I ordered my first BPAL stuff the other night! Go, me. I know it will take a long time to get them, but I'm excited nonetheless. I ordered the Purple Phoenix LE (which I keep wanting to call Purple Passion) just because it sounds nice, and even though I may hate it and I have no idea what most of the scents will be like (talk about going in blind!), the cool thing about this is that I can pass it along to someone else if it doesn't work. I ordered six imps, most of them from the Love Potions category, I think, just because I picked it at random and it had a lot that sounded good. And in the meantime while I wait, I have a nearly full bottle of my beloved frankincense and myrrh perfume oil that I bought at Barney's NY last year that's heinously expensive but comes in the most beautiful Moroccan perfume bottle, something I'm always on the lookout for. (Seriously, if you ever stumble on some Moroccan style bottles at a flea market or whatever, I will totally reiumburse you for picking them up.)
But now to my crankness. See, those of you who know me more recently think I am nice. Ha! Little do you know that I am considered by many people from olden times as the Great Fannish Crank. I'm always kvetching and pointing out flaws, and griping, and telling people why they're stupid, etc. I got a lot better a while ago, but there are still people who stay far away from me.
And I'm feeling like a crank about... imeem. Oh come one, like you couldn't have guessed! astolat sent me an invitation, so I thought, okay, I'll look at it, at least (before the invite, I really didn't have any intention of looking at it because I hate streaming media), but I accidentally started an account (my mistake for not looking closer!), and so I just figured I'd make a placeholder page -- like the fifty other blog things I have that I don't use but jumped into the great fannish landgrab over. And I think that's the first two things right there that I'm not completely sold on -- 1) I hate streaming media, because it's small, it still looks like ass (better ass is still ass), and it stutters and can't handle transitions or fast edits, and 2) as fans we are always very lemming-like, and sometimes I wish that we weren't. Some things I've taken a long time to get on the bandwagon with, but lately I've been jumping up a lot, and I'm not always sure why other than that I don't want my friends to leave me behind.
And I'm not sure that's a good justification for this. I still believe, no matter how much people want to make us out and proud, that fan vidders in live action are playing a game of chicken here. For some, maybe a C&D letter or demand for reparations, or losing your web space, or getting hit with a lot of threatening TOS violations, isn't scary. But it is to me. And this "the boys do it so why don't we wonderful women" thing kind of gets my goat, too -- it sets up something I saw a lot of before VVC this year, a kind of you're either in the closet hiding like a girl or you're a real adult and putting your vids out where you could get slapped legally.
See, I don't think it comes down to that, and I hate the conversation becoming about Brave, Liberated Female Vidders vs. lame, pathetic, closeted losers or something, and this concerns me a lot. I don't think we're doing anyone any favors when we present it like that, and even if the intention isn't bad, the practice is -- I've seen it dicussed this way a lot, and it makes me... cranky. And I don't believe competing with the vidboys (whether it's machinima or AMV or what have you) makes us any better, either. If people want to get things more out there, mainstream them more, that's certainy their choice. But I dislike intensely that increasingly, the choice is being delivered as a "if you mainstream your vids, you're cool; if you don't, you're lame and a coward." I would hate to see this belief take over my corner of vidding fandom.
And so I'm not sure what we gain with imeem. I feel as if we're taking a huge step backward -- we've gone to a lot of trouble to find and use new codecs that will allow us to present our vids in lovely big sizes, with flawless compressions, etc. And now we're moving far backward by streaming them in a small window with herky jerky quality that can't handle fast cuts and lots of effects. I'm not impressed with it visually, and since I have only a regular DSL line, I have to stop the file every single time I click on anything -- to comment, to add to a playlist, to view comments, or it just stutters and barfs. To view a vid, I have to just wait for it to load, and I'm not sure I see how that's a value over DLing--takes the same amount of time and is just as much a blind date as before.
I find the interface incredibly confusing. It shows up so differently in FF for my mac, Safari on my Mac, and IE6 on my Windows laptop that it's like looking at different services. Half the time I have no real idea what I'm doing, and I can't stop the damn vid from playing every time I have to click through. I did like the fact that they notified me when my test vid loaded.
I don't know if this is what people are heading to, though. We're going back to small jittery vids, and let's face it, the kinds of people who watch streaming vids are never going to go DL your better quality vid at your site. So then, do we all do away with the expense of putting our vids up on a server, and just use this, till such time as Universal or Fox finds us and we get booted? I don't know. I'm just not seeing the value for people who are concerned about quality, etc.
My friend Michael pointed out that the only value he sees with those types of sites is that it's a clearinghouse to find things you might otherwise not. And I can see the value in that in some respects, but I also see the dangers -- us saying that the dangers will go away if we're out and proud seem naive at best to me, at least from my past experience. But I also don't see people using imeem as a clearinghouse and then going to your site to DL vids, leaving you feedback, etc. I put up my new BSG vid last night and this morning it said it had 13 views, but one comment. Being able to comment right away doesn't change anything -- people don't care, and they're still crappy. They're still never going to leave you feedback and you're still unlikely to ever get to know those people, to build community. So, are we gaining anything? I don't know. I don't know exactly what I think. mlyn was bitching at me for saying some of this stuff last night, but this is what I do -- I'm always looking for the missing emperor's clothes, or pointing out the cracks in cement, because I'm, you know, a crank.
But I'd be interested to hear what other people think or what their experience has been so far. (At least, if you can disagree or argue respectfully. I'm getting really tired of trying to be respectful to people while presenting my differing take on things, only to have them spit in my face or call me hostile names.) I mean, nothing's perfect (certainly not YouTube!), but what is it we're looking for besides herky-jerky playback and small windows that allow us instant access to vids? I am curious what others hope for.
And btw, my page there is gwyneth.imeem.com and the vid there right now is Battlestar Galactica, Digging in the Dirt