen the cost of maintaining my land inworld shoot up by nearly 25% over the past few months, and I’m starting to have to persuade myself that I can actually justify the expense. If I wanted to change my name, then, in practical terms I’m afraid that £32 is way over the odds, for what is essentially a vanity purchase.

So, if it’s not the cost, and it’s not the need to be a Premium account holder that’s bugging me, where exactly do I think that LL have missed the point?

Let me take you back to 2010, and the huge outcry that accompanied the announcement that last names were to be consigned to the scrapheap. The strength of the opinion against the change was a clear indication that last names were something considered special by the SL community, and the fact that the Lindens were prepared to ignore the clear message the community was giving was equally as galling as the loss of the names. The resentment has never really faded.

With the reinstatement of last names, the Lab has scored a collossal own goal by completely missing the opportunity to face that resentment head on, and make amends for their arrogance 10 years ago. What they should have done is just restored the old process: New sign-ups get a choice of last name, but what they’ve actually done by making it a premium, paid for feature, is stoked the fires of resentment.

With a little more thought, Linden Lab could have built bridges with a community that they seem dead set, so often, on alienating. There are some really good aspects to the way the new names have been implemented… The ability to change both first and last name, for example, as well as the chance to recover a previously used name, plus it’s nice that if you manage to bork up your name with a tpyo or speling miskate – as everyone assumes is the case with my name, (it isn’t!) –  if you ask the Lindens nicely, they’ll fix it for free. So, why not keep those bits as Premium, even paid-for, but still let new sign-ups get a new name, rather than the hated ‘Resident’? Better still, why not offer those who have been landed with ‘Resident’, a one-off freebie chance to change to something better?

Just tweaking the offering in that way would make a world of difference and would go a long way towards putting right the situation that the Lab created for themselves. I’d even invite them to go further and allow free accounts the option to change their second name, even if it still attracts a fee, it would be a much-needed positive step.

The Lab, of course, won’t understand any of this. Even in their little bit of trite PR that they’ve trotted out around the importance of the last name identity, it’s clear that they haven’t grasped it, the need to recycle other people’s critiques, rather than speak from their own experience is evidence enough. Indeed, if they had a clear understanding of how the original system of naming was perceived, they wouldn’t have changed it in the first place! Instead, for those of us too tight, too poor or too mercenary to accede to stumping up the cash for a new name, they’ll simply remind us that display names are free, can have stupid characters in them, and are available to all as a viable alternative. Whilst all of that is true, they’re a nonsense to rebellious gits like me, who out of principle, have never even turned them on. Yes, it means that I’ve no idea what half the people around me are called any more, and I constantly upset people by calling them Burpbum1123a, rather than Harold, but that’s me sticking it to the Man and it ain’t gonna change. There’s a perfectly good naming system embedded into SL, for heaven’s sake, why do we need another?

So, as for the new names… 6/10 – Good attempt, but ill-advised, badly implemented and still somewhat wide of the mark. Sorry Lindens – could do better!

s. x

And now we’re grown up orphans
That never knew their names
We don’t belong to no one
That’s a shame
Goo Goo Dolls – Name

Posted in Linden Love, Rants, SL, SLarcheology | 2 Comments

Looking good?

I’ve taken the plunge – despite all my reservations and previous failed attempts, I’ve now meshified myself. What eventually swayed me was Bakes on Mesh, which has brought me all the benefits of a mesh bod, whilst allowing me continued use of my extremely extensive old-style wardrobe. It’s also brought me the unalloyed pleasure of being able to snigger at all those poor souls who dumped all their system clothes, acquired over many years, and splashed out a fortune on new body-specific attire.

That was a big drawback as far as I was concerned. The horrifying thought of chucking out a huge part of my inventory, including many of my favourite outfits, most of which I’d struggle to replace or replicate, really didn’t appeal. I accept that there’s loads of decent clothing out there for mesh converts, but I rarely go for the sexy, revealing, or fashionable type of look, preferring quirky and occasionally, downright odd, and that’s something which really isn’t catered terribly well for once you abandon traditional type clothes.

Before I finally bit the mesh bullet, I would frequently find myself in the midst of a conversation where it almost felt as if I was being asked to justify my choice. Almost inevitably, at some point, the phrase ‘it takes a bit of practice, but you’ll get used to it’ was trotted out, but frankly, I stopped practising getting dressed the day I finally learned to tie my own shoelaces, and I didn’t intend going back down that route any time soon. However, I have to say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised – it’s all been pretty easy – although I’ve still no idea what an applier is, or how to use them, not that I’ve needed to!

That’s not to say everything is perfect. I’ve already come across items of clothing, supposedly made for my body, that still don’t fit – almost as if the ‘designer’ has simply thrown something together and thought ‘that looks about right’ – not impressive! My biggest gripe however is feet. Unfortunately, if I use BoM, my beautifully crafted mesh tootsies become monstrous nightmarish appendages, as the system toes burst out from the mesh. It’s a limitation of the base avatar textures and bones, which unfortunately, we’re stuck with – If I want pretty feet, I can’t used BoM, if I do, I’m afraid there’s no open-toed footwear for me. 😦

However, now that I can speak from the the moral high-ground of someone who has gone to the dark side and succumbed to mesh, I have to admit that getting a decent looking mesh avatar set up is pretty much a walk in the park, however, for some unknown reason, for every drop dead gorgeous mesh person I see walking around the Grid, there’s another fifty monsters and aberrations who just don’t make the cut.

That’s not to say that the old fashioned way of creating your inworld body wasn’t also fraught with potential to make a mess of yourself, and many have, but at least it hasn’t cost a shedload of hard earned lindens to achieve that ‘just thrown together badly’ look, unlike some of the mesh abominations I see around me.

Let’s consider some of the common failures…

I can see your alphas
I’m somewhat baffled that so many, even when equipped with all the appropriate HUDs and no doubt having spent some considerable time primping and preening, with the utmost attention being given to ensuring that the magnificent range of alpha masks provided with their own particular brand of body cover and obscure in all the necessary places, the moment someone gets up to dance, pick their nose, or otherwise move in any way at all, bits of then begin to poke through clothing as if it’s coming apart at the seams. If it’s not invisible voids appearing in their armpits, it’s bits of butt escaping their skirt, or nameless rolls of flesh bursting from their stomach like the xenomorph in Alien. All that effort, and it still looks as though your expensive ‘tailored’ clothing is two sizes too small!

Thighs bums and tums
‘You can still keep your shape’, my meshy friends used to insist; ‘you can adjust it just like the system body’. Indeed, I concur… So why, when given the capability to be any shape they wish, do so many mesh people choose to be the most bizarre and inhuman shape possible? Thighs and butts that could easily double up as a spare sofa, Amazon-like proportions, giraffe-esque necks, weird chunky hands, and boobs that would need scaffolding to hold up in RL… And that’s just the guys! Whilst we’re on topic, what is it with the guys? Six-packs, lumberjack chest and shoulders, hobbit sized feet, ping pong ball heads, gigantic hands and more tats than their surface area of skin! (I particularly like this look when teamed up with the arms behind the head, rocking forward and backwards with occasional spin on one foot AO – it’s reminiscent of a malformed, tattooed polar bear after too many years confined at the zoo).

I know it’s not unique to mesh bods – I still shudder to recall the bow-legged, inverted mouth ladies that were all the rage  not so long ago – but you’d think after spending a fair whack on a new body, people would want to at least make themselves look passably human rather than plain ugly?

Shiny happy people
I’ve come to the conclusion that 90% of mesh bodies are made from the same shiny plastic as Barbie Dolls. Nothing wrong with a soft sheen of healthy glow, but if you look as though you’ve been vacuum packed in PVC, trust me, it’s just plain wrong.

I can see the join
I completely understand that not everybody has discovered the ‘show colour under cursor’ tool and that faffing about trying to match skin colour is a pain, but if you’ve gone to the expense of buying the mesh body but simply can’t justify the cost of a second mortgage for a matching head, it really is worth the extra effort to mask the join; otherwise you look like one of Dr Frankenstein’s creations. All that’s required is a row of stitches across the throat and a couple of bolts in the neck and you’re all set for Halloween! The same goes for mesh hands and feet on a system body – if you don’t want to look as if you’ve suffered an industrial accident in a timber mill, followed by botched plastic surgery  you really do need to match those skin tones!

Tippy toes
I’m torn between laughing out loud, pointing and jeering, or simply giving up and logging out forever in sheer despair, whenever I see someone tottering around on the balls of their bare feet, (or, worse still, wearing flats with high heel feet). Even I, mesh nooby that I am, understand the simple rule: If you change your shoes, then change your feet to match. Or is flitting around like a ballet dancer on pointe a thing these days?

Call me nitpicking, but these new-fangled mesh bodies aren’t the cheapest of things you’re going to splash out on in SL, so at least make the effort to make them look as good as they can be… Otherwise, you may as well just stick with the old-fashioned, but still pretty awesome system avatar, and spend that cash on some top notch shoes instead!

s. x

Here’s some legs in a cloud where my sister once played
Here’s some mud made of blood and these teeth are decayed
The ear of my brother, The hand of a friend
And I just can’t put them back together again
Alice Cooper – Pick Up The Bones

Posted in Rants, SL | 2 Comments

It’s not all about the virus

I received an email at the weekend from a friend, it started with the words “I’m very afraid. Do you think mankind will survive this?”

I won’t go into my response in detail, but I’ll summarise very briefly. Much as I usually subscribe to the Douglas Adams view that the one thing you really can’t afford to have is a sense of perspective, I’ll break my rule on this occasion, because amongst all the hype, hysteria and madness, we really do need to understand the perspective.

I trust figures more than I trust people. And the figures paint a very different picture to what most people seem to believe. As of this moment in time:

  • Globally, 0.009% of the population have been confirmed to have Covid 19 (1% in the UK)
  • Globally, 0.0004% of the population has died while confirmed to have Covid 19 (0.002% in the UK)

Those are teeny weeny numbers. You are many hundreds of times more likely to die from a toilet-related injury than from Covid 19, and the odds of winning the UK lottery are ridiculously high compared to that of popping your clogs as a result of the virus. Facts+figures=A proper perspective.

We also need to understand how those figures are calculated. Unlike, for example, deaths from influenza, which only include deaths directly attributable to the ‘flu, any death where Covid 19 has been diagnosed is counted – many, many thousands of those people would have died, or were at significant risk of dying if they contracted pretty much any disease, whether or not the virus was present. Of course, those in at-risk groups, should take precautions, but the real risk is only slightly elevated above the norm when you look at the facts.

You may choose to disbelieve me, and if you’re one of those knobheads stockpiling bog roll, that’s what I’d expect; but at least be informed and don’t be afraid that mankind isn’t going to survive – we’re way too obnoxious not to.

Anyway, I personally don’t think that everything about Corona is necessarily bad…

Alt. life: It’s Not All About The Virus

s. x

Oh, life is bigger
It’s bigger
Than you and you are not me
Puddles Pity Party – Losing My Religion

Posted in Alt. life:, Philosophicalisticality, Rants, RL, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Video nasty

I’ve been working from home a fair bit recently, and one of the things I tend to do is have YouTube on in the background. It makes up for not having anyone else around, provides the occasional distraction from the serious business of doing what I’m paid for, and gives me something to stare mindlessly at whilst pondering the complexities of spreadsheet formulae and journey planning.

However, YouTube at its worst is a microcosm of all that is broken about the internet – and by association, humanity. One moment you’re nodding away to Bowie’s greatest hits, and the next you’re being subjected to ‘The best of brake checks and lorry crashes, 2018’, and ’10 things about fingernails that will leave you speechless’. Yes folks, it seems that the human race is degenerating into a meme… Homo Technologicus – a drooling, pasty-faced hominid, sat glued to a screen, incapable of tearing itself away from shaky footage of violence, destruction and wanton vandalism, balanced out by a million clips compiled from other people’s efforts, stitched together by a Youtube ‘celeb’ whose only artistic contribution is to provide an irritating voiceover, (you’d think that if that was your ‘talent’ you’d at least spend some time working on getting the pronunciation correct?).

Then there’s the comments. I’m beginning to think that World War Three isn’t going to be fought using conventional or non-conventional warfare. Instead it’ll be whoever can survive the toxic backlash of a particularly vitriolic comment section on YT that will prove to be the eventual victors.

Yet, despite the obvious crassness of it all, we all too often find ourselves incapable of tearing ourselves away from falling into the trap and, no matter how cynically we may treat a title stating ‘I dare you not to laugh…’, we’ll still watch it, and having wasted twelve minutes of our life, during which we barely raised a smile, let alone a laugh, somehow we’ll still persuade ourselves to watch the next one too!

I’m convinced that Youtube must sprinkle its pages with the same magic ingredient that McDonalds uses in its burgers to make people want to return for a second McHelping.

However, isn’t SL a bit like that too? There is something compulsive about the virtual world that keeps us coming back, and it doesn’t matter how much we may complain about the quality of the experience or how often it disappoints or lets us down, we still log in and come back for more in the full knowledge of what we’re likely to be getting. The compulsion can be strong enough that when we don’t spend the time inworld that we’re normally used to, we can feel a sense of deprivation and real, tangible concern about what we may be missing, and it can be surprisingly strong.

Unlike Youtube, however, quality SL content doesn’t have the banality or pointlessness of so much of the nonsense that’s presented to us by the former platform: It’s not recycled, re-hashed and regurgitated content, tossed out with a brain-numbing, irritating synthesised semi-musical overlay; because unlike Youtube SL is neither formulaic, nor is its content solely intended as clickbait, measuring success by views and subscribers. I’ve seen some amazing inworld creations with visits in the single figures, but success in SL isn’t necessarily measured by numbers alone, and neither is the quality of SL content measured solely by popularity.

Whilst platforms like Youtube cater to the lowest common denominator and aim low to bring in the numbers – a scenario we see replicated across the internet, and to a large extent in the real world too – SL caters for the more esoteric, the personal, and the individual flight of fancy. Typically, unless they’re in it from a strictly commercial perspective, the SL creator will start by making something that appeals to themselves, for their own enjoyment – perhaps they make have an inkling that their creation could be appealing to others too, but it’s not the primary reason they create – they’re not doing it for an audience, or for the kudos, but primarily they are doing it to please themselves.

I’d suggest that’s a process that continues for a great many people who create content to enhance, model and mould our virtual world. Even the most successful and prolific of them, I would suggest, derive personal satisfaction from the creative process, even after many years, and would probably continue to do so, even without attention or reward.

I think that’s a good thing, and it’s one of the reasons that I keep logging in, time after time.

s. x

If I could
Maybe I’d give you my world
How can I
When you won’t take it from me
Lissie – Go Your Own Way

 

 

Posted in Builder's bum, Philosophicalisticality, Rants, RL, SL | Leave a comment

Under review

Whether it’s booking an hotel, choosing a restaurant or builder, or shopping online – in both RL and on the SL Marketplace – I’m no different from anybody else in being an avid reader of product reviews.

The peer review, for anything other than academic works, is a relatively new phenomenon; one which I’m still to be convinced has any real value if you happen to be looking for an objective evaluation of anything, whether it’s a holiday destination or a pair of virtual shoes – at best, I find you may be able to form an opinion based on that narrow band of feedback which falls at the midpoint between extreme satisfaction and extreme dissatisfaction (hardly helpful), or convince yourself to be swayed by the most cogent argument in a sea of dissonance (hardly objective).

I constantly find myself reading between the lines of reviews, trying to understand the character of the person leaving it, which can be interesting enough, rather than successfully divining any real impression of the quality of the item being reviewed. Even then, so many reviews are either blatantly biased, and likely fake, or are left by people who seem to have little else in their lives, other than leaving irrelevant trails of nonsense behind them wherever they travel on the interwebs.

In a similar vein are those customer Q&A sections that companies seem increasingly reliant upon, rather than bother giving a proper and authoritative response, where instead, totally unqualified end users proffer answers to questions raised by potential purchasers. It’s fertile grounds for completely nonsensical and useless ‘advice’. Here’s a small selection that I encountered recently whilst browsing for water features on Amazon…

Q             How is this plumbed in?
A             Don’t know, haven’t purchased.

Q             Is this safe for a cat to drink out of?
A             Yes. It’s water!

Q             What material is the fountain made of?
A             Raisin

Q             Is there any way to muffle the sound of the pump? It’s iresentky spoiling
the
sound of the trifling water.
A             Sorry can’t hear my pump I just hear the water

Q             How much water do I need to add?
A             Sorry it was a gift and I haven’t seen it in action.
A             to cover the pomp

Apart from my new favourite expression – ‘iresentky spoiling the sound of the trifling water’ – there’s very little helpful, or indeed sane about any of those responses.

Particularly irritating are the type of responses, like some of those above, made by those who have absolutely nothing to say, other than they have absolutely nothing to say, typified by:

“I don’t know, I haven’t used it yet”

“No idea, I bought this a gift for my granny”

“Can’t answer your question, it hasn’t arrived yet.”

“Not what I thought it was”

“I don’t know how well the medium fits, I bought the large one.”

“This wouldn’t fit in the space I had”

It’s the equivalent of dragging random people off the street in to give their experience of something they’ve never experienced. Who in their right minds thinks it’s helpful to give a review of something that effectively says, “Dunno”? It’s the text equivalent of a shrug. Let’s face it, any product review that starts with the word ‘sorry’ is going to be a let-down.

Why do these people do it? Have they nothing better to do than waste their time and that of everyone who takes the time to read their drivel in some vain and misguided hope of gaining useful insight? Or are their lives so devoid of meaning that they can only find solace in typing pointless nonsense to strangers, just to have a voice? They may as well just smash their face repeatedly into the keyboard, at least that way the result would have some use and would be infinitely more satisfying to those of us who have to wade through this crap!

I suppose it shouldn’t really come a surprise to me that an awful lot of what I hear bandied about in SL can also be classified as Ill-advised, unfounded, irrelevant, and often, very, very, stupid indeed. Any statement, for example that contains the words ‘the Lindens’ is likely to be, at best, conjecture, and at worst, shockingly nonsensical and absurd. Assertions that SL is dead, dying or diseased are fundamentally flawed and frequently touted by those who fit into the same category as the ‘I don’t know, it was a gift for someone else’ brigade, maily because most of them haven’t even logged into SL for the last 10 years. Then there are the ‘experts’, always happy to give their advice on everything from reducing lag to how to fiddle gachas, based entirely on their own lack of useful knowledge and inflated sense of superiority over lesser virtual citizens.

All in all, when all is said and done, the vast majority of what is said in and around SL is, I’m afraid, total twaddle.

Including, more than likely, everything you’ve just read!

s. x

Cause you’re hot then you’re cold
You’re yes, then you’re no
You’re in, then you’re out
You’re up, then you’re down
You’re wrong when it’s right
Los Colorados – Hot’n’Cold

 

 

Posted in Rants, RL, SL | Leave a comment

Discomfort zone

I’m all for diversifying and stepping outside comfort zones… Just so long as I don’t have to do it myself. However, occasionally even Seren comes to a point where a skilfully administered kick up the rear end is necessary.

After all, following the same path, carving out the same rut for oneself ultimately leads to boredom, lack of inspiration and eventually peters off into…

Y’know what I mean?

Anyway, after strenuously denying for goodness knows how long – the major part of my life, I guess – that I’m not a writer, I’ve finally grudgingly accepted that with 10 years of blogging, close to the same amount of time contributing weekly to The Hundred Word Stories Podcast, and a hard drive stuffed full of other scribblings that have never seen the light of day, including a half-finished, (or half-unfinished, depending on your perspective), novel that occasionally I’ve found myself dipping back into over the course of, erm… only 20 years or so, I’m probably more than a little deluded.

Note, even though I may now be admitting to being a writer, I never said a good writer!

So, I have – and heaven knows why – joined a writing group. A real life one! This a significant, and uncomfortable step for me. Firstly, it means leaving the house and meeting new people in a social context, something that is somewhat less appealing to me than spending an afternoon in the hands of the Spanish Inquisition. Secondly, it means admitting to writing stuff, and then sharing it with strangers, and thirdly, it means I have to get up early on a Saturday morning!

It is however a Good Thing, I think. It will, of course, lead to my eventual acceptance that I’m not really a writer. It’s also likely to open my eyes to the fact that Saturdays actually exist before midday, and may ultimately revitalise this whole blogging thing, which you’ll have to agree hasn’t exactly been a bright shining star of brilliance for several months.

One practical outcome of this unprecedented move into unknown territory, is that the writing group in question gives a fortnightly prompt, around which those who feel sufficiently able, can weave a composition of their own creation. As my long-suffering guinea pigs, you my friends, will be subjected to my own offerings, which will make an appearance on the Alt.life pages of this very blog. At the very least, it’ll be something to read, fairly regularly, unlike the measly offerings you’ve been getting of late. Fear not though, I’m not done with writing about SL – I’ll still do that when I feel inspired to, and who knows, this venture into a wider world of words may even prompt me to put together some new SL material too? You have been warned!

Anyway, you’re about to suffer the first of these literary meanderings – Hope you enjoy it!

Alt.life: ‘Tag’

s. x

It’s a thousand pages, give or take a few
I’ll be writing more in a week or two
I could make it longer if you like the style
I can change it ’round
The Beatles – Paperback Writer

Posted in Alt. life:, RL, Unlikely stories | Leave a comment