Sunday, August 30, 2009

On Bowls, Anniversaries, and Lou's Epic Fail

This weekend has been kinda all about the high and low points of Second Life.

Let's start with a high point! The eighth Buccaneer Bowl was put on this Saturday by the ever-capable and always charming Thornton Writer, Lillian Shippe, and Lette Ponnier. For folks who don't know, the monthly Buccaneer Bowl is the premiere trivia event in Second Life, but it isn't run like any ordinary trivia game: instead of an every-avatar-for-itself approach, players form teams of three to four people and jointly compete for a share of over $10,000L in prize money. I've written about the Buccaneer Bowl a bunch in this blog, and every time I say it's a blast. I am pleased to report that this month was no exception, and the event went off with class, flair, and no shortage of puns and well-aimed taunts and jibes!

One new element to the game that was introduced last month but which I forgot to comment on is a new bonus question format, modeled on the party game Outburst. Instead of giving teams 75 seconds to collectively answer a two-part question, each player on a team competing for a bonus gets to shout out answers to a broad question—with the goal of getting (say) six, eight, or ten correct answers in the span of 60 seconds. In part the new bonus question format gets around problems with lag in group chat (where teams collaborate on their answers) but it's also a more entertaining format for teams not competing in the bonus questions because they get to watch the team vying for extra Lindens squirm—or, in some cases, easily glide to victory. The Frivolous Corsairs—my team—have done two of these Outburst style questions, and while we narrowly missed them both they are a ton of fun, and I hope the Buccaneer Bowl crew keeps them going.

This month, the nigh-unstoppable Triviators again took first prize in the Bowl—and more power to them, they play great!—followed by "Oh, Boomcirceschism" and the resurgent Trumpton Trivials. The Corsairs managed a fourth place finish this month, aided by a Special Guest Corsair of the porcine persuasion, who not only had possibly the cutest avatar on deck but injected a ton of humor into the proceedings…which is good because someone has to make up for my stare-at-the-deck-and-say-nothing tactics!

Compared to Rain Ninetails and our Special Guest Corsair, I'm the tallest!
(Not pictured, the tall and very dashing Lebn Bucyk, who had to run off to…)

Immediately after the Buccaneer Bowl—another high point! I was very pleased to attend the third (ohmigosh third!) anniversary of the Second Life couple Lebn Bucyk and Preston Benedict. Lebn and Preston invited everyone to their absolutely smashing virtual home, where folks put on their best Japanese-themed outfits (if they had 'em!), took in live music from Argentinean guitarist Joaquin Gustav (who really is one of the hardest-working performers in SL), spun to the tunes of DJ Otowan Fouget, and celebrated in high style. I've known Lebn almost my entire time in SL—he was one of the only people I knew to "look up" when I started on the trivia scene—and he and Preston have been great pals: Lebn graciously anchors the Frivolous Corsairs at the Buccaneer Bowl (and hosts his own Barefoot Trivia most weeks), while Preston has become one of my best landmark-swapping go-to-concerts toy-with-mercilessly ask-dumb-questions-to buddies. I'm absolutely no expert on relationships in SL—the curious might want to see fellow trivia-ite Luce Portland's thought-provoking discussion. My from-the-sidelines view has been that many SL relationships are brief, intense, and often rife with drama and pettiness. I count myself fortunate that my circle of virtual friends includes several seemingly-sane and stable couples. And it's kinda stunning to think that, where I'm apparently considered "a part of the scene" after only a year, Lebn & Preston have been a couple for three years and seem to be getting stronger all the time. All I can say is that I wish them the best, I'm proud and privileged to have them in my virtual life…and they throw fabulous parties.

Taking in fireworks over Lebn & Preston's home in celebration of their third anniversary.
And now…on to Lou's Epic Fail. Sigh.

One of the consequences of scheduling my Lou's Clue's trivia game on Saturday's at noon is that once a month it's going to run headlong into the unstoppable force of the Buccaneer Bowl. Technically, the Bowl is usually over in time for Lou's Clues, but let's face it—all the trivia people are going to be brain fried, stressed out, and twitchy after the Buccaneer Bowl, and the last thing they (or I!) want to do is rush off to more trivia. So when the Buccaneer Bowl happens, I either call off Lou's Clues or try to move it to Sunday, which has happily lead to teaming up with one of SL's absolutely best hostesses, the lovelysmartenchantingandtalented Sinnamon Sands. That was the plan this week: Sinn would run her infamous Survey Sez game (modeled after a game show called Family Feud) and I would toss trivia questions out in between.

So, RL being it's usual self, I get caught in a big traffic tie-up behind an accident, and only get home a minute before the game is supposed to start. I hurriedly plug in the notebook computer (which was in dead-battery land), fire up Second Life, log in, rush to [MonoChrome], open up my file of 22 painstakingly-prepared questions…

…and the file is completely empty.

Mind you, I'd had it open just an hour before—I swapped out one of the questions to simplify the game and wrote up a short statement of rules. And I thought, "Gosh, I should save this out to a thumb drive just in case!" but…the clock was ticking, the computer's battery indicator was flashing "1%" and I didn't want to take the chance of the battery dying while transferring a file. So I saved, put the computer to sleep, and headed home. And besides, if all else failed, I had a backup of the file from last night, just without the swapped-out question, so it'd be fine.

Well, it wasn't. And now there's a hole that exactly matches Lou's right elbow in the wall beside her desk. I don't quite remember when that happened; I was too busy screaming obscenities. Because that backup file? It was blank too.

So while Sinn ably kept the crowd entertained I scoured directories, looked for temp files, and scanned empty blocks for my questions. Little bits of them turned up, but not enough and not in time. So the bottom line is that people showed up to see Lou get pnwed by some still-unknown technical problem.

And I've been running tests on the drive for the last two and half hours. Everything checks out. So far, all other backed up files are intact. The only oddity is that my fave text editor—that I use for everything from trivia questions to real life computer coding—seems to have lost all its preferences, and is behaving oddly opening some files. Nuking it and re-installing seems to have fixed that…but I'm really hoping this isn't a larger Snow Leopard issue…because that's the only thing significant that's changed on my machine in the last few days.

In the meantime, I hope everyone who came out to [MonoChrome] will please accept my apologies. I'll try to make it up to you, honest.

View from the downstairs fireplace at [MonoChrome], Lou taking in a live music show from Shannon Oherlihy week before last.

1 comment:

  1. As I said 1000 times....its not a big deal. Crap happens my dear LouLou. Stop beating yourself up about it and I hope its no more than a single odd in the laptop. *flaps wings and grins*


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