May 24, 2008
And it did. At the closing Q&A session, major domo for the event, Gavin Dudeney - a.k.a. SL Dudeney Ge - revealed that over the 24-hour period, 347 different avatars had visited, that the open plenary session hosted 83 people, and that there were 28 sessions completed in total. Not bad for only the second conference! Despite the appearance just prior to the conference of Release Candidate Viewer 1.2 RC8, the event as a whole appeared to be relatively glitch free. From my own observations, the majority of problems came from human error - the new Second Lifers who had yet to work out how to use TP, Notecards, Voice, and stylish clothing. I added the later gratuitously because I spend so much time with designers and SL Glitterati that seeing so many newbies in need of a fashion makeover was a minor shock to the system.
For a more comprehensive overview of the conference, check out my report at SLentrepreneur. Alternatively, you could take a look at the report from my new colleague, Yelena Etzel, who writes for The Looking Glass magazine. Apart from Yelena, I didn't bump into any other members of the SL Fourth Estate, but you might want to check out both of our reports to see who does the better. ;)
May 23, 2008
May 22, 2008
The last track of the Soundtrackz in Search of Moviez album. Make sure you have all the others from the previous nine posts to get the full effect! Now feel free to share the music with your friends and Hollywood producers. I await the call.
May 21, 2008
Stephanie Coleridge, a British psychotherapist, wakes up naked in a Mexican hotel room. All she has is a suitcase containing 3 millions dollars, a Walther PPK, and a notebook of hieroglyphics. From Mexico through Arizona and back to London, Stephanie searches for her identity and the secret of the hieroglyphs.
Stephanie heard a loud crash as the door burst open. Without thinking, soe found herself rolling off the bed as the spit of a silencer coincided with a burst of dust from the mattress. As she fell to the floor, she reached out and grabbed the Walther on the cabinet. In one fluid motion, she flipped her whole body sideways, took hold of the gun with both hands and shot six rounds, fanning through the space from where she'd heard the shots.
With a sharp groan, a man collapsed backwards, hitting a lamp and crashing into a table. She tumbled back behind the bed, lining herself parallel with it and pointing the gun straight up into the air.
She felt her heart thumping and the sweat beginning to drip from her naked body. Her arms relaxed and she turned back on her stomach and slid to the corner of the bed. Looking up, she could see the man's inert body reflected in the TV screen. Slowly, she stood up and walked over to the door to ensure no-one was in the corridor. Pushing the door to, she looked at the dead man and began to shake. Tossing the gun on the bed, she could feel tears beginning to form.
Sweet Jesus, she thought, what the hell just happened!
As her shaking increased, she steadied herself against the wall. Fighting off dizziness, she began scanning the room, noticing first the bullet holes in the bed.
If I hadn't moved, she thought, I'd have been dead. Then it hit her. But how did I know what to do? She looked from the bed to the body and it came to her that she'd acted out of instinct, not only escaping death but taking out her would-be assassin too.
Where the fuck did I learn to do THAT?
May 20, 2008
A trio of men from Japan find their paths cross and go in search of their destinies, cross the sea to America.
"Three men journey West,
Looking for meaning in the
City of Angels"
A man from a farm,
One born of Nobility
And one an old priest
None seeking a change
But all find a mystery
That they have to solve
They all leave the East
By land, by sea, and by air
To Angel City
Each on his own road
They find a common crossing
Where are the answers
Inside the head or the heart?
Perhaps they will know
May 19, 2008
Between Uptown Manhattan and Downtown Harlem are many worlds. Sometimes the people from one find their paths cross with those of the other. The movie is tells the violent tale of a tragic love affair that was always doomed to failure from the opening reel.
The heavy rain in Times Square had done little to stem the flow of human beings shuffling around from street to street, heads turning every which way but loose to absorb the American icon.
Tourists, he thought. They might as well wear T-shirts with "I'm not a local" on the front and back just to make it more obvious. In contrast to the masses, Russell had his eyes firmly turned toward his objective; Starbucks. The only antidote to teeming rain is steaming coffee.
Once inside, the aroma of coffee and wet people was thick enough to be almost tangible. It took him almost 10 minutes to get to the counter.
"Tall double skim latte please."
Latte. Drink of the Wuss. Despite heavy pressure from his friends to turn to espresso, "a real man's drink," he'd stuck to his choice and joined the ranks of the weak.
He took the coffee, slipped it into a java jacket and found a seat just by the window. Just a few yard away he could make out a clutch of soaked teenagers outside the MTV studios, presumably hoping to catch a glimpse of some 'flavor-of-the-day' performer who, in a couple of years time, would be selling miracle products at 3.30 in the morning on cable TV. Taking a sip of his coffee, he took out his PDA to check his e-mail.
The case was going slow. Too slow. His client had expected some evidence by now of his wife's infidelity, but Russ had been unable to find anything of substance. Despite three weeks of direct observation work, nothing had happened. In fact, she was so limited in her social interactions with either sex he was beginning to wonder who was the one with the problem. Maybe he should switch to the 'Paranoid Husband' hypothesis, call it quits and take on a new client.
Unfortunately, not only was the case slow, but his business in general was going at the same pace. Three e-mails for Viagra, two for sex sites, and eight "hot investment tips you can't afford to miss,'"but no real prospects. He took another sip and wondered how many more lattes he could buy before he was reduced to the 50 cent fast-food "special blend." If he didn't come up with a hint of scandal in the next three days, he was back in the hole. Again.
May 18, 2008
A spy movie with lots of fast cars, beautiful women, sharp-dressing sleuths and unmistakably evil bad guys. Set in a multitude of locations around the world, no expense is spared in producing an exciting and exotic movie that demands the most intense suspension of disbelief!
Barrington Wainwright III sipped his brandy, keeping an eye on the couple in the corner of the room. Rachel maintained focus on her Creme Bruhlee, each mouthful gently measured to maintain a delicate appearance of pose and grace. She noticed Chesterton's vigil. Pausing with the fork in her hand, she furrowed her brow and looked puzzled.
"Barrington, why are you so preoccupied with the woman on that table? Am I lacking something you need?"
Wainwright smiled. Rachel had been a model for most of her young life and spent most of her time fighting off admirers. As far as physical attraction went, she was in the big leagues. Still, he thought, it's interesting that she has some little insecurities.
"Strange as this might seem my dear girl, I am much more interested in the gentleman."
Rachel lifted an eyebrow.
"Well Barry, I'm afraid I can't compete on that level!"
He laughed and leaned over in her direction.
"Rest assured that I have not renounced my heterosexual proclivities. However, I believe he's the link between Senator Bunting here in Washington and our good friends in Iraq."
"And how do you work that out?" she asked.
"Well, we know that the contact man is English, even though he has a passable American accent. Take a look at how the man in the corner is eating. Observe the silverware."
Rachel turned slightly to watch the man eat a piece of steak. Unsure of what she was supposed to see, she asked Wainwright to explain.
"He holds the fork in his right hand, cuts with the left, then pops the food into his mouth with the fork still in his right. And he's been doing that all night. Typical Brit."
"You call that evidence of his nationality?" said Rachel incredulously.
"Well, that and his tie."
"Yes. Look at the stripes. The point downwards from his left shoulder to his right side. That's a British tie. American stripes go the opposite direction because tie-makers here start with the cloth facing up whereas British couturiers start pattern-down. Put the two together and you have your man."
Rachel flopped back in her chair and shook her head in amazement.
"Is this always how Secret Agents work?" she asked.
"No," said Wainwright with a well-earned smirk, "Only the best ones!"
May 17, 2008
Legends tell of a "Time of Darkness" that descends upon the world once every 50,000 years. The recent discovery of an ancient manuscript by archaeologist Gabriel Lancaster leads him into a time of psychological darkness in an attempt to discover whether the legend is true.
Gabriel was starting to feel tired. He looked at the clock to see it was 2.40 a.m. and he had been pouring over documents since early morning, fueled only by large amounts of tea. He rubbed his eyes, closed the book in front of him and walked over to his chair. Dropping back, he yawned, pushed his hair out of his eyes and looked at the ceiling.
The link he was looking for was tantalizingly close. There had to be a way of connecting the old Eleusinian Mysteries with the New Orleans Psychoanalytical Association. Before he died, Professor Francis Haldeman had said something about Persephone. What was it?
"Gabe," he said,"I can't give you all the details over the phone because I think I'm being bugged. But the 'Persephone Connection' is real, as real as you and I. We'll meet in Pittsburgh next week and I'll give you a copy of the document. Trust me, it's bigger than anything you've come across before."
That was the last he'd heard from Haldeman. Three days later, the Psychoanalytical world had been shocked by his brutal murder, particularly with the savagery of the attack. Murders happen all the time, but this one was ritualistic in the extreme. The police has suspected that the killer was a patient, or ex-patient, of Haldeman, but nothing had been found.
All Lancaster knew was that he never received the 'Persephone Connection' document, and by all accounts, neither had the murder squad investigators. So if he couldn't read the document, he had to reconstruct it from Haldeman's past. For the next few weeks, he had to become Haldeman and reinvent the conspiracy. He had to find Persephone.
May 16, 2008
For those who like their movies in a lighter vein, this sex comedy tells of the struggles of four friends living in San Francisco trying to hold together relationships that are foundering on the rocks of sexuality. The film follows each character as he or she tries to find the perfect partner - or partners!
Claire felt guilty about the dream she'd had about Miriam. But then again, Claire was a master of Guilt having been raised as a Catholic and having had to endure that most special of religious punishments - the All-Girls Catholic School. The Jesuits used to say "Give me the child until he's 7 and I will give you the man." In Claire's case, it was more of "Give me the child until she's 7 and I will give you enough neurotic guilt to enable Sigmund Freud to write a three-volume case study.
There was also a certain irony in that the object of her guilt was Miriam, whose Jewish upbringing made her just as much a slave to guilt as Claire. A good test of what would happen if the Immovable Object came against the Irresistible Force would be to put a group of Catholics in a room with a group of Jews and have them try to decide who was the more guilty. Throw in the notion of sexuality and both of them could be arguing well after the Second Coming has been, gone, sold the T-shirts and restarted the Universe in the next Big Bang.
The exact reason for the guilt was unclear. After all, thought Claire, it's only a dream and I can't control my dreams. But that argument didn't wash. A Dream is just a Wish, and a Wish is a Desire, and a Desire is wrong if it leads to any sort of pleasure. And what Claire had been doing with Miriam in her fantasy would have been erotic enough to result in the film censors setting fire to the celluloid. If only she'd not included the baby oil, whipped cream and six feet of rope.
May 15, 2008
Cal and Hal have just three weeks to cross Europe in order to win a contest with a prize of 5 million dollars. With only 10 dollars each and a change of clothes, they have to visit nine cities and collect a souvenir from each to prove they've been there. Unfortunately, their obsessions for drinking and women keep getting in the way! Will they win the money, or find something better?
Cal had about as much chance of scoring with Danielle as a psychotic killer with a machete has of becoming a childcare specialist; perhaps even less. She had the sort of looks that would make a Supermodel want to go out and have more plastic surgery, and wore the sort of clothes that the same Supermodel could only borrow for a photoshoot. Still, Cal was convinced he had a chance.
"Dude," said Hal, "she really wants you. I mean, she is so hot for you that even I'm getting horny!"
"Yeah man," slurred Cal, "she's, like, totally into me. It's like Karma."
Cal really meant to say "kismet," but vocabulary was never one of his strong points. To be brutally honest, although English was ostensibly his first language, he seemed to have invented a new language all of his own. Compared to Cal, a Neanderthal would be considered erudite. Somehow, he had managed to make do without the necessity to divide words into Nouns, Verbs and Adjectives, opting instead for randomly tossing words together based on which ones made it into his mouth first.
And like a pair of twins who make their own secret language, Cal and Hal had managed to linguistically cut themselves off from the rest of the world at large while maintaining the delusion that other people could understand them. One Englishman had spent three hours on a train station listening to them make noises, convinced that his inability to comprehend what they were saying was due to his hearing aid being faulty, and, being English, he felt it would be bad manners to excuse himself. By skillfully making noncommittal grunts and random head nods, he succeeded in convincing the guys that he was totally enthralled by their wit and charm. Fortunately, the train eventually arrived and he terminated the conversation by throwing himself under it.
"OK dude," said Cal, "this is it. The Cal-Man strikes!"
Pushing his chair back slowly, Cal stood up and started making his way across the cafe for his date with Destiny. But in his effort to look totally cool, he failed to notice that between him and his target was Danielle's poodle. God was most certainly not on his side, but Beelzebub clearly was...
May 14, 2008
The story is familiar; a humanoid robot is on the loose and needs to be stopped. The twist is that the robot isn't aware that it's a robot and has become the President of the United States of America! Furthermore, the FBI and the CIA have no idea who the robot is, only that on April 1st, 2004, it will explode with the force of a small nuclear bomb.
Brandon Denver reached for the phone, still shaking his head at the text on his computer screen that he had just spent hours pulling together. Quickly, he punched the number of his partner, Kelly O'Clair.
"Hey Kel, it's Denny."
"Denny? Why'd you take so long to get back to me? I've been worried."
Brandon tipped back in his chair and looked over the screen, hoping to find something new but knowing it was unlikely.
"Sorry Babe, but you're not going to believe what I've discovered about our friend on the Washington flight. Seems that it he didn't board the plane at La Guardia."
"But that's impossible," said O'Clair, "I watched him board myself."
Brandon gave a small snicker.
"Well, according to airport security records, he didn't."
There was a moments hesitation before O'Clair replied.
"So how did he do that? Who is he? David Copperfield?"
"That's something we still don't know. All we do know is that he isn't exactly leaving a paper trail behind him as he moves. It's like trying to play chess when you don't know where all the pieces are." He paused for effect, then continued. "Seems like we have something of a mystery to solve, Nancy Drew!"
May 13, 2008
Sometimes we have to remember that an adult is simply a child who has learned some grown-up behaviors. Being accused of being "childish" is often a complement. Fairy tales, myths, urban legends, nursery rhymes - the power of these comes from the way in which they appeal to our Inner Child, that Id-driven creature as yet unencumbered by the the straitjacket of civilization.
Movies can also appeal to our simpler instincts. The Critic can often spend too much time dissecting a film rather than willing suspend disbelief to become immersed in an alternative reality. The same can be true of Music, that magical weaving of Sounds into a spell that can enchant us all.
This homage to one of my favorite films, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, helps me to remember never to grow up.
May 12, 2008
A few short years ago, I put together an album entitled Soundtrackz in Search of Moviez. Why the title? Because each song had a snippet from a potential movie attached to it. In my dreams, some Hollywood producer would stumble across the stories and ask me to write ten movies, thereby catapulting me into the stratosphere of fame and wealth.
May 11, 2008
I forget that I also have a real life to live, with my job sucking up around 50 hours per week, my SL writing taking up maybe another 5 - 10 hours, and actually doing some SL living grabs another chunk. To then find time to write about what I've been doing is challenging.
So here I am on Sunday afternoon writing up an interview with a guy by the name of Zaplock Riggles, the creator/designer of the Tip Master system for clubs. Like many Second Lifers, Zaplock spends his week working in the Real World, only to "relax" by working in the Second! The boundary between SL and RL has become so thin that I have added a new Task designation to my PDA - Second Life. Now I get reminded when a SL deadline is due so the deadline for next edition of FreeLife magazine is 14th May, in-world conference on Languages in Second Life on May 23rd, a virtual job fair on May 29th, and there's a list of other interviews that need to be completed.
It seems to me that in reality - and there's another slippery word for yah - posting once a week would be a success in itself. Maybe I am too hard on myself.