Saturday, February 28, 2009

Third Anniversary Goodies

A hearty thank you to all who distributed various goodies in honor of Caledon's third anniversary. At the risk of missing someone, Mr. Thadicus Caligari graciously provided a tartan waistcoat set, including a tam and top hat, white shirts with sleeves down or rolled up, and a charcoal cravat; from Aberdeen Enigma, Fauve Aeon, Fogwoman Gray, and Vivito Volare, a picture book entitled "Caledon - The Sekrit is Out," filled with luscious pictures from all over Caledon; and, from Amy Iwish, a working airship/submarine!

Below, Kathy demonstrates the submersible properties of the ship:

So fire up the engines and engage thrusters!

Miscellaneous Journies

A collection of photographs with no real theme.

First, sailing in the moonlight:

Next, a guard fish in Lovelace. It's the literal fish out of water!

I flew the Hangover One to Caer Firnas to see how things were progressing:

Spotted flying above Oxbridge. That should put the proper fear into the students!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Grim Bros. in Cape Wrath

Capt. Red had mentioned Grim Bros. shoes recently, and I stumbled across their new store in Cape Wrath tonight.

The build was a little different from the usual Caledon architecture...

...and it attracted a, hmm, different sort of clientele than Caledon usually sees.
I leave it to the reader to decide whether this is a good or bad thing.

An Intriguing Sign in Cape Wrath

"An Antiquarian Study is announced To be Undertaken at this Place in the Forthcoming Weeks, Comprising an Investigation into the History, Wildlife, and Industrial Past of Caledon Cape Wrath. The Findings to be Presented to the Public in Due Course. The Management takes no responsibility whatsoever for injuries to Treasure Hunters and those pursuing Foolish Rumours of Caves."

Hmm, an interesting sign in Cape Wrath. How intriguing.

Fluffy Bunneh Labs

I spent about an hour last night in a fruitless - or flowerless, perhaps I should say - search for one of the Caledon Third Anniversary roses. If my recollection is correct, 26 roses strewn across 22 or so sims (which excludes the duchies), on public land only, and above water. Do you know how much public land the Guv has reserved? My only consolation was that others seemed to be faring just as poorly. Mr. Denver Hax hid those flowers far too cleverly for me.

While I was wandering Aether Isle in my vain search - hey, it seemed like as good a place as any to look, right? - I wandered into Mr. Hax's new establishment: Fluffy Bunneh Labs. It appears to be a place where many of Mr. Hax's fiendish creatures are born - or decanted.

What's in the nice hole in the floor?

I recognized some creatures from the late isle of Mondserrat. And - look, a squirrel! No, really, it's not just the ADD kicking in.

A girl and her bunneh. Who could resist clicking on that big, fluffy, red-eyed thing? Not I?

&%^!@ man-eating rabbits!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Caledon's Third Anniversary

Congratulations to Guvnah Shang on the occasion of the third anniversary of the founding of Caledon!

Three years ago I was plying my trade in a distant land, unaware of what was occurring across the sea. Having spent the past year living and working in Caledon, my only regret is not having made the journey earlier. When I came, I was received warmly by the "old" residents - no one threw hard objects at me, at any rate - and this is, no doubt, attributable to Des's vision of Caledon as a place of civility and tolerance, as most of the citizens share that vision.

May Caledon prosper for many years to come!

(Below, Dame Ordinal Malaprop and Guvnah Shang plot further mischief.)

The Guvnah's New Mansion

As reported elsewhere , the Guvnah's mansion has been remodeled. The imposing iron gates mark the entrance to the Victoria City landmark:

A stone bunneh guards the gates:

A sculpture commemorating the Relay for Life adorns the front lawn:

Downstairs, the Guvnah can continue his quest for world domination, looking at the ever-expanding map of the Caledonian nation, with a nearby globe showing more distant lands. Might he have an eye for some of that territory? Time will tell.

Upstairs, one can survey this corner of the nation, or merely take some time to relax and smell the...well, it's a fern. In an imposing pot.

Although the mansion is still a work in progress, it stands as a testament to the strength of the nation. Now, if only we could do something about the infernal lag in Victoria City...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Pair of Aircraft

My typist is fighting some sort of grunge, and thus had some unexpected time at home today. This was lucky for me, as I had some unexpected time to wander aimlessly.

Just down the street from me, in the Downs, was a new air craft - in what must be the fastest turnover of property in Caledon I have yet to see, as the site was but recently home to Gor-jus Animations and the Curious Seamstress . I shall have to make friends with the owner, in case I need a quick getaway.

Over in Lovelace Liberty, Miss Dimsum is ready for her own quick getaway, with Mr. Volare's Cephalaero Squirt idling, and making me feel much better about the amount of smoke I was emitting into the atmosphere.

I spent some time in the Santa Catalina sim, admiring the aircraft there...sadly, somewhat expensive and anachronistic aircraft, including a lovely Lockheed Electra and what looked to be a Mustang. I whined a little and moved on.

Innumeracy and Politeness

This morning ISC chat had a discussion of various typists' real-world financial difficulties. My heart goes out to each of them - and, though ISC chat is hardly a confidential communications channel, I will not identify any of the speakers. Clearly, the economy is under some strain, and people we know and care for are hurting.

I was amused, however, at one claim, made out of the blue: "149 million [U.S.] homes foreclosed on." (As my purpose is not to embarrass any particular individual, I attach no name, but I assure the gentle reader that this is a quote.) What should the proper response be to such a statement? On its face, the number is absurd: the entire U.S. housing stock is less than the number offered. No reasonable person could think otherwise, yet this statement was made in a declaratory manner, as though the rest of the group could not disagree with it.

A gentleman did point out that the number was quite clearly high. Now, perhaps polite discourse would suggest letting such a lapse pass unremarked upon. On the other hand, as the very topic of the discussion was the state of the economy, exaggerating conditions seemed impolite as well. Nonetheless, the gentleman's comment was not well-received. The original speaker defended the statement by saying that the figure came from - or was misrecalled from - the U.S. President's speech the night before. Having declined to listen to the speech, I cannot say with certainty, but would venture a guess that his staff would not let him make such a statement. The speaker's fallback position was that she was not good with numbers, so making up an absurd figure was understandable.

Hurt feelings all around - the speaker felt childed by the gentleman, and the gentleman was chided for being ungentlemanly, and a duchess chided him (or the group) about delving into political discourse.

Let me add one other factoid to the mix: the original speaker declared how she puts up with being called "Miss X," but would prefer to be called by an abbreviated version of her first name. Fine, polite discourse suggests that we address people in the manner each prefers. However, it seems to me somewhat inconsistent to treat ISC chat as a happy group talk among friends - friends with whom one is on a first-name basis, mind you - and then take offense when one of your friends points out a glaring factual error. Madam, if orders of magnitude are troublesome, perhaps one should avoid mentioning numbers. And Your Grace, if gently correcting the factual error constitutes "political" talk, then perhaps the entire group should avoid reference to real world economic phenomena.

Then again, when the Speaker of the House says that "500 million American jobs are lost" each month, one might think innumeracy is a broader problem.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Was It Something I Said?

Yikes! No sooner had I posted the previous entry when I saw this item: Rivet Town is closing. Perhaps the plot to blow up the town was not averted - I should have known better than to entrust it to a group of rogues who had been drinking all evening.

More seriously, that's too bad. Although I was never a habitue of Rivet Town, I found the build to be interesting and a little out of the ordinary, and the possibilities for roleplay were there - although, as I once observed, it's easier said than done when it comes to organizing roleplay among many people spread across the world.

Beneath Rivet Town

I have always been drawn to the dark and the dangerous, and, often, the parts of the world hidden from view reveal much about the visible world as well. Much as the servants in a manor can tell a tale about their master, so can the condition of the less-fortunate and desperate tell a tale about a town's crown jewels.

Having ventured into the subterranean depths of Victoria City recently, I decided to pay a return visit to Rivet Town, and see what - or who - might be lurking below the streets.

A good crowd had assembled in the tavern, but I skirted by the lights and noise and strong smell of cheap beer, and instead pried open a manhole cover.

A short descent brought me below street level, in a lighted series of tunnels.

The smell was dank, and I could hear the squeaks of rodents as they scurried through the tunnels. Worried that a larger species of vermin might also be living in this space, I had come prepared with a shotgun and shells with enough stopping power to take care of any problems smaller than a rhinoceros.

As quietly as possible, I made my way through the corridors, finally seeing the narrow walkway open into a large but dimly-lighted room.

Within the chamber were some lanterms, a dirty couch that apparently doubled as a bed, and a cache of gunpowder kegs and steel parts. What sort of mad plot was being concocted down here, and by what desperate men? I realized that my shotgun would be of no use here - one errant spark and I would die myself, taking out half the town in the process.

Hearing footsteps heading my way, I quickly stepped out of the room in the other direction, and silently made my way back to the ladder, and to the surface. I fear for Rivet Town. However, as a stranger, would my alarm be believed? Would they simply think me part of the plot and lock me in the town jail? Not wishing to risk either outcome, I opted for a third strategy: I left the manhole cover open, hoping that one of the tavern's denizens would leave his chair with at least some sobriety remaining, see the cover ajar, and have the presence of mind to investigate. I only hope that no one returns the cover to its rightful position without peering inside...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Return to the Dark City

[The two previous installments in my noir detective series are here and here. With the publication of Joe Gores' Spade and Archer, a prequel to Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, it seemed like an opportune time to finish the, uh, series. - RJ]

The roar of the gun got my attention, and I snapped my eyes open. It wasn’t my Webley, and I didn’t feel dead, so something must have gotten in the way of Lucky Maranzano’s plans to kill me.

Maranzano lay dead on the dirty ground, a hole in the back of his head leaking blood and brain tissue. He didn’t look terribly lucky. I scooped up my Webley, and the silver .45 that had been used to send Maranzano to the next life, the piece still warm and stinking of gunpowder.

My still breathing was a break for me, but now it was time to make my own luck. Whoever killed Maranzano didn’t have orders to kill me, which made me wonder: was this whole thing a double setup? Maranzano had lured me to the dark city by hiring a woman to pose as a client who wanted me to look for her missing daughter. Now it appeared as though someone lured Maranzano here to kill him. Only one man was bold enough to take on the lord of the dark city – El Espiratu, The Ghost. No one knew what he looked like, but he controlled almost as much territory as Maranzano had, and he was in a mood to expand.

Last night had brought a wind storm to the city, and the streets were still covered with a fine layer of dirt and grit. I tracked the shooter through the disturbed layer of grime until I had returned nearly to my starting point – the warehouse. I felt as though this case had come full circle, too.

The area behind the warehouse was choked with weeds, and the only possible hiding place was a silver trailer.

“Come out, El Espiritu,” I called, tightening my grip on the .45 in my left hand. The gun felt as heavy as a cannon, and packed an equivalent punch.

The door opened and a woman emerged – my phony “client.” I must have looked astonished. The dame smiled as she raised her own .45 – they must have come as a matched set – and said, “Actually, it’s El Espirita, as you can plainly see.”

“I appreciate you taking out Lucky. He didn’t seem to be fond of me.”

“You’re welcome. I had hoped you would just leave, and I wouldn’t have to kill you, too. We ladies have to stick together.” Her finger tightened on the trigger.

In an instant I raised my gun. The weapon roared, and El Espirita was flung backward, into the side of the trailer. I walked forward, gun still raised, in case the first bullet had not finished the job. It had.

I looked at her dead eyes and said, “Sorry, but I’m no lady.”

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Changes in Lionsgate

Kathy and I had not been to Lionsgate for some time, and Kathy needed a new AO, so we hied down to Port Caledon and Her Lyoness's Posture is Everything store. A cool thousand Lindens later, the entire Jameson clan had one of Kami's AOs. Below, Posture is Everthing:

The Futurist design on the Port Caledon side has been echoed on the Lionsgate side:

Meanwhile, high above the ground, the spaceport has been modified as well:

Nessie swims the waters, guarding the Vicerene's domain:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Le Soiree Noir

Lady Lavendar Beaumont, and Lord and Lady Margulis hosted Le Soire Noir (twice!), a celebration of Art Deco and motion pictures, held high above Thistle Hill Keep.

One entered on a silver carpet, the flashes of paparrazi in one's eyes:

The magnificent Art Deco build was enormous (and sprinkled with free goodies).

Partygoers included Miss Redathena Viper,

Her Grace, Lavendar Beaumont,

Misses Darlingmonster Ember and EppieBlack Wheatcliffe,

Captain Rachire Wulluf,

Mr. and Mrs. Erasmus Margulis (Autopilotpatty Poppy),
Miss Jaz Beverly,
Miss Random Wezzog and Doc Wrangler,
Miss Corrine Wycliffe and Mr. Darkstone Aeon,
and Yours Truly dancing with Miss Minako Masala. Never fear, we hid the pink gin before the young lady came by.
Not only did the Twenties roar Saturday afternoon, they roared again at night!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Preserving the Past...and That Which Will One Day be the Past

I realize that this Journal is something of a random collection of ideas, goings-on in Caledon and areas with similar themes, adventures I've had (or, gasp, fictionalized versions thereof - though a fiction of a fiction is a little too meta-fictional for me), journeys to other sims, with the occasional observation about the, ah, larger world thrown in for good measure. Viewed differently, however, this Journal not random at all: it's a compendium of the experiences of Rhianon and Kathy Jameson in this slice of our lives, and those experiences cut across all the categories listed in the previous sentence.

Some of the entries serve to memorialize places that no longer exist - or, to put it more properly, will at some point no longer exist and deserve to linger in memory. Two recent posts, here and here, discuss the unfortunate demise of the October Country sim. I was there in mid-December; the picture below is all that exists in my files; if memory serves, I had meant to return for a longer stay at some point.
The point is, one never knows how long something will last. Hence, my insatiable desire to experience, preserve, and catalogue.

All of which brings me to today's exercise in chronicling Lands of Interest: Cair Paravel, in the East Narnia sim. (Interestingly enough, the adjoining sim is called "Chronicles of Narnia" - not to be confused with "Chronicles of Gor," which is what one first sees by typing "Chronicles" into the Map - but travel to that sim is blocked, and the sim itself appears to be still under development.)

Our flame-haired correspondent, Kathy, visited one late afternoon. Sweeping vistas, pounding surf, intimidating mountains and rocky outcroppings were very much in evidence. Actual Narnia-related builds, not so much. Below, a carved Aslan overlooks his kingdom.

A primitive village shows signs of habitation - but no villagers.
As an aside, when I read the Narnia books, I always had an uneasy feeling about the way the series ended. Susan, the oldest of the Pevensie children, is unable to return to Narnia for the last battle - and thus, presumably, is not among the saved - because she grew up. That seems a little harsh. Also harsh was killing off her siblings in a train crash. Certainly that avoided the chore of fending off rabid fans eager for yet another sequel, but still... As it turns out, Neil Gaiman also found himself uneasy at how things wrapped up, and wrote a story, contained in his 2006 collection Fragile Things, called "The Problem of Susan." Gaiman has a somewhat more, ahem, adult take on the whole Narnia thing.