The World’s Smallest Violin

Posted in Real World on April 10, 2009 by sylavie

No one really understands how much of a construct Sophie’s behaviour is or how easy it is for her to manipulate people. It’s all, oh, poor little Sophie, let’s just give her whatever she wants without her even having to ask. She just has to blink her eyes and bat her lashes, and look like she’s about to cry and then it all comes down.

And you don’t know me. Sorry, you don’t.

Everything I have I had to work for, and Sophie always has it easy or wants to take it easy. Bend the rules a little.

She’s manipulative and she doesn’t even know she’s doing it, because using people is second nature to her.



Posted in Art, Cultural Expressions, Mythology, Sex on April 7, 2009 by sylavie

There is only so much that you can forgive.

Agamemnon murdered my love Tantalus,

Snatched my infant from my arms and dashed it

headlong into the rocks below–

Dark cliffs,

Spartan seas. And then My father gave me to him

the lion’s prize, crowned him king of Sparta

King of Sparta! If my brothers had been here

Agamemnon, Menelaus, both would

fall—if only they had fallen to the god-touched

twin spears, Castor and Polydeuces’ wrath.

Brothers against brothers, as it was with

Lynceus and Idas. My brothers were

half-immortal, Castor dead in Pollux’

arms since nothing in the world could wound the

god-descended twin.

But the loss of half

his own identity he could not bear.

They gaze at us from the stars now– I wonder

Do they weep? There is no one here to save

me as the twins once saved Helen from the

rape of Theseus—My own twin sister.

They are dead—so long dead, all this happened

so many years ago that I have three

children grown already, borne of mine and

Agamemnon’s seed. Had three children–

Iphigenia, flow’r of Spartan hearts

Electra, pale and delicate a girl

and young Orestes, still a boy at play.

It was Agamemnon’s fault entirely

that shallow boasting drove fair Artemis

to a hunter’s rage—why he could not just

keep his fool mouth shut I will never know—

and I will never know how he could lie

to Iphigenia, his own daughter,

tell her to come to Sparta for betrothal

To wed the great hero Achilleos.

But no, Achilles was never asked to

wed my daughter—it was the cruelest trick

to see her joy and happiness destroyed.

Her father needed winds to sail the ships,

the thousand ships of vengeance towards Troy

for stealing Menelaus’ Helen.


Was no fair trade – my daughter slaughtered

on her wedding day, bound to an altar

that took her virgin soul to satisfy

the angry gods.

It is not the first time

I wished my sister dead. Do you know how

much I hate her? There are no words for

how I feel, my hate dwarfs the endless stars.

I am the daughter of a man, while she is

the daughter of a god. Zeus, the king of

Mount Olympus. Zeus rapes our mother, Leda

in swan’s feathers, the same night that she beds

Tyndareus, nine months before she lays

two eggs, two sets of twins, two boys, two girls.

I am the mortal twin, Clytemnestra,

Loveliest of human women—but still

nothing compared to my sister’s god-touched

Beauty. You could not look upon her face

and not fall in instantaneous love.

It is the same face! Same shape, same features!

And yet you can see immortality

in her eyes. The voice of a god comes through,

a glimpse of perfection in her movements.

But still human, still attainable–


Will not burn the eyes from your skull if you

should gaze upon her naked breast. Compared

to that, how could I compete?

I could not.

Tantalus, King of Pisatis, loved me.

Of all the suitors, he was the only one

with eyes for me, not my uncanny twin.

Even Agamemnon, Tyndareus feared,

would cast me off to vie for Helen’s hand.

He did not; he would not stand against his

brother, Menelaus. He took me—and

I forgave, although I dreamed of murder

every night I slept beside him.

My sister wed Menelaus after

All her suitors swore blood oaths to protect

the one who pulled the lucky straw—no death

from distant lands, no crimson heart’s blood shed.

Wise Odysseus should have won her hand

for bringing the best gift of all. But no—

he too was wise and chose Penelope.

Each day, these ten long years he has been gone

I have prayed, begged, for Agamemnon’s death.

Perhaps a Trojan arrowhead, laced with

Stygian poison, slow and painful doom;

Crushing mallets, ship wrenched from the cruel sea,

Stamped down beneath Hector’s chariot steeds.

I am Queen of Sparta. I rule this land.

I have taken Aegisthus to my bed.

He loathes Agamemnon as much as I,

vengeance upon his cousin revenging

his father-cum-grandfather’s reprisal.

It’s complicated.

This story is of twins—

Two brothers, Atreus and Thyestes.

Thyestes fucks his brother’s wife and steals

Mycenae’s throne. Atreus kills the sons

of Thyestes and serves them for dinner.

Atreus takes back his throne and wife, and

Thyestes stews in his furious hate.

Agamemnon and Menelaus are

Atreus’s sons by faithless Aerope.

Thyestes rapes Pelopia, his child

just as the oracle informed him. His

son-and-grandson is Aegisthus, who kills

Atreus, slays him with Thyestes’ sword

as king, returns his father to the throne.

This lasts until Atreus’ spawn return—

Exiled princes with Tyndareus’ aid

slay their uncle, drive off their cousin, and

seize the gods-damned house of Atreus.

Agamemnon’s line is cursed through incest,

rape, murder, cannibalism, offense

to the gods themselves.

How can this be fair?

Agamemnon and Menelaus return

Home in triumph, bearing their spoils of war.

This is not justice. I will take it in

my own two hands, for the two children that

he took from me. I will play the part

of loving wife.

I will draw a bath of

honeyed milk, white and thick to hide the net

Silken rope to hold a warrior’s strength back

to the level of a Spartan woman.

Usurper. Murderer. My knives are sharp.

He will die and I will have my vengeance.

-Sylvie Lee

I Do It For the Lulz

Posted in Cultural Expressions, Web 2.0 on April 7, 2009 by sylavie

Short post:
Schadenfreude is the zeitgeist of the internet. I do it all for the lulz.

If you are invested in a thing, you can’t harm it. If it’s some sort of bullshit that you just can’t take seriously, there’s a perverse joy in destroying it. Ownership is emotional investment.

More On Second Life

Posted in Cultural Expressions, Second Life on April 5, 2009 by sylavie
What I do inside Second Life is explore. I enjoy travelling. Just flying from one sim to the other. I walked along the Linden roads on the mainland looking at things, just looking at things until I got bored. Lots of it is pretty crap, but come on, 90 percent of everything is crap. You just get to see it all in Second Life. That 10 percent, though, it frightens me how good it is. 

I talk to people who aren’t fashionistas. The truth is that most people don’t look particularly good in Second Life; either they don’t know how to set their avatar or think that the way their nose is too thin and clearly surgically altered is hot, don’t care that the shine on the leather jacket they got in the freebie bin is poorly rendered, or they just don’t give a toss about fashion period. Some people, particularly the oldbies, don’t change their appearance, because they decided on a particular look and are happy with the way they are, and have no need to change. Their clothes adequately represent them, and changing would be getting used to something else.

Hell, even the ones who do look “good” really have very little taste. The number of guys with fashionably gelled short hair whose wigs are too large or too small for their heads is innumerable. The ponytail on a guy. Ew. Just. Ew. And half the guys in Second Life have that hideous ponytail. And I’ve dated guys with longer hair in real life. 

There are artists, educators, business people. Business people are the best. They never change how they look, because they come into Second Life just to do business and can’t be arsed to spend time shopping for a new suit. They’ll buy one good one and stick with it.

Me and Tory: A Little Family Scene

Posted in Art, Second Life on April 4, 2009 by sylavie

Me and Tory at home, in our little Second Life house. Lisa lets us hang out in the sky over her shop, and Tory can access the music stream to DJ. 

It turns out that I’ve been able to sculpt some things decently, but I’m not a very good architect. Tory’s actually brilliant. Or at least she’s been able to devote some serious time to learning how to do things inside Second Life. 


Me (on the left) and Tory, my little SL sister

 The main problem with Second Life is that it’s got a right bastard of a learning curve, and you have to be able to devote a lot of time to learn how to do everything in it. It takes a while to not walk around with boxes attached to your hands or head and I don’t have the time or the money. 

It’s a bit strange to have Tory call me her “big sister”, but once you’ve been in Second Life for long enough, you get used to the strange. 

The virtual “family unit” is an odd duck. In a world where you can literally be anything you want, and have anything you can imagine (switch genders, change race, walk around as a different species), it turns out that one thing people want is to be part of a family. To get virtual married with a white wedding. To have freaky-ass shouty prim babies after a month of wearing a pregnant shape. To have other adults pretending to be child avatars so you can play house with people reliving their childhoods. 

It’s not so weird. All everyone wants is to be loved.

Four Words on the Exhibition and Art

Posted in Art, Cultural Expressions, Real World on April 2, 2009 by sylavie

Crap < My art < Jealousy 

That’s the equation. 

It’s late, and I need to go to bed. The only thing I can really say about the art exhibition/networking conference we attended in Brussels is that a lot of it was crap. 

I don’t know why I always do that: pieces that aren’t as good as mine I regard as crap, and the ones that are better make me  feel uncomfortable. I think that it comes down to, at the end, a deep unsatisfaction with the idea that art is such a subjective practice that branding and marketing is so much more important than being a great artist. And I don’t know how to suck up to the right people properly.  

Belgium can be described in four words as well: Somewhat dirty. Fucking delicious. 

I had some waffles to die for.

Going to Brussels

Posted in Art, Cultural Expressions, Food, Real World on March 31, 2009 by sylavie

Short post: we’re not doing the challenge this week because we are required to go to Brussels for a two-day convention, and we spent the weekend preparing portfolios. The train fare alone will destroy our budget for the week, and it’s about time we went on holiday.

Back next week. Yes, I know this extends the challenge, but I would kill for Belgian chocolates.

If it happens in Belgium, it stays in Belgium.