Monday, July 27, 2009

Brother can you spare a Linden?

It's one of those times you wish you had money at the ready for frivolous but meaningful projects. Or that the real estate in Bay City were as they were before the abandoned plots appeared on the auction lists last spring. Those incidents triggered a stupifying fever and they went for twice as much as what was currently the going rate.

Prices now are insane, and at a time when the economy in real life is rock bottom and a glut of properties have been set for sale.

What I'd give for another plot to make a diner. It would be the ultimate hangout, with free foods of all kinds and plenty of room to party. Of course there would be parking spaces outside.

Unfortunately even the smaller plots in Bay City are pricey, and by "pricey" I mean in the hundreds of dollars. Even if I had that much to throw at some loser like Maven - and what I'd give to have my diner in the Docklands behind Bay City Port Authority to feed the hungry, hard working moles - I need to buy new bedroom furniture when my RL ordeal is over. And I'm a month behind on the rent too. I'll work with what I have for now.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Crap's take on the Crap

Crap Mariner has been keeping his own bloggings of our pal Rabbi Writer.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Rabid Rabbi Rides Again

Two days later and he has that shitty hovertext script. He has a goddamn fucking nerve subjecting my visitors to his grief scripts and meaningless ramblings.

I ARed him & presumably so did Crap.

He's successfully purged my pity for him.

Sorry for the language Marianne - sometimes things get that bad.

Looking at my blogging history, I see that one year and one week ago, I was driven from my first tier parcel by alpha-toting bullies and settled in Juliet. They swallowed up my land over on Gaeta as I suspected they would.

That happened again months later when the loonie one region over decided she wanted to build a dark ages empire (her properties now emcompass approximately 2 sims worth of land across four regions).

No fleabitten rabbi is going to make me vamoose this time, and I don't feel the least bit threatened since his behavior's been dangerously blatant (and delightfully so).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Madness of Rabbi Writer

I know it's not rational, but I feel partly responsible for some of this.

I was invited to write a review of some inworld Holocaust museum last March for 2Life, a Jewish 'zine for Second Life. Holocaust anything isn't easy for me as the event figures into both sides of the family. I can rationalize that Mom would not have been put where she was this year if it hadn't been for the Holocaust. Maybe it was that which moved me to accept the assignment.

I wandered through the interactive masterpiece one evening, and was met by Rabbi Writer, a modest bald avatar with a white beard and no shoes. I asked him some questions and discovered he was a real rabbi in the Netherlands. Sharing the land was a replica of the synagogue he helped restore and allegedly ran services in over in RL.

It came out that he was relocating the museum. Beth from TMA in Nessus had purchased a great deal of land in back of my place in Anilis and was reserving it for the Rabbi.

Making the review was interesting. My computer died, and I worked on it at Dad's one evening and sent it to editor Kafka Schnabel via Gmail. He eventually responded that he too was without a computer and working on the new issue at a friend's house (which explains why the raw draft was used). Kafka hasn't been seen inworld in months, which suggests his computer woes are not over.

If only the Rabbi appreciated the efforts we made to tell people about his work. It was a thing greater than any one man and important for us to spread the word. Here was a terrible moment in humanity where intolerance and bigotry successfully motivated masses of seemingly intelligent people with a false sense of superiority. It must never happen again.

The museum's move to Anilis was a rough one. Maybe there wasn't enough land, or maybe he had ideas to reconfigure the layout. His first plan was to make the museum on the other side of the tracks, then balance them with half and half, then he put everything on our side, then decided to go vertical (probably got nipped by the tier fee) and set land all over Anilis for sale cheap.

As most of you know I helped him out several times, first by offering a strip of free land as a path from up the hill down to the tracks, then last month took it back PLUS a strip along the back to help him with tier (it gives my place more depth and more prims, but do I want or need it?).

While reworking the holocaust museum into a multilevel presentation, he put in his mega high rise some biblical stuff. I'd heard he used to have a private island called Holy City which showed old Jerusalem and the temple. The ark was in the high rise along with an ancient town square and a gallows. Guess he was filling the spot for the time being. Beside the museum was the Anne Frank house replica, and further west up the hill was the Dutch synagogue.

What I didn't know was Rabbi Writer had purchased a small extortion parcel in Nessus from an adfarmer and was about to use it.

One evening TMA group chat activated with news of a build to the side of the community grounds. I flew over and there was a 48sqm strip of land with signs singling out TMA members that there was a greater calling. Beth was not the only one offended and confused by the Rabbi's build. TMA itself is not a religious movement, nor does it pretend to be. It's a cultural hub where there may be discussions, inspirational creations, or - when Beth and her band get the urge - live music. TMA celebrates culture and welcomes anyone to participate. It never pretends to be in lieu of RL practice. The rabbi appeared to think so.

Because he had been a part of the neighborhood and - as a rabbi - respected, it was decided instead of ARing the piece that he would be spoken to. Apparently Beth did and the Rabbi immediately replaced the build with an epitaph and memorial candle citing that evening as the death of his freedom. Surrounded by banlines. Microplots + Banlines = AR.

That pissed me off. Here a community was being singled out and judged just for existing. He didn't just put off Beth but all of us. As a neighbor who had a rapport with him, I thought I'd see what was going on. It didn't really go anywhere. He denied any wrongdoing and was totally paranoid and angered that people objected to his displays. He thought I had been listening to people. No, I saw these things myself. I told him for someone who was making a Holocaust museum it was strange to see displays of intolerance at a group. We all would have been gassed in the same chamber in those times regardless. I said it appeared he was behaving as though there was competition where none existed, and that his place and TMA served very different purposes. He told me to go away and essentially that I was like the others.

He then added a tacky message to the memorial plot. Enough ARs and a Linden returned its contents.

The next day the museum was down and in its place a garden with images (I guess) of great Jews. The emphasis of his mission changed from intolerance to Jews who were more Jewish than others (he associated the new build with the group "Keeping Jews Jewish"). Quite the turnaround. He also had banlines up for a handful of us. But as long as visitors to my place to shop, play, or fish were oblivious to them then no harm done.

Eventually he abandoned a chunk of land and set the majority of it to my west for sale - at 100k. This was a "if you want it, you'll have to pay me good money Beth" kind of price, but neither Beth nor myself were interested. A few days later it went down to 60k. Still not conducive of the area's going rate for anyone who might be interested, and it would have been nice to have a sane TMA group member as a neighbor who would add more art and color to the area.

Things went quiet for a while. We figured Rabbi Writer moved on and waited for his land to sell. "Bob" only knows whether he was rich or used congregation funds to buy out adfarmers all over the place and the whorehouse next door and was now stuck.

Then last night happened.

I was pulled out of Toontown with news of a griefing. Rabbi Writer took his land off sale and put up 128x128 megaprim hyperlinks, again singling out TMA members and trying to direct them to a website. He made mention of SL Jews who in RL were not, which is none of his business and against the terms. He also scripted the megaprim so that on my land and on north Nessus some snarky white hovertext was unavoidable on the viewer screen. Mass ARs ensued and a member of the G-Team came to remove the megaprims.

A short while later a handful of us enjoyed a much needed deflation as Beth and Dale performed at a club.

Sentiment over the ordeal seems consistent: the Rabbi went loonies, we automatically respected him for his position, and it was a shame that someone that who had started out with such a noble incentive seemingly went down a hole of madness greed and intolerance. I wonder if he's banned? He should be. SL isn't good for him.

The thought occurred to me in passing that this was the second avatar with the surname of "Writer" who left the area on curious terms.

(note: click images for full size)

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Trouble with Maven

Before I moved to my current RL home in Jackson Heights, I lived in Astoria. Astoria is a contradictory place. It's a blue collar neighborhood by nature, being situated near warehouses and a power plant. The train is elevated, which is a sure NIMBY factor. But it's close to Manhattan and the trains have a short run through Queens before submerging to cross the East River, thus attracting the pseudo Manhattan crowd and commanding high rents.

I dont know when things got funky in Astoria where I lived, but during the early 90s a vigilante group was formed called PACT (Police and Community Together). We had monthly meetings where we discussed trends of crimes (like a rash of break-ins), local politicians would discuss proposals and improvement projects, or something like the recycling committee would come with a demonstration and materials to distribute. Some members would go together out on "patrols" which included one cop - vigilante as far as crimefighting is clearly against the law and the city cant be liable for anything which happens to someone foolish enough to pursue it. The group's primary goal were to be a presence after dark and deter criminals from lurking about.

I was an area captain. I helped to answer questions of neighbors (like the proper recycling etc) and how best to contact the police and their priority for certain types of calls etc. My roomate and I worked together putting up meeting flyers, going door to door with petitions, etc. I got to know the police and came to respect their job, which isnt an easy one. With all the bad press a handful cause in the media, there are thousands who suffer because of stigma. The NYPD is about community and diversity, protecting inhabitants and giving them the knowledge - tools if you will - to exercise prevention.

So you'll have to pardon me when some Second Life skinhead dons a police uniform and insists he isn't engaged in role play or fetishism. No, our friend Maven is NOT playing. But he's not a Linden either. So where does his alleged law enforcement activity come in with regard to Mainland? Other than his own property it really shouldn't according to Second Life's Terms of Service.

What do his activities include? Heresay suggests he and/or his goons - noobs he's recruited for his "force" - snoop around neighbors' shops & scrutinize residents' friends & clientelle profiles. That's what I heard.

My own experiences with him are outbursts of a more sociopathic nature. Case in point:

Bay City held a flea market in Hau Koda last spring, which filled up quickly thanks to the MOTD login screen link. Maven insisted on standing around in uniform while people lined the border to come in. I whispered from the Docklands that people were waiting to get in, and he responded very "unpolicelike" and said he could close down the flea market.

Well not really. As with law enforcement, only the Lindens have that right on Mainland. What his duty amounted to appeared to be alternately posing and keeping his own booth well stocked.

Apparently the flea market was initially Maven's idea. While he was absent from the planning portion of a Bay City Alliance meeting, we worked out the details with Blondin Linden with regard to price cap of items offered, access rights, promotional details, and so on. Maven arrived just as Blondin left, and seemed disappointed ("oh.") that he would not be able to price freebies or jack up costs of unwanted stuff. Everyone else thought more about freeing up their inventory and giving nice stuff to folks who otherwise couldn't get them. Go figure Maven.

His megalomaic line of threatening to disrupt a Linden community event was worth an AR.

The second incident occurred this past weekend, and this time not very discreet.

With the opening of Hau Koda came LL's current load balance bug, where the newest infohub is sent most first time users following their start on Help Island. This was an issue with Bay City Moosehead for a while when Moosehead Beach opened up to the north. There were griefers rezzing junk in the streets and the spillover lagged. Many residents were very Zen about the situation and offered to donate some space for NCI to put infonode stuff. I vaguely recall impromptu backyard parties...

At the meeting, Maven whined and whined AND WHINED about current predicament which had befallen Docklands (it borders Hau Koda) and the terrible lag and griefing. More than what Nova Albion experiences on a regular basis? Not likely. He wanted the only rez spot in western Bay City be changed to no rez/no script/no object entry (the latter needed for vehicles). He's put in for a land swap for Zindra, where I guess he'll pose by the front door of his new precinct without his pants.

One of our recent issues has been Linden Lab adding object entry and noscripts restrictions on all local infohub land. There's one thing to deter griefers from rezzing objects etc, but to prevent people from riding through compromises those who pay for the experience. And as you know we all paid a great deal to be in Bay City. Quality of virtual life takes many forms.

Why is this an issue? It just so happens that several landowners in Bay City have alternate locations in Nova Albion and/or homes in Shermerville. Many of them "commute" between locales. The recent addition of Hau Koda has served as a new route by air versus following Route 66 (which the Bay City Trolley follows), then changing course in Barcola. Skimming the corner of Moosehead Beach before turning north into the Gulf of Lauren or flying through it towards Barcola Sound now amounts to skidding to a hard stop in midair with no choice but to unbind from the vehicle, fall off, fly up, and take it. Then navigate somehow to a rez point on protected land (good luck with that). Or forget the excursion altogether.

This is an issue with enough Bay City residents that a compromise is justified: minimize grief and lag while allow residents to make use of roads and airspace. The bridges are clickable over canals so that those who sail through the waterways can raise them, but boats must be allowed to function. Perhaps moving the rez point from the airship tower in Docklands and the Hau Koda southeast corner at the tower's border to a defined strip of runway on the other side of the infohub buildings, at worst the last patch before water. Or even special access rights for genuine Bay City landowners.

Maven definitely had issues with this. The concept of anyone driving a car or riding a plane in Bay City, much less to go from a point A to a point B entirely escaped him. Which means it was a worthless and meaningless concept - along with anyone who did anything short of posing in a cop uniform I reckon.

He interrupted my concerns and included the phrase "I don't give a rats ass..." I found very sophisticated for his ilk, even though none of the words used were more complex than one syllable each. It was important for the other BC members to see what sort Maven really was. Later on when Blondin arrived and I brought up the vehicle use and issues with locals commuting, Maven asked me what my problem was.

It's amazing sometimes what passes for adult or mature, isn't it? A black-&-white view Maven seems to have for Linden Labs to accommodate his needs full on and no plans to accommodate the needs of others. Short of that anything LL does is unacceptable to him. I still think he's some rich kid who got by the age verification. He doesn't behave at all like someone who knows how to speak to people and he blatantly disrespects the kids (I've seen that as well. Holograms and children). He obviously has no interest in community activities for the sake of community*. And the guy is desperate to leave anyway. You'd think this would free his Sunday evenings up instead of wasting time at meetings just to insult people.

*I caught him happy once. When he saw the traffic stats in Hau Koda's properties following the flea market, he got all excited and wanted another flea market planned RIGHT AWAY.

It takes a type, doesn't it? A type who embraces the brutal image of cops and forgets dedication and empathy to a community.