Saturday, June 04, 2005
"I remember seeing this in my parents' bathroom forever when I was growing up."

Bored young hipster, shown Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude (Nobel Prize! Oprah's Book Club!) by a friend this afternoon in the front room.
Friday, June 03, 2005
Windows 2000 and the "G" drive packed it in about an hour before closing. Full on blue screen of death.

Anyone needing to get in touch in a hurry should call the shop.

I will still be answering email, etc. while the machine is repaired, but not nearly as quickly as usual.

Yesterday's research on virtual land has a title, now -- Eden -- and an opening line:

"In July, Lionel and I went to Grand Island, Nebraska, to fight the Martians."

Tonight's crash obligingly took out the 1000 words of manuscript I wrote last night, which was just fine with me, as the printout I took home at midnight didn't stand up to daylight scrutiny.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Mr. John Latta in conversation, his Hotel Point up on the office monitor five days a week.

"Working in a library, I 'literally'—as Ron Silliman likes to say—'check out' a lot of poetry. Meaning either contemptuously or flirtingly ('recklessly') eyeballing it, or dragging it home to meet the dog."
Virtual Power Brokers -- from the LA Times

"In some games, such as Second Life, however, entrepreneurs are sought out by other players.

Take Ailin Graef, who supports her aging parents and sends two children to private school with the money she makes selling virtual land.

Graef leases 224 acres of virtual land in "Second Life" — enough to occupy 14 servers — at $12.19 an acre. Graef develops the land by adding terrain features, zoning restrictions and other amenities, then sublets slices of the land to others at about $25 an acre a month. Much of her property is sold out.

Graef, whose online name is Anshe Chung, gave a tour of her virtual empire. First stop was a winter wonderland of gently swaying snow-tipped pines and ski cottages. Next was a wedge of land with soothing minstrel music and dotted with 19th century English cottages. Across the pond lay a plot of land leased by a group of Quebecois who have built chateaux and speak only French within the game.

Graef, 32, has a keen grasp of what people will buy and for how much. Climate, neighborhood makeup and proximity to roads and water are some of the factors that feed into her calculation of what kind of terrain to develop and how much to charge. Parcels in tropical climates are easier to sell, even though there is no such thing as temperature online."
Good news (well, okay, partially good news) from my favorite living fantasy novelist, Mr. George R.R. Martin.

A well-written blog about Second Life's evolving social structure. -- online clearing house for virtual currencies, real estate, & etc.
Own Your Own Virtual Island!

Second Life, a privately owned virtual world you can play in for a monthly subscription fee. The Polar Express-style graphics mean I won't be signing up any time soon, but I'm captivated by the idea of buying and developing virtual real estate, as outlined in this recent NYT article about folks who've turned such speculation into a booming part- or full-time job.

From the NYT:

"Mr. Ainsworth, 36, was not a fan of online games until his 10-year-old daughter became interested in The Sims Online. He then noticed that a large number of simoleans were for sale on eBay. 'I started hearing about players leaving the game who were selling their assets,' he said, 'so I figured, buy low, sell high.'

But Mr. Ainsworth found his moneymaking options in The Sims 'very limited'; he switched to Second Life, a virtual world that is less a game than a three-dimensional environment in which players can do whatever they choose. There, he has leveraged his real-life experience - he is a developer and contractor - into an online business. In 14 locations in Second Life's virtual world, he owns enough 'land' to rent space to nearly 50 retailers, who in turn earn virtual money selling everything from jewelry to clothing to art (all nonexistent, of course). Mr. Ainsworth converts his game profits into real money on sites like eBay, Ige and gamingopenmarket, which charge a small fee, and he includes that income on his tax returns."

Grist for the science fiction novel writing mill? You bet!
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Michelina's finished, at least for the time being. Off for some long-delayed downtime, back Thursday. See you then.

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