Ode to the Prisoner

3 02 2009

Ode to the Prisoner

Moonlight guides the Drunken Ship,(Narrenshiff)
Stars shine marking its path
Outstreched sea is the eternal shroud of darkness
No passage of time on this great voyage
Clinging hope for ports to dock,
Hanging over the edge of reason
Staring out into the abyss
Men climb for forbidden pride
What folly is this?
Shreiking cries rise from the passengers
A great wave of woe!
Fools sing undending songs of silence
Staring out into the maelstrom
Cloaked figures drink our last drops of reason
Men swim naked to Truth while musicians strum
While a rising void cleanses every soul



21 11 2008

The program Second Life leads much to be desired in terms of contextualising a plausible virtual existence. Second life is an online community which plays out like a massive multiplayer experience, but actually leads itself into the realm of just plain bizarre at times. But I guess any large massive multiplayer realm which has little constraints and policing by it’s designers is at such risks. Risks you ask, what risks can be provided for in an unmonitored online realm?Let me just give you a quick rundown of my first time experience, which in fact leaves out the much more desirable aspects of this foundation of e-commerce.

The setup process was simple enough, choose a name or what-not and a generated last name will be produced. OK, Marten Wirefly time to enter your virtual existence which is second-life.First off I’m not even going to get into what sexuality Marten is, I believed I picked the Male grunge rocker look, but in fact I believe im Lola that feisty transvestite from that Kinks song by the same name.

So I entered the boring island of beginners walking and flying around getting used to the stupid orientation to this vast world. A handful of others have also been walking around aimlessly using there pointless gestures. “Hey come here” and such but the mechanics are fairly simple. So I struck up a conversation in this beginners hall . I found myself asking the others what their perceived first reactions of this game were. Many were from other countries Africa, or Venezuela so at least the international appeal was quite astounding, but more on that appeal later. They were funny beginnerswith no preconceived notions on where to go. I suggested to them the Sanbox, relatively simple zones with limitless building capabilities. But then one female offered to dance with me and I flew away. Again I have this Lola complex where your not entirely sure if you’re even dancing with a female on the other end. I could be dancing with a 45 year old Gacey-like clown over in Wisconsin. No thankyou, even a virtual avatar has its standards.

So where did I go first you ask? Well I was curious. What is the true epitome of demise and pure malice, perhaps a virtual replica of Hell but in a strip club fashion. “Sins of the flesh” was the first thought that came to my mind. A whole club I believe called the 9thCircle with loud techno trance music streaming through my speakers. With daemon succubus strippers grinding virtual poles. The loathing was overwhelming, this was in-fact virtual hell on virtual scale in second life.Abandon all faith ye in this virtual world. It’s exactly what I searched for, so I was aware of the repercussions. But the whole time this club would send me supposed fliers of full time sex at 9:00. But there is always a price, but what really perplexed me was that some sad-sadistic sap would pay real cash ($) to engage in virtual sex with succubus’s who could in fact steal his/her very soul through this sexual act. But the worst part was that those fiends gained my e-mail account and e-mail about these sex parties for furries. Damn I feel like I actually left with a Second Life HIV.

But there is a real money exchange called lyndons and lyndons make the Second Life world go round. Everywhere you turn there are virtual shops with COUNTLESS pointless items which give a certain “flair” to your virtual avatar. Excuse me for the biased remarks but I must remember that these pointless items play into a large million dollar virtual commerce which these items rack in. Some people actually sit in there underwear all day designing shops or plaza’ for virtual shopping and will make there living off of that. What an interesting and perplexing concept.

I was in an acid-infused fantasy lalandscape with spiraling colors and whirling sunflowers when I ran into the third Reich vampires. When can someone really write a sentence like that in there life? But there I was, and this German vampire female/she-male was typing in German but there was an implemented translator carefully translating her requests to suck on my neck. She asked Marten why don’t you smoke this giant virtual bong, all the while this German third Reich fellow would scream the psychobabble of one Adolph Hitler all while saluting Nazism pouring out of my speakers. This is the 9th circle right here on the virtual plane. People are just plain strange and next time I won’t leave a PG rated area for fear of what I mentioned above.

The companies capitalize on the sheer marketability. The designers have a whole sandbox to design with concepts both revolutionary and surreal. The geeks have their PVP and their Star Wars ships and stories. To escape is necessary but for me the it’s the books that rip my life away, not the virtual Second Life. The escape is in literature and video-games for me thankyou. But you’ll have to excuse me there’s a virtual midget bondage session at the 9th Circle and I’ve been instructed to bring the whips!

To Think Outside the Tinderbox

13 11 2008

I was fortunate enough to see some profoundly great hypertext writers displaying their visual pieces. I was relatively new to the hypertext world but I was intrigued.  Discovering broad forms of new media to display your literary work is quite an exciting endeavor. With intricate webbing of lexia, you can throw out the conventional static texts and page turning; welcome to the non-linear pathways of hypertexual writing.

I was encouraged to start writing in the hypertext format for a project, alas the program Tinderbox only comes in mac flavor. But the idea was one that was cultivating like that creature in the Twilight Zone who would crawl inside your head to plant it’s eggs. It was an idea I had while reading a great book on psychology called Madness And Civilization by Michel Foucault. It was the an idea from that very book by a Renaissance writer Sebastian Brant. He wrote a fictional book, The Narrenshiff or “Ship of Fools” literally the drunken boat. During the first half of the 15th century social misfits ranging from criminals to the “deranged minds” were put on a ship and entrusted to mariners. This ship of drunken madmen crisscrossed seas and canals of Europe until they would reach a port and then be entrusted to the local pilgrims or sent back to sea. Now these prisoners of passage were actually on a spiritual journey also. And the water that carried their boat; purified them.

The innovation that is hypterxtuality allows for a new experience each time you read the same story. A different variable is added, changing the way someone reads a link or lexia. A cycle described as a Joycean cycle can be achieved by creating a loop of the lexia, thus allowing for different lexia being viewed each time a new loop is activating changing not only the contextual meaning but the overall correlation of the text which has now been changed or altered. The reader personalizes the text, making it his/her own experience every time they click on a different link.

My ship of fools has been replaced by the large underground asylum in the Labyrinth. The vagabonds, criminals, and the psychotics are all the social misfits embarking on a great symbolic voyage in search of their own destiny and truths. But the boat has been replaced by the asylum or madhouse.

A post-apocalyptic descent into madness. Only in hypertext could these ideas be vividly displayed. The hypertext format allowed a certain word or phrase to link to another lexia allowing for a passage which literally created a “flow” or transfer of thoughts and ideas. The relationships between the words is crafted by the author who controls each link and when they are present and the duration they are presented to the reader, allowing for complete control.

This is my personal experience with hypertext using Tinderbox.

To Inform You “Din”

5 11 2008

The Din started as an idea my uncle had thought of while we were discussing writing in proper sentence structure. See, at least 2-3 times a week I discuss concepts of writing and rules with my uncle using the classic literary instruction guide The Elements of Style by Strunk/White/ and Kalman. My uncle had the concept of a simple story of this place called Din’s 1. A raucous bar which housed a group of thieves. So that’s where my Inform 7 story originally came from.

I usually draw inspiration from my uncle, he is truly a creative man. The  Din was a good starting point for me. The best feeling perhaps, is showing him the conceptional outcome of this text based adventure game. I believe it all needed to start from a great opening sentence like a beloved novel. There was a meshing of ideas and concepts with fantasy which had been my first experience with interactive fiction on a simple windows program. The game was text based but it actually had simple graphics. It was called Kings Quest and it was very enthralling to a 5 year old who had a basic knowledge of the English language. I’ll never forget this one scene in the beginning where you walk into a room in your house and you see your cat. And of course I kicked that puss right across the room! It has to be one of my fondest game memories, which has to be up there with saving princess Peach and nuking an entire town of Megaton in Fallout 3.

So after the mesh-up of these ideas and concepts of the DIn and the thieves I added a little fantasy with the objects and the halfling-orc barmaid. And I sprinkledome s religious concepts with the main character starting off on a gurney or slab in a morgue. The surrounding setting is actually Purgatory. As you descend I wanted to add a Dante-esque theme to the realms of this bar. I remember this classic Super Nintendo game Shadowrun in which you start off in a morgue I thought that was a great beginning. So you can see this mixing and mashing of plots and themes I never forgot about in my gaming career.

After that I started constructing various rooms which contained at times, sad and sadistic figures but no real objectives which will be corrected in time. So with a points based system being set into place I need meaningful items which can bring humerus results at times.

I’m starting to see a connection with ideas and concepts. I mean hey, we all draw from the same pool of ideas. But these ideas seem to be morphing. Evolving perhaps.

Also this month is write a novel month. Although I refuse to scribble down a beloved idea in a matter of a month. This time frame of one month, releases the constraints of methodical planning. Just go out and write something, I know I will start. I just need to see the Arrigoni.

Muzzy Field: A baseball throw away (2)

29 09 2008


Brendan Finn

Steve Ersinghaus

23, September 2008

New Media

Step outside on my front porch and you can see the athletes through the surrounding pine trees. The band has begun and the cars are piling in. This bustle of activity can be attributed to a local high school sporting event. It is the weekly games at Muzzy Field under the Friday night lights which shine through my upstairs window and into my room. Muzzy Field has always been an important structure to me growing up. Many a nights I traversed up and down the wooden benches during a football or baseball game. Just last week they set up huge projection T.V to display a grand production for the community. It’s hard to avoid the turmoil this place conjures in it’s stands. The cheering and the pounding of the drums. Like some classic Roman coliseum with it’s grandeur, the sports and the spectating is but a baseball throw away.

The field itself is located across from Bristol’s Rockwell Park.The entrance to the park is located at the end of Muzzy Street across from an Italian bar/restaurant Sabino’s.The entrance is comprised of two 12 foot stone columns which connect ingraved are the words Muzzy Field. Usually in the front there will be one police officer and two to three park admission workers to help regulate the flow of the crowd. To the left of the entrance will be a ticket booth with two separate ticket tackers waiting inside a brick hut to disperse tickets to the masses that gather in front.The new addition added to the front allows more room for the spacious crowds that gather on Thanksgiving. This is important due to Muzzy’s large seating capacity which seats around 4,900 screaming fans.

Once you make it through the columns you are greeted by Muzzy’s majestic brick-faced grandstand. At the top you will notice four large windows which support a view at the top through the mire meshing. Straight ahead parents and supporters of the teams hand out fliers and lineups. Usually behind them they’re will be a door which leads to the home teams lockers rooms.  On the left of that doorway is a ground keepers room filled with equipment to chop the grass and thin the circling pine trees. To the left of that doorway is a ramp which leads to the lower level of the stadium. Keeping to the left you will see an alley which leads down towards the stands occupied usually by the player’s parents. There is also a concession stand which sells popcorn and hot cocoa in the winter. Past the food stand is another ramp which leads to the home field stands and seating for band members. Further along the path is a stairwell which leads to the announcer’s box.

Back at the front of the entrance this time to take a right. This leads to another ramp which connects to the lower level of the stands. Next to the ramp is a an entrance to the field to be used by umpires and medical units . Another concession is located underneath a tent and is also conveniently close to the bathrooms that line the right-hand side. Right beside the bathrooms are a pump station a room used to control sprinklers and regulate flow of toilets and water fountains(hope they’re not linked). On either sides of the bathrooms are ramps which lead to another section of seating. Going past the bathrooms to your right is an opening in the fence which is opened in the 7th inning of baseball games or the 3rd quarter in football games. Emergency personal and vehicles are waiting to cart off injured players or spectators.The entire field is surrounded by large fencing at least 9-12 feet high. Probably used to keep out stragglers and non-ticket holders, but you can still scramble up-and over in the back near the loading gates, to avoid paying the $3 for admission.

The flow of the crowd moves to the ticket booth to gain admission while packed in crowds and surrounded by roped lines. The line itself is the origin and the ticket booth is the lexica or the introduction to gain admission to the hypertext or the websites homepage. The movement of people is dispersed and then concentrated through the people and admission who keep the line orderly by minimizing the space to pass through an area which is very similar to a filter. This can be the links or the paths we take by common association through the hypertext. Whether we’re craving for food or we have to use the bathroom this common association can lead trails of your preference. By sitting in the a seat you manipulate the space in a sense. But the highest interactivity comes from the players on the field. They “modify” the field by tearing and kicking up dirt and grass. Also the scoreboard in the back can be manipulated in the announcer’s box  and only the players performance can alter the display of the board.