May 26, 2012
Maddy Gynoid answered a meme on his (german) blog EchtVirtuell and asked me, among others, some questions.
But as I made a pause logging in to SL itself (and blogging about it) I was not reading SL blogs, too. (Sorry, RL really got me occupied, and not in a good way)
So here are his questions:
- Kannst du dich in eine virtuelle Welt so hineinversetzen, dass deine Wahrnehmung überwiegend von dieser Umgebung bestimmt wird? Kurz: Verspürst du Immersion?
- Wieviele Items hast du in deinem Inventar? (bei mehreren Grids nur das größte)
- Welches ist das für dich beste Machinima aus einer virtuellen Umgebung?
- Second Life wird in kürze neun Jahre alt. Glaubst du, es wird noch weitere neun Jahre bestehen?
- Identifizierst du dich mit deinem Avatar, oder ist es für dich nur eine Pixelpuppe, zu der du keinen Bezug hast?
Or in english:
- Can you get that much into a in a virtual world that your cognition is dominated by it? In short, do you experience immersion?Yes, I can and do. But only with Second Life or Open Sims. When I play games there is always a gocnitive distence between me and the games hero.
- How many Items do you have in your inventory. If you am on more than one grid, name the biggest.Second Life, about 22.000 Items. After multiple cleaning sessions!
- Which machinima do you think is the best of any virtual environment.Every machinima I made myself carries a special meaning at least to me 😉 But from the outside its still: http://vimeo.com/27009695 Other may have been funny, artfull or otherwise interesting, but this peace about beeing a child in SL and being able to do so much more fun thing from this perspective really got me.
- Second Life is become nine years old soon.Do you think it will last 9 years more?I joined Second Life at a point in time, when everyone thought it already dead. Its not. Second Life lives because for those who get into it, its great, and as long as those people am enough to make it profitable, I have no fear. Yet 9 whole years is a long time to predict anything. Think of 2003, when Second Life actually came to life. And all the things that were unheard of then (e.g. Cel-/mobilephones replacing many of the functions from computers and gaming handhelds).
- Do you identify with your avatar or is it just a pixelpuppet, you have no connection with?I Am Avatar. (Do I get a movie starring will Smith now?)
No honestly, there are even issues that stemmed form it that may be part why I currently mainly use an avatar that is not so much similar to my real life. I did starting to get a bad feeling when I looked in the mirror and my similar, yet better looking avatar came to my mind.
March 13, 2012
… or how I changed my Avatar and learned a lot.
I already wrote a lot about my “Avatar-Journey” on my About page. But this got a new turn, and one that gave me a lot of experience.
Sometime before Christmas I was on a shopping trip with an inworld friend, who is very conscious about realistic avatar design, immersion but on the other hand is male (not transgendered or transsexual) and has a female Avatar. Normally I did not waste much thought on it, but as I’m pretty interested in neurological, psychological and anthropological things it didn’t compete exactly with what I learned about mirror neurons, gender differences and a few other things, so I asked if, when immersion was so important for him, how he could live with an avatar of the other end of the sexual spectrum… I know it gave me the creeps when I tried to use a male avatar as funny cosplay (Doctor Who) or to try out some hunt gifts that were really exclusively made for male human avatars (lets see how that looks, oh nice, but…. uhm… PANIC).
He said how he started SL primarily for role playing and the idea was, to keep a bit of a distance from the character, and than stayed that way for other activities, too, and learned to get quite some fun out of it. E.G. as male he never had a big interest in fashion, now with a female avatar, he found a new hobby in it, that would never be possible like that in RL.
This was right in the aftermath of a shared shopping tour (I’m by the way not the worlds greatest customer for inworld shopping) and I got some very nice and natural red hair. We than started to show us some of our precious dresses and I recognized that the red hair now does no longer match some of my favorite clothes and from that on I theorized, that light skins combined with the black hair of typical asians , like many Japanese people are, really could wear anything. It was a small step from here to the idea of: “How would it be, to play a bit with an (Northeast-)Asian avatar?
That idea sticked and I took a look around. I found a free avatar, which was more south east asian, which I did not really like, but than I found Dr. Life who has a great collection of primarily Japanese skins (there is some typically Japanese make-up permanently done into it, so it could not be used for other east asian cultures) and I really fallen in love with the flagship one which has a price tag of more than 2000 L$. A bit much for just toying around, especially when considered, that I’d need matching hair too (there is a great collection at Dr. Life)
But hey, you only live once, and so I bought it and made my own shape, with the same body measurements that my other one and face that’s a little bit more generic eastasian than the one of the shape that came (nomod) with the skin, which had a stunningly beautiful face but with very typical Japanese features and a body that was as bit anorexic as it was unnatural.
This is how it turned out:
February 11, 2012
When I buy something on the marketplace, I often write reviews with my honest opinion, because I think, that is what reviews are for.
Understandably, if a review is bad, the sellers am usually not happy about it. But for some, there is never anything they did wrong. Its their product, you, customer, have to be happy that the product is sold as it is at all!
I had one person who actually said she would write an (abuse, I think) report. OK, that was after I was calling her dim for the way she acted. In that particular case, it was a very cheap product (5 L$) which still was useless to me because it looked not anywhere near what the product description (and photo) promised, was set to full bright and concluded with the remark that, because its nomod, its completly useless for me. Well, she wrote in the product description that she does not want bad reviews because of the permissions. Yet the product was a texture on a typical 12 (actually 6) faces sculpt, often used for plants, and I think I have seen a fullperm version of this sculpt for free, so the no mod was completly unneccasary, there was simply no added value for it.
This is how it is marketed, and this is how it looks rezzed:
Click on it and set it to the highest resolution to see how badly the texture was cut and espacially how the “vase” is a bad joke. The marketplace picture is not the actual product, its just the texture, and the color of the background hides the ugly steps the borders make when shown against any other background.
The cheap price was no excuse for me, simply because you can get a lot of high quality flowers for that price, often intended as teaser for the higher priced products (and that worked often enough with me 😉 ) and, because of the price, I did not give her the worst possible notes.
Not even that, and she wants authorities to hunt me.
The other, very, very bad clash I had a while ago with the seller (he is not really the creator) of the F/O WINDY 2011
If you click on the link, you can see that the car has no reviews. That is simply because he made a new entry for it. The point is, the car is not bad for the 1000 L$ it is seen here. But it was marketed as a promo price and that the car later on will cost 4999L$. Inworld it had exactly that pricetag. And that puts it into premium range. Yet the car is not premium at all and even caused fatal scripting errors, when using the passenger seat.
Than there are JPEG compression fragments in the texture, on a level that would suggest an inexperienced builder.
The script did not let me adjust the driving position (via menu) and the animations where not well made.
And finally the camera position while driving was not really fixed and because I had custom cameraangles it was not driveable like that.
I wrote all that in my review, even missing something very relevant. The car is said to have 51 prims in the ad, yet it is a mesh car, and it has a serverweigh of 436(!) prims.
Pretty soon after it he contacted me. After a very violent opening he said that he would solve my problems, if I would delete the bad review (blackmailing? Nice, isn’t it?) I played along. So he gave me the newest version without the passenger seat problem, which he said was a bug of Second Life. I’m a software developer, if a software missbehaves because a 3rd party framework has a problem, no one will take that as an excuse, you have to make a workaround, which was obviously possible, as the newer version did not have this problem. Then we discussed the seating problem, and he advised me how I can manually set the coordinates in the script, acting as if that was a feature I have overlooked. And quite naturally, the rest of my problems with the car he couldn’t fix. I pretty much learned that everything was done by someone else, the script was originally for drag-racers and if a I have a problem with the texture I should go and confront the designer. Nothing was his fault. And while he complained that he paid 50000 L$ for the script, he also said that he had sold 300 copies of the car (and noone ever complained!) so thats 300000 L$ already.
He finally muted me, because he didn’t like the fact that I tried to tell him how he could avoid those problems in the future. I didn’t delete the review, but made an comment on the review, telling what happened, he made a comment where he said that he just gave me an hour of personal support and how ungreatfull I am. Sell an appropriate peace of work, and you will not have to give support. If it is true, and no one ever complained, how many users never got their scripts fixed?
As the car, months later, is still sold at 1000l$ so the “later 4999L$, get one now” was a lie, too. The extremly high landimpact suggests its a little edited import of a “free” model from the internet.
Still, this guy feels perfectly entitled to virtually yell at unsatisfied customers.
No, I will not stop to write honest reviews, and when sellers react like this, I know which shops to avoid.
January 26, 2012
I made a long introduction to this post, but now I finally want to start my analyses of Allectos analyses of Firefly.
She starts out with the characterintrodution of Zoë Alleyne Washburne , who is first shown to serve as Corporal under Sergeant Malcom Raynolds in the Unification War.
“The first scene opens in a war with Mal and Zoe. Zoe runs around calling Mal ‘sir’ and taking orders off him. I roll my eyes. Not a good start.”
Uhm… so does everyone else who serves on his side in the battle of Serenity (after the Serenity valley, where it happens) and is pretty normal for military hierarchy, since he is the highest ranking soldier left.
Shure, you can go meta and see the whole concept of hierarchy, armies and war as symptom of patriarchal culture, but noone ever stated that Firefly plays in a universe that has overcome that. Actually pretty much the opposite. The outer rim territories, where a lot of the show takes place, has fallen back into a pretty much “western”-culture, complete with bible thumping and all (Thus Firefly is marketed as Spacewestern).
At the start of the regular time she is second in command again under Malcom Raynolds (Mal), Captain of the Fireflyclass ship Serenity. Allecto describes the following scene:
“The next scene is set in the present. Mal, Jayne, and Zoe are floating about in space. They come into some danger. Mal gets all panicky.
Zoe says, “This ship’s been derelict for months. Why would they –”
Mal replies, (in Chinese) “Shut up.””
Not nice, is it? Well, even if that was defendeble, as Mal says shut up to be able to hear what Wash, the Pilot, says, he doesn’t even say it to Zoë, but to Jayne Cobb who is the last to speak before the “Shut up” is heard and Mal clearly looks in his direction.
The problem is, here it starts to get fuzzy, because she bickers on that:
“So in the very second scene of the very first episode, an episode written and directed by the great feminist Joss, a white man tells a black woman to ‘shut up’ for no apparent reason.”
Well he doesn’t and there was an apparent reason (the important message from the pilot)
And she does shut up. And she continues to call him sir. And takes his orders, even when they are dumb orders, for the rest of the series.
Well yes, she is paid to serve as second in command, a job she is perfectly free to leave. Not only that, they are an extremely well reheased team that relies on each other blind, so even what occurs to others as dumb orders, Zoë has learnt that it is not always the case. Others haven’t and this creates a sad plot point later.
But wait, maybe there is a reason why Allecto thinks Zoë should be an eqal partner:
“They bought a Firefly, an old space ship, and Mal calls it Serenity, after the last battle they fought for the Independence.”
This is one more error and once more pretty misleading. Mal bought the ship, not they, and she actually mocks him quite a bit about it. Yes, pretty submissive obviously. Well the concept of humor is pretty much lost on Allecto, as she introduces the next female character, Kaywinnit Lee Frye (Kaylee), the mechanic of the crew.
And for the first time, she got it right, albeit still missleading:
“The next scene we meet Kaylee, the ship’s mechanic. <- Lookee, lookee, feminist empowerment. In this scene Mal and Jayne are stowing away the cargo they just stole. Kaylee is chatting to them, happily. Jayne asks Mal to get Kaylee to stop being so cheerful. Mal replies, “Sometimes you just wanna duct tape her mouth and dump her in the hold for a month.” Yes, that is an exact quote, “Sometimes you just wanna DUCT TAPE HER MOUTH and DUMP HER IN THE HOLD FOR A MONTH.” Kaylee responds by grinning and giving Mal a kiss on the cheek and saying, “I love my Captain.” "
If she says this is the next scene, she actually not just means the shot in which he says this, so its noteworthy that the three of them are stowing the cargo and its a conversation, not Kaylee chatting to them (which would be onedirectional). All are in a pretty good mood after just escaping with some valuable pray and its clearly an act of humor and not even by far a threat.
But that escapes Allecto
“What the fuck is this feminist man trying to say about women here? A black woman calling a white man ‘sir’. A white male captain who abuses and silences his female crew, with no consequences. The women are HAPPY to be abused. They enjoy it. What does this say about women, Joss?”
O, well, I forgot to mention it, in case you have not seen the show, Zoë is played by african american actress Gina Torres. Since radical feminism has a heritage in analysing powerstructurs and privilege, for her its obviously more degrading than for anyone else two have a white, male boss in a military style hierarchy. And its the doom of her marriage, at least according to Allecto:
“My white grandfather liked black women because they were ‘exotic’, and he did not, could not treat women, especially women of colour, like human beings. I grew up watching my great aunts, my aunty and my mother all treated like shit by their white husbands, the men they loved. So you will forgive me for believing that the character, Wash, is a rapist and an abuser, particularly considering that he treats Zoe like an object and possession.”
This may actually alienate those who know Firefly a bit. Wash, a rapist and an abuser, treating Zoe like an object? Actually Wash has a deep respect for his wife, to the point of being submissive and even stating once, that he is married to a wife who could kill him with his pinky.
What so deeply disturbs Allecto is his stated admiration of her beauty. Obviously a trait of a person must never be her looks because only objects have looks, thus admiring the beauty of your partner is turning them into an object. Well thats not exactly Allectos concept, its deeply rooted in radical feminism. Yet she states herself that this is absolutely not the only thing he is interested in when it comes to his wife:
“Wash and Mal fight each other for Zoe’s attention and admiration”
So he obviously is interested in what she thinks of him, isn’t he? Only thats a bad thing, because that means that she is Weadons “token black woman” to foil the manliness of the two males (Mel, her boss and Wash, her husband) that they can demonstrate this way.
Sorry Allecto, this is very, very construced, espacially if you watch the episode where that fighting happens. Wash is actually a bit jealous that Zoë and Mal have so much opportunity to bond in their missions comming back with stories while he is bound to the pilot seat as much as the attention Mal gets – he wants to earn his share, too and goes on a (simple) mission with Mal. They get captured, and only under the stress and preasure Wash begins to find out, what really bothers him. That she obviously obeys Mal, while he, her husband is, as I stated, more the submissive type. And that he mistakes her readiness to obeying Mel as a kind of sexual tension. Time goes on and they start to get tortured. To keep Wash awake, Mel fools him into thinking, theres really some sexual tension that would be served best if he sleeps with his wife.
Oh my, a feminists nightmare, to men trading a woman? Well it isn`t, Mel never meant a word and knows Zoë well enough to play together(!) with her on that so that both make that point clear.
Yet the two
damselsprincess in mistress first must be safed by their knight in shining (oops sorry, that insists beauty and is objectifying) armour, Zoë.
“Zoe is not shown to have a personality of her own. She has no outside interests, no ideas or beliefs, no conversation with anyone other than Wash or Mal”
Well, she really is not seen that much besides the two, but you can hardly say she has no personality of her own. Her ideas and her beliefs are just pretty much in line with Mels, and she actually points out when those not align, and she has some discussions with Wash having a clear opinion when it comes to questions about her job or having children.
Wow. This has already reached nearly 1500 words… so there better be a part three. When her analysis hits a deep concern of radical feminism in form of Inaras occupation.
When I was reading TVTropes I so often came over mentionings of the show Firefly (and the follow up movie Serenity) that I finally had to watch it. I was not extremely hooked because it was cancelled premature after the first season and those pretty much left it with the character introducion only starting to built up the story arcs, wich were planned out over several years. While not ending with a cliffhanger (unlike Farscape after it was cancelled) the movie pretty much took most interesting arc and finished it (a bit premature). I think a lot of the idealization is about the “what could have been” factor but it was not bad at all. I’m espacially a fan of Summer Glau now, whom I previously only have seen as Cameron in Sarah Connor Chronicles where she plays a terminator, a machine without a real character.
The showrunner was Joss Wheadon of “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” fame, which sume people assume to be a feminist work. I cat judge it, I only seen a few episodes when it came out and I thought of it as beeing a bit boring. After I liked Firefly, I will give it a try now.
But maybe strong female characters are enough to label a showrunner feminist and honestly if you read headlines like this:
Spike TV chief Albie Hecht fired for luring women viewers(2005)
or like that:
Warner Bros president of production Jeff Robinov has made a new decree that “We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead”.(2007) it might to be supposed enough to qualify, sadly.
However, calling a man a feminist has fetched the attention of radical feminist Allecto.
Now, you might have never heard of radical feminism but its pretty much the real life version of the TVTrope “The Straw Feminist”.
It began with some good work of second wave feminist in exploring the powerstructurs and the concept of privileges those that have them are usually unable to even recognize, mixed in with the message of a certain John Money that split sex (the body) and gender (the cultural part) and claimed the latter can be bent in either direction if started early enough, so that the traits associated with each gender itself are all a matter of upbringing. He did this, by the way, not to empower women in any form, but to “normalize” the butchering of intersexual children that can be raised to be whatever sex (optically) was constructed. This left a trail of traumatized intersexual persons, but albeit become a mantra of general feminism who do not see genderidentity (wich would better be labeled sexidentitiy) and genderrole seperat, the first being inborn and the latter being pretty much cultural.
Despite it was not exactly correct it was a very empowering message to women who could no longer be taught they are inferior to men and many made their way to show the world exactly that.
But Radical Feminism goes further. It pretty much sees any relationship between man and women only from the aspect of the still existing powerdivide and thus reacting by damning anything male, often to the point, where women who am in relationships to men are often called out for participating in the patriarchat. They see themselves as the most oppressed persons on the planet thus entitled to calling out anyone who doesn’t share their few as oppressing them if they call them out on something they say or do, which often enough is oppressing discrimation in itself.
And I will certainly get my share of that, when I analyse the analysises of Firefly and several episodes Allecto has done on her blog Gorgon Poisons in Part 2.
January 11, 2012
The OpenSim Provider Keitly was the first to sell (OpenSim-)land pretty cheap due to a trick. When no user is on a sim, it goes into a suspension mode thus not needing any server resources. Now Linden Lab has copied this trick to save real money. Other than Kitley, Linden Labs savings am not reflected in price savings for Linden Labs customers. As the CEO said, all that is to be expected, is that Second Life land fees do not increase in 2012.
Still one could think its a good thing, if the company makes Second Life more profitable, the product is safe, and as long as it doesn’t hurt someone?
Well it does. I rented mainland espacially because of the neighbourhood to the protected(!) Route 2 and its wateraccess because I like to make tours in air, on water and on land. And now its ruined with that “innovation”.
1. Sims am not visible while noone is on them.
2. have to boot from suspension when you enter them, which may take a minute and does not preload the scenerie.
3. I can only see the sim my land is on. Good thing my land is more in the center
So its simply not possible anymore to travel fluently with, lets say even a slow 10 mp/h speed over mainlandregions.
I feel screwed by Linden Lab!