Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Time Lock Pub

Revisiting Kintyre some weeks back (one can see the snow in the photograph below), I saw a new building, called the Time Lock Pub. Admiring the clever name, the bank vault time locks above the door, and the gargoyle guarding the entrance, I decided to stop in for a pint. All right, to be honest, I would have stopped in for a pint had I simply hated the building.

The wall hangings continue the theme, and the tables themselves are accurate time pieces.

No barkeep was present, so I took the liberty of wandering behind the bar and pouring myself a large Grand Marnier. Oh, and I had a slice of cake as well. Send me the bill.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pitchforks and Torches

'Tis a sad day indeed when the local mad scientist feline is driven from her laboratory, ousted from Caledon by angry villagers with pitchforks and torches.

Or perhaps it didn't happen that way? In any event, Dr. Malegatto Alter has sold her ETK Laboratory, in Tamrannoch, across from the Sanitarium, and decamped to her Steelhead Port Harbor property. The neighborhood just became a little less colorful.

The lab site looks the same, for now, and is owned by a Mr. Beardmore. I can hope that we will see some world-domination plots from him in the near future.

On my way back to the Downs, I happened across this tiny kitty, resting comfortably in a barrel on the grounds of the Royal Society. Alas, not an ounce of evil in its body.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Attack on Penzance Aerodrome

Captain Zoe Connolly of the Royal Caledon Air Force reported an attack on the Connolly-Messmer Aerodrome in Penzance. I flew to the scene as soon as I could upon hearing of the dastardly deed.

When I arrived, the airfield and its principal building were still ablaze. There was no sign of Captain Connolly. Two other aircraft were in the area, with markings I did not recognize, so I made lazy circles over the airfield while taking several photographs of the destruction. Were these other craft friend or foe?

A little later, they made radio contact. The pilots of the craft were Captains Wrath Constantine, Lord Middlesea, and Rachire Andel. I took my finger off the button that engages the Vickers machine guns on the Steamray and took a deep breath of relief.

As Captains Constantine and Andel appeared to have the situation at the aerodrome under control - or as much under control as a raging fire could be said to be - I dipped my wings in their direction and flew off, keeping an eye out for any member of the RCAF.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

On Linking Real and Virtual Identities

I don't think I can outdo Miss Dio and Miss Emilly (and see the links therein) (edit 1/28 1:00 p.m.: and now the colorful Mr. Antfarm) on this subject, so I'll keep this entry fairly short. It's fine for the Lab That Dare Not Speak Its Name to provide the option to link publicly an avatar name with a typist name, but absolutely out of the question to require such a link.

I can imagine cases where a user would want to create voluntarily such a link, although every one that comes to mind involves commerce, where potential customers feel more confident about doing business with someone whose "real" identity is known and verified. (The scare quotes around real are there because it can't be all that difficult to fake a real identity, so one's level of confidence in the other end of the transaction is not 100%. And, shocking as it may seem, not everyone is honest, even if his identity is known.)

On the other hand, many people, including Yours Truly, have personal and professional reasons to keep the two worlds as separate as possible. Mr. Galactic Baroque, commenting on Miss Orr's piece, noted that complete separation was difficult, if not impossible, in an age where comments made via the Aether were available and searchable, and while true enough, for the most part it's not worth the search effort. (Lesson: don't do anything while under an online alias that pisses off someone so much that the search effort costs less than the reward of finding out a real name and acting on that information.) Others have pointed to concerns over allowing the Crazy Stalker type to know a real name, or email address, which can be used to carry out Crazy Stalking activity to one's person. Sister Kathy told me a story the other day: in-world, she met and began conversing with a woman who revealed that she had turned down a (virtual) marriage proposal. The rejected swain started behaving erratically, at one point asking the woman for her (real) email address. Thank goodness for the wall of anonymity, no matter how crumbling that wall may be!

Good reasons, all. Ultimately, though, I don't find those reasons to be as compelling as the one that Mr. JJ Drinkwater masterfully summarized in his comment to Miss Orr: "JJ Drinkwater is a story Boswell [his typist] is telling. But, in some rich sense, we are to be known by the stories we are able to tell, are we not?" Indeed. Those stories may be silly or profound, written down or extant only as they occur, but they are separate from the teller of those tales. The authorial "I" does not live in the Steamlands and have adventures there; Rhianon Jameson does.

Most of us have mundane existences. I know I do. (Not that I'm really complaining. There's a reason that "may you live in interesting times" is a curse.) If anything, I would prefer that Rhianon show herself in the real world, not that her typist arrive in Caledon. Failing that, let me keep them separate.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Taking (Another) Walk on the Wild Side

Once upon a time, a young person really, really, really wanted a computer. A TRS-80, to be precise. For reasons lost to the mists of time - probably because the piece of crap wasn't worth the absurd price Radio Shack wanted for it - this young person never possessed one. Ah well, life is tough.*

*Yeah, I know, life didn't start with the personal computer. I spent a summer working on a DEC minicomputer, and our school computer lab had a newer DEC VAX. An aunt of mine, who worked in the computer department of a large university, showed my cousin and me the arcana of creating punch cards and feeding them into the hopper, whereby the magic machine would spit out a result (usually an error message, complaining about the user's coding). Other individuals go back even further in time, working on ancient Analytical Engines that are scarcely more than myth to me. I'm not writing a piece on how I date back to the days of papyrus, okay?

Several years went by, and the aforementioned young person was in college, just as Apple was rolling out the Macintosh, in the Fall of 1983. Some whining and pleading later, the student was the proud owner of a Macintosh in all its 128K of memory glory (and a whopping 8 Mhz on its Motorola 68000 CPU). (Ignore the external floppy drive on the unit below - you wanted to copy a disk, you swapped disks in the internal drive, over and over, until the job was complete or one of the disks sent back an error message. It was about a tossup.) A few months later, the computer went back to the campus store for a memory upgrade, all the way to 512K - the "Fat Mac."

It worked pretty well, all things considered. A hard drive would have been great, but MacWrite got the job done, MacPaint reinforced my view that fine arts were not my cup of tea, and...well, I can't recall what other programs were on it, but we had fun together, FatMac and me.

Then one day the time came to say goodbye, to go to graduate school in a science - a quasi-science, at any rate - where almost no one used a Mac. They were so absurdly expensive, too. So, with a tear in my eye, I bought an IBM-PC clone - a x386, I believe - in a huge metal tower. It was replaced by a Toshiba laptop (stolen from a carrel in the department, of all things), then a series of PCs. Each was better than the last, but Windows still looked to me like an attempt to graft the Mac OS on top of DOS.

I thought about going back every once in a while, but two things stopped me: first, the price difference was insane; second, the incompatibilities - from different hard drive formats to entirely different file structures - were just too daunting. All the work computers were PCs, too.

Then Apple switched to Intel CPUs, became a touch more competitive in pricing, and sheer processing power overcame a number of the earlier problems. I felt my resolve weakening. I needed - okay, "needed" is too strong a term; how about "found useful"- a portable computer to take care of a variety of tasks so that I wasn't chained to the desktop PC all the time.

So it came to pass that I returned to a descendant of my first love. The screen is small, and it was never replace the lovely monitor that awaits me upstairs. The quirks of the operating system will need some getting used to. And I still haven't figured out how to transfer my address book into it. Despite that, I think we'll be very happy together.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Exhibit: Origins of Victoriana

Another exhibit! (I will eventually return to the subject of the CDS states. Consider it either a promise or a threat.)

The charming nation of Victoriana has an exhibit at the Pavilion entitled, "The Origins of Victoriana." My mistaken assumption was that this would provide a historical perspective on the early days of the nation and now it changed over the years. Instead, I found something entirely different: a photographic documentary of how various buildings in Victoriana were inspired by so-called "Real Life" counterparts. (Steelhead has done something similar.)

The exhibit is on the second floor of the Pavilion, and occupies a great deal of space - these Real Life buildings must have been quite inspirational!

Each Victoriana building is pictured with its counterpart. I was astounded at the number of nations from which residents drew inspiration: England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, the U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam (!), and I believe I saw one from Turkey.

I looked to see if my typist had visited any of the buildings, and came across the Crawford Notch train station (inspiration for the Victoriana Forest train station), in New Hampshire, U.S.A. (This train line extends into the White Mountains and, ultimately, the Mt. Washington Hotel, where the Bretton Woods conference was held in July 1944; the agreement from that conference pegged countries' exchange rates to the price of gold.) I had a near-miss in the Disneyland train station (inspiration for the Lakeside station in Victoriana): the typist has only seen the Florida version of Mr. Disney's empire.

It was quite interesting to see how close some of the Victoriana buildings came to their counterparts. Because of the limitations of Second Life, less-elaborate buildings came closer than more-elaborate structures. I admired the handiwork of both sets of craftsmen.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

When You Dance, Do Your Senses Tingle and Take a Chance?

The Whitehorn branch of the Caledon Library, in Victoria City, has a new exhibit: "To Move in Measure: A glimpse of 19th century social dance," curated by Miss Leslie Weston. The exhibit occupies both the first and second floor.

As is usual in these things, the exhibit consists mainly of wall hangings that, when clicked, offer notecards. Many of the pictures are of entertaining Victorian dancing scenes, helping to illustrate the dances or locations in the accompanying notecard.

From the introductory card:

Social dance has been around since man first figured out how to clap and stomp. Reconstructing the specifics of HOW man clapped, and stomped, in any given era or country can be tricky. Fortunately, when considering Western European and American social dance traditions, there is a wealth of primary source material available to us, from instruction manuals, literary references, musical evidence, iconographic representations, to the ephemera which accompanies dance events.

The 19th century was a period of immense social change. Men went off to fight long wars on foreign soil, and brought back new social dances. The industrial revolution created a new class of upwardly mobile people eager to access the gentility (and power) of the traditional upper classes, which they did in part, through social dance. The waltz, and other couple dances like it, created a revolution by putting couples into each other's arms.

The first set of cards describe various dances and their origins, including the quadrille (an "elaborate set of steps and danced by sets of four, six, or eight couples" that was "introduced in London in 1815"), the waltz ("first danced in Vienna in 1773," this is "a dance in triple time"), and the polka (first referened in 1835).

The waltz was quite a revelation: "At first, society was shocked at the innovation of a lady dancing in a gentleman's embrace, but despite opposition and charges of laciviousness, it was enthusiastically adopted." As an editorial aside, one might suggest that "despite" be changed to "because of."

Below, Dr. Tesla Steampunk (in his white tie from Mr. Mako Magellan) and I dance a waltz on the second floor of the library.

Other notecards discuss dancing venues, musicians, dance notation and choreography, sheet music, and dance cards, and provide references to works of ballroom etiquette.

In order to better illustrate the various dances, a Moving Picture Device has been installed on the first floor. This Device has a dozen or so moving illustrations of dances, some performed by a lady and gentleman in scandalous clothing in what appears to be a studio, others performed at a [replica of a] society Event, as can be seen in the photograph above.

The exhibit runs through April.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Duchies for Sale

Recent months have seen a number of Caledon duchies change hands or be offered for sale. Miss Ilsa Munro just announced the sale of Loch Avie; Miss Diamanda Gustafson is shopping the Sound; Perenelle changed ownership from Dame Ordinal Malaprop to Miss Anna Darwinian and Mr. Ambiant Kukulkan to Miss Alana Steamweaver and Miss Kitsuko Pelazzi, all in a matter of months; and the changes in Rothesay have become the stuff of legend, with Miss Gabrielle Riel returning to the duchy (Carntaigh) she once sold.

Below two pictures: Loch Avie

Below two pictures: Carntaigh (in Rothesay)

Below: Perenelle

Below: the water-filled Sound

Is this a good time to be buying a duchy? Or a good time to be selling one?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Review of Soulless, by Gail Carriger

I was tempted to start this review by saying if you are only going to read one Victorian-era romantic comedy mystery involving werewolves, vampires, and ghosts, make it Soulless. That seemed far too damning with faint praise, however, so let me start again.

One thing that romance novels and Steampunk or Gaslamp Fantasy novels have in common is that they tend to take themselves so darn seriously. This strikes me as a mistake. Let’s face it: whether you’re reading the umpteenth variation on the romance theme, or the latest swashbuckling adventure with airships and goggles, it’s supposed to be fun. This isn’t A Reliable Wife. Gail Carriger must have had the same thought, because Soulless is a wicked send-up of both genres – a Gaslamp Romance by way of P.G. Wodehouse.

In this version of Victorian London, various “supernaturals,” including vampires and werewolves, are assimilated into society and, indeed, help Queen Victoria rule the nation. (Other countries, such as the United States, have much less enlightened views about the supernaturals.) Each group has its own strict hierarchy and rules, and the Bureau of Unnatural Registry monitors their activities.

Miss Alexia Tarabotti is the soulless title character, a spinster in her mid-twenties, bright, intellectually curious, and adventurous, living with her mother, stepfather, and two step-sisters. She inherited this condition from her late father and it gives her the ability to nullify the power of any supernatural who is in physical contact with her: vampires lose their fangs, and werewolves lose their large teeth, physical strength, and werewolf form. Though her condition is rare, and kept from the general human population, supernaturals are taught about Alexia and her kind.

The story opens when Alexia ventures away from a social gathering into the library in search of food. She is confronted by a vampire who rudely attempts to bite her without so much as a formal introduction, much less permission, and she accidentally kills him with the parasol she so often carries with her. Lord Maccon, the Alpha werewolf of the London pack and a member of the BUR, arrives to investigate this episode. He and Alexia have had an uneasy relationship for some time. Who was the rogue vampire? Why are supernaturals both appearing and disappearing? And why are sinister forces determined to kidnap Alexia?

These questions are all resolved by the end of the book, but they seem almost an afterthought to the relationship between Lord Maccon and Alexia. As in all romance novels, the two start off disliking one another immensely, and their continued bickering during the course of the book is mere prelude to the deep kisses and heaving breasts we all know will soon come. Without humor, this would be unbearable. (Some might think it unbearable even with humor; the genre is not to all tastes.) The sendup of Victorian society is hilarious. I found some of the kiss/nibble/sigh scenes a little repetitious, and would have preferred a little more meat on the bones of the plot, but, all in all, an amusing romp.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Steampunk Exhibition - "Steaming Hot!"

Sunday was the opening of "Steaming Hot!", an exhibition of Steampunk-themed artwork. Though I missed thke opening itself, I thought I would see what the exhibition had to offer.

The artwork encompasses a wide range of styles, but most of it is quite whimsical. Below, a "green energy" generator.

Some have functions that are obvious or well-labeled. Others...are left to the viewer's imagination.

This heart tree is interactive: touch it and hearts fall off!

This poor bicyclist can do nothing but run in circles.

This piece is entitled "Luddite's Time Machine.." I'm still pondering that one.

This is the Steampunk Internet. Again, I'll ponder that.

My, he looks oddly familiar. :)

These are only a sampling of the pieces spread across the island. I don't know when the exhibit closes, so get this Steampunk art while it's hot!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Spring Comes to the Downs

While I was away in Babbage, the spring thaw arrived throughout Caledon. The mountains retain their snow-capped appearance, but the ground is green and the water flows freely once again.

It's time for me to find my gardening shears. Or possibly, as gardening sounds as though it would be far too much work, time to find another adventure.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Babbage Intrigue - Shadow of the 13

I can now report on a most perplexing case that had consumed my energies for the past few days. In New Babbage, they call it the affair of the Shadow of the 13, and the mysteries exposed had lain dormant for many years.

The story begins in the old Imperial Theater, which is undergoing renovations. During the process of knocking into an old wall, a body was found.

Additional investigation took me to the Loki Absinthe Distillery, where some skulduggery and my experience with second-story work came in handy. (My fear of heights, not so much.)

Would you really take a candy from an Obolensky automaton dressed as Santa? Really?

The mystery took me throughout Babbage, above and below. In the end, I and others pieced together the story.

Below, a rocket ship crashed into Ruby's Bar. I hope the insurance premium was paid up!

Several OOC notes: I would be doing an injustice to those who wish to play to divulge any more of the plot. Suffice to say that it kept my interest, despite several frustrations. I can't say that I followed the clues in the proper order, as I stumbled across certain things that, in retrospect were not properly the result of earlier clues. I'm not sure that matters, except to the extent that, having missed some intermediate steps, it might be difficult to regain the proper path. In addition, finding myself unable to go on at one point, I found young Miss Myrtil Igaly's Journal. (Beware: spoilers within!) It proved to be informative both in terms of the actual RP that occurred in Babbage and some of the details of the mystery that I would otherwise have missed, as well as providing clues. Miss Igaly by no means provides a step-by-step solution, I hasten to add.

In the end, I think I managed to understand most of what was going on. A detailed knowledge of Babbage - certainly more detailed than I have - would be helpful, though not essential. Patience is a good substitute. Some elements are still a mystery to me...whether because I missed something or because they will be used in future RP I cannot say.

The plot uses Babbage and some of its citizens, especially the urchins, as background, but one can go alone, which solves the pesky problem of most RP, which is how to coordinate far-flung and busy people. All in all, a most enjoyable experience. Good show, Mr. Elliot!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Aether Salon: Children!

This month's Aether Salon concerned the topic of Victorian children, and featured three speakers: Miss Saffia Widdershins (publisher of the Primgraph and Prim Perfect), and two of Babbage's urchins, young Jimmy Branagh and his youthful compatriot Miss Myrtil Igaly. Miss Widdershins, pictured below, started with a summary of how children's literature depicted children during the Victorian era, drawing on her typist's deep knowledge of the subject.

Master Branagh and Miss Igaly, below, followed with a discussion of how they came to Babbage, and how their typists each chose the part of an urchin.

As usual, Miss Viv Trafalgar, Miss Jed Dagger, and Miss Serafina Puchkina were the able hostesses of the event. Below, Miss Trafalgar, with a ghostly Miss Dagger behind (the fault of the camerawoman, not Miss Dagger's seamstress).

The crowd had fewer adults in attendance than Salons I have previously attended, but it seemed as though every urchin in Babbage was there, giving our speakers what-for.

Another fine job by the Salon!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

In Which the Author Does a Little Soft-Shoe

Busy in Babbage these past few nights, and the typist busy at the office during the day, I've had little time to go through my usual Journal production function, and my backlog of content has run dry. Consequently, while waiting for other obligations to end to give time for some new content creation, I'm doing a little soft-shoe to keep the attention of the audience. A few tidbits...

I try to hit a post a day - something I may rethink in the future - to keep both me and any actual readers entertained. Even so, I know I'm not the most prolific person out there. But Miss Emilly Orr astounded me with a remarkable four entries in the space of an hour!

The Value of Social Networks

While I’m sitting here, procrastinating – dash it all, another New Year’s resolution down the tubes! – I check some favorite blogs. Then Twitter. Then some more blogs. If I had a Facebook account, I’d probably check that, too, along with a half-dozen other social networking sites. Fortunately, I have the discipline not to join any of them, because I’d just add another 15 minutes to my routine of screwing around before I get to what I was planning all along.

It’s clear to me that these sites excel at inducing people to waste their time. What's less clear is what positive purposes they serve, and whether those purposes could be achieved better some other way. Twitter allows quick news updates (and I'll define "news" broadly - anything from the Haitian earthquake to a new concert by your favorite performer), announcements of new blog entries, links to Aetherweb sites, and, no doubt, things I haven't imagined. But it's new, and some people are trying it out to entertain themselves, while others are trying it out to market whatever they have to sell, and who knows where it will all end up. These experiments are useful, even if specific ones fail.

Which brings me to Google Wave. I know some residents of the Steamlands are in the beta - I'm not - and they surely have a better handle on what Wave is useful for and where it doesn't move the ball, but let me offer an observation. When I first read the description of Wave, my reaction was that I had no idea what it did. That's not a good thing for a product. Sure, something about collaboration, and e-mail but better, and so on. I understood all the words, just not how they fit together. Then I saw an article called "20 Real-World Uses for Google Wave". After reading it...I'm still underwhelmed. Yeah, some of the uses sounded interesting. At work, the typist collaborates (occasionally) with others, and some of the tools sounded neat for that. But let's look at some of the other items. "1. Keep in touch with friends." Really? We needed another tool to do that? "2. Share your photos." Ditto. "3. Share files." C'mon, guys, do better than that. Again, collaborative tools are nice, at least for a fraction of the population, and having a substitute for an in-house ListServ would be great (the typist's homeowners association could benefit from that, too, though I can only imagine the rancor that could occur). But "9. To-do lists"? I do not want a collaborative to-do list. "16. Chat room." And so on.

Well, maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about, and it will be a great success. And even if it's not, as I said above, trying out new things is good because who knows what will turn out to be useful? Still, it would be nice for the Googles to communicate a clearer vision for what they'd like to do with the product.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

No Avatar is an Island

Last night I received a note that announced the passing of the typist of my Downs neighbor, Mr. AutoPilotPaul Qork, in a traffic accident.

I did not know Mr. Qork personally, though I had seen him setting up his house, and I had written about his project to collect daguerrotypes of the homelands of typists of Caledonians. I am saddened by Caledon's loss.

On a lighter note, I survived the Windows 7 upgrade experience. I don't see any notable performance increases thus far, however. Early days yet, however.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dreams and Anxieties

I don’t spend much time analyzing my own dreams, in part because I don’t often remember them in any detail, in part because they make little sense when I do remember them in detail, and in part because, while I accept that they reflect the subconscious mind working through issues, I’m never clear on exactly what those issues might be.

However, I have noticed over the years that the dreams that tend to stay with me are the ones that cause anxiety. The dream anxiety translates into a sense of unease the next morning, as though I’m aware something is eating at me, even if I don’t always know what it is. (Those dreams where you’re back in high school, forgetting the locker combination, or being late to class, or failing all your tests – they’re pretty obvious even to me. But I digress.)

I spent some time this morning trying to figure out why I might be anxious. I concluded that attempting a Windows 7 installation too late the night before, such that it had not finished before I turned in for the night, was a mistake. If I'm mysteriously absent from the Steamlands for a while, you'll know the reason.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Airships Through a Lagstorm

I will return to the little tour of CDS states in a bit, but I wanted to mention the Shadow of the 13 mystery/RP game going on now in New Babbage. Both Dr. Fabre and Miss Carver have mentioned it in their Journals (as has New World News, but Mr. Au gets enough hits that he doesn't need the publicity), but I thought I should plug it as well.

Constructed and executed by the multi-talented Master Loki Eliot, the mystery starts with the discovery of a body, and some barrels that appear to have come from the sky. After that...? We will have to see if other clues present themselves. My understanding is that the clues are fixed in place and do not require any particular interactions with Babbagers (a good thing, given the different times that people are in-world), and can be approached as time permits.

I tried twice to make some headway, but I confess I was beaten back both times by lag so horrid that I could hardly move. Babbage is a laggy place at best, but this past week has been a hard one on the grid, for reasons that I don't understand. I can only hope it gets better.

Babbage seems to have had an influx of urchins, or perhaps they have just become more visible. I mis-identified the gender of one, due in part to the lag (things weren't rezzing well) (and young sir, the long hair didn't help), so my apologies to him for that, as I think he was out of range when I sent my apology via chat. Are they related to the game? Time will tell.

Babbage has become a large place, and those who are not residents are likely to find themselves at a disadvantage. The Shadow of the 13 Aetherweb site has a map of Babbage with a few sites helpfully marked, but it takes me so long to find anyplace that it's tough sledding for me at best. I can only hope that I can find a location that a clue references.

In any event, the idea is a smashing one, and I commend Master Loki for putting everything together.

(Apologies for the title to Crosby, Stills, and Nash and their "Horses Through a Rainstorm.")

Edit 1/13/10: Lag was less last night, almost back to New Babbage's usual "it's a little laggy in here" self. Whether this was because of a grid-wide improvement, or rebooting Babbage, or simply fewer people in the sim, I don't know. I was able to find several clues - though what they all mean I still have no idea.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Trip on the Caledonian Ferry Line

Having read of the new Caledon ferry service, from Kittiwickshire to Cape Wrath, I decided that some bracing sea air was in order. I had no particular place to go. Instead, I took the ferry the length of its route.

I had just missed the previous ferry, so I waited for the next one. (Though the card from Guvnah Shang says they run every 15 minutes, the truth is that they seem to run every 30. One departed Kittiwickshire at ten of the hour, and the next arrived at twenty past.) The ship, the S.S. Deckard, was small but looked seaworthy. I hoped the seas would not be rough, however. I climbed aboard. For the first leg, I was joined by Mr. Philipp Oldrich.

The first stop was in Caledon Sound (not pictured), where we sliced through the ice that coated the Sound. From there, we journeyed to Port Caledon...

...and through the Firth to Caledon-on-Sea.

After a brief stop in Morgaine...

...the final destination was Cape Wrath. After providing some notice, the brave boat self-destructed.

The entire trip was about a half-hour, and quite scenic. Mr. Dominic Webb, proprietor of the Caledon Ferry Line and developer of the ferry and its route, should be commended for providing another means to travel about our fair land. I might suggest that Mr. Webb reprogram the ship to save itself at Cape Wrath, thereby making the venture more economical (and, dare I say, profitable? Perhaps not, as the service is free.). Return service to Kittiwickshire may also be useful at some future date.