Sunday, June 06, 2010

Balconia, 2010 edition

It's been a long, chilly and wet Spring. This weekend marks the first time I was able to have lunch on my balcony! In previous years, I'd been sitting out there as early as mid-April. Bah.

The job presses on, we are barely keeping ahead of the construction workers — and now have to stop for a week to submit a building-permit application to add a waterslide to the project. This must go through straight away so that the concrete-laying company can get the shell finished before the steelwork starts, because once the frame goes up they will be unable to use their crane to transport the roughly 80 tonnes of concrete needed. Shifting that lot by wheelbarrow is not feasible.

I've been mostly off-duty this weekend, bar an hour today finishing up two drawings that I didn't get done on Friday evening. Had sushi for lunch on Saturday, then went on to the Skybeach for an iced coffee in a deckchair with my feet in the sand; today, walked downtown again to meet G and U and the kids for a cappuccino on the terrace of the Kunstmuseum, then made it back home just in time before the rain started.

I've been reading Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, in the newish translation by Volokhovsky and Pevear, and am approaching the end. It's a good read, despite Tolstoy's manifest disapproval of Anna's life and choices. What a prude he was. I get the impression that he was surprised and shocked by the way the story unfolded as he wrote it.

I mentioned some time back that I had started playing Dragon Age: Origins. I'm finding it hard to get the time to play it: unlike Second Life I feel that I can't just drop in for a half-hour or two, it feels like I need a block of two hours or more to be able to get into the story, so I have let it go. As far as I can judge, it is a very good game: the characters are well written and their interactions are interesting and surprising, the world is visually very appealing, there are plenty of side quests to intrigue and entertain; but it's just not Second Life. I can determine which of several train tracks the story will take, the decision tree is a veritable labyrinth (to mix my metaphors), but the fact remains that the story does follow along a path that someone else has set. It's brought into focus something that I had felt but not fully realized about SL: my joy in it is based in personal contact and conversation. I'm also becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the relentless killing. I guess I'm just not a gamer.

I will be running a workshop in Second Life this autumn on "the SL-ness of SL," and have started making notes for discussion topics and practical exercises. It is all theoretical stuff about identity and shared culture, and would be of very little interest to non-Second Lifers; there's nothing about me and little about Susan in that blog. Nonetheless, if anyone is interested, let me know by e-mail and I'll send you the URL — on the condition that you never mention it (or the avatars' names) here. To forestall unhappiness: please note that I will mercilessly and instantly delete any comments made here that break this condition.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Lioness said...

Balconia - lol!

It's a rotten Summer here as well, has been so for the past few years. Bugger.

I'm a gamer! I love killing the nasty trolls/goblins/whateverish. Not so good at killing humans even when they're trying to kill me though. It's probably lucky my comp refuses to play the new games or no one would ever see me again.

June 7, 2010 at 2:16:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger Pacian said...

Until I put the thing on easy mode most of the killing going on was of me, I must say.

Among the feminist game critics I follow, Dragon Age seems to be extremely well regarded, but I'm afraid I prefer Mass Effect 2, which is pretty much the same thing only less of a slog.

(A skybeach sounds like an awesome thing. Like you have to wear a parachute for safety's sake. Please don't tell me what it really is.)

June 14, 2010 at 11:16:00 PM GMT+2  

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