Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Second Life for the public good...

... and a cameo by a certain boxing gym.

Tip of the Blogging Hat to my best landlady evarrrr, Aki Shichiroji, for pointing me toward this.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jensen Ackles: Magnificent Lunatic

I work on Thursday nights. This means, of course, that all of my favorite shows will be scheduled for then. It's Murphy's Law of network programming. So I tape.

I at last able to catch last week's episode of Supernatural. Dean got infected by a spiritual disease that made him scared of everything (especially funny considering the swaggering tough guy he normally is). And then, at the end of the episode, came the following outtake:

I don't know what they cut to make room for this, but it was worth it. My wife and I almost hurt ourselves from laughing!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ghosts of the past, circa 1978

Well, this is interesting:

The October 1978 slaying of Nancy Spungen, the Huntingdon Valley-raised punk-scenester, is the topic of an upcoming documentary. "Who Killed Nancy?" by Alan G. Parker, due out early next year, explores the possibility that Spungen was killed by someone other than boyfriend Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious, who was charged in her death but was never tried, because he OD'd on heroin only months later.

Nancy Spungen's murder was a minor obsession of mine during, and for a good while after, my punk phase. I think it partly derives from how reading into the history of punk rock's birth clued me in to how the Alex Cox movie got so much factually wrong (former Sex Pistols lead singer John Lydon termed it the "fantasy" of "some Oxford graduate who missed the punk rock era").

Working at a library gave me a chance to dive into the newspaper and magazine archives and pull up the press coverage at the time. The story got a lot of play in New York, naturally, and Nancy's local origins guaranteed front page treatment in the Philly papers as well. I'm sure the London tabloids had their coverage, too, but obtaining the appropriate microfilms through interlibrary loan would have cost me. If I were writing a book, that would have been one thing, but shelling out the amount of cash in question just to satisfy my curiosity was definitely a no-go.

What I found interesting, however, was that out of all of the coverage the murder received, only two pieces cast any doubt upon the official NYPD version of events. The first was a few paragraphs in the New York Times that reported that F. Lee Bailey was taking point on Sid's defense. While not itself an indicator of innocence (Bailey was also part of OJ Simpson's "Dream Team", after all), it at the very least indicated to me that Sid had a stronger case than might be believed from reading the rest of the coverage.

The other item was a feature article from an issue of Rolling Stone that came out the following year. It remains the only truly skeptical piece that I've uncovered regarding the whole affair. While it did little to exonerate Sid himself, as I recall, it did point out that alternate scenarios and motives existed. First and foremost was robbery. The Chelsea Hotel was, after all, full of junkies, any of whom might not have been above lifting some fenceable memorabilia from a minor celebrity in their midst. Indeed, one was found to be in possession of exactly such items, claiming them to be gifts from Sid and Nancy a few days before Nancy's death.

There's more, of course. It goes into the relationships Sid and Nancy had with their fellow tenants and, of course, each other. The vibe of the piece isn't so much "Sid didn't do it!" so much as "Hey, wait a second, have you considered -?".

We'll never know for certain, of course. It's about as cold as a case can get by now. But I'll be interested to see if this documentary uncovers anything new.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Worth hearing.

Submitted without further comment:

Muppet Halloween, Parts Six, Seven, and Eight

One! One video of The Count!

Two! Two videos of The Count!

Three! Three wonderful videos of The Count!


(Muppet Halloween without The Count? Madness. Madness, I tell you...)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Goin' down to Rivet Town...

As I mentioned earlier, Averlast set up an exhibition at the Rivet Town Inventors' Expo, and I have to say that it looks like it was a hit. We had two exhibition matches that drew good crowds, and Expo organizer Harper Weezles seemed enthusiastic enough about it to discuss the possibility of Rivet Town starting its own athletic club, of which boxing would be a part. Very Victorian. And that's something I never in my life expected to say approvingly.

I had hoped that more people would be interested in buying a pair of Averlast gloves and giving it a try right then and there, but that didn't happen. Though a lot of people had questions that we were happy to answer. Also, I had built a quick landmark giver using a magazine illustration from the era (thank you, Library of Congress digital collection) that, in addition to the landmarks for the gym, the store, and our FAQ notecard, also gave out a brief summary of boxing in the Victorian period. That summary ended up in the local "paper", The Rivet Town Herald. I'm rather inordinately proud of that.

Harper and the land's owner, Grace Loudon, were both very supportive of our efforts there. I'd certainly like to do another show at Rivet Town, and soon.

P.S.: No photos of the event from me (I was busy), but I did hear some cameras go off during the fights. Hopefully someone will post something to their blog or Flickr account that I can share with y'all. I'm keeping my eyes peeled.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Halloween in Second Life

Yes, it's the Statue of Liberty. Yes, it's full-sized.

Image Hosted by

Yes, I love it here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Muppet Halloween, Part Five

Not Halloweeny, but disco frightens me on a fundamental level. Besides, I have a fever! And the cure... is MORE MUPPETS!

Oh, shush and listen. It's good for you.

Not "Shiny". Not "Happy". Barely "People".

The following post contains rambling. A lot of it.

Bleh. I love my job, but it would be so much easier of I could just fall over asleep when I get home after working nights. Especially since it's inevitably followed by an early morning wake-up, but I just can't do it. I can't wind down that quickly once I walk through the door. So I pay the price the next day.

Once again, bleh.

Well, this weekend is my long one, so in addition to getting some more rest, I might actually be able to get something done. I've been grabbing my computer time in snatches all week, an hour here and there, and it shows. Hardly a thing got done by me that needs doing. Of course, delving into specifics might give away some trade secrets, so take my word for it: My ass is busy.

So in addition to all of the useful, business-related and people-I-genuinely-want-to-hear-from-related IMs that got forwarded to my email, I also got two bits of IM spam that I'd like to share. File this under: "He don't know me very well, do he?"

The first was an invitation to "The Erotica Expo". Gee, just what I need my wife seeing. I mean, it's not like my profile leads off with a message saying that I'm not interested in SL sex or romance. Oh, wait. Actually, it does...

The other one was a group invite from "The Christian Church of Second Life". I don't know what led this person to believe that I was a Christian, but there it is. And then I started wondering if he/she was working on the same list of names as The Erotica Expo.

OK, now that I've got my grumpy, middle-aged man cred established, I might as well get to the doings at Averlast this weekend as a reward for those who've gotten this far.

Tonight, we're putting two titles on the line, as JayT Axel and Calvinizm2g Quan duke it out to claim the currently-vacant Middleweight Championship. Also, we're featuring a six-person brawl with the winner of that going on to fight Gage Koba for his Lightweight Championship that same night. The fist-ivities start at 5:30 PM SLT, so don't be late.

Also, on Sunday, we're putting on a display at the Rivet Town Inventor's Expo. Rivet Town is a Victorian steampunk sim done up in glorious multilevel detail. Since the Victorian Era was one of boxing's heydays, it seemed like a natural fit. We'll be set up in the factory yard by Rivet Town's Steamworks Metal Factory, selling gloves, giving lessons, and putting on some exhibition matches. It should be fun.

I'll try to be better rested by the time I get there, haha.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Muppet Halloween, Part Four

Random brain tangents.

  • I wonder how something like this would go over in the Averlast store? I'm not sure, personally. SL is definitely a place where the trend runs to showing more skin, not less. On the other hand, who's to say that it's simply not an unaddressed market in the metaverse? For some reason that also got me to thinking about boxing nuns, but that's probably just my Catholicism-soaked brain snapping randomly again.
  • Googling "boxing nuns" gets you mainly links to that stupid puppet and a Vassar frisbee team. Considering the (literal!) fear of God they put in me at St. Joe's, you'd think there'd be at least one who'd taken up the sweet science as a hobby.
  • There is no patron saint of boxing, but St. Sebastian is the patron saint of athletes. I can't imagine him being too keen on archers, though. Then again, his bio says that he was finally killed by being beaten to death, so maybe I'll just shut up about him now.
  • Nice concise history of boxing here, including information about John Douglass (or Douglas), the ninth Marquess of Queensbury and called the sport's "Patron Saint".
  • "Gentleman Jim" Corbett, who won the heavyweight title from John L. Sullivan under Queensbury rules. Just because.
  • The history of professional women's boxing is much more convoluted, with fights in court seemingly often preceding the fights in the ring.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The new Number Two?

I think I've got this McCain guy figured out:

He doesn't want to run the country. He wants to run The Village:

Be seeing you.

Muppet Halloween, Part Three

File this one under "so wrong, it's right":

The original House of 1000 Corpses was a lousy movie with a great soundtrack. Replacing the cast with Muppets would have helped address one of the things the movie lacked: Make the audience empathize enough with the victims to care about what happens to them when the monsters pop up. Rob Zombie's approach went a different way, by making us want to jump in line with the killers for our turns with the meat cleaver.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Muppet Halloween, Part Two

Featuring Alice Cooper, before Satan came to collect and turned him into a golf-playing Republican...

I wanted to do the story instead of the songs (though those are probably coming, too), because, well, damn. The biggest children's television show on the air, and the plot revolves around the guest star trying to get the main characters to sell their souls to the Devil! You just couldn't get away with that kind of stuff today, what with the "concerned" parents and professional censor-monkeys lying in wait for anything to hammer in order to gin up the donor base.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A moment's Schadenfreude.

I really should keep up on this stuff, but who can blame me when I have the twin distractions of the election and the Phillies in the playoffs?

But I digress: Jack Thompson has been disbarred for life.

For those of you who don't know the name, Thompson was an attorney who found his niche as a crusader against video games. They were his catch-all answer to all of society's problems. The Virginia Tech shootings? Caused because the shooter played violent video games (even though he didn't). Violent crime? Video games. Homosexuality? Secularism? Heartbreak of psoriasis? Lay it all at the feet of the Grand Theft Auto franchise and file a bunch of motions in court.

He was a sort of a Frederic Wertham for the 21st Century, but instead of inspiring Congressional investigations and hounding his targets out of existence, Thompson increasingly inspired laughter and eventually drove a Florida court to yank his license to practice law.

Some of the commenters at Kotaku say that they're going to miss Jack and his demented scrawlings (he often would troll video game news sites defending his censorious actions), but I'm not one of that number. The defanging of this kook can only be a good thing for the country, and the world in general (it's not World Peace, but I'll take it).

So long, Jack. Enjoy obscurity.

Muppet Halloween, Part One

For me, October means Halloween, my mostest favoritest of all holidays (even more so than National Barbecued Ribs and Ham, Pineapple, and Jalapeno Pizza Day, which I just made up).

And since everything goes better with Muppets, I'm going to post a few of my favorite "Halloween-y" Muppet clips throughout the month.

That said, I'm not feeling especially "spooky" today. So how about a nice, uplifting little ditty:

Okay, so maybe I'm feeling a little spooky...


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Another reason to hope there isn't another Depression.

Judging by the evidence of these clips from the 1930's, hard economic times just make people freakin' snap.

Note to future hard-times-era inventors: Unless you happen to be a bumblebee, the laws of aerodynamics will not be flouted with any degree of success. Word to the wise.

Via Cynical-C

An idea for any SL property owners at loose ends.

I don't own any land in SL, a fact that is unlikely to change barring a massive influx of cash in my near future. So every once in a while I get these ideas that I'm entirely unable to capitalize upon due to the fact of my holding a free SL account.

So, rather than piss and moan, I thought I'd throw it out there in the hopes that someone with the necessary resources will read it and be inspired. If they want to erect a statue in my honor as well, I'll not object.

Buuuut seriously folks, my idea is modelled upon the concept of the gentlmens' club. No, not the modern use of the term, as abused by many a strip joint in both Second Life and reality, but rather the sort of place one would find in Victorian London, like the Diogenes Club in Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. The concept is of a place of comfort and sociability, where creativity and intelligent discussion are encouraged.

Of course, changes to the original idea would have to be made. For starters, the idea of an exclusive "gentlemens' club" fails entirely on its own merits in the 21st Century, and becomes entirely ludicrous in SL, where gender can be switched with the click of a check box in the appearance menu. I'll leave the concepts of dress codes and appropriate club dues as an exercise for prospective builders.

The club would have several rooms or sections, each providing for the specific needs of members and their guests. The following are what I would consider the "must-have" areas if I were building the place:

Sandbox: Well, it wouldn't be much of a place for encouraging creativity if it didn't have a sandbox for member builders. Members that abuse priveliges here (use of weapons, harassment, malicious scripts, you know the drill) would find themselves barred from the club and its grounds. As members are responsible for the behavior of guests, ejection of the former may apply for the misbehavior of the latter. I bring it up here because if there's trouble in any part of a sim, it's most likely to happen in that sim's sandbox.

Gardens: A place for a casual stroll to admire the virtual foliage and hopefully the artworks of contributing members. Perhaps a contribution of art to the gardens could be presented in lieu of dues for an established period.

Library: You know that I was going to get around to this one. There's a decent template for SL books available in the Kowloon sim (I'll post the slurl for it when I get home), and the public domain is full of interesting reading material. The library would have a number of these books available upon touching a bookshelf (and probably bringing up a menu so that one doesn't find one's inventory stuffed with unwanted reading material). Given the expense implied in the uploading of an entire novel (Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, for example, would cost 2870 lindens to upload page-by-page), as with the gardens, perhaps a break could be given in dues for the contribution of a book.

Salon: The club's social hub. Here would members meet and greet both informally and as part of pre-planned events (coordinate a book club along with contributions to the library?).

Lounge: The club's anti-social hub. Taking a cue once again from Mycroft Holmes' Diogenes Club, members ensconced in here are forbidden by club rules to communicate in chat. Individuals would then be free to deal with IMs, or other pursuits that require a moment's peace and lack of disturbance, such as cleaning out one's inventory.

Well, those are the barest bones of the idea. Hopefully somebody can take and run with it, assuming somebody hasn't done so already and I just haven't had the privelige of stumbling across it yet when I've ventured out into the metaverse.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Just an Old Fashioned Love Song

TeacherLady mentioned Muppets and Paul Williams in the same breath (did I mention that she's got my favorite personal blog?), so naturally my brain took me here:

Wait one polyp-pickin' minute here! I don't even have one Muppet made in my image and Paul Williams gets two? What's he got that I don't?

Oh, right: Talent.