Thursday, April 30, 2009

Give it up for the ladies.

The Sisterhood of the Squared Circle had a good night last night. Both of the two Feverlast bouts scheduled were male vs. female with the female coming out on top (India Nadeau scoring a knockout in her first match, followed by Ardsley Ballinger going the full three rounds in her fight to win by points). Follow that up with Shan Pevensey and Crystal Meersand having a serious woman-to-woman discussion with the original Averlast gloves, and in addition to that the official announcement of Abbiee Benazzi's promotion to the heavyweight division, well, like I said, it was a good night.

It's been a while since I've talked about the male/female divide when it comes to fight sports in SL. No doubt the idea of a man and a woman facing off in the boxing ring (or MMA octagon, just to give the arena across the hall its props) raises a few eyebrows of those not familiar with SL. So to emphasize a point I've made before: Physical gender differences in SL are entirely aesthetic. When it comes to avatars, a five-foot-nothing stick figure is the physical equal of an eight-foot-tall musclebound hulk. The upshoot of this is that men and women of all shapes and sizes can wade in with mad abandon and reasonably expect a fair fight.

People being people, some can't seem to wrap their heads around the concept of a level physical playing field between the genders. This can lead to something as innocuous as some promotions maintaining separate championships for men and women, but sometimes it takes an uglier tinge in the form of the guy who can't handle "getting beaten by a girl."

Needless to say, these guys don't stick around Averlast for long. They're seldom missed.

Personally, of my four losses in my official record, two were to women. Both I considered to be good friends at the time. One still is. The other... well, who knows? But that's a hornet's nest I'll stir some other time, when time has given me perspective on the circumstances that go far beyond the specific fact of her departure.

Before I close this out, no post on the women at Averlast would be complete without a shout-out to current Averlast and Feverlast Middleweight Champion karynn Windlow. Anybody who knows her outside of the ring knows that she's a fun, energetic, playful person and generally just great to have around. Her in-ring performance has earned her nicknames like "The Cheetah" and "Hyper K." The woman is fast. I like to spar her when I can (roughly once in a blue moon), because not only do I get the pleasure of her company, but I'm also pushing myself just to keep up with her. Not only is she fast, but also tenacious, and she will knock you silly if you let your mind wander.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least that the day she drops her Averlast belt is the day she's moved up to heavyweight. Then I might be facing off with her in the other corner for the real deal, so I'd better study up.

Actually, now that I think about it, Abbiee - a formidable fighter in her own right - started her heavyweight career last night by implying that she'd like to get me in the ring. Studying up might not be such a bad idea.

Um, karynn, will you be free anytime soon?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Little bits and things.

A few items of business to bat around, mainly because I'm feeling blog-conscious about not having posted anything in a while...

Jaunty Jackalope - Canonical has released the latest version of Ubuntu, so that means that some time in the very near future I'll be disappearing from SL and all related internet activities for about a day or so while I download and install it. In return for the long wait I'll get shorter boot times and (hopefully) general improvement upon perfection.

Morituri te salutant - While Averlast has made the move to mixed martial arts in addition to the regular boxing action, my own skills in that particular field of endeavor have been, erm, less than inspiring. But with a little help from friends, I've been slowly making the climb from "resident punching bag" to "nominal resident punching bag." For that I'd like to thank Crush, Britney, and Ferenc for the advice, sparring sessions, and suppressing their laughter until they could switch off voice.

"I turn the switch and check the number/I leave it on when in bed I slumber" - Averlast just made an advertising buy with SL radio station TurboDJ reaches about 40 sims with classic rock of the bang-your-head school, and I couldn't be happier with the arrangement. The DJ's and staff are incredibly cool people to work with (despite my inability to keep my foot out of my mouth whenever we talk). Desiree Whalen will be also broadcasting live from the Averlast MMA events on Saturdays. Just to give you an idea of how cool Desiree is in my book, I requested "Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and not only did she play that, but she followed it up immediately with "Cherry Bomb" by Jett's old band, The Runaways. The header for this item is a lyric from Wall of Voodoo's "Mexican Radio," by the way.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Some boxing posters from the past few weeks


This one was a bit of a rush job. Don't ask me why a disco theme, of all things. Zak Renfort was kind enough to take the pictures of the fighters when I couldn't get inworld in time to do it myself. I love karynn's "wait'll they get a load of me" smile contrasted with Ald's expression. To me that look says nothing else but: "One day, my army of atomic supermen will take over the world!"


This was a fun event. Basically all of our ring girls who were willing to do so got together to have their own mini tournament (Shan won). And speaking of awful-yet-fun movies, the poster was supposed to be inspired by one for one of those trashy Russ Meyer flicks (Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! - yes, that was the title). I'm not sure I succeeded with it, but it was a fun little change-up from the usual two-person match format.


Can't you almost hear the strains of Also Sprach Zarathustra? Another fun one to make, and I had enough of a window to take my time with it.


I have to say that I'm proudest of this one, not just because it's part of a fundraiser for cancer that Averlast was proud to participate in, but also because it's a bit more of a technical achievement. A little playing with contrast made a lot of difference in conveying the mood of the piece.

Placeholder YouTube video until I can think of something witty or relevant about comics, tv, or Second Life

Eddie Izzard on the Death Star canteen, with Lego men:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

"But the film is a sadd'ning bore - 'Cause I wrote it ten times or more..."

[UPDATED with expanded rantyliciousness!]

If I had a favorite tv show this season, I'd have to pick the late and lamented US version of Life on Mars. I know that I was in the minority on that score, but I found it a compelling, well-written show with memorable characters. And now, with its all-too brief life now over, I find that I might have had good memories of it if not for the ending.

Fair warning: I'm planning a lot of spoilers in this entry. If you missed the finale and plan to catch it when the dvd box set hits the shelves, or hope and pray that it turns up again somewhere deep in the cable channels, then I'm about to wreck your day. Again, fair warning.

He woke up, and it had all been a dream.

I don't care how you cute it up with lines about "President Obama and her sister." They made the whole series turn out to be the controlled hallucination of an astronaut in the future on his way to Mars.

To find life, of course. After all, how better to illuminate your cryptic show title than bogging it down with clunky literalism? Don't get me started on how Gene went from being a father figure to Sam's actual father.

He woke up, and it had all been a dream.

Anyone who's taken a creative writing class in high school knows that you never, never, never end a story like that. It renders everything that had happened before to the characters entirely moot. Sam saving his mother? Annie finally getting her detective shield? Ray getting relucatntly dragged into the 20th Century? Everything Gene Hunt did in every episode (yes, I have a favorite; Harvey Keitel was clearly relishing his role as the 125's boss)? Fuck you, fans, it never happened. It's like the producers wanted to punish those of us who stuck with the show for not dragging more of our friends in front of the tv.

And that's a shame, because I loved this show. I loved the music. Not just the classic rock but also the pitch-perfect "1970's cop show" incidental music that almost had me expecting to see David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser pulling up in a red-and-white Ford Torino. I loved its setting, at the dawn of the darkest period of the last century for New York City. Talk about a plot-rich environment. What would Sam had done when faced with a case that had, in our time, already become infamous? Would he be able to bust down David Berkowitz's door and haul him off before the "Son of Sam" could claim another victim?*

I'm going to miss this show, but I can't forgive that hokey ending. It was just pulled out of left field and to me reeks of lazy writing. I mean, did he hallucinate the parts where he wasn't in the scene, too? Just before the wakeup Gene sets us up with a line from The Wizard of Oz, giving us a warning of what's to come a second before it happens.

But here's the thing: Dorothy woke back up in Kansas, where she had started, a day after she'd left. If The Wizard of Oz had ended in the same way that Life on Mars had, Dorothy would have woken up as an undergrad at UC Berkeley in 1969 coming down from a bad acid trip. Not only was Oz the hallucination, but so was Kansas, the place to which she had spent the entire movie struggling to return! To heedlessly chuck even that basic plot element for a tacked-on "twist" ending violates an unspoken agreement between the viewer and the creators.

We want our stories to have meaning. Whether they end tragically, triumphantly, or enigmatically, we want those endings to be worthy of the trials of the characters we have followed this far.

Whoever gave this ending the final go-ahead needs to be dragged into Interrogation for five minutes alone with the lieut.

* - Yes, I know, 1977, not '73. You get my drift, though.