Thursday, February 22, 2018

he can tap against the glass but I'm not coming out

What a great quote:
"I hope it can spark someone to say, 'I'm not a superhero, but I can be a scientist or build the next spaceship, like Shuri.'"
~~Letitia Wright
In other news, are you tired of playing an average, grizzled, 30-40 year old white male in videogames? Do you want more from your books and your comics than an unending parade of pallor? Selena Mills has you covered, with seventeen great books and games (for kids, sure, but hey, nothing says adults can't play or read 'em!).

So let's talk about the end of reading, or at the least, the end of Barnes and Noble. Because it's coming. As the author of that post put it,
“Whether the Andrea Gail rolls, pitch-poles, or gets driven down, she winds up, one way or another, in a position from which she cannot recover. Among marine architects this is known as the zero-moment point – the point of no return.” –Sebastian Junger, The Perfect Storm
A lot of us are seeing the signs of no return, and fully expecting B and N to either fold up shop and fire everyone, or declare bankruptcy, then fold up shop and fire everyone. After appropriate golden parachutes for all the upper management they want to placate, of course. And adding hefty end-turn bonuses for themselves.

There's some tie-in here with Best Buy's closure, and Borders, as well, as similar practice happened in each case. And we're going to see it a lot more, as more business owners realize they can make more money by investing it instead of actually employing people and selling things. After all, why bother, right? No one reads anymore, right? No one buys books. Or games. Or anything. We just rent them, and they can be taken from us at any time.

Apologies, usually I'm cynical and bitter, but I don't show it on the blog. I see the changes coming, but I have no idea how to fix them. I only know they're going to hurt thousands of workers along the way.

Anyway, I think I'm going to tie this up by telling you a bit about Paladins, and HiRez Studios. Now, I don't play Overwatch, I don't play Paladins, I never played SMITE and while I have loves telling me I'd get a kick out of Heroes of the Storm, not really interested in that either. Arena games really aren't me, it's too...PvP, I'm more a quests and challenges gamer.

But because I have friends who play Paladins, I hear occasionally about how awful some recent changes in the game have been. Like last November's "Cards Unbound" expansion, which seems--both to me and most of the other active player base--as HiRez directly implementing a pay-to-win system into an otherwise (mostly) level playing field of a game. This seems deceptive, and rather vile.

There have been several protests over this decision--both in and out of the company, though by far I think this one is the best reaction to date--yet, until today, HiRez seemed pretty determined to hold onto the changes.

Until today. Today this decision was handed down by the new head of HiRez. To wit, these changes will be employed:
  • Legendary Cards will now be called Talents.
  • Talents will only have a single level.
  • Talents will be unlocked for free by earning XP and gaining Champion levels (for example; level 1,5,10,15).
  • All Champion Cards will now be free (No cost or grind).
  • Deck creation will return to a point system where players can distribute 15 points across the five cards they select for their loadout.
  • Each Champion Card will have five ranks to choose from.
  • Talents will not have ranks, and are not included in the loadout point cap.
  • Talents and Decks will continue to be chosen at match start to allow players to tailor their playstyles based on their opponents.
  • New Talents will be added over time and give further varied playstyles.
  • Champion Mastery will no longer be capped at level 25. Instead, it will work similarly to Player Account leveling (which has no cap).
  • Card chests will be removed from the game.

So...that's good, right? Along with launching Paladins: Battlegrounds as a separate game.

I think that gets them out of the pay-to-win accusations, as well as un-miring them from the current sticky controversy surrounding lootboxes in games in general. It seems, at least to me, the only people out much, right now, are those who spent the insane amounts necessary to cheat using the Unbound rules in the first place, and...hey, even if they were cheating with the studio's permission, I say it still counts. I do hope HiRez works to repay the cost of all those cards, but...pfft, they shouldn't have jumped in with such vigor in the first place. It was a dumb idea.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I got a brand new house on the roadside, made from rattlesnake hide

This is a bad idea. Making it easier for spammers to include malicious code in emails is never wise.

This was a worse one--in the middle of an opiod epidemic, paying advocates to push opiod deregulation would easily lead us where we are now.

There is now a Tomb Raider Barbie. I'm...honestly not sure how I feel about this. But on the plus side, yay for non-blonde, non-Aryan Barbies! Woo!

This is the best apology I've seen this year. Kudos to them.

Finally, if anyone plays Grand Theft Auto V, just log in before the 29th of February and receive a tidy amount of in-game cash. It won't make anyone rich beyond dreams, but hey, it could ease the way a bit.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

both hands with a heart to hold

[13:15] kxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: Can someone transfer their boyfriend?
[13:15] kxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: to me
Um...no? Though at times, I'm sure many women, and not some few men, would be willing.

So, a little more on the raffle at Sakura. That SLUrl should (with any luck) bring you to the club, to see these:



So--theoretically, at least--if you pay the sign, you should receive some sort of chat confirmation, and you'll be registered for the raffle. And on Friday, as close to 9 pm SLT as we can manage, we'll be drawing the winner!

All you have to do then is be there, or wait--if you can't attend the lingerie dance, no worries, someone will contact you within twenty-four hours to tell you you've won!

I'm looking forward to it, though sadly, I'm going to miss the first hour...but I'll be there for as much as I can of the rest!

And in other news...um...okay, totally NSFW question, but...why does this exist?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

let me remind you that love will find you



Friday, we're having our Lingerie Dance!



If you've never been inside the dark spa, it's just like the light side, only...well...more intense. There are little alcoves for intimacy, and while we usually have access to the pool and the actual spa, the cover's on in this shot, because that's going to be our dance floor.



These are the official rules:
Rules for the Private Valentine's Dance and Raffle:

The dance will be Friday, February 16, 6 - 9 PM SLT.

Attire for guests: Formal

1) You may enter as early and as often as you like, up until 9 PM SLT on Friday the 16th.

2) The drawing will be held as close to 9 PM SLT as possible. Notices will go out within 24 hours.

3) There will be only 1 winner.

4) The winner will be sent a special Sakura blossom token, which the winner (or designee if it will be an alt) presents to Lynn Mimistrobell, along with their preference of prize. Lynn and any other manager cannot be chosen.

5) The prize token may not be resold.

6) PRIZE OPTIONS: one hour with your Blossom of choice -- or 30 minutes with TWO Blossoms of your choice at the same time!
So get ready, get moving, get Raffling! And be there on the 16th!

Monday, February 12, 2018

I am a perfect copy of whatever I was

The infopocalypse is here, and it is poisoning us all.

There's a new cooking blog on the sidebar, Cooking with Yusen. Mainly for the wonton soup recipe, but then I tracked down recipes for homemade ramen, katsu curry, pasta carbonara, Guinness beef stew, and homemade potstickers (or gyoza dumplings).

So yes, I'll now be following them and seeing what they post next.

[15:33] fyre (fyreflower): there are so many diff levels of steam...you've got burner glam to goth/industrial steam..and every crazy awesome mix in between
Please, please, someone tell me what "burner glam" is. I need to know.

In other news, Twitch is trying to crack down on abusive, overly sexualized, or harrassing content, leading a few streamers to worry if they're next on the chopping block to be banned.

And do you debate what soup is, long into the night? Do you ponder what can be soup? Do you wake up, wondering if aliens understand the nature of soup? If so, there's now a game made just for you. You can now ponder the existential philosophy of soup while there's a break between projects, or between social events (because it's a browser game, see). There you go.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

in the circle 'round the kitchen table

I had mentioned a lingerie fashion show happening at Sakura sometime this week, and sadly, that's not going to happen. The first mention in notices was from Debi, a fellow Blossom:
"There was talk of a lingerie fashion show Sunday night after Salon. Left a message for Lynn letting her, know I could maybe do notices and stuff.

If we are adding a runway to the stage, I will hang a couple extra lights for the event."
And then, four hours later:
"Yes - there was talk of a fashion show, but I got the flu last week and am still fighting the effects of it. All of my projects stopped, and Kimi has been good enough to do Salons for me.

I was thinking of a lingerie dance this week, but no fashion show. We'll save that for a later event.

Lynn"
The CDC site tells me the flu--at least in the US--has gone pandemic, which is the first time I've ever heard of a pandemic disease not being automatically fatal. It's pandemic because it's so widespread, nearly everyone has had it, has it now, or will get it soon. Ack. But, because of that, there's been a lot of under-the-weather, which yes, can and does affect SL.

But don't despair! We're keeping the idea, it's just not going to be for Valentine's. We WILL bring this idea back around when everyone's feeling better, because it sounds too fun not to do.

And we're still planning a Valentine's raffle--the winning ticket buys the interested party an hour with the Blossom of their choice--but it may premiere later in this week, or next. (The raffle ball's at Sakura already, between the bar and the statues on the side table--AKA, our dance machine--but it's not active yet. Once it is, it'll run for at least one week to give everyone who wants one, a chance to get a ticket.) And we'll likely have a dance or get-together, either up at Sakura or down at Bellefleurs, the day the winning ticket's picked.

I'll keep you updated!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

I wasn't lookin' but somehow you found me



Well, apparently I goofed yesterday when I put out the Bond event entry. It wasn't at the burlesque club. It's not even, strictly speaking, at the mansion at Bellefleurs. Instead, it's at the Wherehouse:



Which is apparently a new build on the grounds! So...there's that...Thankfully, there's a sign and a port at the front door to redirect people.



So sorry, everyone! Come dance anyway!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

the spy who loved me is keeping all my secrets safe tonight

"You expect me to talk?"
"No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!"


Well, we don't expect anyone to die, but we do expect people to come and dance if they wish:



The "morning" (remember, my time's SLT) dance is at noon, hosted by DJ Raquella, who may have some retro goodness to share with us, but is well-known for dub, dance, and shimmery electronica. And the "evening" dance (which, sadly, I won't be able to attend because of RL) will be happening at seven pm, hosted by DJ Maddie, and our very own Duchess Canning, Indy. That should be grand fun and I'm sorry I'll miss it.

Both dances will be held in the heights at Sakura.

Then in February, we're thinking of a fashion show. A lingerie fashion show. It will most likely be sometime on either February 8th or February 11th. Us being us, most are likely tilting towards the 11th, but the Duchess being the Duchess, she has a thing for Thursdays. So it may be another Thursday dance. And show.



There will also be a Valentine's auction! This is something truly unique (in that I don't think the House of Sakura has ever done it before; VIPs and staff, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). Buy a raffle ticket, you'll get a chance at the Blossom of your choice if you win! (We're still working out some of the details for that, like, raffle ticket prices, acquiring a raffle/auction board, and determining when we're going to hold the auction and for how long.) Feel free, gentlemen callers (and gentle ladies interested in being thus entertained) to drop a note or talk in-person to Lynn Mimistrobell, Duchess Indy, or Debi Dyrssen, and they'll pool knowledge and feedback and figure out all the details.

Until then, enjoy the dances tomorrow! As the Duchess said, "Channel your inner Bond or Bond Girl, or invent one and a name! Always a favourite! Be there!!!"

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

a ghost of someone's tragedy

Yesterday, the news spread that Ursula K. LeGuin had passed away. This knocked me significantly sideways, to the point where it seems any little thing is making me tear up, so...I figure it's a good time to finally get this entry out.

There was a fundraising ball for Master Kaos and Cherub Spectre, which I entirely missed attending (due to illness) and covering (because I've become a flake where timely blogging is concerned). Here are the notices leading up to that event.

Sent on the tenth of January:
There's been a lot of questions stirring about whether or not we are going to do anything in-world for MK and Cherub and the answer is yes. Meryet and I have been coordinating an event for Sunday at 5pm SLT. We will be having a formal gala to raise as many lindens as we can to turn into real money for them. We will be setting up a special location above the Crowbar for the party and we hope you all can join us. In the meantime there are other ways you can donate, any amount large or small will make a difference:

https://www.gofundme.com/sandershomefamilyfire
Then, on the eleventh of January:
Just a reminder that we will be having a formal gala on Sunday night to raise money for MK and Cherub. If anyone would like to donate items to sell during the night, that would greatly be appreciated. We are trying to raise as much money as we possibly can. Thank you all for your support so far. Love to you all.
And on the twelfth:
It's with a heavy heart that I share this news... As if the fire destroying their home last weekend wasn't bad enough, Cherub's real life daughter and MK's step-daughter Amber passed away unexpectedly last night due to a heroin overdose. She was 21 years old and had been living with her boyfriend. I had the honor of knowing her for several years in her teens, she was a well of compassion and love for everyone and everything. Her light went out far too soon; she will be missed...
Like their year didn't start off hip-deep in suck with the fire. Man...

Then, on the thirteenth:
Our Fundraising Gala for MK and Cherub will be tomorrow night at 5pm SLT. Please see the attached notecard for details and for the landmark. We hope to see you all there.
You are cordially invited to a Formal Gala this Sunday evening, January 14th at 5pm SLT in honor of Master Kaos and Cherub Spectre.

This gala will be a fundraising event for these two wonderful people who have endured unimaginable tragedies over the last couple of weeks.

First they endured a devastating fire in their home on January 7th. Luckily, they were all able to get out of the apartment and no one was harmed. However, due to fire, smoke and water damage, they have lost almost everything.

A second catastrophe has struck their family, with the untimely passing of their daughter on January 11th, taken from them unexpectedly at the young age of 21.

This gala has been arranged so that their SL friends and family can help contribute to help his family in the coming weeks for immediate and long-term necessities, including whatever losses arise out of the damage to their property and generally whatever unpredictable expenses may be involved in getting their life back together. And to also help with their daughters funeral expenses. Any assistance that you are willing to give is very much appreciated.

There will be several ways you can donate, you can donate lindens, we will also have items for sale, and there will also be a direct link to their GoFundMe page where you can donate US dollars as well. Whatever you can afford to give will be greatly appreciated.

Please join us Sunday evening for this worthy event and support our friends. This is a formal event. Entertainment will be provided by DJ's Khanada Rio and Iniry Vaher.
And that's where we stand as of now. The fundraising page is still up; they're seeking $15,000 to replace what was lost in the fire (which--considering they lost practically all that they owned is pretty reasonable), and as of this writing, they're a bit less than halfway there at $6,854.

So my usual applies here, too--give what you can, spread the word if you can't. Feel free to spread it on Twitter and Facebook from the GoFundMe page, too--there are links designed to help with that.

And for those that favor charities beyond America's direct shores, I've added six new logo links to the sidebar, all specifically addressing the catastrophe that Puerto Rico is still struggling to reverse. Look them over if you like, give if you can.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

this relentless drone bombs a quiet street

A couple updates on Master Kaos and Cherub Spectre's apartment fire hit group notices.

The first one:
Hi everyone. I would just like to let you know that there is now a Go Fund Me page to raise money for MK and Cherub. They have lost everything in this fire, if you can afford to give anything at all please do. Every little bit counts. Here is the link, and please, if you can, share this link on your FB page: https://www.gofundme.com/sandershomefamilyfire
The second one:
Hi All,

I forgot to mention in the earlier post that everyone is okay. MK heard a popping noise before the fire got into the apartment so they were all able to get out okay. Here is a picture of their apartment today. Thanks again for anyone willing to donate to their paypal
And she included a pic of their apartment, post-burn:



Give what you can, this one's really bad.

Monday, January 8, 2018

now we got problems, and I don’t think we can solve them

Just heard some tragic news. Got a notecard when I logged onto the grid this eve, entitled "MK and Cherub Update". For those who don't know, they've been running Octoberville largely out of pocket all these years. Here's the text:
Hello everyone,

We have some very unfortunate news to share with everyone. Yesterday (1/7), MK and Cherub’s real life apartment caught fire. Due to the fire, smoke and water damage they have lost almost everything. They have given permission for us to share their PayPal account info with anyone that is willing to help our favorite Octoberville creators out. They are able to use any funds donated to PayPal for their immediate needs. The PayPal account is [ And I'm making this a non-clickable link for a reason, but just copy this addy, and then click the PayPal link, it should work? jac quel in ew al ton@ho tma il.c om ].

Stay tuned for more info. Thank you for any assistance that you can provide.
Let's hope they get back on their feet soon.

In other news, Nintendo is releasing some phone cases for Breath of the Wild, Splatoon and...I forget the other game. Another game. They are really, really pretty, and fairly subdued overall. Guess they're now realizing their fanbase has grown up, and still likes game tie-ins. Good for us. (The only down side? Right now, they're only available in Japan.)

In more depressing news, lootboxen have come to SL, which means we now have hackers and "gold farmers" playing with hacked funds for the ultrarares and the boxes, then selling them--somewhere--for cash. That's not only vile, that's really irritating.

Another manifestation of that was good enough to fool me the first time I saw it:
[12:27] Kevin985: hey nice avatar...im new to this game and saved 238 of those linden things from a contest and camping...im trying to get this skin/shape combo for 700...i feel bad for asking but can you please lend me 462 so i can get it?...if not thats fine too...just seems nobody wants to help me out
[12:28] Emilly Orr: Well, mostly because we're taught these are generally scams. However, there are still places that offer camping for Lindens, and you can search for Linden trees, and hit those once a day. And you could search under employment, see if there's something you're good at you could turn into a salary.
They're complete bot accounts. I feel pretty foolish that I thought I was actually talking to a human behind the screen. Live and learn.

Last thing for this short entry--has Rezology on the Marketplace been hacked? Because it sure looks that way.

Monday, January 1, 2018

the wrong step would be not to start this exodus

[00:06] Pandora (fireangel.gothly): Happy New Year EVERYONE
Indeed.



And may we all have better luck in all things, than we did in 2017. Perserverance, endurance, courage and hope...these attributes will carry us through any challenge the coming year throws our way.

Be well, be happy, be safe...be strong. Be you. Be fearless as much as you can. And take care of each other.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

I want trees instead of gravestones, nothing to confess

Today marks the end of the doll. The end of many things, in a sense, but mainly, the doll, and everything she stood for and functioned for. There is some melancholy, but honestly, not as much as I expected.



Let me explain.

While I had the doll significantly before I had the relationship that partially centered around it, the doll became...more...as that relationship grew. And when I broke up with that person, and moved on--for the, well, first time--the doll remained bound to that relationship. I didn't feel I could freely interact, as the doll, with anyone other than that person. Now, that may be a my-head thing, I do have a lot of odd issues concerning people, love, relationships, that can get fairly arcane, but...to me, I held to the standard initially set: No one else plays with the doll.

In a sense, I'm still holding to that standard, which is why I chose to pack her away over just deleting her.

Now, as we're on the verge of the second break-up (in a sense; it's...complicated), I realized I couldn't function as the doll past this point. She was too interwoven with that particular dominant. She was still reserved solely for that person's use, and...if I'd kept out the doll, and all the EGL/Lolita accoutremonts...it would have been a constant irritation, a thorn reminding me of all that had been lost. I will have those reminders anyway, to be sure, but...this way, I satisfy my own reservations about being the doll again, as well as that part of me that says she's only for one doll-maker.

There is a sense of loss in this, though. I wish we'd been able to work things out. I wish we'd been able to reach an accord. There is no accord, and past this point, I'm not entirely sure what happens. So much of the rest of my life, both on and off the grid, is still interwoven with that person. In terms of how I spend my time, the things I do with friends, there's a lot of interaction. And in a very real, and now, very uncomfortable sense, I don't want things to change because of this on a friendship level.

But it's very difficult to make the transition from lovers to friends. Even though we've pretty much been friends only for over a year, it's still going to be difficult. And as much as I may want the transition to be simple, painless, easy...it likely won't be, and...I have to accept that.

Relationships fade. People move on. It's never something we can shrug off and simply discard, if they meant anything meaningful to us in the first place. I want to remain a friend, because I have been friends, and more, for most of my SL life...but if it cannot be, I will have to adapt. That will be hard on both of us.

But this has to be done. Past today, no more doll. No more keys. No more collar. It took packing away and subsequent deletion of 5,360 items to get to this point, and I'm not going back. No more. No. More.

I will regret that this ended, especially in such a sad way, but...I can't let that stop me. I've done what I can. Now it's time to move on.

Friday, December 22, 2017

I use a cobra-snake for a necktie

The longest night is over, and we are now in the heart of winter, chill and dark. This is never something to fear, but it is something to anticipate with extra preparations.

Remember to stay warm, stock up on light sources, staples and medical/survival gear, and prepare for the long season of snow.

Turns out the strange message I heard a while back for Ravenglass Rentals? It was trolling from a bot. Still seemed strange enough to bring it up, but hey, now we know, at least?

The film Bright doesn't seem to be doing well, but could it possibly be their marketing tie-ins that were suspect to start with? Exhibit A, the hour-long video of the literal garbage fire that's showing on Netflix among the Yule Log selections.

Patreon has walked back its Netflix-level mistake, after hearing from thousands of creators that they were losing patrons at an insane rate. Which is good, but still points to changes that need to happen. I think those of us who are supporting creators are going to be watching them very closely from now on.

And anyone remember these old restaurant chains? Amusingly, I know there's at least one Sambo restaurant still in operation, because we ate there (RL), about...five years ago? It might be gone now, to be fair, but five years ago, it was near the coast. But a lot of those, I don't remember ever seeing.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

the lower you go the less that you'll know

Inspirobot is my life. That is all.

Received out of the blue by a friend today:
[23:40] RavenglassGreeter4: Rent from Prokofy Neva's Ravenglass Rentals today! We're in business in 13th year. Total freedom! Build! Media ennabled! Weekly senior club! Artificial chicken farm! We're a proud #MAGA community and guarantee a safe & conservative environment. Liberals, muslims and other hecklers aren't welcome! Your abusive message is permission to publish your chat! Contact Prokofy Neva to make Second Life great again and get your very own CHEAP cottage from only 1000L/week!
I have several questions.

Chiefly, is Ms. Neva a Trump supporter? More to the point, is "RavenglassGreeter4" a bot of hers, or is it a trollbot spawned to cause trouble? I literally cannot tell, save for misspelling "Prokofy"...though now I'm wondering if I'm misspelling her name by saying it's spelled "Prokovy". Now I don't know.