Like many other people in SL, I made the jaunt to one of the NBC sims on Wednesday to check out the virtual tree-lighting ceremony at the virtual Rockefeller Center, which was supposed to coincide with the real tree-lighting at the real
Rockefeller Center. Of course, I wound up seeing both more and less than I expected.
Your first clue that something might not be entirely right about this would be the fact that it occurred on “Update Wednesday.” Hell, the Gin Rummy doesn’t even schedule events on Wednesdays, as we’ve been burned one too many times by update weirdness ruining an event. And this was a particularly gnarly update, too, as LL pushed out version 1.13, with many new features. (As I write this, SL is still suffering some of the aftereffects…) Teleports were working when I came in, though, enough to get me to the NBC 9 sim. (I picked 9 because, for one, it didn’t look too crowded, and for another, our local NBC affiliate is KUSA-9 in Denver, so I thought that would bring good luck.)
Once I got there, I was immediately impressed by the build; it seemed like an excellent simulation of the area around Rockefeller Center, though I wouldn’t know for sure as I’ve never been to The City. I took several photos, though, and will have to have one of our EMinds conference hosts, a lawyer living in Queens and working in Manhattan, look at them and see how accurate they are. And this showed one underlying problem with the Grid following the upgrade; occasionally, the “Send Postcard” dialog box was failing to display my E-mail address, and then, when I pressed “Send” to send the photo on its way to Snapzilla, chided me “Please enter your E-mail address.” While I would have gladly done so, the fact that the “Your E-mail address” field on the dialog was read-only made that, ahem, rather difficult. Leaving the dialog open would usually cause it to “catch up” and get my address in the right field so I could send the photo on its merry way, but I wound up dumping a couple of photos because the address stubbornly refused to appear.
So, while I was taking photos, I got a Linden notification dialog saying that the tree-lighting would begin in 10 minutes. I made my way over near the ice rink, across from the tree, and listened to some of the chatter from the other avs present while I panned my camera around to take a look at a few more things. Nothing seemed to happen for the longest time. There wasn’t even a music or movie control along the bottom of my screen to click on. I didn’t notice any change in the tree. Then, another notification appeared, basically thanking us for attending, implying that the event was over.
Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot?
Shrugging my shoulders, I proceeded down the steps to the ice rink where I donned my Skoopf Steamers and took them out for a spin in a realistic environment, stopping occasionally to adjust their configuration. (Aside: The Steamers are fine skates indeed; my first impression of them was, “if Ordinal Malaprop made ice skates, this is what they’d look like,” and that has not diminished. Finding out that Moopf Murray had indeed sought Ms. Malaprop’s opinion on their design prior to release just reinforced my positive opinion; if she signed off on the design, that’s good enough for me.) The other skaters all seemed to be wearing Skoopf Icicles, which were available free from a vendor up near the tree, altough I overheard many reports that people couldn’t find the vendor, or had trouble opening the box it dispensed. (I have Moopf’s latest limited edition, too, the Trails, but hadn’t yet unboxed them. And I already have a set of the regular Icicles, too.)
After I’d finished, donning my regular shoes again and departing the rink, I poked around a little longer…and suddenly heard, in the distance, the unmistakable blam! of a shotgun. A winged female avatar was toting one, hovering over the rink and occasionally discharging it. “Now that,” I thought, “is an authentic New York City touch.” (I’m told that there are areas in NYC that have signs saying “Hospital zone – please affix your silencer.”) I also overheard one avatar telling another that he’d just fallen off a building…but had managed to get a great nude photo of himself atop said building. (Whether he was wearing prim genitalia for the photo, he did not mention and I did not inquire.) That showed me one thing: no matter how much money had been poured into this build, renting all these sims, trying to pull off a Major Event that seemed to have fizzled, the underlying nature of SL was nevertheless asserting itself, with behavior that you might encounter in any public sandbox. I wondered whether NBC really had this in mind when they decided to pull off this stunt…and smiled.