Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dark Aether Falls, Part 7

New Babbage is on edge, its inhabitants held hostage to the prophecies of the robot Writer, whose tale is now many pages long. However many new pages appear in the book, the ending is always the same: the evil that Jason Moriarty unleashed win, and the town is in ruins.

Some have started to question the leadership of the Clockwinder, but no one has offered up a coherent plan to fight the monsters.

The New Babbage Militia is mobilizing to counter the threat.

Gadget and Miss Falcon are working on a plan of their own. Gadget and Nat delivered a surprising piece of information to Miss Hienrichs - a letter from the Van Creed that claims the society killed Alexander Eliot and framed Jason Moriarty for the deed. The twist: a Van Creed member gave the letter to Gadget and asked him to deliver it to the Babbage authorities.

So far, all the things foretold by the robot Writer appear to be coming true: Jimmy arrived in his airship/time machine, an old man; the machines scattered about town have spawned the crab-creatures; Sebastian of Malkuth appears to have Cloud Angels. However, our ability to glean clues about the future of New Babbage may have come to an end. As Miss Hienrichs reports, the Writer and its clockwork guardian were both attacked:

[Bookworm] sucked in a breath at the sight of the Writer lying on the floor, a few cogs scattered around it, and a hammer driven into its "ear." There was another pile of machinery next to it, the last remains of one of Miss Avariel Falcon's clockworks.

A hammer? Hmm...

As if things weren't bad enough, a crack in time itself appeared outside the Hotel Excelsior:

Dark Aether  Crack in Time 001

And yet, as Triky told Myrtil, "you still got choices, the future is not set in stone." Is that true?

I certainly wanted no part of the Dark Aether after my brief and frightening encounter with it. Still… Jason Moriarty was supposed to be masterminding the plot against Babbage, so it served to reason that finding him would be a good first step. It seemed quite odd, however, that my encounter with the Dark Aether was in the Van Creed warehouse. I decided that a stop in a nearby pub would help me sort this out.

Monday, November 28, 2011

What Does This Button Do?

I just can't help myself...

Mr. Hax's mysterious new site on Aether Isle beckoned me. The control room was filled with dials and levers.

Tube Alloys 003

Hmm, what does this button do?

Tube Alloys 002


As the missile launched from its underground silo, I was grateful for the blast-resistant bunker. The heat blossomed around me, and the ground shook with the force of a moderate earthquake. Beyond the immediate din, I thought I could hear glass shattering.

Tube Alloys 001

I hope I didn't inadvertently start a war, or anything like that.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Aether Salon - Victuals

Sunday saw the start of the "new" Aether Salon - or at least the new management of the Salon, and the new design for the Salon, created by Mr. Blackberry Harvey.

Baron Klaus Wulfenbach introduced the Salon and welcomed the large and enthusiastic crowd. In lieu of the usual lecture about no weapons, incendiary devices, and so on, the Baron glowered at us, briefly locking eyes with each person, and growled, "Don't make me come over there!" It was oddly effective.

Aether Salon  Victuals 005

The day's topics was Victuals - vittles, as they say in Deadwood - and the speaker was New Babbage's own Miss Ceejay Writer.

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Miss Writer, aided by the slide projector behind her, spent about an hour discussing some of the food preservation and preparation techniques over the ages.

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Pictured, Fanny Farmer

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Sir JJ Drinkwater and Mrs. Breezy Carver-Fabre.

Miss Writer then discussed the contributions of Louis Pasteur in developing techniques to reduce bacterial growth in food. She also noted the development of canning - first using iron cans (deucedly difficult to open - apparently the use of firearms in the kitchen was frowned upon), then steel - and the invention of the can opener. Preservation in glass came next, though, as several in the crowd noted, it was less sporting when one could identify what was for dinner through the glass than when one had to take a guess as to what was in the steel can.

Aether Salon  Victuals 004

Other kitchen inventions followed, including that of the waffle iron. To be honest, my stomach started rumbling quite loudly at that point, rendering the rest of the lecture difficult to hear.

I did hear the word "popovers" mentioned (a kind of individual Yorkshire pudding, for those on the other side of the pond), which set off my stomach once more.

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Mr. MacKnight Culdesac standing behind me

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Miss Rhea Riel, Miss Trout Suppenkraut, and Captain Static, all part of the delegation from the Scoundrel Fleet

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Part of the large and enthusiastic audience

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Miss Darlingmonster Ember and Miss Solace Fairlady, illustrating the adage that couples begin to look like one another

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dear Occupiers, Rage is Not a Substitute for Critical Thinking

Or, what I hope is my last statement on the topic.

One of my strategies for staving off the unfortunate effects of middle age is to take a walk prior to or just after lunch. Where I currently work, a walk to Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House and back is just about the right amount of time and distance. As a result, I have become an observer of the art of the protest. It seems to me that there are some clear dos and don'ts involved.

First, far too many protesters, especially those demanding action on foreign policy, write posters in their native tongue. This may be out of necessity, as English is a tricky language, but it does little to help the cause when nearly everyone looking at your sign has no idea what message it conveys. To me, "Allow democracy to flourish in South Sudan" looks the same as "Kill 'em all and let our Higher Power sort 'em out." Similarly, trying to put too much on a sign, resulting in tiny writing, is fatal to conveying your message to passers-by and, more importantly, to any cameras in range.

Second, protesters need to think about their aims. "America out of Iraq!" is simple, direct, and with the added benefit of having a coherent action item. Should anyone in power care about the protest, he or she could take action - removing U.S. troops from Iraq - thereby accomplishing the aim of the protest. Less effective but still potentially powerful is the more amorphous thought - "War is Not the Answer," for example. One has to think first about whether the protester is referring to a specific war, in which case the protest presumably aims to end that war, or whether the reference is to wars in general, in which case the action item is less clear (and, indeed, a blanket statement that all wars are bad may be a less compelling message). Worse still is the empty slogan - your basic "Death to America!" type of sign, which certainly conveys an emotion, but nothing about the root cause of the emotion nor what we should do to mollify the protester.

Third, the aim of a protest is, one presumes, to capture public attention, convey the message, and then go on to do something more productive. Public attention is fickle and short-lived, so the best protests are ones that make a splash - generally by massing as many like-minded individuals as possible - and go away. Houseguests and fish may start to smell after three days, but the stink rises from a protest in a matter of minutes, not hours.

Distilling these points into Jameson's Rules for a Successful Protest, we have these three elements:

  • A coherent, easily-digestible aim
  • Snappy and quickly-understood presentation
  • An exit strategy.

By those criteria, the Occupy movement is zero for three. Although everyone is aware that the protest involves unhappiness at "greed," or possibly "capitalism," and specifically calls attentions to the financial sector, it has become obvious that the protest has no unifying theme. Various commentators of all political stripes have tried crafting a coherent theme, but every one is an effort in futility, as the protest itself is an untamable set of heterogeneous beliefs and concerns. Similarly, tribal drums, "general assemblies," human microphones, signs referring to the "99 percent," and chants involving "our streets" and "f*** the police" don't really convey much of a message. Partly this is a problem of the lack of a simple, coherent aim, but even within the movement no one seems able to convey his or her own message in a workable manner. Sorry, kids, but "we are the 99 percent" is a statement of the obvious - well, except for the brief fly-ins by Michael Moore, Jay-Z, and decrepit but rich Sixties musicians - and a mathematical truism, not a message.

But their biggest problem is the lack of an exit strategy. The media was all too happy to craft a message, which is an advantage your average White House protester doesn't get. By drawing crowds, Occupy Whatever managed to capture attention and the press worked hard to suggest there was a point to it. However, one thing about protests that protesters tend to forget is that they irritate ordinary people (you know, the real 99%). The CEO of Bank of America is in Charlotte, North Carolina, not New York City, and doesn't really care about the drum circle. The owner of the deli across from the drum circle does care, and is not happy, nor is the working stiff who used to enjoy a pastrami sandwich and a Coke for lunch, but now has to listen to a dozen happy idiots banging away. If you want the sympathies of regular people - and, believe me, the whole protest is pretty much pointless without public support - you might want to keep in mind that pissing people off tends not to be a helpful strategy. Loud noises, closing streets and bridges, trash, public urination, and the air of a never-ending Grateful Dead concert may be fun for the participants but are not viewed in a positive light by the rest of society. Unfortunately, having no real aims means having no way of declaring victory, and having an open-ended protest means never finding an honorable way to go home. Oops.

This is not to say that there are no Occupests who have legitimate complaints. As I've noted before, young people have been sold a bill of goods on higher education, allowing themselves to go deeply in debt for an expensive, but not necessarily valuable, degree. Job prospects are bad, and there are reasons to think they won't improve any time soon, regardless of who is in Congress or the White House. Furthermore, something that doesn't seem to occupy much of the Occupiers' time but is nonetheless critical is that the country has and continues to mortgage their future in order to sustain our current spending priorities. (As an aside, they don't act all that upset at the "1 percent," as the truly rich never seem to bear the brunt of their anger: producers, movie stars, musicians, and athletes are generally the top earners in the country, but no one seems to be protesting Dr. Phil making $80 million in 2010, or Oprah pulling in a cool $315 million. Indeed, to make the top 1% in income in 2010 you would have needed $380,354 which, though a hell of a lot more than I make, doesn't seem worth complaining about.) A message that (1) focused on these issues with (2) people who conveyed the impression that they don't mind hard work if that allows them a shot at success would have melted hearts.

Instead, we have overgrown adolescents alternating between getting stoned and channeling their "rage" at inanimate objects. (Note to kids: bank buildings don't have feelings and are not responsible for you in any way.) They intimidate working class employees, such as bank tellers, scream at the police (again, blue collar stiffs just trying to earn a living), and make incessant demands while contributing nothing to society. At Harvard, the rage extends to wasting tuition money by boycotting a class they clearly should have been more attentive in. If this is the kind of critical thinking they learned in college, no wonder they want their money back!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Steelhead Port Harbor Reimagined

Steelhead's chief elf, Mr. TotalLunar Eclipse, reported that he and Miss Tensai Hilra have been reimagining Steelhead, starting with Port Harbor. The following pictures show that Steelhead becomes more stunning with each iteration.

Steelhead Port Harbor 001

The welcome sign at the landing spot

Steelhead Port Harbor 002

Providing plentiful, clean power: the Hydro Teslatron!

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The Casbah

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The bridge to the Casbah district

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An old, weathered shop

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rush to Judgment

(No doubt this will be one of the least popular opinions I've ever posted to this site. Ah well.)

Nothing like a healthy dose of moral indignation to lead to a rush to judgment.

If the allegations about Jerry Sandusky are anywhere close to true, the man is an evil predator and deserves the punishment that is surely coming to him. I don't know if the allegations are true; that's what a trial is for.

What I do know is that the witch hunt against Joe Paterno and (at the time) graduate assistant Mike McQueary is being conducted in the absence of facts and with a good dose of hindsight. At the risk of introducing a sports metaphor, this is Monday morning quarterbacking at its worst.

A quick review of what we know:

  • In the late 90s, long-time Penn State defensive coordinator Sandusky comes under investigation for child abuse. No charges are filed.
  • In 1999, Sandusky leaves the coaching staff at Penn State, though he retains an office on campus as part of a retirement package.
  • In 2002, McQueary reportedly sees Sandusky and a child in the locker room. What he sees isn't exactly clear, but he's disturbed enough to report the encounter to his boss, Coach Paterno. Paterno, carrying out his legal responsibility, informs his boss, Tim Curley, the athletic director, and Gary Schultz, the VP who oversaw campus police. Apparently neither Curley nor Schultz actually contact the police, as they were required by law to do.
  • After a lengthy investigation, on Nov. 5, Sandusky was charged with sexual abuse of eight minors and Schultz and Curley are charged with perjury before the grand jury. Paterno is not charged.
  • The media outcry shortly takes Paterno's job and that of university president Graham Spanier. Pennsylvania's governor - who, I might add, as the state attorney general, started investigating Sandusky but did not charge him - adds that Paterno failed in his "moral duty" to do more in 2002.

The witch hunt crowd claims that Paterno, and by extension the rest of the football team's coaching staff and the university administration, ignored evidence of child abuse in order to protect the team and the university's reputation. If true, this is terrible.

But is it true? What is the evidence that anyone in the university knew of a crime before 2002? Sandusky's sudden retirement seems suspicious, but doesn't that seem like an episode where the university had suspicions, couldn't prove anything, and wanted to get the man off the payroll as soon as possible? His on-campus office sounds like the sort of perk that retired professors and such usually get. Recall that the police did investigate Sandusky around that time and couldn't find evidence of a crime. Under the circumstances, getting rid of the guy discretely doesn't seem like a bad idea.

Turning to the 2002 incident, both McQueary and Paterno did what they needed to do. (Should McQueary have done more at the time? Maybe. I don't know what he saw, whether he could have done something at the time, or even what I would have done as a 22-year-old graduate assistant. The point is that, by the next day, he told his boss.) The outcry is that Paterno didn't do more than what the law required. According to these critics, he should have called the police himself. Really? In my organization, I'd call the police in a heartbeat if someone were in danger, but afterward, I'd let people above me in the food chain take care of it. Of course, I'm not a legendary coach, but neither are Paterno's critics. Those critics also claim that he should have followed up with Curley and Schultz about the alleged attack. Maybe. That's a tougher call. It's hard to imagine that a normal person wouldn't have said at some point, "Hey, Tim, whatever happened to that allegation that McQueary made against Sandusky?" Again, though, we don't know what happened, who said what, or what was in anyone's mind.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but, at the time, what would those critics have done? The crime was terrible. A coverup would be nearly as bad. Being scared is natural, though, and concern over the fallout from a scandal is a scary thing.

Football players who have been coached by Paterno over the decades have said (both before this scandal broke and since then) that his coaching went beyond the football field and extended to how players should conduct themselves both on and off the field. These players spoke of Paterno's desire that they do things the "right way," the morally correct way. This doesn't sound to me like the kind of person who would engage in a cover-up of serious crimes against children for the purpose of protecting the reputation of the team or the university. Of course, I could be wrong. People can change. Power can become corrupting. If so, I'll admit to being wrong in my judgment. In the meanwhile, I'm inclined to give the man the benefit of the doubt. I think he's earned it.

In time, many of the facts will emerge. Perhaps the critics will turn out to be right. It seems a shame to destroy reputations and careers on innuendo and Monday morning quarterbacking, however.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dark Aether Falls, Part 6

I had seen the machine-creatures earlier, shuddering at the way the hideous single eye of each creature followed the movements of anyone nearby.

Dark Aether Falls 006

I found another one, behind Loki's pub, so I moved closer to inspect it. As I approached, a high-pitched scream erupted from the device, and several crab-like creatures rose out of it.

I backpeddled quickly, drawing my pistol with a practiced movement and fired a shot. With a metallic clang, it ricocheted off the shell of one of the creatures, not even slowing it down.

Dark Aether Falls  attack 001

I scrambled into open territory, where I could maneuver better, and fired several more shots, aiming for the large eye. Whether my aim was off or the creatures were resistant to Dame Ordinal's exploding ordnance I could not tell, but in either event my weapon was having no effect.

The great pincers snapped open and shut, leaving me with no doubt as to what would happen if one caught me. Discretion being the better part of valor, my only sensible course of action was to run. Still the creatures pursued me, though I seemed to be putting some distance between myself and them.

Several blocks later I dared look back again…they were gone. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Dark Aether Falls  attack 002

Reloading my gun, I decided that I should have a second look at the Van Creed factory. Perhaps I had overlooked some important clue in my last visit.

Again I gently moved the old planks away from the doorway and crept in. The factory was unoccupied, as it was on my last visit, but this time there was something different…a gap in the floorboards in the center of the factory floor allowed a gas to escape. I peered in and the gas seemed to overwhelm me. I swooned, and when I regained my senses I was staring at a huge eye, much like the ones on the crablike creatures, only many times larger. Voices shouted at me, as though coming from the inside of my head:

Think about those moments all of them, the moments you felt hopeless, the moments you felt alone, those moments that life pained you, the time those you admired turned on you, the moments were you were young and alone and hurt, that moment of losing a loved one and accepting that never again you would experience their light. Don't repress it anymore, let it out, let it free, all the hate towards the world that demands you forget the pain and bury it away. Let the truth of your existance ring from your beating heart; you need not carry the guilt any longer. The choice is yours, take it and let go to the painful truth: none of it matters, you do not matter, no one matters.

More faintly: "None of it matters, you do not matter, no one matters.

The voice, combined with the smoke, made me dizzy. I clasped my hands to my ears as the voice repeated its evil mantra. "No!" I shouted, though I spoke to no one. The despair was overwhelming. What was the point of it all? What did I really have to live for?

As the mantra cycled through once again, I shook my head. This wasn't real. Something was putting these thoughts into me, but it wasn't real. Despite my dizziness, I unholstered my pistol once more and shot directly at the eye three times. The eye still glared back at me. I didn't see the point in continuing this investigation - or any investigation. With shaking hands, I placed the still-warm barrel of the pistol against my temple and started to squeeze the trigger...

Dark Aether Van Creed Factory 001

…I awoke in a canal, soaked to the skin. Judging by the sun, several hours had passed. Blessedly, the voices were gone and I had no idea why I would want to harm myself. I slowly dragged myself and my sodden garments out of the filthy canal water and made my way to a hotel.

As I reflected, I thought: I just had an encounter with the Dark Aether...

Other news: Miss Breezy also meets the crab creatures.

Miss Avariel Falcon finds saboteurs have destroyed several of her units.

Master Jimmy finds the crab creatures.

Miss Bookworm Hienrichs finds the Dark Aether.

Brother Napolter creates a weapon.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Haunted Glengarry

(A belated Halloween post…)

As I ambled through Glengarry, my eyes were drawn to the small cemetery near the water. Indeed, who could resist a sign in a cemetery that reads "Enter at your own risk"? Not I!

Glengarry  Bad Wolf Bay cemetery 001

I found myself in an old house in a long corridor, with doors lining either side. In an effort to find an exit, I tried one door after another. A diabolical laboratory, with an experiment on something human…or something that used to be human…in progress. Nope, not that one. A restless apparition…sorry to bother you, ma'am. Perhaps this door with the strange seal on it. "Eeeeek! Cthulhu!" Not that one either, I guess.

Glengarry  Bad Wolf Bay cemetery 002

The demon attempting to make his way through the wall wasn't helping my concentration, either.

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Something tells me that a spell has gone terribly wrong in the next room.

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I had almost reached the end of the corridor when a hole opened beneath my feet and I fell, landing roughly on a stone floor. Nothing seemed to be broken, only bruised, and I started wandering the corridors, looking for a way out. Instead, I found only spiderwebs. Large spiderwebs. Then I found the owner.

Glengarry  Bad Wolf Bay cemetery 005

After escaping the spider, I reasoned that things could only start looking up. Then I found the next chamber. Demons, anyone? Zombies? Fortunately, some kind soul had left an axe on the ground. Sure, it had some sticky blood stains on it, but I couldn't afford to be choosy. I picked up the axe and swung at the nearest creature...

Glengarry  Bad Wolf Bay cemetery 006

…only to find myself back in Glengarry again. Whew!

I learned my lesson: never again enter a mysterious crypt in a cemetery...

…unless well-armed.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dark Aether Falls, Part 5

Poor Jimmy Branagh is weighted down by the predictions of the robot Writer, whose narrative has increased yet again, spiraling the story backward in time.

Mr. Mornington expounds on what a "partial predestined paradox" might be, and why New Babbage is in one at the moment.

Master Gadget makes a discovery with Miss Felisa Fargazer - and a cat!

Brother Scorpio relays news of the meeting between Sebastian of Malkuth and the "men of faith." Master Stormy Stillwater does the same from a somewhat different perspective.

Master Tepic tails a member of the Van Creed society - in a bright green dragon costume!

Mr. Arnold reports on vandalism inside Dagon Hall.

Miss Dagger files a report on a body found in the New Babbage canals.

A ghost explains to Mr. Arnold that he has been diverting some of the Dark Aether out of the city.

Mr. Melnik discovers that the machine creatures can defend themselves.

Sebastian of Malkuth pays a visit to Master Jimmy - and performs a ritual!

As for my investigations, I have found where the Van Creed have been doing their nefarious work, and discovered what may be a connection between the machine creatures and the Eliot Device...yet every answer only leads to more questions.

Dark Aether Falls 11 1 11 004

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Jimmy, Mrs. Breezy Carver-Fabre, and Mr. Skusting Dagger discovered a body in the Vernian Sea - charred and with a deadly-looking hole in the skull:

Dark Aether 11 3 11 001

Finally, in Steelhead, young Miss Myrtil Igaly has an encounter with a friend she had thought she would never see again - and gain some insight as to what might be going on in New Babbage.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dark Aether Falls, Part 4

The mystery continues to unfold around New Babbage:

Miss Marish Lanfier discovers one of the half-machine, half-creature devices in her yard while Miss Bookworm Hienrichs is stymied in her investigations.

Brother Napoltler meditates and comes to a conclusion regarding weaponry.

Master Gadget Starsider meets Sebastian of Malkuth, who directs Gadget to gather the "men of faith" in Babbage so that Sebastian can talk to them.

Little Tepic Harlequin considers who the old Jimmy (in the robot's ever-growing narrative) could have meant when he told Clockwinder Tenk not to trust "him."

Mr. Orpheus Angkarn has an encounter with one of the machine creatures, causing him to wonder if, unknown to his conscious mind, he could be Jason Moriarty.

Meanwhile, I nosed around, following the trail earlier dispatches from Babbage had indicated. In Moriarty's secret lab, his arcane device was cleaned up and looked as though it was nearly ready to activate - though for what purpose, I could not say.

Dark Aether Falls 002

In a room at the Hotel Excelsior, I discovered an odd chemical smell - and a ghost!

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Dark Aether Falls 004

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Then, in a graveyard late one night, I encountered one of the machine-creatures:

Dark Aether Falls 006

It was altogether as horrible as others have described, pulsating as though alive, and staring with its single, terrible eye, radiating an unearthly light. It seems clear that these creatures are the progenitors of the things that attack Babbage as the robot describes. Somehow they must be able to be stopped - but how?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Following the Path

Well-known Second LIfe artist Bryn Oh, in conjunction with the Linden Endowment for the Arts, invited seven other artists to collaborate on a piece entitled The Path. As Miss Oh describes it in a notecard:

The Path is an immersive project based around the exquisite corpse concept sometimes used by the Surrealists. Essentially, each chosen artist adds to a composition in sequence. Eight artists were invited to stand upon one of eight different coloured boxes I had set up. Once all had chosen a box to stand on, a chart was rezzed which listed the order of colours which would dictate the sequence of artists to compose scenes for the narrative.

So if red was first on the chart, then the artist standing on the red cube would begin the narrative. If blue were next then the artist on the blue cube would continue the story.The artist who goes first composes a short start to a story. They then pass on this segment to the artist who is next on he list. That artist would then write up a continuation of the narrative and pass it on to the third artist. This would continue until reaching the eighth and final artist. This was the random order.

1-Bryn Oh

2-Colin Fizgig

3-Marcus Inkpen

4-Desdemona Enfield / Douglas Story

5-Maya Paris

6-Claudia222 Jewell

7-Scottius Polke

8-Rose Borchovski

I would like to thank the artists involved for the positive atmosphere they created and the professionalism shown. It was a great pleasure working with them.

I hope you enjoy our work.

Bryn Oh

The exhibit starts in a dark room with information about the exhibit (the above notecard), information about the artists, and an instruction to click on the head of a Salvador Dali-look-alike to teleport from one area of the exhibit to the next.

Be sure to keep sounds on - the ambient sounds and occasional narrative provide both atmosphere and context in the exhibit.

The first part - by Bryn Oh - starts in a room of pure white, save for a black doorway. "Hmm, should I step through there?" Throwing caution to the wind, I cross the portal.

The Path exhibit 001

This is the room of the Inventor. Walk around and examine the objects - I marvel at the exquisite detail that Miss Oh puts in her work. Butterflies flap their wings and have moving gears to propel themselves. Everything has a Steampunk feel to it, and many of the objects as well as people have gears and cogs creating motion.

The Path exhibit 002

Hidden in the room are nooks with objects that, when clicked, open an external browser directing the viewer to YouTube videos, one, named "Cerulean," is a side story to the main narrative in the exhibit; the other is a machinima of "Anna's Many Murders," an earlier piece by Miss Oh.

Next (Colin Fizgig's section) we find the Inventor in a room with many windows, portals to other worlds. Find the one he took...

The Path exhibit 005 arrive at the next destination (by Markus Inkpen), a room with many doors, and two unsavory-looking characters that provide some needed advice to the Inventor.

The Path exhibit 006

Desdemona Enfield and Douglas Story continue the theme of the key. Follow the key through the door... and find your way out!

The Path exhibit 008

The surreal scene below is the next stop (by Maya Paris), filled with menacing creatures of eyes and webs.

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The next stop (by Claudia222 Jewell) is a watery one. Where is the pathway out?

The Path exhibit 014

Now (in Scottius Polke's section) you appear to be miniaturized - or is it simply that everyone in this world is a giant? The Inventor's head looms over you as you try to find your way out.

The Path exhibit 015

The last stop (by Rose Borchovski) is another surreal space, filled with eyeballs and keys. "There is only one way back," someone - or something - whispers. "Choose wisely."

The Path exhibit 018

The Path is a delightful way to spend an hour or more. Click, listen, contemplate the detail in the different rooms.

The exhibit, which opened Oct. 14, runs for three months. It is well worth the time to see it.

For more detail about the exhibit, and lovely photographs, see this entry by the incomparable Inara Pey.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fireworks in Babbage

On Saturday afternoon, New Babbage's Mayor Tenk kindly extended an invitation to Caledon to join him in the annual New Babbage fireworks celebration. (Coincidentally, in England, Guy Fawkes Day was being celebrated.)

Master Loki Elliot masterminded the display, held in Babbage Square on the canal just by the Old Imperial Theatre. Master Loki can be seen below on the stairs leading to the canal, as a crowd of spectators gathers on the bridge and along the canal.

Quite clever of Mr. Tenk to have an urchin risk his limbs putting together such a dangerous program. And Babbage seems to have more urchins than they know what to do with.

In any event, the crowd was enthusiastic, waving flags and cheering as the rockets sped toward the skies.
The urchins seemed to prefer the view along the canal to the view on the bridge - or perhaps they were just shy.

The skies of Babbage lit up like the Fourth Guy... well, lit up.

I watched from what seemed to be a safe distance.

The crowd sent up a collective "Oooh" as a strange red, white, and blue flag appeared in the sky.

Too soon it was over, and, after an enthusiastic round of applause for Master Loki, dispersed for the evening.