Monday, June 30, 2008

Watching the Time Pass

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day...

In a steampunk way, of course.

You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.

Games people play, to quote another song. Some days - particularly Mondays, it seems - I wonder about how I choose to use my time. I want to tell some of my colleagues "If you hire me for my expertise and then willfully ignore my advice, aren't we both wasting our time?" I find myself thinking I'm better off wandering through Caledon, where I can at least provide a little amusement for my fellow citizens.

Every year is getting shorter
Never seem to find the time,
Plans that either come to naught
Or half a page of scribbled lines...

In the meanwhile, I watch the clock count down the hours.

(Image from; lyrics from Pink Floyd, "Time")

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

(Steam SkyCity) Village People

Even in my relatively short time in Caledon, Steam SkyCity has undergone substantial changes: the addition of Mr. Denver Hax's Egyptian Hall, Miss Fogwoman Gray's Young Women's Caledon Association building, the new freebie area, the Mr. Vivito Volare's Warehouse Ballroom, the Unnatural Selection Labs (Miss Gray again, I believe), and, no doubt, others I have missed. Perhaps that's the nature of things aboard a city in the sky, where the floor wears out much sooner than, say, terra firma. I have also heard that Havok 4 has, er, played havoc with much of the underpinnings of the city.

Steam SkyCity has always been one of my favorite places in Caledon. The sheer audacity of a city in the sky seemed very steampunk to me, and, of course, the execution incorporates numerous steampunk elements. And the very streets seem quite appropriately claustrophobic.

The YWCA was started as an effort to provide a home for wayward Caledonian young ladies (and men, shockingly enough) who had no residences of their own, and to provide mentoring for those young ladies. Miss Gray started the YWCA shortly after I reached Caledon and was still homeless, so the opening was fortuitous indeed. She and Mr. Volare are now closing the YWCA, which makes me a little sad and nostalgic, but no doubt new and wonderful things will rise in its place. To commemorate the YWCA, I offer an exterior and an interior shot:

Dark Victorian Emporium

My typist holds down a day job. Sometimes it seems difficult to believe that she holds down any job at all, but there you have it. As a consequence, I have trouble arranging my schedule to attend social events during the (Eastern Time Zone) day during the week, or even to attend early-ish evening events (to say nothing of the late evening events) during the week, as a tired typist is a cranky typist. Ergo, I could not attend today's dance to commemorate the opening of the Dark Victorian Emporium.

Having missed the goth-themed dance - did I mention my typist holds down a day job? - there was nothing more to do but visit the emporium on my own. And a dark, creepy place it is! Located just off the Tanglewood hub, one walks through a stone courtyard, with a lighted fountain (just water, not least when I was there), through velvet curtains into the store itself.

Inside, to the left there are goth skins for women and men, and an "evil face light." As a proper young lady, I have no idea behind the purpose of the "wearable pubic hair" (for women only - doesn't the other sex get a fair shot at beneath-the-undergarment naughtiness?) - certainly one does not discuss such things; the idea that others might see such a thing is making me feel faint....

All right, I'm recovered now. To the right, clothing for women and men, by Fuschia Begonia, Eladrienne Lavel, and Lapin Paris (at least one item of which is already in my wardrobe).

Upstairs there is furniture, and home decor items, and miscellaneous items, including "guardian fish" from Virrginia Tombola. The second floor is less goth-themed than the first, but ghouls will still enjoy it.

The roof was still set up for the dance - hello? job? - but appears to be an all-purpose open-air patio. The roof has another fountain, but this one doesn't appear to contain water...

Dark Victoria Emporium brings Victorian gothic styles to Caledon Tanglewood. See for yourself...if you have the nerve!

Barsoom Express

For some time, I have been in need of a pair of vehicles: an airship, to cover the vast distances of Caledon and, indeed, other lands, and to make close contact with the many objects in that fly over our land; and a boat, to travel the various waterways that flow through the nation.

I purchased the Barsoom Express from Miss Ilsa "Madgirl" Munro the other day, killing the two proverbial birds with one proverbial stone. (Note to animal do-gooder groups: it's a metaphor, okay? No actual avian creatures were harmed in the purchase of this vehicle. At least not by me.) The vehicle is powered by steam and by cavorite, the former providing propulsion along the horizontal plane, the latter providing the ability to increase or decrease one's altitude. Furthermore, it flies across the water, a great plume of steam exiting from the vehicle as it moves. Although the controls took a little getting used to, I soon was able to explore Caledon Downs and Southend from the sky.

The little craft is the roadster of the airways! The large airships may hold more passengers, but are fairly lumbering creatures compared with the B.E. The ship is nimble, and can fit into areas that would positively impede a larger vehicle. Highly recommended!

My biggest concern now is learning to avoid colliding with buildings. I don't think anyone noticed me running into any structures, but at some point the accumulated chips out of the facade will become evident and the gendarmes will be after me...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Caledon at SL5B - Part 1

My first attempt at semi-live blogging. We'll see how it goes.

I'm at Caledon's exhibit at the Second Life Birthday area in, quite reassuringly, the Second Life Birthday sim (93,37,23)

Other than truly mind-numbing lag, the build is amazing! One enters through a steampunk-ish set of gates (guarded tonight by Mr. Nurdbot McNeil - see picture below), where the welcoming sign awaits, and then finds a path through a lovely wooded area. A hollow log and a small building for tinies starts the build, and at one end of the exhibit is a replica of the Victoria City central gazebo - complete with hat on top!

Next there is a small wooden building with a table and chair, containing a copy of the 8 Wonders of Caledon book.

Moving further into the exhibit, several cobblestone streets are laid out, with a variety of Caledonian-style houses on either side - complete with a Caledon street lamp-cum-payment box!

This lag will be the death of me.

Many of the buildings also contain information on Caledonian groups. There is the Merry Widows - the cookies and toxicology book are clear enough, but the captions on the urns are downright unnerving - "Thankfully he sleeps"? "My widow yearns to be comforted"? Methinks some of the marriages were not rock-steady.

The next street contains buildings for the Forums, Relay for Life (with moving pieces by the Guvnah and other Caledonians on their personal connections to cancer), the Library, an old brownstone that turns out to be nothing but facade - it has a marvelous false front -, a "town square" with a column in the middle and a Bunneh on top (!), the Caledon Calliope, a building with many Caledonian pictures (including the cover of the initial issue of the Strand magazine) of both people and placees (and a cabinet from West Trade Imports, hmmm!), and a Victorian-era warehouse of steampunk information plus mushrooms, minerals, an En Garde! set, a steam locomotive, and a Tesla tower.

Above us is an airship, steam-powered (naturally), with tail fins in Caledon's colors, moving propellors, and belching black smoke.

I apologize to any builders for any parts of the exhibit I overlooked or babbled incorrectly over. Again, it's amazing, it has to be seen, live with the lag. More pictures tomorrow!

You Oughtta be in Pictures

I often forget to take snapshots when I’m out and about, particularly if other people are around and I’m gamely attempting to interact, or even just trying to follow multiple conversational threads. It’s exhausting! It just takes too much energy, so none remains to remember to hit the “snapshot” button.

(And does anyone know why my snapshots insist on including the menus, dialogue boxes, mini-map, and all the screen hoo-ha I most certainly do not want, even though I have unchecked the “Display hoo-ha” box in the settings? I’d be most grateful.) Edit: I see this is listed as a bug fix for RC 1.20.11. Well, that would be nice.)

As a result, Dear Reader, you will have to take my word for it that I was high above Loch Avie over the weekend, at Miss Martini Discovolanti’s Tiny Fashion Show to benefit Relay for Life. Just to be clear, I’m pretty sure that the show was fashions for tinies, as opposed to a very small fashion show. Anyway, I was there, for a time, at least, slumped over the bar, hoping for service. I suppose the bartender was a tiny and could not see over the counter and was therefore unaware he had a customer. I was very dry. Still, I made do.

To be honest, I don’t get the whole tinies thing, but to each her own. (Yes, you are all cute and cuddly, every last one of you! I’d take you home in a heartbeat, but I’m afraid my intentions would be misconstrued. I would array you on the bed like stuffed animals – hey, you, back there! I said, no snoring!) I stayed a while, made a donation to the RFL kiosk, and went on my merry way.

I suppose I should stay longer and mingle more at these soirees. There are so many I cannot make, as my typist insists on dragging me away, citing the press of “urgent” business. What could be so urgent about her life is beyond me. But when I am able to attend, I should make the most of it. Unfortunately, I find it difficult to keep track of multiple conversations going on about me – unlike voice communication, it is occasionally difficult to sort out to whom a comment is directed. In addition, even under the best of circumstances, I am not a black belt in small talk. It is particularly difficult when most of the usual subjects are off-limits: the weather (it’s always lovely), politics (let’s not go there), religion (ditto), and gossip (I don’t really know any – and, worse, if I did, I wouldn’t know who to tell). Though if one cannot get a conversation going with a Caledonian, one should give up.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Caledon at SLB5, Part 2

More pictures. The banner at the entrance:

The gazebo and hat:

Stone hut with "8 Wonders of Caledon" book:

Some of the townhouses:

The airship, belching steam:

All Wet

I was riding in a demonstration version of a very fine air ship when I received a message from the console that the demonstration would expire and the ship would self-destruct in one minute. Foolishly, I took that to mean sixty actual seconds, rather than sixty Second Life seconds. As I was over water at the time, I looked for a spot to land when – poof! – the ship was gone and I was sputtering in the cold water, sea creatures wandering in my bloomers. I protest! A minute is a minute, or should be, at any rate. I walked home to dry myself off, muttering unladylike imprecations as my boots squished with each step.

Ah well, the things we do for Science. It was a very nice ship. I need to buy one so I can travel in style: high and dry.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Held Over a Barrel, or, Wandering Under One

I have noticed that Caledon (and, indeed, other lands in this part of the world) are subject to unpredictable Evil Forces. Some mysterious, sadistic powers, taking pleasure in the havoc created, periodically infest our world, causing all to go black for a time (the evil Lord Login Failure), causing random possessions to disappear (the malevolent Lord Asset Server), limiting movement across the land (the diabolical Lord In-World Services Failure), or slowing down our movements as though we are walking through a transparent but viscous substance (the foul Lord Lag).

An occasional manifestation of said infestations is that one cannot change clothing. Naturally, one discovers this in dishabille, when it is too late simply to bite the bullet and soldier on in the same old rags previously worn, however inappropriate for the occasion. No, one finds out when one is no longer in any condition to leave the house.

This happened to me the other day. No article of clothing was permitted to stay on my being. I asked my fellow citizens whether Lord Asset Server had been sighted. As it turned out, the problem was related to the mighty Emperor of the Aether, His Royal Malevolence Verizon Communications, although I did not know this at the time.

Undaunted, Caledon rose to the occasion once again. Mr. Denver Hax kindly sent me Emergency Clothing, which you, Gentle Reader, can see below. Many thanks, Mr. Hax! I was still debating whether I could venture into the street wearing this outfit when HRM Verizon blasted me into the aether altogether – though, fortunately, not in my all-together.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Suggestions to Improve Real Life

Sitting on an uncomfortable train to work, then slogging away all day, except for the invariable interruptions to deal with fools, my typist reflected on various ways to improve her lot:
  • Teleportation. Failing that, personal airships.
  • Great chunks of time at work devoted to the important things: the three S's (socializing, shopping, and scribbling) (what, you thought the third S would be s*x? for shame), the three T's (trying on clothes, tea, and, well, tea biscuits), and the three L's (liquidity (financial), licentiousness (that's highbrow s*x), and liquor).
  • No real responsibilities except self-imposed ones.

I tried convincing my typist to chuck it in for Caledon, where we had all of the above. (The licentiousness is only a rumor.) She reminded me of the overwhelming need to keep paying the bills, so I shut up lest I be put to work. In fact, the very thought made me faint, so I fortified myself with a substantial martini.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Exploring the Mines

One of the great things about Caledon is the amazing visual variety one sees while passing through the land. At ground level, buildings and gardens, monuments and follies, streams and seas all catch the eye. Higher up, one sees airships moored among structures that reach well into the aether, and these often bear closer inspection. Occasionally one might even see permanent structures unmoored from the ground, powered by steam or perhaps cavorite.

Then there are the places hidden below the surface. Miss Bryndal Ellison and Mr. Subghoul Epsilon, in their aetherial journal Caledon Underground, have alerted surface-dwelling Caledonians to some of the nation’s subterranean treasures. As practitioners of the Dismal Science might say, I am happy to free-ride on their explorations. Inspired by Miss Ellison’s writings and fueled by a sense of adventure (and perhaps by a large brandy), I ventured into the cavorite mines in the Moors, and slipped into the lowest chamber.

Unfortunately, I was not alone.
Fortunately, I love crustaceans and have several nice recipes. Unfortunately, the creature had other ideas. (That's me in the near pod.)

Before my unfortunate confinement (from which I escaped thanks to my trusty Girl Guide pocket knife and a willingness to plop onto the cavern floor in a most unladylike fashion), I perused the ancient writings in the chamber.
I am no expert in translating runic languages, but it appears to be a plan for World Domination, using the crustacean race as slaves. I wonder how that worked out? That bone in the corner looks suspiciously human…

Friday, June 13, 2008


Today is Friday the Thirteenth. There are those who cling to primitive superstitions, and believe the combination of day and date is unlucky. (Paraskevidekatriaphobia, as opposed to the more general fear of the number thirteen, triskaidekaphobia. See what a useless font of knowledge this journal is?) As a modern woman, I shun such unscientific fears. Carpe diem!

On the other hand, there is no shame in a restorative nap. If that nap lasts all day, it is but a happy coincidence that it falls on such a day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Eating mushrooms indicriminately does not pay

As I sit here typing this, I can hear you, Gentle Reader, say, "Another Caledon aetherial journal? Whatsoever for? Caledon needs this like it needs another Mad Scientist, or another exploding chicken!" Indeed, I am hard-pressed to think of a good reason why you should spend your time reading, Sir or Madam - you likely have plenty of things to do, and many ways to occupy your time if you do not.

The reason you should spend your valuable time with me and this aetherial journal, I've got nothing. Except, perhaps, that I can occasionally entertain. I can't juggle sharp blades (well, I can, just not for more than a few seconds, and surely a trip to the emergency room will result). And I can't tell jokes to save my life (I always forget the punch line). But perhaps I can occasionally amuse.

You see, I'm fairly new in Caledon. I've met a lot of wonderful people, including several Mad Scientists who turn out to be quite lovely folks once you get to know them (and no, I'm not going to embarrass any of them...they have reputations to maintain, you know). I've met builders and scripters, texturers (if that's a word - and if it isn't, it should be), shopkeepers and gardeners. Aviators. Tinies. Furries. Tiny furries. They have all taught me a great deal. And this journal will be about none of them, except perhaps in passing. Why? Because I'm a horrible ego-maniac, so self-centered that I can't possibly write about other people. No, that's not it (well, perhaps that is it, but not the only it, so to speak). It's because these folks know a great deal about our fair land while, being new here, I know practically nothing. Now I ask you, what is more entertaining: someone who knows it all, or someone who knows nothing?

For Exhibit A, I give you...

Yes, that's me, having just nibble - nibbled, mind you - a little mushroom. Morte velox, I believe it was called. (What? Speak up, Dear Reader in the back. You're telling me that any idiot knows that "Morte" is Latin for "death"? Hmm, this is what comes from daydreaming during class.) It's the kind of thing that wouldn't happen to a long-time Caledonian, an experienced Caledonian, a sensible Caledonian - in short, an unexciting Caledonian. Ergo, with me, entertainment!

In truth, I plan to post various accounts of life before Caledon. I've had certain adventure, my sister has had certain adventure (boy, has she ever!), my dear Mum and Da, gone many years now, have had their share of adventures. Some people are good, some are wicked. Some stories are funny, some are rather less so. But I hope all are entertaining.

Until next time, Dear Reader, don't eat the mushrooms!