Eridu Society Wrap-Up

Hooray - the Eridu Society Beer Bash (back on Sunday the 19th) was a resounding success, as was our entire Burning Life experience. Thank you to everyone who came out to say hello. I have to admit, the Beer Bash was a long arduous day right on the heels of a couple long months of planning and building, plus wrangling the music and assorted technical glitches was taking its toll. But what fun!

There were some amazing builds out there. As with the RL Burning Man Arts Festival, there are also some pieces I don’t quite get, and others I do get but don’t care for, but as with everything if you don’t like it just move on. The boundless creativity on display is what amazes and energizes me, and this year’s event was no exception. Another thing that’s like the RL event is just that there’s so damned much to see. 34 sims of art, big and small, and chances are you won’t get to explore even half of it. Black Rock City (the town that forms in the desert at Burning Man) is a couple miles across, you have no hope whatsoever of seeing and doing everything out there.

While the man burned on Saturday the 24th and no more events are being held, you can still check out Burning Life. The Burning Life sims will be open until November 1st, so if you haven’t gotten a chance yet to explore all the amazing art or at least get some great freebies, click here to head over to the Eridu Society Airship Outpost and get started!

An Intimate Evening With 100,000 Close Friends

Had a wonderful time at the U2 concert last night in Pasadena. Despite some 100,000 people (the biggest crowd in the venue’s long history, as well as the fastest sell-out), the remarkable stage design made the whole night feel very, very intimate.

The stage design amazes me to no end. Tens of thousands of parts, all custom-made to an exacting specification, yet looking at the pieces closely you’d think they’d picked them up at the local Home Depot. I snapped the pic above before the show got started, I love the strange symmetry offered by the speaker stacks, stretched fabric, and transformational LED screen. That’s right, transformational - it actually moves and changes shape at various points throughout the show.

Adding to the excitement of the show (beyond one of the greatest live bands in the world, a gaggle of celebrities in the audience, and a crowd of 100,000 screaming fans) was the live filming. The concert was broadcast to over 10 million people around the world on YouTube, and will be released on DVD sometime in the near future. A very beautiful day indeed - if you look carefully, you can probably see BlakOpal and I in the crowd ;-)

This Is Halloween!

Got the extraordinary opportunity last night to see the annual screening of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas at the El Capitan in Hollywood. It has the distinction of not only being the very theater where the film premiere was held back in 1993, but the El Capitan is also the very first theater built for ‘talkies.’ Fortunately, that very first sound system has long since been replaced with something state-of-the art, and Disney (the current owners) have lovingly restored the theater to its glory days.

While I’ve made the annual screening at the El Capitan a few times when I lived in Los Angeles, BlakOpal had never been, so we took the timing of our trip as a sign that we should remedy the situation. In addition to just seeing the film in such a great location, they go the extra mile and put some of the art and set pieces on display - since we’re both arty design nuts, this was even better than seeing one of our favorites on the big screen. Yes, the photo above is the actual model of the iconic cemetary - it’s more than 9 feet wide and richly detailed. Below are a few of the concept sketches from the early stages of production.

Close Call

I recently experienced a close call in the RL technical support department. At some point late on Sunday, I started to experience problems with the multi-touch trackpad on my computer. It didn't feel right, as if it had somehow lost some of its springiness. And it was far too sensitive. But it was late, and so I just stepped away from the computer for the evening.

When I started on Monday morning, things seemed to have gone from bad to worse. It was almost unusable - moving my finger around on the touchpad was frequently being treated as a click or click-and drag, yielding very unexpected and unwelcome results. I had been planning to spend a lot of time in the studio this week, as well as put the finishing touches on our Burning Life project, and who knows what else. Instead, it looked like the computer was going to be in the shop. I should be mad, but I'm not.

Why? I'm spoiled. On Monday morning I hit the Apple site and made an appointment at the nearest location's in-store Genius Bar. While the name may sound silly, it serves a great purpose - the company tags and identifies the more technically savvy retail staffers, and organizes them into an on-location support center. I could have gone in later on Monday, but things were hectic. So Tuesday it was.

At the store on a rainy Tuesday, staffers greeted me and checked me in and soon I was speaking with a tech/genius. After explaining my trouble and checking the machine out, he'd determined that it wasn't actually a defective trackpad, but that my battery was failing. And in the process of failing, it had started to swell up. As it swelled, it was pushing the bottom of the trackpad up, which was causing all my headaches. While I'm no 'road warrior' and don't abuse the machine, these things do happen. But in less time than it's taken me to write this paragraph, he had replaced my battery with a new one, done the paperwork, and we'd tested out the new battery in my computer.

I apologize if this comes off as sounding like a rant. I do my best to avoid sounding like an evangelist or the member of some kind of cult. But there are times (like now) when I feel a certain need to gush. I woke up on Monday, not at all looking forward to possibly having to send my computer off to some mysterious repair center or leave it in the shop for days on end. Instead, within 24 hours of even raising a warning flag, I had face to face support from someone who had an idea what they were doing, and the problem was solved.

I'm not sure if there are any PC manufacturers that offer that kind of service to all their customers, but there certainly wasn't when I finally made the switch in 2003. And before you ask, no I hadn't purchased any special service package or premium for special treatment. The experience I got is standard. And it should be. Lately, though, it seems I've been hearing lots of stories from SL users who are either trying to skate by on a netbook or loaner computer while their machine is in the shop, or are completely unable to use their new-ish machine because of either mal-ware or something that got screwed up with the system software.

Well, now that I've got my technical problem sorted, there's work to do. I've got a bunch of tracks to prep in Ableton Live, and some prims calling my name, just begging to be squashed, stretched, twisted, and textured.

Greetings From The Eridu Society!

Greetings from the virtual playa! Pronounced ply-ah, playa is the name that Burning Man participants use to refer to the dry lake bed where the annual Burning Man arts festival is held. BlakOpal and I have been busy these last few days, pulling together the remaining elements of our camp site for the 2009 Burning Life event. Seemingly countless details, but finally there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I'm really excited about the project, as it ties in a number of elements for me. Eridu Society (or simply Eridu) is the name of our RL Burning Man camp, I was able to bring together some design elements I've been tinkering around with over the last year, the camp ties into BlakOpal's amazing SL6B creation, the project gave us the opportunity to flesh out the Eridu Society background in more detail than we ever have, and a whole lot more. While I could go on at length, I'll spare you minutae.

While a part of me is bursting at the seams to tell you all about it, I'm afraid that's going to have to wait. BlakOpal is hard at work on a video preview, and Burning Life doesn't officially open until Saturday 17 October. I suppose I can tease you a bit more, so click here to check out my Burning Life 2009 gallery.