Friday, November 24, 2006

Attack of the Fifty-Foot Melissa, Part 3

I think the secret is to get on a step so you have a shot at really positioning the camera by your feet. Here's the best I could manage. (Note the neat fake lens flare at the top.)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Jimmie Spheeris

In 1971, Jimmie Spheeris, a young singer-songwriter, released his first album, Isle of View. It promptly became a favorite on American AOR FM stations of the time, and "I am the Mercury" became one of my favorite songs.
For I am the Mercury, the light of the morning,
Looking for shelter in this thunder and this rain...
I bought it, and while I didn't buy the followup, The Original Tap-Dancing Kid, I loved Spheeris's third album, The Dragon is Dancing.
Wonder of wonders, the dragon is dancing,
Stilling the thunder with movement so slow
Silence of silence, the dragon is dancing

Stilling the violence, his beauty unfolds...
Two more albums followed, and then, with no recording contract, he faded from my notice, though I never forgot his wonderful lyrics, tunes, and above all that voice, gentle and powerful.
Love me without thinking it over,
Love me like the sun loves clover
When it grows;
Let it flow...
I didn't know it, but on July 4, 1984, the very evening Spheeris finished a new album, on the way home on his motorcycle, some thrice-damned drunk driver struck Spheeris and killed him.

Sony, who owned the earlier material, never bothered to rerelease it on CD... until, in 1998, Johnny Pierce, who had played bass for Spheeris, founded Rain Records to reissue Spheeris's work with permission from Sony, as well as the album finished back in 1984.

I bought a copy of Isle of View as a gift, meaning to get more someday... but someday never came. Sony withdrew permission in 2000, and no more CDs could be released. Rain Records remade itself as an independent label, and is still around... but now, if you head over to and look up Isle of View, you'll see that doesn't sell them, but you can get a copy, with prices starting at $125. For one CD.

So... since Apple evidently managed to convince Sony to release Jimmie Spheeris's songs on iTunes, I bought some of them, and was immediately transported back to that era.
We all dance alone on a tightrope of insanity,
reality or fantasy; who really knows?
But in the misty woods, as I guessed into your emerald eyes
I thought I found an answer in your sighs,
But the gulls had flown....
If you're not familiar with his music, I urge you to give it a listen.

Gratias vobis ago

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. (Yes, Canadians, we're behind, OK? :))

I have a great deal to be thankful for in RL and SL... and here I want to concentrate on SL.

Despite it all, and despite everything I've said and thought, thank you, Linden Labs. (We wouldn't kvetch if we didn't care.) I'd not have met any of the wonderful people or had any of the wonderful experiences I've had in just three months without your work.

Thank you, Cheyenne and Pavig. I admire your grace and elegance, and hope to achieve some of it someday. It's an honor to be able to count you as friends.

Thank you to all of you who have honored me with your friendship.

Thank you to all those who make the amazing, beautiful, and hilarious things that make SL a thriving environment instead of the barren wasteland it would otherwise be. (Hilarious? Yes. Dancing cows somehow leap to mind...) You have my word that I will respect the work you put into your products by buying them rather than stealing them!

Above all, thank you, my darling Mordecai.

Stupid monitor has gotten all blurry... I'd better stop now, though I'm sure I've forgotten many.

The Garden

There's not much to say, since Mordecai has already posted during its building and upon its completion... There's not much I can say, because when I think about it very much I tend to be overwhelmed and start to cry. (I cry at the drop of a hat, but even if I didn't, the result would be the same.) Mordecai is, among many other things, a gardener, and I love what he has done.

Here's a picture of one of the paths through the garden.

I will quote the notecard:
Welcome to Melissa's Rose Garden, a public Garden of Romance for all to enjoy. This place was designed and built by Mordecai Scaggs to celebrate his love for Melissa Yeuxdoux, and is maintained by the Scaggs-Yeuxdoux Estate.

We hope that you will find the love you are looking for here with that special someone. As this is a lovers' garden, no weapons, pushing or agressive behaviour of any sort is tolerated, and patrons are encouraged to report any abuse they experience whilst here.

In order to avoid unpleasantness occurring, scripts are disabled in this garden, but please use the poseballs provided. :-)

Melissa and Mordecai wish you all good things, and hope you find the love of your life, as we have.

If you've already found someone special, please come visit also. One thing Mordecai doesn't mention is that the music stream that you can hear in the garden is a stream of early music from the wonderful Magnatune record label. They're not evil.

Thank you, love.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Revenge of the Body Image

As time goes on in SL, I'm starting to get used to being beautiful... a little bit. Some combination of ongoing amazement at the concept and vanity is behind the number of pictures I take of myself, though I am not sure of the proportions, and I'm not sure I want to know. (Well, part of it is the sheer delight of wearing beautiful clothing, so it's not all about me.)

So, having all this along with the SL visual version of Burns's famous gift—i.e. we can see our avatars as others see them—it occurs to me that I can go off somewhere private in SL, and without anyone else around, try... a nude self-portrait, region permitting.

And all the anxieties come charging back.

It will be interesting to see what comes of this, though I'll not post any of the results here.

Audio Gumshoe

You'll recall that in a previous post I pointed everyone at The Goddess and Banana... well, that show has a theme song that I like a lot ("Avatar Girl"), and its composer and performer, Rich Palmer, has a fine podcast of his own: Audio Gumshoe.

The Audio Gumshoe tracks down and features fine independent musicians, and today is a fine day to subscribe, because the latest episode as of this writing, #71, features one of the greats of Southern rock, Artimus Pyle. The songs, from Artimus's latest album, Artimus Venomus, are scorchers, and the lyrics just as passionate as the music. (You have to admire a title like "Blood Sucking Weasel Attorneys.") Listen to the end, so you can catch "Million Dollar Farm," Pyle's take on the phony side of the country music genre.

(Sigh...I broke my promise. I will write about the garden tonight, really!)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Panic in the garden

Yesterday, Mordecai fell silent.I thought it odd, but didn't think about it very long...

...and then this morning, when he didn't seem to say anything at all, I started to panic.

Thank goodness that a friend, Brandy, tried to visit (she couldn't head directly over because of the security system)! We arranged to meet at the garden (about which I'll post next, I promise), and she was our intermediary while we figured out what happened.

Somehow, Mordecai had gotten on my mute list! I don't recall doing anything that would have that result. I took him off the list (thank you, Tateru and Qua!), and SL returned to normal.

I'm still shaken. Thank you again, Brandy; I owe you a great deal. (And indirectly, I owe even more to the wonderful lady who took me shopping that one day... were it not for that, I doubt anyone would have visited when I desperately needed someone's help.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More anti-copybot fashion

Another T-shirt... on the front, "Yo Copybot! Check my back!" and on the back, "Copy this!" with a rude hand gesture. Many, many stores and areas are closed in protest. It will be interesting to see what happens when the big names that have set up shop in SL with much fanfare find their stuff being copied.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Anti-CopyBot protests

Here I am at one of the many places either protesting the CopyBot or outright closed because of it (do a search for copybot, and see what turns up). I'm wearing one of the anti-CopyBot T-shirts that are on sale for minimal L$ (I got mine at McDunnough's Speakeasy). Honest, it says "COPY BOT" in there; I guess LL figured it better to accurately do form-fitting clothing than to model the way clothes minimize potential energy. (A shame; I was hoping for those horizontal stress wrinkles...)

I've seen an anti-CopyBot dance announced; it will be interesting to see what else happens.

Utterly unencumbered by responsibility

If you've ever been to Shadow Brook or Serenity Falls, you know they are among the most beautiful places in Second Life.

If you've never been to them... well, you may never get the chance now.

The libsecondlife project has as its stated purpose "[creating] a stable platform for third-party Second Life development." Unfortunately, what they've done is release a program, CopyBot, that makes it trivial to copy things, regardless of their permission settings, and crash sims. (That last part is a server bug... and I'm sure that is comforting knowledge to everyone.)

libsecondlife claims not to endorse the theft of intellectual property... but has left this glittering knife out for any infant to grab. Why? They're "proud of [their] achievement." It's said to be still retrievable via libsecondlife's subversion server, and still for sale on SLexchange. Any griefer or script kiddie can retrieve it. Yes, the program takes advantage of a bug that Linden Labs must correct... but make the scum figure it out themselves.

Linden Labs goes on at length about how developers own what they create, and the opportunities SL provides... but that's not true any more, and the people who actually work to make SL the diverse and fascinating place it is have had the rug pulled out from under them by people who have the support of LL. You can kiss quality goods in SL goodbye now.

Monday, November 13, 2006

In SL, you never have split ends...

Another step in my ongoing quest to become the Diane Witt of SL: here I am with "Jordan" hair from Goldie Locks.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Ostentatious humility

From The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten (alevasholem): A man is in the synagogue praying: "O Lord, I am nothing..." A k'nocker (blowhard, braggart) hears him, and says "Look who's saying he's a nothing!"

Methinks I protest too much. (New Yorker cartoon: patient on a psychiatrist's couch, saying "Sure, it's not much compared to some inferiority complexes...") Maybe it's how I was brought up.

One variety of song that was popular on Dr. Demento was the love song sung from the beloved's point of view. With an ELIZA-style transformation of pronouns, we got such classics as

"Close to Me":

Why do birds suddenly appear
Every time I draw near?
Just like you, they long to be
Close to me!

"Loving Me":

Loving me
Is easy, 'cause I'm beautiful.
Making love to me
Is all you want to do...

Why do we laugh at them? Perhaps because they show how over-the-top love lyrics are by changing the point of view; perhaps because the singer is violating those social rules some of us were brought up with—they're not just blowing their own horn, they've rented out a brass choir for the occasion!

Anyway... I will try to avoid phony modesty while also learning to accept compliments gracefully, OK?

UPDATE: That's "Close to You," by that immortal group, The Clams. Check it out.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Still not serious!

I'll be serious, or at least pompous, when I have more time.

In the meantime, I guess I am serious anyway when I say that you should check out The Goddess and Banana, a podcast featuring Yxes de la Croix and Banana Stein. It's fun, light-hearted (though at times not suitable for work if you don't use earphones), and the hosts' affection for each other shines through.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Exercise Your Franchise!

Today those of us in the US in RL vote, so once again I lack the time to wax philosophical... instead, I'll post another image, and hope that you exercise your right to vote today.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Posting on the Run

A Deep Philosophical Post is bubbling in my head, but I don't have time to write it now, not to mention that it involves a nasty double bind... I'll show you what the outfit from the previous shot in Apollo looks like without the flaming skirt.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


If I remember the blurbs rightly, Second Life is going to be the subject of a segment of Morning Edition tomorrow on NPR. I will keep an eye out for a link to streaming audio of the segment, and add it in an update if I find it.

The $64 question: the blurb goes on about making real money in a virtual environment... will they actually give some idea of what SL is all about? I seriously doubt it.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Episode N, where we see what happens when our heroine doesn't read the fine print

This morning I had the Lt. Ilia look down pat. At least I thought I did. With some help, though, I got the nonprim hair back.

The prim elimination was for an announced performance from 2:00 to 4:30 SLT today. What was printed was that "U2 in SL" will be performing. I showed myself to be just the sort of person who thought way back when that "faux diamonds" were some special kind of diamond. I thought U2 was performing in SL.

U2 in SL is a neat virtual group, and they are not responsible for my carelessness. You should catch them when you can, and they were performing for a good cause. I'm glad I went... I made a new friend, got to dance with an old and a new friend, too, and it's hard to beat the music.

Since I had to work hard to come up with the bad joke, I'll repeat it here: I do not dance in RL, where I have the proverbial two left feet. Fortunately, in SL you dance at the prompting of animation scripts. I've started to learn LSL, the scripting language, but haven't gotten very far, so for the time being, when I dance in SL, I move in mysterious ways. (To me at least.) [rim shot]

Inspired Luna Sea

Yesterday, as Mordecai has mentioned, we spent some time at the Luna Sea. He's already described it wonderfully, so I'll confine myself to putting up a photo. Suffice it to say that not all the poseballs are in the buildings.

"Baby's on fire..."

Bling taken to the limit... Ah, well, I won't need to look for a flashlight in SL now.

Seriously, it is a neat effect, and the outfit works nicely even without the outrageous prim skirt, I think.

Taken at midnight in Apollo.

Friday, November 03, 2006

If this be Rapture for the Nerds, then make the most of it...

"I'm a nerd." —Revenge of the Nerds

So, I was listening to the oft-bashed (in some quarters) Mike Oldfield album Earth Moving on the iPod, and started thinking about SL as the last track played:
This town is just a fake,
A place where you can't tell the devil from your brother.
Poisoned every breath you take,
It's just like one nightmare after the other.

You know, it's not too late to leave tomorrow,
'Cause I know where I'm going.

I am building a bridge to Paradise....
(Ironically, yesterday someone with a charming faun avatar, whom I'm sure some fundamentalists would consider Satanic, started a conversation with me—he/she had met someone interested in classical music on SL, and hoped I'd met her, knowing I'm interested in early music. He/she isn't my brother, but is my friend now... and if you're reading, I'm still sorry I left abruptly when another friend offered me a TP!)
This town you can't control,
A place that fascinates, hits you with the drama.
Don't worry now for my soul
'Cause I'm heading for a higher panorama.

You know, it's not too late for you to follow,
'Cause I know where I'm going.

I am building a bridge to Paradise....
I figure that the Singularity is a lot more likely than that original Rapture, and hence is worth working towards... and to counter an argument from someone who went on at great length and with minimal courtesy in a discussion I saw elsewhere, I would argue that it's advantageous overall for some people to actually do something other than care for the less fortunate. If nobody created wealth, then we'd all be equal, all right, but not in a state anyone save perhaps the most rabid "deep ecologists" would want.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


There are two photos here; one RL, and one SL. The SL one is me, and the RL one is not, but instead is a lovely young woman who will be finding herself extremely popular due to Digg effect.

It's just about certain... OK, if you have a human avatar it is... that somewhere out there in RL is someone that looks like you. Lots of people in SL make a point of having avatars that look like them, and still others may be inspired by some famous person in RL. I don't fall into either of those categories, and was just surprised to happen across an RL photo that shows a resemblance. (Should I get another pair of glasses? Hmmm....)

Thank you!

To all those who went to the Breast Cancer Awareness Benefit last Sunday, thank you! The event raised $624.71 (that's US dollars) for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I'm honored...

I succumbed to vanity and went egosurfing yesterday. Most of the entries are there because I have Blogger signing my full name to my posts, and I'm turning out to be awfully chatty here. Some appear because Mordecai (*hug*) mentions me in his blog, and others are to comments I've made here and there. One, though, floored me.

ekzept is the LJ username of Jan Theodore Galkowski. His CV is pretty darned impressive. A bit over a week ago as I type this, he discovered SL, and has set out to see what it's like, and what others there think and want. He's started posting about what he's found, and it's well worth your reading... but I was shocked to read that first entry saying he had set out, for at the end was
i have lots of portraits. stay tuned.

meanwhile, check out the thoughts of some others about SL that i value, like Melissa Yeuxdoux, Tateru Nino, and Wagner James Au.
Anyone who's been on SL for any length of time knows about the delightful and ever-helpful Tateru Nino, and if you aren't reading Wagner James Au's New World Notes, you should.

Being mentioned in the same breath with people such as them is a true honor.

New and Improved!

[I clutch my Strunk and White for reassurance about possessives, and press on...]

Mordecai Scaggs's blog, It's A Scaggs Life!, has undergone remodeling. Now not only is it a source of interesting observations of SL delivered with cheerfully self-deprecating wit, but a sorted collection of worthwhile links to blogs, SL publications, news sites, and more. Do take a look at it.

OK, he does go on about some girl. I personally wonder sometimes whether she's worthy of such attention.

P.S. One heartbreaking entry in Mordecai's blog, written on October 9th during the extended SL downtime, doesn't have the self-deprecating wit. It's an honest look into a life and what SL can mean to one. I still weep when I read it, but it is very much worth reading.