Curses! Foiled again!
Well, that’s one of the joys of living in a country where the weather almost always manages to conspire to upset the best laid plans. We British have developed a grudging acceptance that whatever the season, the climate will always remain an unknown quantity, and one which inevitably will turn out to be the complete opposite to what we’d wish.
So much so, that the majority of us will harbour childhood memories of picnics in steamed-up cars, stranded in beach car parks on Summer days out, whilst the rain hammers down outside the windows. It never snows at Christmas, barbecues will always been rained off, and if ‘Silent Night’ had been written about the UK, the line referring to all being calm and bright would instead be rendered as ‘dull and cloudy’, as it is now, as I type this post.
In fact, the clouds have formed an inpenetrable mass of grey, almost to the ground, redusing visibility to around 50 feet: Great for Halloween, but rubbish for anything else. The clouds were there last night too, along with rain and howling winds. Not usually something I’d be particularly bothered by, except I’d very much have liked to have had the chance to see the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn – the so-called ‘Great Conjunction’ – which, due to the weather, turned out to be not that great at all, as far as I was concerned. Ah well, there’s always the next one in 2040, I might just still be around then, although I bet the weather will be rotten!
The heavens do seem to conspire against me in this regard. I wouldn’t say that I’m an avid stargazer, but I do like to take the opportunity to see those celestial rarities that occasionally make an appearance, particularly as many will – quite literally – be once-in-a-lifetime events. Unfortunately, most of those have turned out to be never-in-a-lifetime events, thanks to the utterly miserable atmospheric conditions that are endemic to this part of the world. I’ve lost count of the number of eclipses, meteor showers, conjunctions and comets that have made an appearance during my lifetime, but have remained utterly unobservable thanks to cloudy skies, and I sometimes wonder why on earth I even bother?
I’ve been checking out the sky inworld too – ever since EEP was unveiled by the Lab, it’s something that I’ve been very excited about. Something I, like many other parcel owners, have always wanted is greater control over environmental factors. Windlight was always great, and gave enormous scope for fine-tuning a parcel’s look and feel, but the possibilities that EEP would open up were enormous… Customised sun, moon and clouds, control over day duration and daylight cycles, and different environments at different altitudes: What’s not to like?
Except, I didn’t like it. When I got my hands on the Firestorm EEP pre-release, I hated it with a vengeance! And, now that I’m using the release viewer, my ire has only abated very slightly.
I can only imagine that the design brief for EEP went something along the lines of, ‘Let’s make it as insanely complicated and counter-intuitive as possible’ – because that’s exactly how it is. Even the ‘personal lighting option’, which previously equated to a simple slider that you could choose your time of day with, now requires a degree in lighting management and atmospheric meterology to get to grips with. Now, before you accuse me of being unnecessarily obstructive, I do – of course – understand that the new controls allow complete customisation of every aspect of the inworld environment, and are therefore going to be complicated, but for the love of all that is holy, why on earth can’t we have a ‘bimbo mode’, for those of use who want to tweak, but don’t want to have to waste half a lifetime learning how to make it half-past midnight! It feels to me like EEP in its present form is like giving us a viewer with a load of deceptively simple menu headings, which when clicked just give you all the debug settings, with no plain-English options.
OK, rant over (almost). Being the plucky and determined individual I am, I persevered and after much frustrated reading and viewing of Youtube instructionals – none of which helped in the least – I did what I usually do and made things up as I went along. The end result was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the lighting I wanted for my parcel – in much the same fashion as ordering a cuppa from a Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Nutrimatic machine. However, by this stage, I’d run out of alcohol, it was way past my bedtime, and I no longer possessed any more hair to tear out. It would have to do. The irony, as I sit and reflect on my efforts and gaze out of my window at the murk in RL, is that both are pretty similar to the other; not really what I had in mind, but such is the nature of things. There is however a major difference between the RL moon and mine, in that the real one doesn’t have a sleigh crossing its face, neither does it rise in the West! I’m quirky like that.
Then, joy of joys, EEP broke! The Labbies fixed it, of course, but then cheerfully made the following announcement:
‘A fix has been implemented. Applying EEP settings should work normally again. However, any Settings assets uploaded between 14:40 SLT yesterday and 11:50 SLT today will not work. Please delete those and re-upload. We apologize for the trouble and frustration this issue caused.’
How fantastic – guess what time I uploaded my asset settings? Yep, all my hard work had been undone, and I had to start all over again.
Maybe I’ll get used to EEP over time, even embrace it, but until then I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with my grumbling. So, nothing new there!
It’s not all bad though: The stars in the night sky now twinkle at night, which is very pretty, and also brings us right back to where we started. There are some, throughout history, who have hypothesised that a previous Jupiter/Saturn conjunction could well have been the Christmas ‘star’ that the wise men from the East followed to Bethlehem. I don’t know about that, but I can see the rationale behind it, especially if appearing low on the horizon, it could be taken as a sign in the general location of a particular place – and there was such a conjunction, around 7BC, if you allow time for camel transit and so forth, so the dates tie-in. I’m not one to engage in speculative arguments around such things – as far as I’m concerned, both faith and science have their place, and may even overlap – it’s up to you what you believe. That aside, if it wasn’t for the biblical story, we simply wouldn’t be in the throes of celebrating Christmas in its present form, along with everything that entails… So, if you’re not of the persuasion to accept that there is at least some validity in what others may believe, then I guess you’ll be treating Christmas like any other day?
However, for those of you that will be celebrating the Festive Season, for whatever reason, this will probably be my last post before the big day (mainly because I’m lazy, and there’s mince pies that won’t eat themselves), so I’ll wish you all a very happy Christmas, and I’ll see you on the other side! The usual, obligatory, off-kilter Christmas song below, I offer as my gift to you.
Oh come on! That’s where I eat!
She’s having a baby where I eat
Oh oh, now there’s three dudes coming in as well
Oh why don’t you join the damn party
It’s only my house
The Axis of Awesome – I Love Being A Cow