[This record was provided by Austin Dern]
Natasha steps up onto the stage and leans onto the podium. "Okay, gang!"
Natasha says, "Good evening, everybody! It's great to see you! I have to admit I'm impressed to see such a crowd here, and on such short notice, too."
Natasha says, "Anyway...those of you who know me might know my, um, reputation for being sarcastic...critical...even grouchy..."
Natasha says, "I know, I'm far from perfect. And I don't expect perfection from others. But I do think that there's always room for improvement. Spindizzy's had its ups and downs since the far-away days of 1998 and I think there's still quite a lot of life left in it."
Natasha says, "Once upon a time I was a chatty kinda layabout waste of electrons who never did much of note."
Natasha says, "Around 2004 I went on a sabbatical, trying different MUCKs here and there and everywhere...eventually, in August of 2006 I came back, feeling refreshed and renewed, and I like to think that in the three and a half years or so since then I've shown a decent amount of improvement in getting along with people and getting involved with things."
Natasha says, "And that's why I'm running for mayor, because there are some ways that I hope the MUCK and community can be improved on and I'd like to help make 'em happen."
Natasha says, "One of these is enthusiasm on the players' parts. Some players are shy...rarely say much more than 'Hi' and 'Bye'...rarely venture out of their bedrooms or apartments or the magical faraway lands of Private Room and Wants Privacy."
Natasha says, "The thing is...we're all in the same boat, here. We're all doing the same thing and taking the same risks. You gotta take risks to achieve anything."
Natasha says, "Since this is a social MUD with no global combat system, you can't really be 'hurt' unless you role-play it."
Natasha says, "And if you're worried about being mocked by one of those 'atrocity tourism' sites like Something Awful, or the Portal of Evil, or whatever...well! Negative reviews is just one of those risks of having an audience."
Natasha says, "What people somewhere else say about you doesn't change anything about who or what you are here. In fact, if SA somehow *did* find out about here, I'd welcome a goon rush as long as they vote for me. ;>-"
Natasha says, "You gotta be willing to put up with criticism. Some people seem to treat every critique like a personal attack, when it's not so. You have to be aware of yourself, what impression you make on others."
Natasha says, "You gotta be aware of what faults you have -- I know *I've* got *plenty* -- but more importantly, you gotta be willing to improve."
Natasha says, "And if you must have uncritical acceptance, well, there's always Deviant Art."
Natasha says, "The flipside of this is that you have to work on how you *give* criticism too. If someone doesn't want a critique, well! That's *their* problem, not *yours*. And if someone reacts especially badly, it might be best to back off for a while and let them cool down."
Natasha says, "And I'd also like to see folks push the envelope. Spindizzy's a pretty open-ended environment; anything is possible (though if you read the AUP you'll see it's not true that nothing is forbidden)."
Natasha says, "Epic space battles, flights of fantasy, comedy and drama and tragedy, light-hearted romance and hard-bitten adventure are all possible within Quodlibet's grid. If you can type words and actions, you can make them happen."
Natasha says, "Unlike Second Life, you don't need an up-to-date graphics card to play on Spindizzy. And unlike D&D, you don't need to fill out character sheets or memorize lots of tricky rules or roll dice. You just need skill and will."
Natasha says, "Skill being typing skill, the skill to think on your feet and react appropriately for a scene and the characters involved."
Natasha says, "Will being willingness to stick your neck out, take risks, try new things and experiment."
Natasha says, "The Spindizzy environment itself is basically just a backdrop that you can accept or ignore at will. It's the players who keep the MUCK going."
Natasha says, "About now you're probably thinking 'Hurry it up will ya!' Sorry, I'm going long."
Natasha says, "You're probably also thinking 'This is a very nice lecture and all, uplifting and inspiring and stuff, but what do YOU intend to do about it, Ms Smarty-Pants?'"
Mouser slithers into the tent, sniffing about.
Natasha says, "Well, if elected I would like to work on encouraging people to open up. If someone's being quiet, a few 'Hi!' and 'How are you?' and 'What've you been up to?' can't hurt."
Natasha says, "I'm willing to keep trying if someone keeps giving blunt uninformative answers like 'I'm okay.' or 'Nothin'.' Of course there's a line between nudging and annoying that I'd have to be sure not to cross."
Natasha says, "The goal here isn't RP as such, though I've been harping on role-playing; it's just to get people comfortable with talking and interacting with others."
Natasha says, "Another thing I'd like to try to do is nudge people who are behaving poorly into better behavior. I find that carrots -- compliments, encouragement, suggestions -- work better than sticks -- complaining, quoting rules, doing the Mary Worth thing and going 'IT'S WRONG!' Plus of course I wouldn't be in any position to enforce the rules anyway."
Natasha says, "I feel that the mayor is a representative of the MUCK population. I've been babbling about what Spindizzy means to me. If elected, I'd like to know what Spindizzy means to *you*."
Natasha says, "And of course the mayor is *not* a wizard, an admin, or even a helpstaffer. There's no real power in the position. I see it as more like the GOP's dreaded bogeyman, the Community Organizer. =>-"
Natasha says, "And I'd want to lead by example, too, and get people thinking and talking and doing, breaking the cycle of hug-cuddle-snuggle-repeat."
Natasha says, "I'd wish to participate in scenes and events and such when I can, and be a kind of sounding board for any kind of ideas and brainstorming and suggestions people have."
Natasha says, "Right. During the debate I mentioned some ideas about the web sites, since they're looking pretty old and creaky nowadays. I'd like to rattle off a few of the suggestions that've been thrown around. I can't guarantee that any of these are likely to be implemented, since it depends on what the server admin's willing to install and run, but I'm willing to give it the old college try..."
Natasha says, "First, the main site, spindizzy.org. Have you looked at it lately? I mean, *really* looked at it? It's not very useful to potential new players because all the information they might want (what MUDs are, what Spindizzy's setting is like, what the rules are, how to get a character and join) are scattered across a dozen different pages. And it's not very useful to current players either becuase most of the info on it is more easily accessible from within the game itself."
Natasha says, "So what I'd like to do is modernize and clean up the site, replace those old 'temporary' graphics and make it look a little less like it just barely escaped the burning wreckage of GeoCities."
Natasha says, "I'm afraid I haven't been as much up on that as I could be, but I went over a few potential layouts with my esteemed colleague Jimun and it looks promising."
BunnyHugger says, "I would suggest the incorporation of my calendars in it somewhere. They are embeddable."
Jimun nods, "Oh sure. If you can point me to the instructions for embedding, I'll see about including that into my design."
Jimun's current work already uses style-sheets, and fully agrees.
Natasha says, "I'd like to merge sections like 'What is Spindizzy?' and 'What makes Spindizzy special?' and the 'Spindizzy FAQ' into one concentrated overview. I'd like to put in text that better explains what MUDs are and why they're still worth playing in Anno Domini Two Thousand and Ten."
Natasha says, "Total pie in the sky stuff here, but: Another suggestion tossed around was adding in updated feeds for things like the '+read' and 'events'. And Hugger's calendars too, come to think of it."
Natasha says, "Now, as for the news site. One cosmetic change I'd like to do is to call it a news *site*, not a news*paper*, 'cause honestly who reads newspapers anymore? I sure don't. I get all my news from the web nowadays!"
Skully says, "Newspapers are almost as dead as I."
BunnyHugger says, "I like it being a newspaper because then I can role-play picking it up and read it and talk to people about the articles in it, whereas I don't have a computer embedded in my paw like Zeta, so I wouldn't be able to do that IC otherwise. >;)"
Natasha says, "I'd like to drop the weekly schedule. Obviously Argon (requiescat in pace) was having trouble keeping to the schedule for reasons beyond his control, but beyond that, I think that relaunching it as a weblog or other such site that can be updated whenever something new comes in would make it more valuable since people could check it whenever they like, instead of a strict 'It's another week -- here's another big chunk of stuff to read'."
Chitter nudges BunnyHugger.
Natasha says, "Now, most 'blog software has options to categorize and tag entries, so it wouldn't be too difficult to give links to, say, Gilead's latest puns column, or Patchy's latest comics column, whenever one comes in."
Elissa yaps, "Well, we have the LJ group... it can do RSS feeds."
Natasha smiles and nods to Elissa. "True -- of course, LJ also goes up and down like a tugboat on a stormy sea, so I wouldn't want to force anyone to use it."
Natasha says, "Anyway, this is all blue-sky type stuff, but those are some of the ideas I have for making the MUCK a little more enjoyable, a little more open and a little more appealing. Does anyone have anything they want to ask about?"
Elissa yaps, "Yes, what's the Meaning of Liff?"
Natasha says, "A Douglas Adams book I've been meaning to read but haven't yet, sad to say. Anything else?"
Valleyminks says, "When is the new season of Doctor Who starting?"
Natasha grins. "Last week. Anything else? Anything involving Spindizzy or my incredible hubris, maybe?"
Austin says, "Well, Natasha, you do make a good case for improving Spindizzy's ... call it the public-relations front. Is that the most important part of being mayor, as you see the task?"
Natasha says, "I can't really say what's *the* most important part, I'm afraid, since the position's still pretty new. I think that Spindizzy's strongest positive point will always be the MUCK itself and its players, yet it would help if we could point to a few well-written and -designed web pages and say, 'This is what Spindizzy's about, you can look at it at your leisure.' Without making it a blow-off, of course. Anyway Austin, I guess that was kind of vague but I'm willing to try different things to see what works. Anything else anyone wants to ask?"
Jimun says, "Miss Natasha, do you have any plans to address the current bat-unfriendly placement of Spindizzy's trees?"
Natasha says, "Jimun, the problem with making the trees more bat-friendly is that it also makes them less coati-friendly. It's a tricky balance to strike."
Jimun nods, "I fully agree with Natasha here. However the election turns out, I want to continue to offer my assistance in fixing up the website."
Natasha smiles. "Well! If that's all anyone can think of to ask, then *I* have some questions for all of *you*."
Natasha ducks down behind the podium...rustles around in it...then comes up again with some paint palettes. "Right! First question...who here has ever wanted to have their own set of cartoon paints to play around and make mischief with?"
Jimun grins, "Oh well. I wouldn't mind making mischief... but I suppose being a cartoon, I already can..."
Kenko says, "Jimun? Mischief? Jimun's way to polite for that....""
Austin says, "Oh, I've thought of it, time and again."
Kefan can make mischief without paints! :)
Lou vitvittervits at Beltrami and beats its tail to her shoulders.
Natasha hands Natasha for Mayor paint palette to Jimun.
Jimun says, "Aww! I can make mischief! I can! Really!"
Natasha hands Natasha for Mayor paint palette to Austin.
Gilead can devastate the place too!
Gilead holds out a paw!
Natasha hands Natasha for Mayor paint palette to Gilead.
Jimun goes to draw bunny ears on the nearest person. He turns to.... BunnyHugger? "Aww darn. She already has bunny ears."
Gilead paints a set of X-Ray Specs on himself. OB-)
Kenko says, "You fail at Mischief, Jimun.""
Kefan says, "Besides, my equine half is bay, not paint. :D"
Jimun pouts, "I need more lessons in catooniness."
Natasha says, "Hey, everybody can use a refresher. I've got a few of these to go through so if you'd still like one say something like 'Yes, a palette'. Now, would anyone like a stylish, comfortable, stain-resistant neckerchief like mine?"
Natasha grins and poses.
BunnyHugger says, "Cartoon paint sounds like something Chitter would disapprove of, so I'd have to pass."
Gilead paints a set in Chitter's paw when he looks the other way.
Natasha says, "Hugger...I approve of making Chitter disapprove."
Chitter says, "I thought you liked me."
Natasha hands Natasha for Mayor paint palette to BunnyHugger.
Jimun says, "Ooh! A neckerchief.... oh, but I already have a scarf on..."
Lou nudges Beltrami.
Natasha grins and winks at Chitter. "You can fight her for it, then."
Beltrami nods to Lou?
Kenko says, "I thought you were getting dinner."
Valleyminks asks for a palette.
Jimun says, "Oh right! Right! Back soon!"
Natasha hands Natasha for Mayor neckerchief to Jimun.
Gilead could use one for a pillow.
Jimun puts the neckerchief on under his scarf, "I guess that kinda works..." ^^
Gilead chirps, "I like Chitter, Zeta, Jiffy, Cadge-Tuesday, Squizzle. The whole lot."
Natasha hands Natasha for Mayor paint palette to Valleyminks.
Natasha hands Natasha for Mayor neckerchief to Gilead.
Gilead nuzzles Natasha!
Lou vuracks at Beltrami.
Valleyminks tries to meld himself with the palette.
Natasha poses sideways, wiggles her nose and twitches the tip of her tail... "Now, I know some of you are fond of wiggly coati noses, and some of you are closet ringed-tail fans...any of you want either of them?" =>-
Valleyminks isn't with the raccoon tails nowdays.
Gilead's not a closet procyonid fan, he just has a very wide stance.
Mouser hasn't been striped since a couple of Halloweens ago.
Lou ducks out.
Lou has left.
Elissa yaps, "A wide stance?"
Natasha grins at the mink. "Try rolling around in the paints, it's fun!"
Gilead chirps, "Politics joke, Elissa. O:-)"
Kefan doesn't roll around. He can accidentally squish people that way.
Kefan says, "Never squish a voter!"
BunnyHugger says, "No thanks, I have a coati nose and tail available when I want them. >;)"
Gilead hmms and hasn't used his Co-Otter-Mundi morph in a long time.
Elissa ohs, at Gilead.
Natasha says, "Anyway, I just have one more request. If any of you would like some bonus good karma, could you please ask Hugger for one of her campaign buttons? Which reminds me, I'd like one."
BunnyHugger looks embarrassed.
Valleyminks' Nillan jumps into the palette and disappears!
Azure turns to BunnyHugger, "DevilBunny ma'am, may I please have one of your campaign buttons?"
Gilead chirps, "If I press the button, does it destroy the world?"
Kefan grins. "The jolly candy-like button!"
Austin says, "She's really not a world-destroying type, Gilead."
Natasha says, "It's not the kind you press, it's the kind you wear. Chitter's modeling one."
Gilead awws. "I guess I'll take one anyway."
BunnyHugger says, "Natasha, you don't need to campaign for me."
Mouser hisses, "Even if it doesn't destroy the world, is it still jolly and candy-like?"
BunnyHugger hands BunnyHugger for Mayor Button to Azure.
BunnyHugger hands BunnyHugger for Mayor Button to Natasha.
Gilead chirps, "That's why she did it I think. She wasn't being forced to."
Natasha smiles and pins it to her neckerchief. "Yeah, well, you don't need to campaign for me either, so we're even!"
BunnyHugger says, "It's a little embarrassing that I hadn't managed to give any away on my own."
PatchO'Black has left.
BunnyHugger says, "Every time I offered them people went into studiously neutral mode, so I gave up."
Natasha says, "Anyway fellas, that about wraps it up for now. Thanks to all of you for coming, and remember to vote next week! I understand there'll be two rounds of voting, one to narrow down candidates and a second to pick the winner, so be sure you show up for both of 'em."
Jaxen smiles at Hugger, "I'll trade you an apple for a button." :)
Azure asks Natasha, "And, since youw ere handing them out while I was distracted by the Terrible ElectroMagneticAcousticDemonBeast, could I bug you for a neckerchief?"
BunnyHugger says, "OK, Jaxen."
BunnyHugger hands BunnyHugger for Mayor Button to Jaxen.
Natasha giggles at Azure. "Oh, of course!"
Gilead holds out a paw.
Natasha hands Natasha for Mayor neckerchief to Azure.
Jaxen hands a 'Vote Jaxen' Apple to BunnyHugger.