Brie: It's What's For Breakfast

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Tragedy in Pole Dancing Class


I was just about to leave my office for the evening and head to the Twisted Wench Daiquiri Lounge for an evening libation when I heard their voices.

“I can’t believe you did that to me!”

“I didn’t do anything to you. You did it yourself!”

“Ladies, please,” a male voice interjected. “Wench won’t like it if you are screaming at each other. Let’s just talk to her about the situation.”

Agincourt? Sir Agincourt Finsbury-Pikestaff? Was that the voice of my trusted, loyal operator of the Satellite Virgin Training Academy on the Moon? I wasn’t expecting him, and it seemed he was bringing a problem to me. Usually his assistant, Teri the Boopster, handled routine matters. This must be serious!

I opened the door to my office just as they approached. Yes, there was Agincourt. I couldn’t help but smile to see him. He’s my brother, you understand, and I adore him even if he does quaff a few too many pints now and again.

“Agi!” I exclaimed, holding my arms out for the requisite hug. Instead of the big squeeze he normally gives me, he stopped and gave me an exasperated look. I was startled, to say the least. “What seems to be the problem?” I asked, eyeing the two trainees accompanying him.

One, a tall, slim blonde, clearly had been wearing her long hair in a ponytail. That ponytail no longer looked very neat, though. It certainly wasn’t a look we encouraged out Virgins to display. Great hanks of hair stuck out at odd angles from her head, and red streaks that looked for all the world like claw marks decorated one of her cheeks.

The other, a small brunette, had high color in her cheeks and a bloody nose. A bruise on one of her upper arms was darkening before my eyes.

Agincourt was talking.

“It seems that there was a bit of an accident during the zero-G pole dance exercise,” Agincourt began. He was clearly upset and more than a bit aggravated with his two charges.

Before he could continue the brunette interrupted. “Accident! It was no accident! She pushed me!”

“I was spotting you, not pushing you!” retorted the blonde.

“Ladies, it seems we might need to calm down before we discuss it further.” One thing I had learned in my year of operating the Virgin Training School was that angry Virgins needed to be coddled and soothed. Only after tempers cooled would I be able to make sense of the situation.

I led them into my office. They were grumbling and snarling at each other. I sighed. My daiquiri and the Twisted Wench were looking like a fond dream at this point.

“Wenchy, dear, I am so very sorry to bring this situation to you,” Agincourt said as I brewed a tisane loaded with herbs of comfort and calming properties.

“Hand me that small box of valerian root?” I asked Agincourt. He passed it to me. As I added a large dose of it to the mixture, he started to tell me about the situation.

“Not yet,” I said. Let’s give the girls some tea and let’s us have something a little stronger, shall we?”

He grinned at me. “You know me well,” he chuckled. I was glad he could smile. I was beginning to wonder if this dispute wasn’t taking its toll on him. I poured us both a healthy serving of a lovely, smooth Irish Cream. We took our first sips as the kettle whistled. I poured the water over my herbal recipe and carried the pot to the conversation area of my office. One trainee sat on each sofa, glowering at the other across the gorgeous marquetry inlay of my antique Italian coffee table.

Agincourt again began to speak, but I shushed him. I poured the herbal concoction for the trainees, setting one cup before each of them.

“Drink,” I ordered.

I had them empty one cup and start on another before I let them speak. The silence was difficult at first, but finally the warm drink and its herbal contents did the trick and the two young women began to calm down. I could tell by their slower breathing and the way they sipped slowly at their second cups that my concoction was working.

“Now,” I said. “I would like to hear first from Sir Agincourt. After he tells what he understands the situation to be, you each will have a chance to add to his explanation or correct it as you see fit.” The trainees nodded.

Agincourt cleared his throat. “As you know, the trainees practice the pole dance in zero-G on the Moon. Cyndi has appointed several of the more advanced trainees as assistant instructors.”

“That’s me,” the blonde broke in.

I shot her a warning look. “Sir Agi first, then you will have a chance,” I murmured. She settled back into her plushly upholstered cushions.

“Yes, well, erm…” Agincourt took another sip of his Irish Cream. Finding a bit of determination from somewhere within his glass, he continued. “After demonstrating the move she was teaching, the assistant instructor allowed the student trainee to attempt the move. Unfortunately, the trainee wasn’t quite properly balanced …”

“I was perfectly balanced! She pushed me!” the brunette declared hotly.

“I most certainly did not,” the blonde assistant stated emphatically. “I was spotting you and attempting to adjust your balance and you fell.”

“I fell, all right! I fell right on my nose. If it swells up and no one will offer camels for me, all this training will be for nothing!” She glared across the table at her erstwhile instructor.

“Unfortunately,” Agincourt continued, “After the fall I’m afraid the two got into a bit of a fight.”

I shook my head in disbelief, wondering if “Deportment” would be yet another class we would have to add to the curriculum.

“Why in the world would a fight have ensued?” I asked. I looked at the petite brunette, who I expect swung the first claw.

“Because she pushed me!”

“I did not!”

“Ladies, ladies. Please. Agincourt, were there any witnesses?”

My gallant brother looked uncomfortable. “Well, erm, yes.”

I waited.

“I was filming the class at the time. I was the one who separated them, and then, of course, got them down here to the school for you to deal with as Head Mistress. Have you any Guinness?”

The subject change was meant to distract me from the fact that a male had been watching my Virgins in training. It was meant to distract me from the fact that my brother had been watching them.

“Oh, Agi, what will I do with you?” I sighed. Both Virgins had fallen asleep by this time. Good. The valerian root worked.

Agi and I watched the video. Here it is. Tell me if you believe the trainee was pushed, or if she fell. Then, in the comments, tell me what I should do about Agi, and recommend to me suitable disciplinary measures for the fighting Virgins.

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November 5, 2007 Posted by | Creative Writing, Fiction, Humor, Virgin Training School, Writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yahoo 360… Again


Two of our Yahoo 360 bloggers have managed to get through on the telephone to Matt Warburton, the Yahoo Community Manager who announced on the Yahoo 360 Team Blog that the service would “transition.” Although they didn’t get more detail from Warburton, the sense I get from the reports of their conversations is that Yahoo really has no idea what direction a blogging or social networking site will take, or even if they will retain the services as part of their suite.

This is not good news for us. It means that Yahoo is committed to shutting down Yahoo 360, but that the company has no plan, as yet, for what it will do next.

Our blogging colleague Mr. E spoke with Warburton, and apparently talked in detail about what went wrong with Yahoo 360. Warburton mentioned the plan for a universal profile, the same thing referred to in the Yahoo Team blog and in Jerry Yang’s blog. Jerry Yang is Yahoo’s CEO. (Instead of blogging on Yahoo 360, he maintains the official Yahoo blog on WordPress.com. How’s that for confidence in and support of one’s own product?) Mr. E pointed out that Yahoo 360 was supposed to have been the universal profile, and hence the name “Yahoo! 360.” Warburton, who only came on board with the company in April, was unaware of this.

Mr. E got information out of Warburton that I felt was significant. He said that there would be a transition to another blogging platform within Yahoo and possibly tools to export a 360 blog to third party providers.

Tools to export blogs to other sites is definitely good news for those of us with a lot of blogs. There are some who have 600 or more blogs. Moving them one by one to another site would be horrific. However, moving the blogs with comments intact is another issue entirely.

Many of us want to be sure to preserve the comments. Lively debate, story lines, and just plain old conversation took place in the comments to our blogs, and we want to preserve that as well. Some of us regularly get in excess of 50 comments on posts. Losing the discussions that take place in the comments is almost worse than losing the blog itself – that’s where things often get heated and interesting.

When our blogging colleague Carl spoke with him, Warburton made it clear that there was no question but that Yahoo 360 was closing. There is apparently no plea, no argument, nothing that can persuade Yahoo not to close 360.

Carl concludes that Yahoo may realize that the manner in which they announced 360’s demise was not handled as well as it might have been. Apparently they are well aware of the displeasure among 360 users. A check of the 1100+ comments to the Yahoo Team Blog clearly indicates cries of outrage, grief, and outright panic by 360 users, so if the team reads the comments they certainly should be aware of it. We, the customers and users of the Yahoo product, the people Yahoo’s advertisers want to reach, are in the dark.

The situation is frustrating. It is difficult. Yahoo has blown it. Yahoo’s disorganization, and yes, its lack of a plan to fulfill the vision outlined in Jerry Yang’s Yodel Anecdotal blog post October 16, affects us all in a negative way. Change is hard enough without the change being to the complete unknown and unknowable.

I’ve been advocating that we stay put, maintain our social network here in Yahoo 360, and wait to see what Yahoo rolls out next. I’m still of half a mind to do that. With every new dribble of information, though, I’m more and more inclined to throw in the towel.

I take that back. If I’m to hitchhike out of here, I need my towel. I’m going to Multiply.com. I don’t need a babelfish to understand the platform, and it offers everything 360 does and even includes some of the features we’ve asked Yahoo to provide.

I’m going to be in both places for the foreseeable future. The foreseeable future isn’t very far away, since Yahoo plans to close 360 by early 2008. Until then, though, I will stay here. I will blog here. I will also be on Multiply and WordPress, and I may get active again on my Blogger.com account, just because I like Google products.

I encourage everyone on my friends list to follow me to Multiply.com. As of today, about a third of you already have. I hope to see the rest soon. I want us to be able to stay together.

Tomorrow, I promise, I won’t post more of this news. Tomorrow, Wench’s Virgin Training School has news of its own to announce….

October 20, 2007 Posted by | News, Virgin Training School, Yahoo 360 | , , | 5 Comments