Maybe Iâ€™m being paranoid. Maybe Iâ€™m looking for dissention and therefore I find it. Maybe Iâ€™m mistaking good intentions for bad. Maybe Iâ€™m just crazy.
I thought about leaving it at that and letting you all fill in the blanks, but I realize not everyone has the same amount of time on their hands to devote to overindulgence in their own imagination, so perhaps itâ€™s just wiser if I let you in on my ponderings.
No matter where you go in life there will always be someone who is unhappy with something. This is normal. In fact, if there wasnâ€™t someone somewhere complaining about something, I would highly suspect that I am dead and immediately check the pavement for flecks of gold. Complaining doesnâ€™t really bother me, I am a natural complainer. Iâ€™m down right annoying in fact. I start a sentence at least once a day with, â€œDâ€™yaknow what I hate?â€ (Canadianâ€™s are bad for running their words together irl) or I say, â€œWhen I rule the worldâ€¦â€ and then I go on to say what will be different because I will change it because itâ€™s dumb the way it is now. So, I understand the complainers. This is in a sense the pot calling the kettle black.
But this pot is a little frustrated with the complaining. For every complaint I see happening in the chat room, Iâ€™m aware there are probably five more just like it floating around on MSN or in email because a complainer is not happy unless they are complaining to as many people as possible. This is what bothers me. Venting happens â€“ I know that, Iâ€™m not a moron. I vent frequently. But venting often has the danger of becoming gossip or malicious complaining when itâ€™s done in the wrong company in the wrong location. Which is what Iâ€™ve noticed a lot of.
For exampleâ€¦after the awards were given out in August, there were several people who were unhappy with their award, or with someone elseâ€™s award. Some people thought they deserved something more, some thought they deserved something less, some people thought someone else deserved something different than they received. A day didnâ€™t go by that I didnâ€™t see someone viciously tearing apart the award decisions. Those people clearly stated for the chat room occupants how they would have done things and how unhappy they were with the outcome. Whatâ€™s really awesome though is not one of those people took me or Hobbie up on the offer to ask â€œwhy.â€ Especially since we are clearly not above changing the awards after they were given, seeing how we did just that for a deserving team!
That frustrates the hell out of me. You know, whenever I received an award I didnâ€™t think I deserved, I sent an email and asked why it had been given. I received answers. I was given the chance to debate or disagree. When people are given the opportunity to have their concerns addressed but instead they choose to spread malcontent in the chat room, how the hell are we supposed to take them seriously? How can we trust the integrity of their opinions when theyâ€™d rather cut us down than confront us?
I really think that Iâ€™ve proven my own integrity and intentions within OTF. I canâ€™t help but take it personally when people I consider friends would rather complain about decisions I had a part in than come to me so we can hash it out. I hope those people can get over themselves so we can look toward a stronger community. That is ultimately what I am seeking for OTF.
Now I have come to realize that there are some patrons who will always find something to complain about because if they are not tearing down others, they are not happy. Being constructive has not occurred to these people because that would mean giving another human being respect, which would require a selfless act. My question to the malcontent; what is your motivation behind your chat room complaining? Is it to better OTF? Or to serve your own selfish needs?
If this pisses you off, good! Email me about it. If you donâ€™t, then you proved my point. HA!
Iâ€™m just a figment of your imagination,
Well this fall mostly the TL's were involved in the Halloween festivities. A big kudos there to Ohm and Soka who contributed the most on that front! Thanks guys!
Upcoming is Christmas, and it's been left up to the TL's discretion what their individual teams would like to contribute for the holiday. If you aren't on a team but you have some ideas, please happily contact myself or Hobbie.
Also on that note, if you have an idea for a team, or would like to lead a team, or join a team, please come to us! We're looking for fresh blood.
As for myself, Hal, Iain and Hobbie, we're still here. HA. Thought you got rid of us, didn't you. In all seriousness, Iain is in the throes of wedding planning while doing my bidding when I ask, Hal's been having a ton of computer trouble plus there's this rumor going around that he's married and going to school, but I think that's just propoganda, and as for me, well I just blame Hobbie.
Iâ€™m just a figment of your imagination,
BR: Thanks for sitting down with me today Soka.
Soka: Not like I had much of a choice, did I?
BR: Of course you did, but I am glad you decided to meet up. Letâ€™s get started shall we?
Soka: Yub yub!
BR: So what exactly does the Avatars Team do?
Soka: Basically, we take care of the Avatars that are available in the chatroom(s).
At the moment, with OTF expanding into a wider area, that means coming up with lots of new avatars, deciding which of them actually will be added and then adding them.
But it also includes looking over the existing avatars. Many of them are not too good; the most common problem is that they are blurred. Some of the existing ones already have been improved - although probably hardly anyone noticed.
In the direct comparison when you have both old and new avatar the improvement is clearly visible, but without that comparison ... well, humans tend to fill the blanks, when you know the character you see it clearer than it is. As my own look at avatar-quality only got sharpened when I was offered this job, I don't expect everyone else to see it.
Another thing we plan to do is remove old avatars which never have been used. The selection-dropdown already is so long that I doubt anyone really has looked through all the avatars that are up for choice; imagine how it will be with new topics added.
BR: How does one lead a team to do such things?
Soka: Good question, would you care to answer it? I try to have people work on series/movies they like or at least know, because in my opinion that is essential for making good avatars. They know which characters need to be included, which pictures of them are good or bad and so on. And, of course, it is more fun to work on avatars of something you like than something you don't know or even dislike/hate.
BR: What projects do you have on the books right now? Any special genres or shows going to make a debut soon?
Soka: If you check out the Avatar Display System you can see that there have been avatars added, Heroes and Stargate Atlantis most obvious. Less obvious is that avatars have been added to existing Playground-categories.
BR: So why aren't they available on the login yet?
Soka: Because every time we make more avatars available in the dropdown everyone's Login-cookie gets broken.
I hope that the first few new avatars will be available when we switch back from the Halloween-selection to the regular ones. However, not all technical questions have been answered, so I can't even promise SG-A to get added when Halloween is over.
Also, not only creating, adding Avatars to the system too is a slow and exhausting process.
BR: How does one make a good Avatar?
Soka: To answer this question I'd first have to define what (in my opinion) a good avatar is... it's quite simple actually: A good avatar is an avatar someone might want to use.
Usually that means the character in it is easily recognizable (if you know the character, otherwise it's hard to recognize someone either way) - which in turn means the selection of borders including at least the face (exceptions like zoom-in-s on eyes exist) and whatever is in that avatar is clearly visible, not blurred.
The hardest part often is finding a good picture of the character or thing you want to make an avatar of. Then you have to decide which part of the picture to drag the selection over, trying to make it the correct size already. You then have to shrink it to avatar-size and control if it fits - if not, correct it. Once you have the size, you usually have to sharpen it a bit, in most cases you are done and only have to save it now. In some cases however, when the original picture was extremely dark or bright, you might have to play around with a few other settings to get the ideal result.
BR: Have you had any odd requests yet?
Soka: Nothing jumps to my mind, so nothing can have been really really odd so far. People keep requesting Crime-Series avatars though, although it has been mentioned multiple times that OTF is supposed to remain SF/FY orientated.
BR: Whatâ€™s your guilty pleasure?
Soka: If you mean Avatars-related ... I've managed not to give in to that temptation so far. Although it is not easy. Trust me. Must ... not ... give... in.
BR: What is it like to work with Majin Kaze?
Soka: Ask someone else ... I've forgotten how it is to work with him not in the team by now. We were together in the Senate, I've been his ATL in Trivia for 1, 5 years and now he also joined Avatars.
BR: If you could tell OTF one thing about your team what would it be?
Soka: uhm ... well ... we enjoy hanging out in Chalmun's Cantina. As long as Jabba's employees aren't around.
BR: Do you need help? How can one join up? Go ahead and plug your team.
Soka: Of course we need help, and you do not even have to really join us if you don't want to.
You also can contact me and ask if you can help out with making avatars for [enter what you would like]. The only limit here is that it has to be Science Fiction or Fantasy, as that is the border within which OTF is going to remain.
We are always open for requests of topics or even specific avatars, whether you only give us a character name of a topic already in the database, a specific picture you would like an avatar made from, or even have made an avatar yourself which you would like to be added to the system, just email the Avatars-TL (currently me) at firstname.lastname@example.org - I can't promise that it will be added, but what I can promise is that it will be seriously considered.
But not only this, there is another so far secret plan we have to give people the opportunity to contribute to the avatar selection.
BR: Anything else to add?
Soka: I'd like to point out the answer to the previous question again, it is meant seriously - any kind of help will be appreciated, whether you actually join the team or just work freelance.
What we make here is not just for a few people, but for everyone who logs into OTF. And the vast majority of people have no choice but to choose one of the available avatars, so the quality of these avatars concerns everyone.
BR: Again Soka, thanks for taking some time to sit down with me and let everyone know what you're up to.
Soka: I have to thank, Avatars still is a young team and not very well-known. I hope this interview in the widely popular Blue Report helps to change that :)
Everytime my girlfriend helps me out with putting on a tie it's like she's trying to kill me! What should I do?
Clip ons my friend... clip ons... OR... LEARN HOW TO TIE A TIE YOURSELF! =P =P
OTFers as inanimate objects. Self explanitory I think.
91. INT. DEATH STAR - CONFERENCE ROOM - CUCUMBER SANDWICH BAR OPEN
An Imperial Officer stands before Governor Texan and the evil Dark Lord Iain Vader. In one shaking hand he clutches the short straw and a Garibaldi biscuit.
TEXAN Yes, oh, someone brew a new pot please, this last one went cold.
OFFICER SHORT STRAW Our scout ships have reached Dantooiooine. They found the remains of a Rebel base and a small branch of Starbuck's, but they estimate that it has been deserted for some time, not sure about the base though. They are now conducting an extensive search of the surrounding systems for any other overly ridiculous coffee houses.
TEXAN Good, good. Those blasted shops know nothing of the fine art of tea and bicsuits... or small cake and sandwiches. I will stamp them all out! *pause* I mean... she lied! She lied to us! What a liar, her parents should be ashamed! Who are her parents again?
VADER I told you she would never consciously betray the Rebellion, though that implies we should knock her out... which would mean she can't tell us anything... I should shut up now.
TEXAN Terminate her...immediately! And send for eclairs! I want eclairs and proper sugar cubes!
92. EXT. HYPERACTIVESPACE.
The pirateship is just coming out of hyperspace; a strange surreal light show surrounds the ship, someone left the bathroom light on again.
93. INT. MILLENNIUM FALCON - COCKPIT.
HOBBIE Stand by, Kyppy, here we go. Cut in the sublight engines and don't just slam your foot on the brakes again, I have a 1000 piece jigsaw on the go and if it slides off the table so help me I'll shave you a reverse mohawk.
Hobbie pulls back on a control lever marked 'check your blindspot before exiting hyperspace'. Outside the cockpit window stars begin streaking past, seem to decrease in speed, then stop. Hobbie grins, pleased that his jigsaw is safe for another trip. Suddenly the starship begins to shudder and violently shake about. Asteroids begin to race toward them, battering the sides of the ship. From down the hall comes the sound of clattering as the blue bits of the sky, always the most difficult part of the picture, tumble to the floor.
HOBBIE What the...that took me all night and I had to do one piece at a time! We've come out of hyperspace into a meteor shower. Some kind of asteroid collision. It's not on any of the charts, did you type the wrong destination into the sat nav again? I knew we shouldn't have bought from Galactic Ebay.
The Wookiee flips off several controls and seems very cool in the emergency thanks in part to holding the key to the only workable escape pod. Osiris makes his way into the bouncing cockpit, smacking his head on the doorframe as the dropping ship launches him two feet into the air.
OSIRIS Ow! I should have left the helmet on. What's going on? Aside from my need for stitches?
HOBBIE Our position is correct, except...no Alderaanduran!
OSIRIS What do you mean? Where is it? Did you enter the correct destination into the sat nav?
HOBBIE Of course I did... at least I'm sure Kyppy... look, shut up okay. I'm trying to tell you something, kid. It ain't there. It's been totally blown away, which is a large leap considering I just said we were flying into a meteor shower.
OSIRIS What? How? Who? Where? How many? What's the first word that comes into your head when I say 'Celine Dion'?
Ma-jin moves into the cockpit behind Osiris as the ship begins to settle down. Unlike Osiris, he wasn't about to Riverdance his way through the juddering vessel.
MA-JIN Destroyed...by the Empire! *melodramatic pause* I guess. Unless you entered the wrong destination in the-
HOBBIE Stop with the freakin' sat nav! Look, the entire starfleet couldn't destroy the whole planet, so why are we saying the place was blown away... are we nuts? For example, it'd take a thousand ships with more fire power than I've...
A signal starts flashing on the control panel and a muffled alarm starts humming, it's not the sat nav.
HOBBIE There's another ship coming in. See, it's not just me who can't program from a drop down menu.
OSIRIS Maybe they know what happened, shall I wave at them out of the window?
MA-JIN It's an Imperial fighter, I can hear it screaming in space.
KypDbacca barks in concern and rummages for the escape pod key as unobtrusively as possible. A huge explosion bursts outside the cockpit window, shaking the ship violently and sending the edge pieces of the jigsaw onto the floor. A tiny, finned Imperial TIE fighter races past the cockpit window with a sound like cats on a blackboard. A bumper sticker on the back reads 'my other fighter is a Star Destroyer'.
OSIRIS It followed us! Darn tailgaters.
MA-JIN No. It's a short range fighter. Look how tiny and wee it is.
HOBBIE There aren't any bases around here. Where did it come from? Kyppy, did you forget to switch off the tractor beam?
Howdy! The Blue Report is currently accepting applications! If you have a specific article idea you would like to encorperate, please email me! Also, we are currently looking for persons intersted in a leadership position within the Blue Report team. If you're interested, again email me or Hobbie about it.
Iâ€™m just a figment of your imagination,