Saturday, April 30, 2011

Relationships are Complicated

It didn't surprise me to see that there were potions - one labeled "I Love You," the other "I Hate You" - to convey emotions, it was that it took vats of the stuff to work.

Spinsterhood. There's a lot to be said for it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Steampunk House

Somewhere in Caledon Rocabrannagh is this charming Steampunk house, at Darkthorn Cove.

The iron pier has a set of stairs to the base of the house, but there is no way up. Except...yes, that sphere of energy looks unusual - a transporter! What could possibly go wrong?
Perhaps this is not yet ready for the production line...

Although the transporter is rough around the edges, it gets the job done. On the veranda of the house - which is shaped much like a train car - stands a table with a gas lamp and a brass teapot.
For some reason, I find myself taken with this house, all alone in the northwestern corner of Caledon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Miscellany of Pictures

Catching up on a number of photos that, for one reason or another, never made it into a Journal entry.

First, the new RCAF airfield in Penzance:
"New" might be a slight overstatement, as these photos have been lurking for several months in my "to be posted" directory.

The Penzance airfield pictures are absolute children compared to the next three, that date from early March 2008. The mechanical hummingbird fascinated me.
A closeup of the control room:
Standing in front of the observatory is a very early incarnation of sister Kathy:

I wish I had written down what sim this was, but, alas, it's long gone from my memory. Probably long gone as well.

For going out in Steampunk style, there is the Steam Hearse:
Sadly, I no longer recall where I took the picture. Then again, if you need the hearse, you're no longer in a position to much care about what transports you to your final resting spot.

Mr. Denver Hax has a different approach to those damnable breedable bunnies that breed like...well, you know.

Finally, just remember:

Act accordingly.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

New Babbage Land Auction for RFL

On Saturday, in New Babbage, Clockwinder Tenk auctioned off a number of parcels of "prime industrial land" in Wheatstone Waterways for the benefit of Relay for Life. Each parcel came with a month of tier on the meter.

Mr. Rip Wirefly was the auctioneer for the afternoon, keeping the bids rising.

The auction attracted quite a crowd, including a number of spirited bidders, Mr. Jonathon Spires (right) and Master Jimmy Branagh (center) among them.
Also bidding (and winning) were Miss Cutea Benelli and Mr. Steadman Kondor.

The Clockwinder (left) sits by Master Tepic Harlequin.

Although the bids on the parcels started out modestly, some parcels attracted bidding wars - in one case, starting from a mere L$500, bidders drove the price above L$5000. In all, L$27,000 was raised for RFL, and an entire section of Wheatstone Waterways received new owners. Well done!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sights of Fantasy Faire 2011

Another "better late than never" post:

Others with more of an eye toward fashion have written in their Journals about Fantasy Faire 2011. I took a tour around the eight sims with more of an eye toward the sights.

In the Sea of Mer, where much is concealed underwater:

Exotic Worlds:

Fantastical and Magical:

Enchanted Mysts:

Forest of Light:

Forest of Shadow:

Dark Mirage:

And last, but not least, the Steampunky Nemo Revisited:
Hmm, a tunnel. Where could it lead?
To Captain Nemo's laboratory!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

She Blinded Me with Science! - April's Aether Salon

This month's Aether Salon in New Babbage featured Miss Bookwork Hienrichs, discussing some of the advances in science during the 19th century.

Miss Viv Trafalgar (right) and Miss Sera Puchkina (left) introduced the Salon and the speaker:

Miss Hienrichs gave a summary of advances in physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, and biology. Many of the names brought back memories for me of musty old classrooms: Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell in physics, James Dalton in chemistry, Herschel and Swan in astronomy, and, of course, Darwin in biology. Below, Miss Hienrichs delivers her remarks:

Miss Hienrichs spoke of discoveries in the field of electromagnetics, and the "luminiferous aether" - what a great phrase! - and the discovery that the speed of light was independent of its direction..

Miss Darlingmonster Ember and Miss Solace Fairlady:

Turning to chemistry, we learned of James Dalton's theory of atomic particles, Avogadro's theory that equal volumes of gas contain equal numbers of molecules, and Mendeleyev's periodic table of elements (in 1869, no doubt causing school children of the 1870s to groan at the sound of his name).

Miss Jed Dagger, Miss Kamika King, Miss Breezy Carver, and Miss Gabriell Anastra:

Other discoveries included advances in spectroscopy, in which scientists studied the type of light emitted by various materials. Von Fraunhofer discovered that the sun was composed of numerous elements, while Herschel showed that chemical analysis could be done through analysis of light spectra. The planet Neptune was first predicted mathematically by observing deviations in the orbits of other planets - huzzah for mathematics!

Mr. PJ Trenton and Miss Rowan Derryth:

Your Humble Correspondent with Miss LillieJay Mills and Miss Bela Lubezki:

Mr. Linus Lacombe, with Baron Klaus Wulfenbach and Frau Annechen Lowey in the background:

Even Babbage's urchins came to learn something: from left, Master Caspian Moonstone, Miss Beq Janus (no urchin herself, naturally), Master Tepic Harlequin, and Master Jimmy Branagh:

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Portmeirion Camera Obscura

One of those interesting things I stumbled across while wandering the grid: a replica of the Portmeirion Camera Obscura:

In the immortal words of Wikipedia:
The camera obscura (Latin; "camera" is a "vaulted chamber/room" + "obscura" means "dark"= "darkened chamber/room") is an optical device that projects an image of its surroundings on a screen. It is used in drawing and for entertainment, and was one of the inventions that led to photography. The device consists of a box or room with a hole in one side. Light from an external scene passes through the hole and strikes a surface inside where it is reproduced, upside-down, but with color and perspective preserved. The image can be projected onto paper, and can then be traced to produce a highly accurate representation.
The real life building includes "a small structure which features a lens, a mirror and a projection table in a dark room, all which can be used to view objects toward which the lens is rotated, including the hillside village." Hence the name. The Second Life version includes a scripted house number that displays the total number of sims, mainland sims, mature-rated sims, adult-rated sims, and estates:

The builder, Miss Tyche Shepherd, notes that "This building is loosely based on the Portmeirion Camera Obscura, found in the Welsh village where the 1960s cult TV series The Prisoner was filmed." Miss Shepherd's version of the camera obscura is a device that projects any sim: one need only use channel 87 to speak the name of the sim. Below, Caledon Downs:

Here is a picture of the real thing, taken from Miss Shepherd's description of her project:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sippin' Whiskey

The weekend of the Final Four found me in Nashville, Tennessee. This is bourbon country: not too far from the Kentucky border to the north, and not far from the two Tennessee distilleries, Jack Daniel's and George Dickel. Naturally, this called for a road trip.

The road from Nashville to Lynchburg starts on modern Interstate highways and ends on a two-lane road from another century. In between are many miles of farmland, small towns, and straight roads. (It's a little unnerving to drive on a non-controlled access road with a 65 mph speed limit.

I was last in Lynchburg 15 or more years ago, and for the same reason. Really, there is only one reason to visit. Lynchburg is a company town, and the company is Brown-Forman, owner of the Jack Daniel's brand of Tennessee whiskey.

The visitors' center had been completely revamped since my last visit. If you happen to be a Tennessee Squire, ask for the Squires Room and you'll be escorted to the inner sanctum of JD aficionados.

The tour is free, but they don't skimp. A gen-u-ine good ol' boy (or gal, I suppose) leads a group through the various production buildings, giving a description of the whiskey-making process along the way, as well as anecdotes about Jack Daniel, his nephew and successor, Lem Motlow, and the distillery itself. No pictures are allowed inside the production facilities, but we could snap away outside.

The rag-tag group of tourists outside the rickyard, where the wood that winds up as charcoal is stacked:

Mr. Jack himself:

The ingredients for whiskey: corn, barley, and rye:

The distillery has a path that leads over a creek and to the town square of Lynchburg. The inevitable "store with Jack Daniel's logos on anything one can imagine" is there, along with several places to eat and not one but two Harley-Davidson shops.

Downtown Nashville has become quite the happening place in the past decade or so. It's funny how these things go in cycles. What was once a thriving place for live music became a veritable ghost town at night when I first went there, a few hardy spots riding out the storm. The downtown revival started slowly, but the opening of the Wild Horse Saloon, along with a new football stadium an arena, seemed to get things moving. Now, one can hardly move in the crowds, and parking - once plentiful, if you were willing to leave your car - is at a premium. Below, the "Bat Tower" (aka the Bell South Building - Wikipedia can call it the AT&T Building all they want) in downtown:

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville puts out a large plate of nachos. Two people couldn't finish that pile:

Some group of idiots was clearly hoping Virginia Commonwealth University would make it to the NCAA finals. Hope they didn't put much money on that game: