Saturday, June 30, 2012

Travelogue: Loch Avie update

When last we visited Loch Avie, the land was bare. Now volcanic activity is in evidence, along with a towering castle, home of Mr. Dana Southmoor.

Loch Avie 6 17 12 001
The ongoing volcanic activity on Loch Avie.

Loch Avie 6 17 12 002
The bridge from Victoria City

Loch Avie 6 17 12 003
The castle from ground level

Loch Avie 6 17 12 004
The castle towers far into the sky

Friday, June 29, 2012

Cracking the Code: Second Life, The Game

Thanks to Tateru Nino, I was able to visit the most hilarious SL9B build, made by Crap Mariner. Behold: Second Life, the Game.

Second Life  the Game 001

Second Life  the Game 002

Second Life  the Game 003

I always seem to land on that space.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

More SL9B Exhibits

Continuing to wander through the northern sims:

SL9B KJ Day 2 004

SL9B KJ Day 2 005
Mazeville, from Caledonian Samm Florian - the walls rearrange themselves every so often

SL9B KJ Day 2 006
Heart Gravel - touching the hearts provides a way to leave or read messages

SL9B KJ Day 2 007
Digital Poison - thar be dragons!

SL9B KJ Day 2 008
Ruca Tease

SL9B KJ Day 2 009
Hollywood Airport Defense Squad

Some of the sims were fairly aquatic. That meant getting a little wet.

SL9B KJ Day 2 010
Two Moon Paradise

SL9B KJ Day 2 011
Siren Song

There you have it: some of the SL9B exhibits that intrigued the Jameson clan. Hardly a comprehensive list; more like ones that caught our eyes.

Well-done to everyone who participated this year - here's to SL10B!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SL9B Exhibits

While Rhianon wandered the southern areas of the SL9B grid, I started from the north, in DreamSeeker SL9B Devet and Nove.

SL9B KJ 001
Doctor Who Fans in SL

SL9B KJ 002
Not sure who this belongs to, but I enjoyed the animals

SL9B KJ 003
Giant Snail Racing

SL9B KJ 004
Mad Hatter Tea

SL9B KJ Day 2 001
Clowns! Run for your lives!

SL9B KJ Day 2 002
An exhibit called Inside Art, where one poses within the picture

SL9B KJ Day 2 003
Caledon Oxbridge

Sunday, June 24, 2012

SL9B, Days 2-3

Onward I march! Most of the pictures in here come from the sim FruitIslands SL9B Party.

SL9B Party 001
A very attractive storybook display

SL9B Party 002
Antiquity 1800 sims

SL9B Party 003
The second floor of Plum Piffle Pudding - photography by Caledon's own Beth Pentewyn

SL9B Party 004
A very psycheledic Alice's Dream by theda

SL9B Party 005
Aster Construction's exhibit - complete with tree gnome

SL9B Party 006
Automatron dancers waltz at the House of Alisha

SL9B Party 007
Sculpty people?

SL9B Party 008
Perhaps my favorite display, Spoken Word and Writing in Second Life, by Crap Mariner - books, a Steampunk machine, and a vintage manual typewriter make a wonderful combination

SL9B Party 009
Kitty Cats at the KittyCats display (naturally) - dancing the night away

Some clever ideas indeed! Do see Crap's exhibit if the chance presents itself. It's utterly charming.

Friday, June 22, 2012

SL9B, Day 1 - Users Throw Themselves a BIrthday Bash

Wandering through SL9B, looking at some of the more interesting builds… All these are from FruitIslands SL9B Fun.

SL9B 001

SL9B 002
Elf Circle Community

SL9B 003
Battle Beast Breedables

SL9B 004
Carima - German medieval/fantasy roleplay

SL9B 005
Tombstone on Tap

SL9B 007
Mew Catz Design - The Art of Sculpty

SL9B 008
Wishes Granted: Stories of Positive Impact

SL9B 006
ClearView Gallery

I plan to cover about one sim a day, which is about all my patience can take.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Parts of the Private Sector Seems to be Doing Fine

The President went a little off-script the other day, saying that the private sector was "doing fine," then trying to clarify the statement by suggesting municipalities and states were in worse straits and thus in need of more handouts from Uncle Sugar.

Well, I found one of the spots where the private sector is indeed doing fine: Tysons Corner, Virginia. The Beltway was packed at 10 a.m. - below posted speed for a while - with a heavy mix of out-of-area license plates, likely heading for vacation spots and suffering through DC traffic.

The mall itself had no shortage of customers before lunch, and was nearly impassible after lunch. People weren't simply looking, either; nearly everyone was weighted down with packages. I'm a bad judge of prices, but the stores didn't seem to be giving things away. (On the other hand, Nordstrom was having its semi-annual sale, which no doubt helped draw in shoppers.) The restaurants were doing well, too.

(As an aside, I had a lovely chat with the young lady working at Teavana. It was nice to see someone who was knowledgeable about her products and who seemed happy to be at work.)

I made a stop in the Apple store - the original Apple store, in fact - and had lust in my heart for some of the products, though I left empty-handed. Amusingly, about two hours later I found myself passing the first Microsoft store I had seen. I wish I had taken a picture, but the, um, inspiration for the design of the store was clear. I suppose imitation is still the most sincere form of flattery. I looked at one of the Windows phones (interesting OS, but the build quality seemed flimsy) and at some of the PCs, but I don't really see what's in it for Microsoft. Unless the hardware vendors are kicking in some of the cost of the stores, Microsoft seems to be spending a lot of money in a high-rent area to showcase hardware made primarily by other firms.

Anyway, it's nice to know that some people are doing well. Of course, a lot of the wealth in the area revolves around Federal government spending, so the party may not last forever.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Further Along the Path

"Further Along the Path" is a sequel of sorts to Bryn Oh's collaborative exhibit "The Path" of the previous year. As with the earlier work, eight artists collaborated on a single project, each building on the work of the previous artist, with the order chosen at random.

The narrative structure of this exhibit is less clear (to me, at least) than in the previous one, but certain threads run through each build. The rotary telephone connects one build to the next (but be sure to pick up the notecard with all the TP points in case you have trouble finding the telephone).

Further Along the Path 001
From Glyph Graves' contribution
This is a story of awakening

Further Along the Path 003
From Paramparamm Papp's contribution

Cascades of light are blinding in the near-darkness around me.

Further Along the Path 004
From Alpha Auer's contribution

Petrified humans nevertheless speak in tongues…surely I am in the dream?

Further Along the Path 007
From  Oberon Onmura's contribution

The telephone gives a warning: two of the staircases lead to death…only one leads onward. Choose carefully.

Further Along the Path 008
From Eupalinos Ugajin's contribution

Further Along the Path 011
From Ux Hax and Romy Nayar's contribution

Further Along the Path 014
From Ub Yifu's contribution

Follow the fish...

Further Along the Path 015
From Bryn Oh's contribution

In every dream there is an awakening…here is the struggle to awaken

Bryn Oh uses some clever scripting in the final tableau (not pictured) - reminiscent of the scripting used in the stairs in the Avatar Games.

Another entertaining and thought-provoking exhibit. Well worth the time to explore.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

FEAR and Loathing

One of the developments in the [redacted] years since I started at my agency is the increasing number of required annual or biannual training sessions. Every year everyone has to take computer security training or risk losing network access. There's some sort of sexual harassment training (not as much of a "how to" as one might think from the name). There was the (thankfully never repeated) Clinton-era AIDS awareness training, in which middle-aged bureaucrats were subjected to an enthusiastic young lady showing how to put a condom on a banana and discussing the use of plastic wrap during oral...activities. There's the annual ethics training - yes, government ethics; feel free to laugh - that, thank goodness, is in person only every third year.

I took the biannual "NO FEAR" training today. This waste of time followed from a 2002 law (that stemmed, bizarrely, from a discrimination lawsuit against the EPA that the plaintiff won - why was another law needed?) prohibiting retaliation against whistleblowers in the government. We have to sit through an 80-minute narrated slideshow that presents various discriminatory scenarios, discusses the applicable law, segues into whistleblower protections, and gives little quizzes along the way. What I got out of it was
  • anything is sexual harassment if an employee feels harassed
  • third parties can be harassed (e.g., by witnessing behavior that makes the third party uncomfortable), even if the recipient of the behavior is not offended
  • supervisors can be responsible for behavior for which they are unaware.

What kind of a world is this? How are people supposed to interact when there are no objective standards for liability? The whole thing creates perverse incentives. For example, do these types of laws discourage employers from hiring people in protected classes - that is, why hire the first Muslim, or the first person with a disability, in the office, lest the employer find himself or herself on the receiving end of a lawsuit later on?

As a result of my training, I'm now afraid to speak with
  • men
  • women
  • homosexuals
  • heterosexuals
  • non-whites
  • whites.
Of course, I'm also afraid to not speak to those groups, as silence can also be construed as discriminatory. Orwell would merely nod his head in understanding.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Did Anyone Get the Number of That Truck?

It turned out that 13 or 14 bars in one night was perhaps just a tad ambitious, or at least so I thought when I awoke the next morning, still in my clothing from the night before, my head pounding as though the percussion section of a large orchestra was practicing between my ears, and a mouth as dry as the Gobi. The less said about the condition of my stomach, the better, except to say that I sincerely hoped the Piermont had a good cleaning crew.

Still, I'm a trouper.

After leaving Piermont Landing in a somewhat disheveled condition, I made my way to the next stop, the Rusty Nut.

 Babbage Pub Crawl Day 2 001
The Rusty Nut, Wheatstone Waterways

The Sneaky Vole was en route, but didn't seem to be part of the pub crawl proper. Still, it seemed bad manners not to make a quick stop for a bottle of ale.

Babbage Pub Crawl Day 2 002
The Sneaky Vole, Babbage Canals

From there, it was just a hop, skip, and jump (or, more properly, a hic, stumble, and fall) to Ruby's, Cafe de Paris, Loki Absinthe, the Red Cat (where I was served a bottle of water, of all things), and, at last, the Rusty Cog for one last nip.

Babbage Pub Crawl Day 2 003
Ruby's, Babbage Canals

Babbage Pub Crawl Day 2 004
Cafe de Paris, Babbage Canals

Babbage Pub Crawl Day 2 005
Loki Absinthe, Babbage Square

Now that I'm done with the pub crawl, my feet are killing me and I have a greater appreciation for the thirst of Babbagers. Please excuse me while I find the Tamrannoch sanitarium and dry out for about a month.