MIA from Blogaria, lost in Second Life

Yes, I’ve been remiss. Yes, I’ve been up late a lot. The steep learning curve has been leveling off, though, and I may even watch television tonight (tomorrow for sure, because Torchwood is on).

Some things going on in my life that don’t require logging on:

Last week at Holy Moly, we celebrated All Saints with great music, and a moving and joyful (and very wet) baptism. St Nicholas has a font that’s more like a wading pool, it looks like this when not actually in use:

Bishop's Visit to St Nicholas 12-3-2006 12-27-11 PM 1427x2048

This is from last year’s Bishop’s Visitation with Bp. Victor Scantlebury, the assistant in the Diocese of Chicago. Father Steve is to his left.

We baptised Jon Kessler, though I didn’t take pictures as I was busy singing. It was really nice, because for the long part of the baptismal service that the congregations repeats the same response over and over, we actually sang a line from the hymn we’d just sung a few minutes before. Although Mary, the choir dominatrix, didn’t want us all to walk over and gather at the font with everyone else, because she’s always thinking about the performance, we all did go over and be part of it. She was concerned that we’d miss a cue or get scattered and not sound good.

And that was good, because it went smoothly, with no gaffes, and we all thought to bring hymnals with us so we could sing the next hymn without scrambling for books. And we instinctively stood in a clump in front of the pool, mostly so we could see, but partly so we could share hymnals and the sheet with the adapted baptismal service (I think it was taken from the New Zealand Prayer Book, which has very nice modern, poetic language.

Jon wore a baptismal garment that looked like one of the spare white cassock-albs, and Fr. Steve climbed in to the pool with him, stole and all. Steve had hitched up the stole with his cincture in a way that looked almost monastic, in order to keep the Coronation-pattern embroidery and colored tassles from getting ruined. There was dipping from the fountain first with a big cut-glass bowl, blessing the waters in the fountain and thus the pool that they empty into, and then they had their wading party. Actually, we were all invited to take shoes off and climb in if we liked, but the only ones that took him up on it were Ethan and Mary Ann, who are both in discernment for the clergy. The rest of us on the periphery dabbled our fingers in the water as Jon was getting… absolutely drenched three times with bowlsful of cold pool water. I actually heard him gasp, but in a gleeful way.

Jon is an interesting guy – he is Jewish and told Steve beforehand that he felt that being baptised was not an either/or proposition, but more like being both/and. This was incorporated into Steve’s sermon, which will eventually be posted at the church website. Jon is a sweet guy – he and his partner (yes, remember we’re all about the inclusivity at St Nick’s) have an adopted daughter who’s a great kid (she was a big help at the big rummage sale last summer, sorting clothes for donation).

Work-wise, I am no longer allowed to access the internet at work during the times I’m supposed to be logged in unless it’s for work-related  reasons… thus, my job is interfering with my blogging career. Even for those times when there are not calls coming in, and I’m caught up on both international records and hotel groups, and I’m on top of the various queues I work. I expect very soon I’ll be cross-trained on another account, frankly, and I’m not looking forward to it. I only hope it’s an easy one that doesn’t require that I do…limos and car service ::shudder::

So I can’t even browse news stories and bookmark them with del.icio.us to my heart’s content, either. Grrr.  This has resulted in my taking shorter lunches downstairs, in order to hustle back up to my desk to have at least a half-hour’s worth of reading news and so on, not such a bad thing in itself. But it’s annoying, although I recognize the reasons for it, as network-wide there were huge problems with excessive bandwidth use. At least I wasn’t playing games, shopping, or gambling… but yeah, I’ve gone cold turkey, and being caught looking at non-work-related websites during my “logged in and available” times is grounds for counseling, with termination a distinct possibility for anyone stupid enough to try it again while in the doghouse.

At least I’ve been able to be a lot more productive – there’s probably some damn correlation there, dammit.
Dammit, dammit, dammit.

There’s some hot new update to my reservations system that I’ve been trained on. The demo made it look all sexy and shiny, but as soon as I completed and was clamoring for it to be initialized on my set, I was told “Oh, there are problems… there’s a patch so it will function with some of the other esssential tools, but it’s not working right. Don’t hold your breath.”

Well, dammit. Amongst other things, the new hotness res system includes integrated travel-information browsing and a lot of other bells and whistles that make it look like that rarity in “upgrades,” an actual improvement over the previous technology. Typically, it’s not ready for prime time.

Speaking of prime time, Halloween was a lot of fun at the office. Our team’s theme was “Saturday Night Live,” and I was “Samurai Travel Agent.” Took my wooden bokken to work and all. There are pictures, but I don’t have the link and it probably wouldn’t be appropriate to post it here: it might be hazardous for my continued employment to put innocuous fun pictures of people dressed up as Hamburglers and Darth Brooks and It’s Pat! on my personal blog, as the site identifies my company, my office site, and the names of some of the unusual suspects.

In more home-related news:

We got new rain gutters installed! Yay!!! They’re really nice looking and come with leaf guards. No more listening to the water overflowing from the second floor corner right by the bedroom and hitting the patio (and the Weber grill, uncovered) on long, sleepless rainy nights. They’re a nice rusty red, the guys even put in the cuts and bends so the water flows into two of my rain barrels. I forgot to ask them to do the one for the third barrel, as I’ve never set that one up, it’s just placed upside-down behind the bushes on the outside corner of the house, ready for next year. The gutters are seriously heavy-duty, which means we are now about to enter a period of ten years’ drought according to my husband David. We’ve had or will have had other seasonal work done, too. Next week, the chimney sweep comes. Sadly, he’ll probably be gone by the time I get home from work, but David will tell me if he wears a top hat (probably not). I have to remember to tell David to be sure and shake his hand for good luck.

We got (or rather, David got) a new HD TiVo this week, and he’s been happily tinkering away with it. It’s got a bigger hard drive and two tuners, so we can actually record two programs at once, and watch either one. This is nice, because several of the shows we watch actually conflict with each other, so that we no longer have to set preferences to capture second showings (when available) or wait until one or the other goes into reruns. There was some sort of dire technical problem this morning, however, involving a network card. It may or may not involve a trip to Buy Mart.

I tore out all the tomato plants and pepper plants last Sunday – it was a lovely, brisk fall day and the colors were still pretty. The strawberry plants, rosemary, and a drastically cut-back purple basil remain to overwinter. The compost bins have been put to bed for the season.

This morning, there was frost heavy enought to look like snow, according to David. It’s gone now, though.

Thursday night, I was wearing my spiffy new pajamas, which feature a sushi theme. David asked what I wanted to do for dinner Friday, stopped himsel, and pointed to my PJs. “That’s what I want!” he said.

Heh.  So we went to Kampai last night, and I had my favorite things, NOM NOM NOM.

We’ll be getting together with family a lot this fall – Hanukkah comes early, and there will be a couple of Thanksgiving gatherings. We just visited David’s folks last week, and met a couple that they’ve recently gotten acquainted (or re-acquainted) with. As we’re science fiction fans, and this couple are into SF conventions (book-related, mostly), my mom-in-law thought we might like to meet them. It was an interesting evening. And it was the last time we’ll have to take a somewhat convoluted route to get to their house; an extension to a much more direct tollway route will open up on Monday, yay! And tomorrow, there’s a big bike-ride event on the new extension, with up to 9,000 riders expected on the “$9 billion bike-path” (for a day). We probably won’t be participating, as the weather is likely to be bad, but we’re really happy about the much more direct and easy to follow route to David’s parents’ place.

More later. Since I’ve been a good kid and updated the church blog as well as this one, it’s time I logged in to SL for more inventory management in a bit. Inventory is kind of the big weakness in Second Life; big inventories can cause problems, and organizing them makes life much easier in the secondary sense.

I attended a “class” last night that didn’t go well on this topic, because the whole thing was based on the folder structure that the previous version of SL used, and there is no longer a way to get into the inventory folder while offline… this caused great consternation to the guy leading the class, which was held in a goofy “skybox” where passing “clouds” kept obscuring the view. He had a ginormous “powerpoint” presentation screen in front, and was showing all the nice ways to work offline on your inventory… and his method was outdated for at least half of the “attendees.” This was hosted by the Free Dove group, and frankly, although I give them props for enthusiasm, their constant IMs and notices about classes get to be kind of annoyingly like spam. And really, it’s all about steering virtual eyeballs to the Palomma store, and its large (and admittedly well stocked) freebie section. Hence the name.

Actually, for tutorials, the official Linden one was much more useful just now, even though it was slightly distracting listening to a male Linden employee talking as the video showed his attractive female avatar moving around various spots working with inventory items. Still, it gave me a lot of information I didn’t have, and was much easier to follow than an online, inworld class like Free Dove offers. For one thing, nobody was almost naked (last night’s class was conducted in a Mature area, and one of the group leaders was comfortable enough with her sexuality to sit in wearing nothing but a skimpy lilac slave-girl outfit, with everything above and below on show if you happened to be standing anywhere in a wide area to her left or right.

I bet she spells “library” correctly, too.

Maybe I need to think about departing that group, that’s the second class I’ve attended where things didn’t go as planned and it was hard to follow the presentation.  Also, the dress code is a little advanced for my taste. ::grin::

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