Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Mulberry Horror

When Miss Emilly Orr declares a haunted house to be disturbing, it's a must-see. I traveled to the Mulberry Horror Event to see what the scare was about.

The sign below is just about the first thing I saw: "In case of zombies...please break glass." The pistol thoughtfully came with ammunition, though I had had the foresight to bring my own.

The zombies were not long in arriving. My eyes were drawn to the wrecked car and the bloody body on the road, so it took me a moment to see the figures shambling toward me. I drew my Colt and fired. One went down* and the others scattered, giving me time to make my way past them.

But perhaps zombies are not the worst thing that one can find...

The school house had turned into a slaughterhouse. Police tape, desks in disarray, a tiny chalk outline, and blood, blood everywhere.

The house was next, but it was clear that whatever had happened in the school also happened inside here. Written on the wall, in blood: "When you left you ripped out my heart. Now we are even." The shrouded corpse indicated the writer was telling the truth.

Nor was the church a sanctuary.

Inside, a monstrous creature guarded the pagan symbols.

I turned to flee, but I was pointedly stopped.**

The hospital was equally corpse-ridden.

The fair was a carnival of doom...

...and the woods held terrifying creatures that no man had ever before seen.

The Mulberry Horror is far more than a haunted house: it's an entire sim of creepiness. The ambient sounds add to the skin-crawling nature of the walk, and the narrow passages inside each of the buildings contributes to the claustrophobic feeling. Outside, the fog and thick trees are equally atmospheric. A well-done Halloween treat!

*Actually, sadly not. The damn things were un-killable. What a shame.

**Yes, I know, a bad pun. And look at that dress! You'd think I would have the sense to wear something a little more practical to a haunting. I don't think the blood stains will ever come out.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween in Llyr

I set sail from Caledon-on-Sea to visit Mr. Tao Mistwalker's duchy of Llyr. Even in C-o-S, the Halloween spirit had taken hold, as the display below, in front of Miss Aevalle Galicia's manor, shows.

The giant clank stands guard.

I cruise along the shoreline.

The old sailing ship is moored at the pier.

Finally, I see it: the stone circle emits an eerie glow, summoning the spirits.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A-Mazing Caledon and Lagtoberville

Two events found the Jameson sisters heading in different directions last weekend. First, Rhianon decided to try her hand at the Caledon Cavorite Mines Halloween Killer Maze. I don't know everyone who had a hand in putting this together, but one instigator was Mr. Jayleden Miles, and there was clear evidence of the hand of Mr. Denver Hax.

This was part harvest time fun and part cavorite mines fundraiser. The adventurer finds her way into the maze, and the goal is to find both the exit and 31 ghostly Guvnahs. One is depicted below.

To be perfectly frank, the first goal is to stay alive. A variety of Bad Things can happen to a body as she wanders through the maze. Some are fatal. Some merely frighten a lady half to death. Clowns! Everyone is afraid of clowns, right?

Des finds himself trapped in a spider's web... and perhaps he's not alone.

Rhianon reports she found about half of the Guvnahs and, despite coming armed, was killed about a half-dozen times over the course of several hours. She took out a number of the beasts, though, so it wasn't a total loss.

The maze was hugely fun.

Meanwhile, Miss Orr noted that, although the organizers of Octoberville had previously announced they would not be staging a 2010 version of the mystery/hunt, someone must have had a change of heart, as Octoberville 2010 was under way.

I considered how much I wanted to try this, given the lagfest of the previous year and my frustration with not being able to solve some of the puzzle or find some of the objects. In the end, I gave in and visited. The lag has not improved.

Having worked my way through the sim for many days last year, this time I had greater familiarity with some of the basic buildings and some of the holdover puzzles, as well as an appreciation for what various objects looked like and where I might expect to find them. As a result, I made fairly good progress. I even solved one of the puzzles I failed to solve last year, which gave me a sense of accomplishment. (It was one of those puzzles that involves moving 15 tiles one at a time to form a picture. In a flashback to elementary school, I was moving the tiles and working toward a solution when a guy showed up and started clicking away. However, I'd like to think I'm a tad more mature than in elementary school, so I said nothing and waited for him to give up, which he did about 20 minutes later... despite having received a pretty good hint about how to solve the puzzle.) (And I'm not proud: I used the hint to solve it myself.)

One woman decided to reduce lag in an extreme way. (Scrawled on her stomach are the words "Say No To Lag.") I wanted to tell her that system hair and clothing would have gotten her the same result without the pumpkin ta-tas and the pumpkin over her crotch, but thought discretion was the better part of valor.

Anyway, no success again for me this year, but at least I didn't spend as much time obsessing about it before giving up, so that's something of a victory!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

History with Salazar Jack

Saturday afternoon found me at Info Island for an informative talk by a large blue gentleman, the famed Salazar Jack.

Mr. Jack discussed the history of Urtahra, destroyed in the Great Erase, and its connection with Linden Lab, including the great forest of Kahruvel, and how he came to find himself in New Babbage once upon a time.

Mr. HeadBurro Antfarm informed me of the talk, and was himself in attendance, in all his handsomeness.

Miss Nish Mip and Miss Miamax Paravane.

Your humble Journalist.

Our hostess, Miss Franja Russell, on the left. Next to her, the purple kangaroo, is Miss Tapple Gao. In front is Miss Osprey Therian, and on the right is Mr. Someone Sinister. (Just out of the picture is Mr. Douglas Quinn, who turns out to be a raven.)

A most interesting discussion followed the talk, with Mr. Jack answering insightful questions from the audience.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Caledon Harvest Festival

A somewhat belated report...

Caledon's fourth annual Harvest Festival was held from October 8 to 10 in Caledon Rothesay.

A variety of businesses set up temporary shop, along with a kissing booth, a dunking booth, and tarot reading. This being Caledon, there were dances in the evenings.

One of the attractions was Mr. Denver Hax's Wild Cavorite Ride. (I am told that negotiations are underway for hosting this ride on a semi-permanent basis. This will surely solve any overpopulation crisis in the realm.) One travels up to the platform base and entered the chamber. As the ride starts, one is dropped unceremoniously into a sphere-shaped capsule. The capsule is then launched, and the aptly-named wild ride begins.

One time I visited a neighboring sim; another time I vanished off the edge of the world and was logged out. Barring the unexpected log-out, the ride always ends the same way: with the capsule crashing down to earth. It's a good thing I have extra padding!

I can only hope the harvest was good this year, because I'm hungry!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Modern Updates of Country Music

My ears often twists lyrics into words the ears want to hear, not the ones the singer actually said. As I was listening to the radio the other morning, I heard a country song in which the singer kept turning his truck around at the Georgia state line, but I never heard what the problem was. Was he not licensed to drive in Georgia? Did his route end in South Carolina? Or did he have a restraining order that kept him out of the state and therefore away from his true love? The last possibility intrigued me. Country songs are very tradition-bound, generally holding to a handful of well-worn themes - God, guns, pickup trucks, dogs, youthful hell-raising, the joys of family, and the heartbreak of cheatin' women - but perhaps the genre could use some updating. Here are some ideas:

For the Facebook generation: "He Unfriended Her Today" (to the tune of George Jones' classic "He Stopped Loving Her Today")

For the unhappy couple who has had to resort to the law to mediate the breakup: "I Got the Dog, She Got the Restraining Order"

For the true-blue boyfriend in an Internet romance: "I Walked the (Fiber Optic) Line"

For the country yuppies: "There's a Tear in My Microbrew"

For those who like Patsy Cline's "Crazy": "On Antipsychotics" ("I'm on antipsychotics/On antipsychotics for tryin'/On antipsychotics for cryin'/Over you.")

For the blue-collar crowd: "(I Moved) 16 Tonnes (That's 15.7472 Short Tons)"

For the transgendered: "A Boy Who Used to be Named Sue"

For the workplace litigation crowd: "Hey Good Lookin' (I Mean that In a Non-Harassing Way)"

For the greens: "Help My Prius Make It Through the Night"

For the politically-correct: "Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up and Play Cowboys"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Aether Salon: Heroines! (and a Villain)

(Written and dispatched at Rhianon's request - KJ)

Sunday found my sister at the Aether Salon, which was celebrating Heroines in literature, with Miss Bookworm Hienrichs as speaker. Miss Serafina Puchkina introduced the salon (with Miss Jed Dagger on the right, below).

Mr. Jasper Kiergarten introduced the speaker. The "alumnae/i" of the Salon wore sashes to commemorate their status.

Miss Hienrichs begins to speak. She noted that the Bible contained several examples of heroines, and provided lessons that one could take from them. The prostitute Rahab saved two of Joshua's spies by knowing the back passages of the city (Lesson 1) and knowing how to lie well (Lesson 2). Deborah, a judge, provided Lesson 3: Use the authority given to you, while Jael, who killed an enemy general while he was asleep provided Lesson 4: Use any advantage given to you.

Miss Breezy Carver listens... does Miss Sky Netizen...

...while Baron Wulfenbach stands in the background.

Miss Stereo Nacht and Miss Tricia Aferdita consider Miss Hienrichs' words.

Miss Alden Cortes watches.

Below, Mr. Sunset Quintess and Miss Ahnyanka Delphin.

Miss Rhianon, of course.

Two Babbage urchins, Master Jimmy Branagh and Miss Myrtil Igaly. Note the open doorway behind them.

Miss Hienrichs had just started to describe Scheherazade, heroine of the Arabian Nights tales, when the gathered crowd heard a loud clanging noise - then a second, and a third. Turning around, people saw that the gates had closed, locking them inside!

Everyone turned back around, only to see New Babbage's arch-villain, Doctor Obolensky, menacing Miss Hienrichs with a wand.

The Doctor touched her with the wand and she crumpled to the floor, remaining motionless. The fiend said she was not permanently harmed, but that the audience had all inhaled something poisonous. He would give us the antidote only if they listened to him explain why there were no such things as heroines.

The crowd was in an uproar, demanding to know the Doctor's intentions, expressing concerns over Miss Hienrichs' well-being, and drawing weapons. After a tense standoff, Miss Hienrichs awoke, grabbed the Doctor's wand, and destroyed the device - a very heroic action! The Doctor flew away on his propellor beanie. A number of people discussed how to release the crowd from its imprisonment - climb over the wall? bring in an airship? pick the locks or blow them open? Release eventually came, and Miss Hienrichs recovered, though she remained weak, and the Salon ended.

What excitement!