Friday, June 28, 2013

Second Life Turns 10

I didn't spend a great deal of time at SL10B for a number of reasons. (Not the least of which was: I had one hell of a busy week at the office.) I'm not a huge fan of these events, wherein too many avatars pack into too small a space, creating monstrous lag, and inducing those in charge to attempt to manage the lag by shaming visitors into removing prims, AOs, scripts, and anything else that creates lag. If I have to show up as Ruth, perhaps your event isn't exactly the immersive hug-fest that you've advertised it as.

At any rate, I did pop in on two different days, once for a quick look around and the second to see a few specific builds. One was Loki Eliot's build for Escapades Island.

SL10B Loki Eliot 001

A gigantic green dinosaur with a pink bunny, a medieval village, and a creature wearing boxing gloves fit in with Loki's sense of whimsy. I didn't take the HUD, so I don't know what other goodies were in store for those who did, but it was a fun build.

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Nearby was the build for Single-Frame Stories, by Whiskey Monday and Botgirl Questi. They post a weekly topic, and contributors make a single picture on the topic.

SL10B Single Frame Stories 001

Lots of great pictures - some very evocative, some I don't understand, but hey, that's life.

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I also hit up Crap Mariner's Shatoetry build. William Shatner, in an effort to expand his empire, has an iOS app with him speaking various words. Users create phrases and sentences and the app "speaks" them in Shatner's voice. Crap has been creating Shatoetry for some time now. For SL10B, he invited people to create Second Life-themed Shatoetry, which he collected for the build. (I submitted one some time ago, but I don't know what happened to it. No doubt I screwed up an instruction.) [Edit 6/28: I apparently lost my ability to read text, because there it was. Ah well.]

SL10B Shatoetry 001

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Finally, next to Crap's build was the Corn Field, the legendary "time out" zone for punishing naughty avatars. While the original was cut off from the rest of the grid, this one was just a short walk away.

SL10B Shatoetry 004

The boredom! The boredom! Fortunately, there's television:

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Unfortunately, it shows nothing but a test pattern.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Victorian Fantasy: Robert Browning and the Pied Piper of Hamelin

After two months in which I confess the reading material was beyond my ready comprehension, the discussion group met to consider a work that, on the surface, at least, was more straightforward: Robert Browning's poem "The Pied Piper of Hamelin." Though we were small in number, the discussion was as lively as ever.

(I apologize in advance to poor Sir JJ Drinkwater, the only gentleman present and yet the only one not pictured below. For some reason, Sir JJ was invisible to my camera, his librarian uniform and spectacles the only things appearing on film. The effect was quite disconcerting.)

Sir JJ and Dame Kghia Gherardi were once again our gentle and genial host and hostess. Setting the stage for the discussion, Mr. Drinkwater said, "Tonight we have what *could* be interpreted as a not-very-serious poem by a Very Serious poet. Whether we end up agreeing with that understanding of it....we shall see." Miss Gherardi added, "As JJ mentioned, it seems like a light poem. But as we look at it tonight, I think we will discover some of the darker elements we associate with Browning."

Victorian Literature  Pied Piper 002
Dame Kghia

After some discussion of the setting and the greedy Mayor and the Corporation, we turned to the Piper himself. (As regular readers of this Journal know, I have been watching a great deal of Doctor Who these days, and the Piper, a tall man with his multi-colored jacket, had me picturing Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor. Such is the price of obsessions.) Miss Gherardi observed that Browning provides an early clue that the Piper has a hard streak in him, quoting, "And I chiefly use my charm On creatures that do people harm," noting that the word "chiefly" is artfully inserted. She added, "The poem is very heavily rhymed. Very playful." Mr. Drinkwater asked, "And do you think, Dame Kghia, that Browning uses the form as a kind of misdirection?" Her answer: "Without a doubt!"

Victorian Literature  Pied Piper 001
Your humble scribe

Other topics included the question of why the children of the town were the object of the Piper's revenge, rather than the Mayor and/or the Corporation who, after all, were the ones who cheated him; and whether the poem symbolized the uneasy relationship between Art and Society - the latter appreciating but not wanting to support the former.

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Miss Iyoba Batoni

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Miss Kristianna Fotherington

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Miss Eppie Black Wheatcliffe

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Miss Ellie Mink

On a personal note, it seems that the third Wednesday of the month coincides with a busy and often frustrating day at work for the typist, and this past Wednesday was no exception. I briefly considered skipping this month's discussion, figuring that a moody participant was worse than no participant at all. What I discovered once again, however, was that the retreat to a cozy room in stately Victoria City was enough to make me forget the rest of the day. I think that part of the magic is that the discussion requires such a different part of the mind than gets used during the rest of the day that even thinking hard about the meaning of a piece of literature becomes something less than work.

Next month's reading will be three poems from William Butler Yeats: "The Hosting of the Sidhe," "The Stolen Child," and "The Song of Wandering Aengus." I know "The Stolen Child" chiefly through the Waterboys' song of the same name.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: Doctor Who, "Lucie Miller" and "To the Death"

While I wait for the next Fourth Doctor adventure to be released, I returned to the time of the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) in the 2011 two-part story that starts with "Lucie Miller" and ends with "To the Death." These end Season 4 of the Eighth Doctor Adventures and, befitting a season-ending story, pack an emotional wallop in  under two hours of running time. (Yes, I began at the end. It's an unhealthy compulsion, like peeking at the last page of a novel before one gets started.)

Nicholas Briggs - perhaps best known as the voice of the Daleks - wrote and directed these connected stories (and also voices the Daleks). Lucie, a former companion of the Eighth Doctor, is a victim of a virulent plague. Unlike most other victims, Lucie survives, but is left physically damaged. She tries to call the Doctor for help, but can't contact him. Then the Dalek invasion starts...

The story parallels the First Doctor story, "The Dalek Invasion of Earth," in which the Doctor leaves Susan Foreman behind to remain with David Campbell. In "Lucie Miller," Lucie joins forces with Susan (Carole Ann Ford) and her son Alex (Jake McGann). They discover that the Daleks are using human labor to create a huge mine - again, just as in "Dalek Invasion." However, the purpose of the mine turns out to be quite different - and far more dangerous for the universe - than the original plan to put a planetary motor in the core of the Earth.

Also involved in the plot are former companion Tamsin Drew and renegade Time Lord the Monk (seen in the First Doctor stories "The Time Meddler" and "The Daleks' Master Plan"). The Monk is working with the Daleks in their invasion plans while in return he is allowed to loot priceless Earth art, abetted by Tamsin, who thinks he's merely "preserving" the art for posterity.

Though the Doctor is missing for most of "Lucie Miller,"  he plays a central role in "To the Death." However, it's ultimately up to the others to find a way to defeat the Daleks (yet again).

The cast puts in a strong performance, and the script covers some emotionally difficult ground. Both Susan and Lucie, for different reasons, feel abandoned by the Doctor and have to accept how events have worked out. Lucie is angry at being left crippled by the plague. Tamsin understands the true nature of the Monk, while the Monk has his own moral choices to make. In all, a satisfying story.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Review: Doctor Who, "Phantoms of the Deep"

The fourth Tom Baker/Mary Tamm audio drama from Big Finish Productions, "Phantoms of the Deep," came out in May 2013.

A submarine deep in the Marianas Trench discovers… a blue police box. Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor (Baker) is finishing repairs to K-9. The sub captures the TARDIS, takes the Doctor, Romana (Tamm), and K-9 (John Leeson) on board, then jettisons the TARDIS to the surface. The sub's commander, Dr. Patricia Sawyer (Alice Krige), says, "Don't worry, Doctor. There's nothing down here that can possibly harm us." (In New Babbage, they know what usually happens after saying something along those lines!)

The group encounters squid - and K-9 deciphers their communication: they're warning the crew to return to the surface, or otherwise they will all die. Ignoring the warning, they continue through a force field, and hull pressure reduces to almost surface levels. They find a World War II-era submarine, over 100 years old. The Doctor and Dr. Sawyer swim to the WW II sub and discover a survivor, Midshipman Jack Hodges (Gwilym Lee), who thinks he's been there for about 10 days instead of over 100 years. Creatures in the water have been keeping him alive but playing tricks with his mind. The humans can see these creatures but neither the Doctor nor Romana can. Then a giant jellyfish starts to attack the WW II sub.

The explanation for the goings-on is satisfying, though defeating the menace involves even more hocus-pocus than usual. This is an action-packed story and is played for drama more than humor (though humor has its moments as well).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stiff Hand, Part 4 (Conclusion)

(continues from Part 3)

Natalie tensed. I could see the frustration on her face. "I think we should take them all to the station. After a few hours of... interrogation, I'll wager I can get the killer to confess." She moved her mechanical arm to and fro, the gears whirring away, leaving no doubt as to the form the "interrogation" would take. Fursey looked nervous and Alderton visibly flinched. Skelton stood to one side, a deck of cards in his hands, idly shuffling the deck and making cards appear and disappear. Elwood remained unflappable, and Newport rocked from one foot to the other.

"And end up with five confessions in the process, no doubt," I said. "In any event, I don't think you'll need to use extreme measures. I know who killed Jeremy Fallon."

I turned to the players. "All three of you feared Mr. Fallon enough to give you motive to kill him.: Mr. Alderton, you feared disgrace and possible arrest if you were discovered as a card counter; Mr. Elwood, you feared financial ruin when Mr. Fallon called your loan; and you, Mr. Fursey, feared prison if Mr. Fallon disclosed your crimes.

"But only one of you had the opportunity to kill Mr. Fallon, to administer the poison he ingested." Natalie's head swiveled to stare at the bartender, Jake Newport. "No, Sergeant, not Mr. Newport. Although he had the opportunity to poison the drinks, he couldn't have known which drink Mr. Fallon would receive, as everyone ordered a whisky highball. Instead, the one person who could have poisoned Mr. Fallon was the dealer, Mr. Skelton."

Skelton's face flushed and his eyes went wild. "That's a lie!"

I faced him. "No, sir, not a lie, but an observation. As I'm sure the police will confirm, the poison was on a card - specifically, the ten of diamonds Mr. Fallon received just before he died. The poison, as you can see, discolored the edge of the card. When Mr. Fallon touched the card, then placed his fingers on his lips, as he invariably did, he sealed his fate."

"Preposterous!" the dealer exclaimed. "How could I possibly have known to poison the correct card?"

"He's right, Miss Jameson," said Carl Fursey. " If this man had done anything with the cards during the game, we all would have seen it. He would have had to apply the poison before he dealt the last game, and how could he have known who would get the poisoned card?"

"I've been watching Mr. Skelton perform various card tricks while he's been waiting, just to keep in practice, or perhaps it's just a nervous habit of his. He's quite good at making specific cards appear at his command. Slipping the ten of diamonds to Mr. Fallon at the appropriate time would have been child's play for him. The trickier part would be to dispose of the poison. I suspect, Sergeant Bishop, that the poison might still be on Mr. Skelton's person, should you choose to search him thoroughly." Natalie looked pleased at the prospect.

"Why would Mr. Skelton want the victim dead?" Natalie asked. "Mr. Fallon wasn't a regular card player. It's doubtful the two ever met."

"Precisely my thought. Which means someone else, someone who knew both Mr. Skelton and Mr. Fallon and had a motive to want Mr. Fallon dead, arranged for the murder."

The light came on in Natalie's eyes, and she moved discreetly toward the correct suspect, ready to act if he tried to escape.

I continued, "Mr. Fursey had motive, but no connection with Mr. Skelton. Mr. Fursey may steal money, but he does not gamble. Mr. Elwood, on the other hand, admits he does enjoy gambling at this casino - and, as his finances show, he enjoys gambling in business as well. He may have known Mr. Skelton before tonight. However, he seemed more interested in a different tactic for getting ahead tonight: inducing his fellow gamblers to become sufficiently inebriated to make their play sloppy, while remaining sober himself. Recall that it was Mr. Elwood who ordered the first drink, which inspired the others to follow suit, and yet Mr. Elwood was the only one who did not actually consume the alcohol.
"That leaves you, Mr. Alderton. A gambler and a cheat. Even though Mr. Skelton denies it, I suspect you two have a long - and doubtless profitable - history together."

Alderton mopped his forehead with a handkerchief already dark with perspiration. "You have no proof of any of this!"

I smiled grimly. "No proof, but a great many suspicions. For example, that marked card of yours, the jack of spades with its tiny dog-eared corner. Mr. Skelton dealt from a new deck, and yet a brand-new card is already marked? I think he was helping you win in return for a share of the profits. You're a good player, Mr. Alderton, so even a small advantage - for instance, having only a few face cards marked as such - would be enough to help you win more often than not. What odds would you give me that, when Sergeant Bishop makes her enquiries, she will find you regularly ask to be seated at Mr. Skelton's table?"

Natalie said, "I've heard enough. Antony Alderton, I arrest you for the murder of Jeremy Fallon. Morris Skelton, I arrest you for the same. We'll find enough to convict you both, never fear."

I collected my belongings. "Thank you, Nata... Sergeant, for inviting me along. This was most stimulating. I think this calls for a drop of whisky - poured by someone other than young Mr. Newport here."

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Stiff Hand, Part 3

[Continues from Part 2]

While Natalie was talking I had been taking a careful look about the room, noting the table, the arrangement of the cards, the drinks, and the drinks trolley. "Thank you, Natalie, er, Sergeant Bishop. With your permission, perhaps I could ask a few questions of these gentlemen?" She nodded. I turned to the barman. "Mr....Newport, wasn't it?"

"Yes, miss," he said nervously.

"Were you here all evening?"

"Yes, I set up the bar station before the players arrived."

"From the looks of the table, it seems as though whisky was the drink of choice this evening. Did anyone have something other than whisky?"

"No, miss. Mr. Elwood ordered one, and the others decided they'd have the same. Made life easy for me."

I looked at the table and Elwood's full glass. "Mr. Elwood didn't drink much of it."

Newport grinned. "No, miss. Of course, I've seen this sort of thing before. I expect that he was hoping some of the other players would drink too much and it would affect their play."

"Did it work? Did anyone seem inebriated?"

"No one asked for a refill. I don't see how a man can get drunk on just one highball."

"No doubt you're correct, Mr. Newport." Sergeant Bishop examined the whisky decanter and the soda siphon. She shook her head at me, indicating she smelled no trace of poison.

Thanking the barman, I turned to the dealer, Morris Skelton. "Mr. Skelton, how did you get the job to be tonight's dealer? Did the players know you?"

Skelton ran a hand through his hair. "I never saw any of these gentlemen before tonight. But I'm the top-rated blackjack dealer in the casino. The manager often asks me to deal private games for high rollers."

"How often do you change the deck of cards?"

"After every game."

"Did you see anything unusual tonight during the game?"

"No, Miss Jameson. They were all experienced players, some better than others, of course, and the game was moving along without a hitch right until... until..." He trailed off, a hand gesturing to the empty seat.

"Thank you, Mr. Skelton. That's all I have for now." I looked at the three card players. "Now it's your turn, gentlemen. Mr. Alderton, do you play cards regularly?"

Alderton mopped his face. "I've played a few rounds in my time. I'm not sure... regularly... it really depends..."

"Let me try an easier question: how well did you know the victim?"

"Fallon? I don't believe I've seen him before tonight." Alderton's body language told a different story, but I let it go.

"Sergeant Bishop said you are a card-counter. Is that correct?"

"Tommyrot!" Alderton said with some emotion. "Scurrilous rumor, and I'll thank you not to spread that around. I'll be banned from this casino - hell, from every casino between here and Steelhead - if people start believing that." He mopped his face even harder than before.

Barney Elwood was next up. "Mr. Elwood, you seem to have a good motive for wanting Mr. Fallon dead, if it's true that you borrowed money from him that you can't repay."

If my accusation disturbed him, Elwood did not let on. "I had every intention of repaying Fallon, and he knew that," he said coolly. "In any event, lending money entails some risk - as does investing in a business. Fallon and I understood those risks, almost certainly better than you, Miss Jameson."

I could have told him a few things about risks, but chose to ignore the barb. "And do you gamble regularly, Mr. Elwood?"

"I enjoy a good game of cards every once in a while. I'm not a habitué at this casino, if that's what you mean."

"I'm not sure what I mean, which is why I asked the question. You're not much of a drinker." I gestured at the full glass at his elbow.

"I was concentrating on the game. But you are correct, I don't drink much. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more after we finished with the cards but, alas, as you know, I did not have that opportunity."

"Mr. Fursey," I said, "you might have known Mr. Fallon better than anyone in the room, is that correct?"

Fursey balanced his weight uncomfortably first on one foot, then the other. Before he replied, he loosened his tie even further. He looked at Natalie. "Sergeant, I protest. This woman is not a police officer, and yet we seem to be expected to answer her questions."

Natalie smiled. "You're right, sir, you don't have to answer Miss Jameson's questions." Fursey looked smug. "On the other hand, I like her questions, so you could pretend that they're coming from me. If you really want to, I can repeat everything she says and then they'll really come from me. Or you can just do it the easy way."

"Oh, fine," he grumbled. "You're probably right, Miss... whoever you are. I expect I knew Fallon pretty well. I saw him six days a week at the office, and sometimes socially as well."

"And is it the case, as Sergeant Bishop said, he caught you embezzling funds from the firm?"

Fursey rubbed his face. "No! I mean, Fallon accused me of some...irregularities, but it was a misunderstanding that I would have cleared up for him quickly."

"And who will run the business in his place, now that he's gone?"

"I don't know. I suppose I will." Fursey looked uncomfortable.

"And I take it you won't be investigating yourself too carefully about those accusations of fraud?"

"Miss, I don't care if you're friends with the police. I don't like your tone."

"I do apologize, Mr. Fursey. Sometimes I get carried away. On a different topic, are you much of a gambling man? How did you find yourself here tonight?"

"As a matter of fact, I'm not a gambler. Well, I play cards socially, but not too often. In fact, it was Fallon who suggested I make up the fourth tonight."

I turned to Natalie. "I think that's about all I have for them."

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Review: Doctor Who, "The Justice of Jalxar"

Following on "The War Against the Laan," the fourth release in the Tom Baker/Mary Tamm series of Doctor Who audio adventures from Big Finish is "The Justice of Jalxar" (approx. one hour; released March 2013).

The Big Finish synopsis of the story reads:
They call him The Pugilist. 
It is the dawn of a new century and a vigilante is on the loose. The scourge of the criminal underclass. The saviour of the virtuous and the protector of the weak. The police are baffled, the public enamoured… but Professor George Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago are on the case. Or at least they will be when they've finished their beer. 
What is the source of The Pugilist's spectacular supernatural powers? Is he alone in his noble quest? And what is his connection to the spate of corpses discovered around London? 
As they descend further into a nefarious netherworld, the infernal investigators may be out of their depth. They're going to need help if they're to get out of this alive. The help of an old friend and his new assistant. The help… of the Doctor and Romana.
The "Justice" of the title is a robot along the lines of Judge Dredd, who keeps the peace by arresting, trying, and sentencing those who have violated local law. Unfortunately, the only punishment that seems to be in the robot's brain is death. As the Jalxar craft crashed on Earth in Victorian times, and the robot damaged, it was repaired with local parts, resulting in something of an unintentional Steampunk design.

With the assistance of Professor George Litefoot and showman Henry Gordon Jago from "The Talons of Weng-Chiang," the Doctor and Romana quickly sort things out. (According to an included interview, this production was the first time since 1977 that the three had met.)

The Doctor is in fine form, referring at one point to "the bracing aroma of Victorian England." Later on, Romana, no admirer of primitive transportation, reflects upon taking a carriage, "I'd have thought you'd have developed the internal combustion engine by now, rather than relying on livestock."

It's pretty clear that these Fourth Doctor audio stories aim for a high ratio of humor to drama, something fitting in well with Tom Baker's approach to the character. Mary Tamm has a droll sense of humor as well, and, of course, Jago and Litefoot are the same comic foils as in "Talons." All of this makes for a breezy, amusing story, short on peril but long on the pleasure of listening to the four main characters interact.

Trevor Baxter Tom Baker Christopher Benjamin
From the Big Finish site: Professor Litefoot and Mr. Jago flank the Doctor.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Stiff Hand, Part 2

[Continues from Part 1]

The bobby guarding the door to the private room at the casino let us in, while the other bobby stood watch over the crime scene. Sergeant Natalie Bishop had stopped by my house in Mayfair en route to the casino. "From what I heard about the crime," the sergeant said, "this seemed more up your alley than mine. Her uniform nearly covered her mechanical arm, but I could hear the motors responding to commands to move. I smiled in gratitude - Natalie knew how much I liked little puzzles - and entered the cab ahead of her.

Upon entering the casino, the manager stepped in front of Natalie. Placing a hand on her mechanical arm, he said, "Sergeant, I appreciate the need for the police to investigate my customer's unfortunate death, but I have a business to run. This casino is the first one licensed in Caledon, and we can't have an extended shutdown - or the bad publicity that will come with your investigation. Surely we're on the same side here - moving gambling from back alleys and pubs into a legitimate, licensed business has to be good for the police, too."

Natalie flicked her arm and tossed the manager aside. "Sir, we'll be done as soon as we can, and not a moment before. One of your customers was murdered. Surely," she said, mimicking the manager's tone, "we're on the same side here - you want any murderers to stay out of your casino. Now step aside and let us do our jobs."

Inside the private room, Natalie was all business. "Gentlemen, we have a problem. You all agree that no one has entered or exited the room during your game. Mr. Fallon appears to have been murdered via a quick-acting poison. I'm told the poison had to have been administered within a few minutes of his death. That means that one of the five of you is responsible for killing this man." She stared at each of the men in turn: Jack Newport, the bartender, Morris Skelton, the dealer, and the three remaining players, Mr. Antony Alderton, Mr. Barney Elwood, and Mr. Carl Fursey. Mr. Elwood looked calm and unperturbed at the situation, while his two playing companions both seemed agitated.

I examined the room: the blackjack table, with its four identical glasses lined up at each position; the playing cards, all in pristine condition, save for a small dog-ear on a jack of spades at the first seat and a small dark stain on the ten of diamonds at the last seat; and, in the back of the room, a police chemist examining the liquor cart as the bartender shuffled his feet anxiously nearby.

"Let me try to make this process as short as possible while making certain my companion, Miss Rhianon Jameson, knows what I know. First, Mr. Alderton, we know you're a card counter. If the casino manager knew of your... predilection, he would ban you from playing here. We've heard that Mr. Fallon knew what you were doing and planned to report you this evening, after your game." Antony started to sputter, but said nothing.

Natalie continued, "Mr. Elwood, despite your elegant - and expensive appearance, I understand that you're broke. In fact, not only is your firm in financial trouble, you borrowed a great deal of money from Mr. Fallon in order to keep your business open. It seems unlikely that you could afford to repay the loan. Mr. Fallon's untimely demise is certainly convenient for you."

"Now just wait a minute, young lady..."

"That's Sergeant to you, sir," Natalie replied.

"Sergeant, then. I may have owed Fallon money, but I'm no killer."

Natalie turned to the third player. "Mr. Fursey, I understand that you were Mr. Fallon's business partner." The man nodded nervously. "I also believe that you were embezzling money from the business. Mr. Fallon had discovered this and had already made arrangements for an auditor to look at the firm's books. If this happened, you would be found out, be sent to jail, and be disgraced."

"I resent these unfounded accusations, Sergeant!" Carl Fursey protested.

"You may resent them all you like. If I'm wrong, then you have nothing to fear and you should file a complaint against me after I release you. However, at the moment, it seems to me that all three of you have motives for wanting Mr. Fallon dead." Natalie turned to me. "And now, Rhianon, you know as much as I do about this affair."

Sunday, June 2, 2013


On a recent Saturday, I spent an enjoyable few hours at Hillwood, the Washington, D.C. home of Post Cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post.
Marjorie Merriweather Post bought Hillwood in 1955 and soon decided her home would be a museum that would inspire and educate the public. Her northwest Washington, D.C. estate endowed the country with the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia, a distinguished 18th-century French decorative art collection, and twenty-five acres of serene landscaped gardens and natural woodlands for all to enjoy. Opened as a public institution in 1977, today Hillwood's allure stems from the equally fascinating parts that make up the whole. From the captivating life of Marjorie Post to the exquisitely maintained Mansion and Gardens, the experience of Hillwood outshines even the Fabergé Eggs.
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 The front of the mansion

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A Faberge egg

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In the garden

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Another garden picture

The estate was surprisingly easy to get to, even on a traffic-filled Saturday late morning: from the top of the Beltway, Connecticut Avenue south about five miles, into the District, just past the Van Ness Metro stop, turn left into Rich People Territory, left again into Really Rich People Territory, and past the gates of the property. They even have parking.

Back when the property was first built, in the 1920s, the trees were no doubt much smaller and the hill-side view into DC must have been spectacular. Now, surrounded by mature trees, the property feels entirely cut off from the city.