Adventures and Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone Part 2: Music, Fire, Destruction

While I was in the desert I found many strange rituals and music. Initially I saw the people quietly meditating or humming to themselves or swaying to the beat of the rhythms being played.

Meanwhile around the main edifice, the figure of a man quietly waited.

Later I saw others dancing and celebrating with fire and light. I wondered if they were trying to chase away the darkness with the fire and the music.

As the dancers became more frenetic, suddenly the man raised his arms. Whether in tribute to their efforts or of some foreboding I could not say but I suddenly became tense as everyone took a deep breath.

An explosion of fireworks around the figure caused the crowd, now many rows deep, to call out and scream excitedly.

A larger explosion caused everyone to lean back. Something flew from the explosion and hit my knee startling me.

The flames rose higher and higher engulfing the figure. The cries of the crowd increased as the flames greedily reached upward.

A cacophony of sound filled the air – the music, the shouts and the roar of the flames as the figure collapsed into the base.

And out of the flames arose a fiery spectacle. Glowing dust devils spawned one after another from the flames and headed outwards drilling a dusty channel in the ground as they went one after another…

Finally little was left but the frame that had supported the figure.

Everyone stayed until the last of the frame collapsed and then got up and slowly started drifting away, calling out to one another about what they had seen, music still playing, surrounded by twinkling, sparkling, glowing, flashing lights from the vehicles that had congregated around the outer edge of the crowd…

To be continued…

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Adventures and Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone Part 1: Am I in Minkata?

I arrived back home last Monday night tired but elated. This grand adventure that had been a year in the planning was over. I feel a satisfying end knowing that I could challenge myself and succeed. One surprising result is though I am tired physically, I feel refreshed and invigorated mentally. My brain will be mulling over all the interesting things I saw and people I met on my adventures for some time to come.

When I view the world anymore I wonder how the D’ni would see these things and what would they make of them. Being widely travelled can inure one to the wonders of new places and worlds, yet somehow I think the D’ni kept that wonder because they kept exploring and going out of their comfort zone to find/create new worlds.Maybe something impels us to seek out new things…

The first part of my adventure took me to a desert, far away from the cities I had known to another city, a different city. It was like Minkata but without the kiva holes. Dust blew over things, got in your eyes, nose and mouth… Sometimes all you could do was cover your face with your scarf and turn your back to the wind and just stand or crouch there.

Suddenly the wind would clear and the dust would settle and wondrous, strange things would appear.

The dust and vast spaces in the desert hide a multitude of things. Minkata was a training ground yet it still had secrets for the D’ni, the DRC and later those adventurers who dared to explore beyond their initial linking point. This desert also held many secrets.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is uncomfortable. You feel hesitant, unsure of what is to come and not entirely sure you want the surprises you are certain are coming your way.

Along the road you meet others who are also stepping out of their comfort zone, reaching for a new challenge. Sometimes you fall into step together and share some of the experience for a bit. You find this different city is very much akin to what you knew in some ways and very different in other ways.

Others, who have done this before, share their wisdom of the world you are exploring and yet others who have been coming here even longer will share some part of themselves with those they encounter.

Out of hesitation and insecurity you find elation that you are actually doing this, proving that you can surmount those parts of yourself that say, “Stay home! I am more comfortable with what I know.” You are still uncomfortable at times but it is only physical, something you can ignore in the wonder of the newness of discovered things every day.

To be continued…

Disconnects, Your Information is Incorrect and The Storyline is Everything

DISCONNECTS

Currently my life is full of Real Life busy. Today I got a change to hubby’s flight that made my heart go into my throat since it said CALL IMMEDIATELY. The number listed on the email, of course, immediately disconnected me when I got as as far as “You show a trip booked, let me connect you to an agent.” After several tries (at least 4), I clicked on the online link and surprisingly found another number that took me right to where I wanted to go and to a very helpful agent. Though, upon checking the information, I was told there was nothing wrong with the change even though the notice said, “Your flight connecting time is not valid and must be changed.” The issue seems to be with the connecting flight and the change in the flight number. The time between landing and catching the connecting flight seems OK according to the agent, actually the flight lands 10 minutes earlier and the layover is 20 minutes shorter but still within the guidelines for Hubby to make the connecting flight. Hubby is now on alert to check this again before he heads out. I will be already nearly a week into my Great Adventure and incommunicado because of my remote location and the tech I am not taking with me because of the physical conditions where I will be at the end of this month. Hubby will have the info he needs for contacts in case I am delayed coming back to meet him, though, my expectations are that I should be able to meet up with him the day after he lands if the weather holds and we keep to our schedule coming back and Mother Nature decides to cooperate.

Disconnects are part of our life. For a week I will be disconnected with my life partner. I think I will find it a bit disconcerting which I have not been for some time in my adult life. Definitely absence will make the heart grow fonder. By the end of the week I will be eagerly looking forward to seeing this person I have promised my life to. But I also think I will be liberated by being on my own, being self sufficient, being responsible only for myself for this week. I look to the meeting as a renewal of myself and of getting to know someone again that I have seen day in and day out for years all over again because we have been separated. I see it as yet another adventure.

Your Information is Incorrect!

It is time to renew my antivirus. I tend to be a bit anal about this and renew as soon as they notify me. I clicked on the link the email provided, entered the information and wham….your purchase has not gone through. I check, rechecked my entry. I really, really wanted to renew, you understand…two years even. Three tries and two credit cards later I gave up and called the support number. Even though the person talking had a fairly good accent, I was dealing with a second language… Turns out First Name Field….if you have a middle initial…gee….you have to add space and then that middle initial and a period to the first line. Very intuitive that is (so NOT). Anyway done and done and good for two years now when I get to do the drill all over again because I forgot First Name space Middle Initial period….

The Storyline is Everything

I have a Steam account mainly because if you play Skyrim you are forced to using that to play the game and a lot of other games these days. I look at the games they advertise when logging in but I am not generally a shoot em up gal which is what most games are these days, sadly, so I usually click right through the adverts that show up. I am all about the adventure and the storyline ala URUstyle.  But one game I have been keeping an  eye on for some time finally came up on sale and I bit…bit mightily, lol.

LA Noire.

Not your average game.

Surprisingly brought to you by the Grand Theft Auto folk. They do know their stuff, though. Interface for PC…major sucky at least through the Steam client. After a LOT of tweaks, pokes, cursing and I do not know what. I did find after defragging, tweaking settings, obligatory expletives, etc. that if I ran the LA Launcher from the Steam folder on my computer as an admin it ran without trouble (!) and I was able to complete the cases which by this time I really, really wanted to do.

Storyline, it was wow, wow, wow. In spite of the tech issues I found myself very caught up in the story of a flawed war hero who survives World War II and becomes a police officer in a corrupt Los Angeles police department in 1947. The need for a ‘golden boy’ to polish the tarnished image is imperative so they hire our hero who does perform brilliantly yet has his own failings as the story progresses.  In keeping with 1947, obviously there are no female detectives at that time, so you have play the main character, Cole Phelps. Along the way you more than experience the morals and ethics of post war 1947 Los Angeles with Cole and his partners. I found myself on edge right to the end of the game which for me is what makes this a great game. For some it is ‘beating’ the game, getting all the rewards etc. For me it is the getting there, being involved with the protagonist, trying to think how he would think and react and taking the consequences of his actions to the end of the story. I won’t spoil the ending of the game, but sadly I am not sure of any sequels. You can at least replay cases and there are achievement awards such as 95 fabulous (extremely!) vintage vehicles to find and drive along with some Gold Film awards, Badge Awards and Street Crimes to round out your experiences.

The power of this story makes me think of Myst, the books, MOUL and what they represented to us emotionally. In MOUL we had a powerful storyline that sadly did not continue. While an aging MOUL isn’t physically what LA Noire is – a tale that travels over a very large area in incredible historical detail, moving environment and realistic avatar movements; both have a strong storyline that impels one to feel deeply about the characters or remnants of a lost civilization one encounters while progressing through the story. The idea that strong storyline really does have a large impact in a game is important to those of us who value that in adventure games. If LA Noire had no storyline and was just a shoot em up, I think I would have quickly left being totally bored despite the realistic detail block after city block. One thing that has not changed is that player interaction is limited to within the storyline with little or no deviation.

I can only wish MOUL had been able to fulfill the same deep emotional promise that LA Noire gave in pushing emotions and story forward to a conclusion. LA Noire, sadly, has an ending, but MOUL has left us hanging and wishing for more. Both stories have incredible depth and promise. To see the vision realized by the makers both excites me yet saddens me because such things have to have an ending or a continuing. LA Noire gave an ending, while we are still waiting for the story to continue in MOUL.

Mysterium Schedule, Memories and More Memories

Mysterium 2012 – Seattle, Washington – August 3-5

Eleri posted the Mysterium schedule yesterday:

THURS – August 2
5pm: Hanging Out
7pm: Pool Party

FRI – August 3
10am: Registration & Room Open
1pm: Presentations
2pm: Heek & Discussion Circles
4pm: Presentations
6:30pm: Squee Herding: MM
7pm: Marker Missions
8pm: Fri Evening Free Time

SAT – August 4

10am: Squee Herding: WWAD
10:30am: WWAD & Lunch in Chinatown
6pm (est): Presentations
6:30pm: Heek Finals & costumes
7pm: Prizes & Next Year Announcements
8pm: Sat Evening Free Time

SUN – August 5
10am: Squee Herding: Tour
10:30am: Tour-A-Rama
5:30pm: Con Over-Room Closed

If you can’t be there in person send your image to info@mysterium.net so you can attend in a Flatland sort of way.

*update* Livestream of Mysterium is here.

Memories

I was sorting through some papers the other day and ran across a printed copy of a 2008 CNN SL iReport about our community. I tend to print and save articles about the community and why this one escaped the file cabinet I do not know. I found it wedged between some pictures I had printed out and laid in a cubby on my workspace (obviously I need to check further in there, I might find a linking book or something really good). Reading the article brought back a lot of good memories of our early days in Second Life as well as the pain that was still fresh at the time from the announcement about MOUL shutting down.

The article talks about the field trip that Thend organized to show MOULies Second Life to see if they felt it would be a good place to resettle. DeAnn and I helped Thend in setting up the event and we researched places to take people to during the field trip. I believe that was the first exposure the three of us had to griefers when we were attacked at Svarga while looking for interesting places but, being the intrepid explorers, we were not discouraged and found other, safer places to take our groups for the tours.

I have very fond memories of that field trip, watching friends fill up the recently created Bevin in Second Life and being excited at the prospect we could continue as a community. I also remember it was like herding cats to get people organized up to visit the various places we had scouted out to show everyone what Second Life was about (I think I learned how to shout that day). Looking back, I feel proud considering the three of us had been in Second Life barely a month and that we were able to accomplish this. Sadly, I was not into taking a lot of pictures at the time and only have this one from that day:

The community and Second Life have come a long, long way since then. Read the article here and relive some memories.

More Memories

Finding that article got me thinking of how long we have been in SL, There, Guild Wars and other places now and how much history we have. Maybe a community retrospective is in order. I am asking the community to send me pictures of what you feel are important events from the time you were exiled from MOUL (no matter where you ended up) from 2008 until now.  For those in SL you can put your images in a note card (full perm please) with notations on where, when (year only is ok) and why these pictures are important to you. Other venues please attach the image(s) and send the same info to me via email at dmom2kdarwin@gmail.com.

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