Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Red and the Wild

The artist AM Radio has a new installation at IDIA Laboratories, so I journeyed there to see it. (I wasn't the only one, as the pictures below show. Mr. Radio has quite a following.)

The installation has a number of motifs recognizable to those familiar with his earlier works: the door at an odd angle, the train, the watery expanse, and the house.

This time the house has an odd red...something emanating from it. Symbolizing fire? Just because?

Neo-Victorians would be at home in his houses, and this one is no exception. Up the stairs (unpictured) is a manual sewing machine. Here, the wash basin is filled via a hand pump.

Up the stairs, the eponymous A.M. radio sits on the floor, next to the beginning of the red shape seen over the house. I stand in the intense ray of light.

Upon arrival at the telehub, one is given a HUD that restricts one's view and has five or so clickable areas, each of which shows a different point of view in the sim. Below, one such view shows the train, on the tracks, above the shallow water, with a number of water towers in the distance.

Another view show the house from overhead.

The rear of the train also plays with light in a most unusual way.

I confess that I have no idea what this installation is intended to represent, beyond an almost hallucinogenic vision of an idealized past. Still, I find Mr. Radio's work to be endlessly fascinating. I leave it to others to find meaning in it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Word (or Twenty) of Unsolicited Advice

Some people just overreact to events. I take a stroll through Dr. Mason's lab - no touching, no attempts to conjure up the dead, or transmogrify some innocent civilian, or anything like that - and he's upset. Upset enough to install a deadly apparatus to keep people out. Hey, Doc, there's a non-lethal device that already does that: it's called a lock.

And here's some unsolicited advice: think of the legal ramifications, and perhaps consult an attorney. Imagine that some poor soul, new to town, wanders up the steps. "Hmm," he thinks, "Mason Labs. Perhaps this establishment sells victuals. Perhaps I could find employment here." He finds a locked door and goes away. Or: he finds an unlocked door, enters, and a plasma field reduces his body to its component molecules. His litigious relatives sue Mason Labs as a corporate entity and sue Dr. Mason in his personal capacity for failure to display an adequate sign explaining the consequences of entry. By the end of the process, the blood fruit thingie could end up the property of some yahoo from the Mainland. That wouldn't end well for anyone.

So here's another, related piece of advice: if you want to keep people out of a house, make it look forbidding. One of those really tall gothic castle structures, perhaps. Or take a cue from some of your fellow scientists: put a big mechanical lobster out front, or a mutant thing with tentacles over the door. People notice those kinds of things, and they take a hint. No need for the Death Ray. Just a helpful suggestion.

Avenue of Progress in Port Caledon

I paid a visit to Port Caledon's new "Avenue of Progress," a collection of Steampunk-y shops along a street stretching west from the telehub to the ocean. (Note to anyone visiting for the first time: this is a killer telehub, as it lies only a step or so from the trolley tracks. It is a Caledon rite of passage to arrive at the telehub, take a step, and have a trolley run you over. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

Facing west down the Avenue of Progress

Along the south side of the street (left on the picture above) is Amazing Furniture, followed by CAS Fine Foods, Amazing Steam & Gearheads Pub, and, finally, Chernov Labs.

Looking east, toward the telehub, along the Avenue of Progress

On the north side of the street, starting from the telehub, lies Port Caledon Bookcases, followed by La Bicyclette, and Veliz Chandelier & Lighting.

Of course, Port Caledon has long been home to other Steampunk-themed shops, including Steampunk & Tesla, Mr. Greggan's Phun-Stuph Amusements & Novelties, as well as more conventional stores, including Chimeric Arts & Fashions and Arundel Design.

Other Steampunk-themed stores abound

Looming over the town is one of Miss Falcon's Tesla Towers

The Avenue of Progress signals to all of Caledon that the Steam Age has arrived!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Venture into Mason Labs

Danger? Of course there was danger involved. Still, the public has a Right to Know what goes on inside Mason Labs.

The Labs seemed empty as I approached the door. Caution was my byword, however.

What Dark Arts are practiced here? I attempted to read the book that was floating in mid-air, to see if I could learn any of Dr. Mason's arcane knowledge, but it was written in a runic script.

The small Tesla generator and nearby control panel gave an indication of how much power is needed. The bloodstains on the floor under the gurney... I bowed my head and said a prayer for the unlucky soul that spilled it.

Be careful if you dare to visit Mason Labs. Any move could be your last.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Caledon Action Figures - Collect Them All!

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Cancer certainly qualifies, so Mr. Iason Hassanov created nearly a dozen (if 13 is a baker's dozen, what's 11? a banker's dozen) dolls of well-known Caledonians. At L$100 each, they're very affordable, and they all benefit Relay for Life.

As Miss Kiralette Kelley is Caledon's RFL captain, she rallies her fellow citizens to fight cancer:

Center: Kiralette Kelly; Clockwise from top: JJ Drinkwater, Kamilah Hauptmann, Gabrielle Riel, Fogwoman Gray, Eva Bellambi, Cornelia Rothschild, Hotspur O'Toole, Terry Lightfoot, Edward Pearse, Autopilotpatty Poppy

Same grouping, but from the opposite direction:

Center: Kelley; Clockwise from top: Bellambi, Rothschild, O'Toole, Lightfoot, Pearse, Poppy, Drinkwater, Hauptmann, Riel, Gray

I decided that, with this many prominent Caledonians at my beck and call, we could do even more. "Tomorrow we invade Gor!"

I marshal the troops: "To victory!"

The figures are available at the boardwalk in Loch Avie

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Future's So Bright I've Got to Wear Shades

How do I get myself into these things? I wondered. Somewhere I had heard that Heaven 4D Ultra Dome (what a name!) was a town worth visiting. Whenever someone tells me that, I have to consider the source. Is it someone who wants me to experience something wonderful, or someone who is trying to get me killed? I couldn't remember where I had received the tip, so I strapped on a pair of firearms and set forth.

This is supposed to be the future? All I can say is that the future will be garish. Lights everywhere, flashing, beaming, lasing in one giant epilepsy-inducing mash.

I sought refuge in a small bar. Even there, the effort at sensory overload was largely successful.

As mysterious as the flash was, more mysterious was this field, tucked down a corridor and behind a set of doors. It was a delicious refuge from the lights.

I wandered into a strip club, whereupon my fully-clothed self worked the stage to an empty room. The tip jar stayed empty, too.

At last, solitude: high above the garish lights, far from the madding crowd. And then...a ball of fire erupted from just behind me!

Thank you, but no, if this is the future, let me stay in the 19th century.

Friday, April 24, 2009

St. George's Day Party

Miss Garnet Psaltery held a St. George's Day part at her home in Morgaine. Although I could not attend, thanks to the need for my typist to earn a living, I was fortunate to take a few photographs of the site ahead of time.

No doubt who is the guest of honour!

Refreshments are served.

Commemorative items for sale.

Decisions, decisions.

Where there's ale, there' the river?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Return to Penzance

Caledon is so large that it becomes easy to not visit certain areas for weeks or months at a time. Things change, of course, in that time. Sometimes, the area is nearly no longer recognizable!

One foggy morning, I found myself in Penzance. The first thing that I saw was a new pub, the Salty Mermaid. Naturally, I had to see for myself. The pub turned out to be owned by none other than Mr. Oolon Sputnik, the Time Lord himself! Although the landlord was not home when I passed through, I shall return, and I expect an out-of-this world beverage.

Mr. Draco Nacht, of NachtMusik, has a piratical shop docked nearby. A true pirate of Penzance!

Miss Fatima Ur now has several shops, including a branch of her Antique Artistry,...

...and a shop called Simply Homes.

Mr. Incanus Merlin has opened IncWell Textures - how Caledonians do love a good pun!

The Emporium is Miss Martini Discovolante's shop.

Here, on the corner, Miss Poppet McGimsie has set out some of her wares.

I had heard Miss Ceidru Gothly had a shop - Hare Couture - and here it was! The wares reflect Miss Gothly's whimsical sense of humor.

Speaking of whimsical, this beast was out prowling. Someone's idea of a joke? He didn't look too hungry, so I gave him a hasty pat on the head and moved on.

Finally, behind the train station lies Mr. Nix Sands' shop, Xcentricity.

Many places have stayed the same, of course. The RCAF airfield, the Gaiety Theater, and so on. But the new Penzance is quite different from the old.

Steampunk Firearms

We live in a dangerous world, so I'm always happy to increase my personal arsenal with a new firearm. I was delighted to see the communique from the Terminal 3 Airship Dock regarding a new line of Steampunk-inspired firearms.

After making my way to the landing site, I found the correct building:

In addition to firearms, the shop sells airships, each of which can be rezzed for display. Below, a luxury model:

I purchased a Pistol which, as one can see below, is a fiercesome-looking device. It can fire twenty rounds before reloading, in either automatic or semi-automatic modes.

Below, a close-up view of the pistol.

I'm afraid I kept the neighbors in Caledon Downs awake last night, practicing with the pistol in my ballroom. I shall have to call the plasterer and glazier to do some repairs today. Burglars, beware!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Brigadoon Springs Roman Steam Baths

One never knows what might be unearthed in Caledon. The most recent discovery is one by Miss Astrofiammante Seminario, Roman steam baths in Brigadoon Springs. Miss Seminario has neatly restored the baths, and they are open to the public.

As the sign attests, the water may have great benefits, curing nervous conditions, digestive ills, vapors, and so on. Though I suffer from none of these - save perhaps an unfortunate set of head and stomach ailments after consuming more absinthe than is strictly good for me - one can never have too much Good Health, so I entered, and changed into attire more appropriate for a work of such antiquity.

The baths are heated through this clever system:

Inside the baths, I started with a refreshing cup of water from the spring:

I sat for a moment in the quiet garden, admiring the flowers.

I soaked in the hot bath for some time...

...before taking in the refreshing cool bath.

Having tended to the body, I then tended to the soul, through meditation.

Returning to the ground seemed a bit risky though. Should I use this contraption?

Despite appearances, the device returned me safely, so I was able to return home and write this report.

Shockingly, the baths permit men and women to cohabitate, so ladies should be prepared to find a gentleman already enjoying a good soak. Whether this is viewed as a Detriment or an Asset is a matter between each lady and her Conscience.