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Down and out in Visitorville


Anybody else notice the ad for this thing on Sitemeter? It’s a program that takes your usage logs and turns them into a Second Life for deaf mutes. They call it Visitorville. Your web site is rendered as a city, incoming queries from search engines are drawn as buses, and you guys shuffle off the buses — a bunch of unshaven zombie retards sunk in existential gloom with IP addresses floating over your heads — and drift around not interacting with each other. So, no change there.

It’s supposed to be a way of better visualizing website flow: rooms and buildings correspond to sections and pages. Repeat visitors have special little things floating over their heads, buyers little something elses floating over their heads, and repeat buyers are served with sticks up their backsides like all-day suckers (not true, but my posts are required by law to have at least one butt reference per).

Reminds me of the game Black & White — the last (but not the first) game I bought a whole new computer to be able to play. You’re God, and you make these little people, and they walk around doing stuff with their thoughts floating over their heads like, “I have to pee” or “I’m sad” or “I have a disease” or “I’m lonely” and I’m, like, “look, there are millions of you and you all look alike to me — needy, high-mainenance bastards, every one of you. I’m only a god here.” I got bored with it real quick. But I learned an awful lot about theology.

We must be in another wave of 3D visualization marketing ideas. Microsoft is trying it on again, with Photosynth (which I saw at Enas Yorl‘s place) and Surface (which I’m sure you’ve seen, unless you live in a yurt on the windy steppes milking horses).

I have to admit, Microsoft hater that I am, Surface is very cool. Watch some of the videos, if you haven’t. I love the idea of setting cameras and phones on the table and pulling data onto or off of them with your fingers.

But I saw prototypes of these things — not these literal things, but ones very like them — twenty years ago. I saw (and lusted after) a drafting table that was a giant pressure-sensitive tablet combined with rear projection video. I saw high-def and 3D screens and 6D mice and visualized worlds. I saw all this at a Siggraph show in…1990?

By the time we got videophones (backhandedly, via webcams) we were bored with the idea. Too much time elapsed between the tease and the release.

I damn well better still have a license when they roll out the rocketcar.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 21, 2007, 5:57 pm

You know, this would be kind of fun. My traffic is so low (back to pre-slashdot levels, finally) that it would be three socially-inept stiffs standing in an empty ballroom not looking at each other. Like the world’s most awkward cocktail party.

Comment from Dawn
Time: June 21, 2007, 6:08 pm

Why are there no brown people in Visitorville?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 21, 2007, 6:18 pm

The bus from Dogpile ate them.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: June 21, 2007, 7:30 pm

I have been to the world’s most awkward cocktail party (the one where all other conversation stopped just as I was finishing a discussion with “so shut the fuck up, you commie cocksucker!”), and I doubt we have the technology to fully recreate that. Thank god.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 21, 2007, 8:09 pm

I want one of those floaty cars like in Fifth Element. And a big box of water balloons.

Weasel, I’m just waiting for you to post another article that has a plausible link to /. . I’ve been riding my “excellent” carma rating there for years without tangible benefit: I might as well get something out of it.

Conversational stops at cocktail parties are like rogue waves: ya never can predict when they’ll occur and upon who’s “shore” they will wash up.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: June 21, 2007, 8:45 pm

Well, Steamboat, I can say that I have been the high-water mark for those waves at an suspiciously large number of cocktail parties. I am rarely invited to the same house for a second round. I attribute this phenomenon to:

1. I like peanuts (which are readily available at every party). And I tend to talk with a mouth full of them. As the evening progresses, you can spot the people with whom I’ve conversed (debated/argued) by the flecks of peanuts speckling their glasses, faces, etc.

2. I like booze (which is likewise available at every party). As the evening progresses, I become more firmly convinced of my wisdom, intellectual agility, and observational powers. Hence, I make comments such as informing the hostess (in a purely innocent and complimentary fashion) that she has “a fuck-me-now face.”

I could go on, but lacking peanuts and booze, I won’t. As Ron White would say, I have the right to remain silent. I just don’t have the ability.

Comment from Dawn
Time: June 21, 2007, 8:57 pm

My favorite quote:
“I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don’t even invite me.”
Dave Barry

Comment from jwpaine
Time: June 21, 2007, 9:07 pm

Thanks, Dawn! I haven’t had a good belly laugh all day, and Barry can do that for me every time. He really should think about going pro.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 21, 2007, 9:46 pm

Next time I throw a party, you’re invited, jw, so I can observe! I’ll serve all the peanuts you can eat, the fluid(s) of your choice, and I’ll even supply a plentiful selection of victims. No mercy.

BTW: I, too, have foot-in-mouth disease at social occasions.

What you said makes me wonder though – is there some guy out there on an tiny island somewhere, making his own little “special” sea waves, knowing that they will rogue-up with distance. I picture him with a little self-satisfied smile on his face and a bottle of rum in his hand. I’d kinda like that job. I love messin’ with people.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: June 21, 2007, 10:37 pm

All I know, Steamboat, is that guy is Messing It Up for the Rest Of Us!

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 21, 2007, 11:11 pm

Oh, yeah. I’m convinced that all goofs, spills, ice patches, stains, torn stockings, busted zippers, all major mistakes, all lost or missing items, all strange accidents or incidents in the world are the responsibility of a small cadre of dedicated specialists.

I wish they were hiring.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: June 21, 2007, 11:37 pm

Ah, we’d probably screw up the interview, anyway.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 22, 2007, 5:07 am

My hobby is bringing home sales receipts from England and leaving them places in the States. As in, “heyyyy, the bookmark in this library book is a receipt for a Whopper and fries from Picadilly Circus.” I like to think of my self as an agent of WTF?!

I gave up on Slashdot years ago, McGoo. I found the rumbling undercurrent of fashionably lefty sentiment too depressing. I imagine any Slashdotters coming here would look around, get pissed off and leave. At least none of them hung around after that amazing spike last weekend. (Still getting Google hits on that stupid car, though).

What is it about leftoids that they cannot ever stick a sock in it? I follow a number of forums that have nothing whatever to do with politics — it’s nice to give it a break every once in a while, isn’t it? But, no. Not if you’re on the left. You gotta work politics into conversation somehow, or stick it in your sig line, or pick an avatar of W morphing into a monkey.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 22, 2007, 5:27 am

Oh, but I did go flying up the TTLB Ecosystem. I’m now a…Smelly Clam, I think.

Whenever I land on a new spot in the Ecosystem, I always check out my near neighbors on the list. This was a pretty depressing when my neighbors were mostly short-lived blogs that hadn’t been posted to for two years. My last slot was a run-down neighborhood with lots of porn and viagra ads. Now I’m keeping company with Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub and The Land of Fruit and Nuts and some anarchists and an angry guy from Zimbabwe.

Comment from Gnus
Time: June 22, 2007, 9:00 am

Ya know, how could you live in Zimbabwe and not be pissed?

“Mgulu, run gather some locusts and grubs to sprinkle on the gruel while I finish up the blood smoothies.”

No pizza delivery, no Wendys… never mind no Publix or Walmart. that’d piss me off.

Comment from Dave in Texas
Time: June 22, 2007, 9:02 am

Don’t forget to get your VAT back before you leave.

By the way, today I decided not to act like an ungrateful asshole and added you to my blogroll. Nobody reads it so it doesn’t mean shit, but I feel better about myself.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 22, 2007, 9:05 am

I thought that might be an interesting blog to keep an eye on, Gnus. Then I realized who he was mostly pissed at. Us.

If I’m going to continue to be the cause of all the problems in the world, I want overtime pay.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 22, 2007, 9:08 am

Shucks, Dave. It’s an honor.

I’m very behind dealing with my blogroll. I read lots that aren’t on it. Thing is, I keep mine as a separate .php file, so I can’t edit it at work with the WordPress editor. And when I get home, I drink.

Anyhow, I never check to see if my links are reciprocated. It’s a reading list, not a game of tag.

Comment from Brandon
Time: June 22, 2007, 9:55 am

You can rent a Yurt at our local camp-ground for only $35 a night. It is just like being a Turkish nomad (except for the power, ceiling fan, futon, cement floor and grill) – http://www.pr.state.az.us/Parks/parkhtml/lyman_cabins_yurts.html . So, in all likelihood a few people in my neck of the woods are not huge Surface fans. That said – it reminds me of the Pac-Man tables.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 22, 2007, 10:19 am

Fixed your link (put a space before the period — I didn’t realize it would automatically linkify a URL like that).

I saw a really beautiful yurt in a museum once. The walls, ceiling and floor were all hung with oriental carpets and it was filled with ornately carved boxes and brocaded cushions. Real Thousand and One Nights kind of thing. But a yurt.

I thought it looked appealing, but I worried about someone stabbing me through the walls. Which is incredibly dumb — who am I, Genghis Khan all of a sudden?

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: June 22, 2007, 11:38 am

I for one welcome our new Mongolian Weasel overlord! It is Friday after all.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: June 22, 2007, 12:36 pm

A thousand years life to the conquering hun!

Comment from Lokki
Time: June 22, 2007, 2:04 pm

I learned the hard way, some years ago that the Japanese word for Mutton is Ghengis Khan. My friend and I were at the Sapporo beer garden where it was all you could eat and drink for 2 hours for roughly $20.

We’d eached downed a couple of quick liters of beer on the theory that we’d eventually get thrown out anyhow and that we’d better get our money’s worth early.

Then waiter came over and fired up the grill on the table and asked us (in his best Engrish) You want Ghengis Khan?

I smiled politely and said, “Hell, I didn’t even know he was in town”.

The waiter didn’t get it.

Comment from whitishrabbit
Time: June 22, 2007, 3:24 pm

So are we going to be zombies or what? I wonder if you can get your search queries to come in as short-buses.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 22, 2007, 3:49 pm

Nah. I was tempted until I looked into it. It’s not a software package, it’s a monthly subscription. Too much for a cheap sight gag.

The Japanese eat mutton?! I never realized. I associate it with Victorian Englishmen. And bloody axe murder (they had cold mutton for breakfast in Fall River on the morning “Lizzie Borden took an axe…”).

The plot sickens! I have this theory that somewhere in the world (I assumed it was in the UK) there rots a giant mountain of mutton. The parts of Britain I’ve seen are covered in sheep, but nobody eats mutton. They eat lamb, but really not all that much. I know wool is what they’re for, but does the world really need THAT many woolly jumpers?

Do the Aussies eat mutton?

Comment from whitishrabbit/amuirin
Time: June 22, 2007, 4:18 pm

Speaking of mutton… (how often do you get to say that in the ordinary world?) there’s a movie opening today, at least on the East Coast called ‘Black Sheep’.

This film, a product of New Zealand features flesh-eating zombie sheep. The woolly ruminants terrify the countryside and eat people. Isn’t that great? Who wouldn’t wanna see a movie like that.


Comment from Elizabeth Borden
Time: June 22, 2007, 4:18 pm

Oh, not this again. Look, we had a trial and everything – what part of “Not guilty” do you not understand? Helloooooo?

Oh, and it’s Elizabeth to you thankyouverymuch.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 22, 2007, 4:53 pm

Oh fine, O.J. Borden.

It was Lizzie, you know. That pissed her off. She changed it to Lizbeth, which is the name she’s buried under. The real hoot is her middle name. Hint: I named a tomcat after her.

Oh, shit, I don’t know why anyone teases stuff in the age of wikipedia. It takes, like, two seconds to look it up. It was “Andrew.” Her dad wanted a son.

So many, many reasons to “take an axe…”

Comment from Lokki
Time: June 22, 2007, 5:18 pm

The Japanese eat mutton only in the sense that they’ll eat damn near anything. I’ve eaten raw horse, raw whale, cooked sparrows, and Squid-on-a-Stick™. I’ve eaten little fish as sashimi so fresh that their tiny mouths were still moving (they put the the fillets back on the fish to serve it). I’ve eaten ‘dancing shrimp’ which is a live shrimp placed on a hot grill.

But mutton – not so much.
Least of all flesh-eating zombie sheep.

And my little, late contribution to the Lizzie Borden story.

A poem from my childhood:

Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her father forty whacks
When her mother cried at what Lizzie’d done
Lizze gave her mother forty-one.

For some reason I knew this long before I had any idea who Lizzie Borden was. For a long time I had her mixed up with the Borden cow, whose name is Elsie. I could never understand why such a contented cow would do such a thing.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: June 22, 2007, 5:25 pm

I heard it as:
“Lizzie Borden with an axe
Gave her father forty wacks.
And when she saw what she had done,
She gave her mother forty-one.”

Scans better, and has that sing-songy authenticity of a kids’ jump-rope rhyme.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 22, 2007, 5:35 pm

Then there’s the Hitchcock movie version (from flakey memory):

“Lizzie Borden TOOK an axe
Gave her HUSBAND forty wacks.
_ when she saw what HE had done,
She gave HIS GIRLFRIEND forty-one.”

Comment from Dawn
Time: June 22, 2007, 5:36 pm

My daughters name is Ireland Michael, named after her grandfather. I hadn’t thought of all the implications of giving her a male middle name. I just wanted to beat the other kids to the name.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 22, 2007, 5:46 pm

JW’s version is the one I grew up with, but it was “took an axe.”

I have read that the original had mother/father the other way around, and it was “then she stood behind the door and gave her father forty more.” That explains the inexplicable (if you look at photos of the room) — how she could do something like that and not get blood all over her. The Elizabeth Montgomery version, as everyone who has seen it will recall, had Lizzie stripping nude before whacking her dad — which was about as salacious as made-for-tv gets. Naked axe murderess!

Actual blows were 13 and 7, stepmother first. With an hour or more between. That is hugely significant for inheritance purposes. If Andrew goes first, the loot goes to Abbey and hence to Abbey’s family (not Lizzie and Emma). Had to be the other way around, and it had to be long enough between to be detectable by late Nineteenth C medical science.

Borden was very rich and very tightfisted, though not so rich by family standards. It really is the Elsie the Cow Bordens. Very powerful family hereabouts.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 22, 2007, 5:52 pm

Oh, yeah, Hitchcocks was modified from the original to fit the movie plot – no doubt about that. I never heard your version about the door.

I do remember reading that there were serious (mostly $) issues between the family members – so much so that they actually lived in separate areas of the house.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 22, 2007, 5:56 pm

It’s a B&B now. I’ve checked out the outside of the house, but never took the tour. I keep meaning to; I’m not far away.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: June 22, 2007, 6:09 pm

I always regretted not taking the Jack the Ripper tour when my wife and I were in London a few years ago. Having been a (not-very-successful) horror writer once, and a huge horror fan to this day, I had a responsibility, perhaps even a duty, to go. And yet….

I did consider stabbing a few hookers while I was there, you know, to show some kind of solidarity with Jack or some such, but the wife made me go with her to Harrod’s, instead.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 22, 2007, 7:09 pm

I think you would’ve been disappointed by the Ripper tour. I haven’t taken it, but the East Side was heavily, heavily damaged in the Blitz. None of the sites are left, really. They could walk you around to the places that the places used to be, but that’s about it.

I used to be a huge consumer of True Crime. I navigate my way around Britain via famous murder cases. The Luton Sack Murder. The Eastbourne Bungalow Murder. The Brighton Trunk Murder. As long as someone was cruelly murdered there, I’m not lost.

I bought the biggest artichoke I’ve ever seen in my life at Harrod’s.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: June 22, 2007, 9:13 pm

Well, glad I didn’t go, then. I kind of figured it was not going to live up to the hype. Besides, I learned the true meaning of horror when–out of curiosity–I ordered buttered kippers for breakfast the next morning. Jack the Ripper may be long gone, but his sadistic spirit lives on in British cuisine.

And yes, Harrod’s truly is an endless marvel, and I was so fascinated that I barely had time to regret not stabbing those hookers.

Comment from Dave in Texas
Time: June 28, 2007, 4:49 pm

yeah, but I read yours weasel so it was the right thing to do

Comment from tihopilik
Time: July 8, 2007, 4:57 pm


I can’t be bothered with anything these days, but shrug. I just don’t have anything to say recently.


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