Friday, June 29, 2007

Cutting a Dash

Well, somehow I have managed to be asked to make the uniforms for Colonel Somme and Colonel O'Toole's upcoming Caledon Lancer Regiment. Such work finds me with the excuse--er, necessity--of perusing page after page of sigh inducing pictures of strapping fellows in proper amounts of braid, and I found myself chained to such unfortunate duties for much of yesterday. In an effort to share such travailles, I present the following lovely link.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

On the Perennial Comparison Betwixt RL and SL

Well away, I discovered the other day one key point. Real Life cycling accidents rather hurt more! Not to fear, nothing broken save my pride, and I find myself able to hobble about now. Just lost a good quantity of skin on the pavement when I froliced downhill into a shallow mud puddle with amazingly slick weed on the bottom. My cycle found the nearby duck pond, and I the aforementioned concrete. Now, I would have liefer had it the other way, but really hadn't time to sort it all out.

Well, let us speak of progress. I am grateful enough for the modern helmet, and my hands were well protected. Scant little else, though, much to my legs' and arms' dismay. Now, if I'd been happily clad in woolen bloomers and riding jacket, with a solid set of stays to protect my unhappy ribs, things would have been different. Of course, one must admit the improbablity of me moving quite so fast in a full 1890s outfit on a summer day atop a 40lb cycle (as Annie Londonderry I really am not)--safer perhaps, but one does understand the shift in attire.

Well, healing and ought get back on the iron horse soon enough!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Flying Twee Flash

Well, quite a bit has been going on the last few days, and I should love to talk further about it (though I have noticed whenever I say something like that, it can be a week or so before I get around to the necessary revelatory post. Ah well, if one wishes consistency in style and complete coherence, they need read Joyce before this blog, that's all I have to say on the issue).

A quick synopsis would mention the creation of a Hansom cab, the discovery of little cockney orphans who can be impressed into service as coachboys and girls, the final touches on the carriage house, MORE innovations on the horses including a lovely rearing animation, MORE card games in the Coaching house and my sordid purchase of a date with Professor Avalanche at the Sadie Hawkins South Pacific fest


Let me just say, as popular as he is, it was fortuitous that the horse trading has gone so well! The lad does not come cheaply, though his Real Lady Love, Miss Begonia, assures me that he makes a decent cup of tea. Yorkshire Gold, s'il vous plait, garcon!

But I won't be discussing any of this as I need scat out the door to do a bit of RL sailing (as I once said in the post on SL sailing, I hardly know larboard from port, but I enjoy being out there)

If the weather is not so fine where you are, let me direct you to this fun little timewaster--again, hardly steampunk, but it truly has a Tanglewood feel. It is rahter technique-, and tru to flying principles--the squirrel slows when climbing, and speeds when diving. Too slow, and the little thing stalls and falls. Speed requires energy, got in the form of nuts that become more and more scarce as winter approaches. And the music is, well, absurdly happy :)

With no further ado--

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Humane Trapping

As many of you know, there has been a nasty tempered werewolf hanging about Caledon. It is not to be confused with the well-tempered, equal-tempered, or pythagorean-tuned fur folk, mind you. Totally different sort of creature, and it is real enough, as a few nights ago, I followed it myself (a good safe height above it astride Peggy, my Pegasus).

But, ill mannered or not, all ought have a chance for rehabilitation. Many feel the creature ought be captured and taken to sufficient Sunday Schools so as to inform and educate it on the need for redemption, or at least the need not to gnaw upon those than want not gnawing.

In that vein, allow me to present the lastest innovation by Professor Alphonso Avalanche, heretofore known for his more workaday inventions such as Snorty, the Flying Steam Powered Elephant, who, ironically enough, once munched thoughtfully upon my cousine Miss Tamala Tomobola. But she survived, and Snorty has since corrected this behavior, without even the need for Sunday School. Sometimes the threat is al that is necessary.

Ah--here it is:

Note the clever sign to the left--no detail has been left unturned. I do feel so much safer knowing that a genius like the Professor is on the case!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Horsies 1, Steamy Things 0

This just in: Horse beats Horseless Carriage!

Full Story here

Well done, Colonel O'Toole! Oh, might one add that the pony in question came from my stables? No, no, such commentary would be in the category of shameful hucksterism, and would be simply not done.

Not to demean Mr. Deckard's wonderous carriage. Why, I admit to making a Steam Tricycle myself. But really, sobre consideration on the subject leads to the inescapable conclusion that whilst a Steam Dynamo is eminently useful for aeronautical excursions, the wheel, being a mechanical replacement for the leg is by necessity inferior. Using a wheel for terrestrial travel would be akin to using a non-flapping wing for an aeroplane, in essence no better a replacement than a peg leg is for a pirate fellow: a reasonable compromise, yet hardly ideal.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

OMG!!!! PONIES!!!!!!!

As I said, the Eyre Manor is gone, now replaced with a Carriage House--you can follow this "SLURL" and go there, or just Teleport to the Caledon Telehub and look to the South East.

If you've been wondering what I've been up to, well, it's been horse breeding, really. I thought it a simple matter of slapping a head and a new pose on my centaur avatars. Ha. Ha ha ha. Ha.

Well.....after a few more weeks work than I thought it might be, the horsies were finally ready. I cannot claim to have done this alone. Professor Avalanche, Mrs. Carricre Wind and Sir Zenmondo all have my endless thanks for holding my hand, writing the rider anims, and pushing me (usually gently) in the direction I needed to go with my scripting (er, is it a bad thing to send 40 llSay calls when one would do? I just wanted to make sure!)

But, I will remain immodest--they are truly beautiful, I think, and do everything a horsie ought (well, unlike a competing SL horse, not that. Some take realism too far). They are the only English Saddle (and sidesaddle) horses in Second Life to my knowledge and the leg movements are based on late 19th century stop motion photography of horses. They blink, have a few different whinnies, different leg gaits and sounds for walking and galloping, kick up dust when they run, have flexible manes and tails, blink their eyes, and nicker when the nose is touched.

And I think they are rather cute :) Yes, the head is a sculptie. Here is a rogues' gallery:

And don't forget Peggy, my Pegasus, whose wings fold up on the ground and flap in the air :)

I also threw together a Stanhope Carriage, which was a two person gig of the Regency through Victorian periods. Light and nimble, it was just the sort of thing one can imagine a dashing Henry Tilney of Northanger Abbey riding about in (the Jane Austen Centre says it is undoubtedly what Mr Thorpe drove, but why should the villians have all the fun?)

(illustration courtesy of the Jane Austen Centre)

Since the above picture, I have added reins (I was not quite sure how to work them for different avatar sizes, but decided on the expedient, if not completely realistic measure, of having them tied off to the rail).

Oh, and Demo Horsies are available, just look for the tied up Roan Mare and touch her post. The demos are not precisely handsome (um, bright red with the La Bicyclette logo on their rump :P), but they demonstrate the riding characteristics, and I think are fun enough.

Lord, that was all shameless business, was it not? But, though I do like selling my horses, really, what I truly want is a place for people to gather in Eyre. In the day, carriage houses were places that travellers and locals alike of both sexes would gather for an evening meal, or perhaps just a quick pint over a happy game of cards.

I have a non-gambling card deck that plays Hearts, Spades, and the ever popular 52 card pickup, a lovely bar borrowed from Mr Sputnik's Etheric Travel Cabinet, and tables, chairs and haybales for all to lounge about on.

The south wall leads to a great courtyard that straddles Dr Whittlesea's property and mine. In actuallity, a real carriage house was harldy just the pub and barn, but a full inn surrounding a carriage courtyard. Our combined builds simulate that, and not incidentally give us a lovely central area for future exhibitions and dances :) Again, it is really about trying to create a community centre.

So, please DO come by (she said, trying to not sound too awfully desperate :)). I sahll be there quite a bit this week, and would love to see every one of you! I promise to turn the salesgirl mode off, too :P

Monday, June 18, 2007

Lightness and Darkness

I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.

This weekend was a joyous in many ways. I saw four of my friends married, which alone should be happiness itself. Sir Edward Pearse and Lady Christine Pearse (nee McAllister) were handfasted and had a wonderous reception in at the Steelhead hotel where fair much everyone I knew was. Yes, once again, a "crash the sim" affair, and I had three "swoons" afore the night was over.

Not present, but with ample excuse for same were Doctor Jules Whittlesea, my beloved business partner-in-crime, and his lovely wife Mrs. Carricre Wind, the Undaunted Ladies Society's fearless leader. Before there is much sniggering about their RL baby boy "Buggins", the truth is that they had never had time for a RL wedding reception. This weekend was the While not "on the grid", their tales of the event made us all feel as if we were truly there (thought, I for one would have liked to have truly eaten all that RL German chocolate)

And the much awaited opening of Eyre was also this weekend, and I was able to, for a brief few days, own my very own English Manor House. Perhaps a small pleasure next to the heart bursting joy of my friends, but for someone who loves to curl up with a good book and imagine herself striding the halls of Pemberly, it was magical. I've since turned it into a carriage house, though. Carriage houses of the day were gathering places for locals and travellers alike, where a lady could eat a meal and socialize respectably, but not without it's boisterous fun. And as much as I loved the manor house--I would rather have hay littered floors and throw it open to both my friends and the other people in the world who mayhap might be friends of mine, should I just meet them someday.

For the vast majority of the people in our small virtual world and the great Real Life world are wonderful souls. But not all. And this brings me to a section of this weekend I will try to pass lightly over, for it does not deserve to take up more space than the happiness. A month or so ago, I was asked to make school uniforms for a highschool RP (highschool starts at about 13 or 14, for the non-Americans). I turned down the commission when the man running it asked me to go shopping for poseballs for the school, include sex balls. As you might imagine, the individual disputes this point, claiming that he was not specifically encouraging age play (but he added he refused to discourage it), the balls were not actually for the school (though this is a more recent denial), and anyway age of consent in some countries is lower than in the US (I forget where it is 13, but that still doesn't make it right). I then hung up the virtual phone on him, and hadn't heard from him since.

This was fine by me--as nauseating as people who fantasize about that are, on a purely intellectual level, I realize that no children are really involved. I did not report this to Linden Labs, quite honestly because I really wanted never to see him again. Then a few days ago, he started hanging about my shop in Eyre, coming over to groups I was in, and so on. On Saturday, when I was alone with a friend, he walked over and described obscene things he wanted to do to the animated Eyre rabbits (in the flurry of belligerent IMs I received later, he claimed that it was a language issue. His English is flawless)

I am not confrontational. I feel bad should someone yell at me in traffic, wondering "what did I do"? But I could not let this person bully me out of a virtual land I love and share with my friends. I told him to leave me alone--I was clumsy and my fingers could barely type, but I said it. He was awful--I don't want to describe it, really, I deleted most of the IMs without thinking. Let us just say the level of self-justification of people like that is astounding. He lurked around for a while (yes, I finally had the sense to mute and ban), then I walked out and stared at him till he left.

You'll notice I am not naming names. Perhaps that is cowardly of me--but I understand it is easy enough to get an alt. I hope that he simply feels unwelcome and will avoid me. I hope that he simply feels that he has "won" in some twisted way, and is now satisfied.

Well, hardly as bad as some SL experiences, much less RL experiences. But I am not used to sorts like that. I think of Caledon as my special place, where the sun is always shining and the people full of fun and good humour. To me, I felt as if someone like that had walked into my living room and started screaming. Perhaps I could be stronger, but I'm not. I don't wish to speak much about my RL, but most of you know I spend a fair amount of time caring for a sick relative--it doesn't always leave me with energy for myself. And I had little that night. I cried for a long time afterwards, and frankly got little sleep.


Read the beginning of this post. There is much greater happiness in the world, far kinder people. For every would be child molester out there, there are a hundred Wind/Whittleseas with their beautiful baby boy. The world is a GOOD place, and we can never let the evil take hold of our heart.

We let it pass us, and if we are strong, we can even laugh.

On Sunday, I woke half-rested. I contemplated all the wrong things--publicizing this and naming names, starting an AR, talking to Governor Shang, all those things that would drag me into the fetid muck that person lives in.

Instead, I went to the Support for Healing Labyrinth.

Have you ever walked a Labyrinth? Really walked, not jogged along it, or done but a few turns? It is tremendously powerful. After a while, one wonders where the end is. After another while, one forgets that there is an end, just the turns and the twists.

And then, there you are, in the perfect centre of it all, and things have been worn down to the nub of their essence. My soul hummed quietly, and I reversed out, into the daylight. I know this was all virtual, but my memory is of me stepping into the bright blue sunlight on the hill side, calling for Peggy, my winged horse. I can smell her sweat and see her straining muscles in my minds eye, as we rushed over the hills.

And I was, not happy, but cleansed. So if I was a bit pensive at that night's Steampunk ball, I spologize. But in that magic way, the setting there could not have been more appropriate. A field of lights in the snow, guiding one to dancing.

May we all dance the dance of love and of life, holding in our hearts the good that we see, even when it seems so far away at times.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Steampunk Expo!

Bringing you Yesterday's Tomorrow Today!

The good Second Life Relay for Life team has outdone themselves, again. Right now, if you haven't already, you really ought hie on down to Caledon Primverness and see some of the best offerings of the genius inventors of Caledon.

A Marvelous Engine by Mr. Hax--

One of my favourites, a steam powered Rose Tender by Miss Lapin Paris, showing her artistic genius in yet another medium--

A Cavorite Flying Machine by Sir Edward Pearse. This poor brownie shot does it little justice as the detail and animations are phenomenal. Fairly more elegant in the air than my flappy things, I do hope he puts it on the market soon; his wedding this--oh dear!--AFTERNOON, might be preoccupying his attentions :P This truly looks like flying jewlery (perhaps a small model might be worn on a chain necklace?)

Speaking of Cavorite, Mr Greggan made the most amazing "Repulsion Chamber" which sounds a bit frightening. I must admit when he encouraged me to head into a large chamber surrounded by crackling blue-green lightning discharges, I might have had one or two reservations! But when my dear friend Dr. Fabre offered to follow me, "Very soon, madame, after I take care of some...things...yes, things that might take some time..but I shall be there soon!", I knew that if a learned man such as he regarded as safe, it surely must be.

Well, safe or not, it was fun! The instant one steps inside, gravity is a mere suggestion. Soon I and the good doctor (oh, he did show up :P) were merrily bouncing around off ceiling and crystalline walls, accompanied the most unusual sounds. I can't describe them here, so you must try it yourself. Perfectly safe, I assure you! Well, one's coiffure might suffer occasionally--

Oh, and Steam Piggy is there, too, making entirely too much noise. Silly thing, but it makes him happy to get out.

Above all, these items and many more are available for shamelessly low prices at the expo. I picked up a lovely teapot by Mr. Sands, and a "Metallic Maid" ensemble by Miss Fuschia Begonia, which went rather well with my new hairstyle :)

On Saturday there will be an 11 AM panel discussion with Miss Ordinal Malaprop (or should I say THE Ordinal Malaprop?), the famed "Code Poet" Sir Zenmondo Wormser, and the Particle Wizard Mr. Angus Mesmer.

At 2 PM, there will be a Steampunk Fashion show--so don your brass goggles and flying boots and do get a front row seat.

Finally, a lovely article with more pictures here

See you all there!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

And She Pauses

Well, this is hardly a Second Life, Steam Punk or Victoriana post, but it is my blog, I'll digress should I want to.

I do love short flash games. As those who spot me on Second Life more than a few times throughout the day can guess, I spend a fair amount of the daytime saying unladylike things at the keyboard. 500-1500 words, and my easily spent mind is spent, and often a trip to our Virtual Victorian World is what I need for an hour or two.

But I often need a breather, not a two hour retreat. So I search for little ten minute games that don't use the keyboard and relax me. I dislike "shooters" (despite my undeserved reputation as an Airborne Annie Oakley), which actually limits my choices quite a bit. Still, it's a wide wide world wide web, and I find occasional gems.

This one is truly beautiful--

I won't spoil it by explaining the controls. Just use the mouse, and enjoy. Let us just say it is as far from violent as a game can be. The music is Children of Beslan by Steven Cravis, dedicated to the lives lost in the 2004 terrorist takeover of School Number One in Beslan, Russia.

Flowers and Water Outside School Number One
(photo courtesy of Wiki Commons)

Tour de Caledon

Oh, lord, this was fun! Though sadly unable to make it to the rest of the Caledon Triathalon, I was happy enough to final realize my long held goal of running a bike race across the wild cobblestoned streets of Caledon, across the unruly privit hedges and through the darkest parts of the downtown shopping district of Victoria City.

A huge thanks to the initimable Miss Lapin Paris, who has been working tirelessly (well, actually getting quite worn out, but pressing on regardless) at the Second Life Relay for Life Campaign ( It was really all her idea, as I had just mentioned it as a passing fancy. Next I knew, I was standing about watching with admiration as the Genius Inventor, Professor Alphonso Avalance, constructed a timer that would time our contestants to twenty or so decimal places of accuracy.

And here they are ready to go! I happily sold more than a few of the Annie Londonderry cycles for this event, donating the proceeds to the Relay for Life. I like think she would have been delighted.

They left from Port Caledon and pedaled ceaselessly until they all made it to the Primverness Hub, Mr. Roy Smashcan having a narrow escape passing under the banner atop a tall pennyfarthing. Somehow, his tophat managed to stay on though :)

Mr. Erasmus Margulis made a strong showing on his BMX cycle (whatever THAT is!), but at the last minute, Miss Diamanda Gustafson pulled ahead as they searched for the finish line. Mr. Margulis then fell back upon the unheard of male technique of asking for directions whereupon he almost, but not quite made up the distance, ending up with a still very respectable second place.

The fight for third was tremendous, I hear, with rumours of "bicycle bumping" persisting. All I can say is, Miss Paris looks so sweet-tempered and innocent, does she not? Flying over hill and Dale, Mr. Newbe Writer (I do love his name!) made it just past Miss Violet Schnable. With less than five seconds difference between the two, I felt obliged to award Miss Schnable an honourable mention.

Prizes and congratulations were then awarded, Professor Avalanche generously giving all winners a Monocycle, and I handed out a Pennyfarthing, Tandem Cycle, Steam Piggy and Horsie (did I mention my ponies? Oh, more about that later!) to the fourth through first places, respectively.

A fun day, all around!

Blogging, blogging

Well, I shouldn't want everyone to think that the only reason I am now writing is simply because Second Life is currently being updated. Well, there might be some truth to that, but really I suddenly realized I had not said "Hullo" in a while. So.


Now that that is out of the way, let us catch up! When we last saw our heroine, she had just put down exhorbitant sums of Linden cash in order to secure a rather large plot in the upcoming Eyre sim.....

Oh wait, there was a bit where we did a massive photoshoot before then for the movie machima. Must preserve temporal linearity in this sort of writing, so let's back two weekend ago to all of us lined up for a takeoff to do damage to the Forces That Threaten Us And Our Neo-Victorian Way of Life:

Photo Credit: Miss Violet Schnable

The shot actually went as smoothly as can be expected. The ornis got a bit touchy when in close proximity to each other, and the wings would sometimes continue to flap about after being told to shut down. Perhaps they were just excitable :) I know I was!(geeky scripter moment here: I suspect that even keyed to the owner, all those listen calls on the open chat channel were interfering a bit with each other)

But like all movie moments, I've discovered it is a grand thing to make a full pot of tea and have a few biscuits and whatnot laying about for the long stretch. This certainly proved to be the case in the dramatic blimp scene.

Very simple. We had a flight of three ornithopers, led by Sir Edward Pearse with Miss Frequency Picnic and myself in trail. We were to dive from our High Guard perch and whizz past our adoring fellow Caledonians who would cheer us from the blimps (oh, such a wonderful ego warming bit to have in the script!)

Simply head to the Burton Patent Steam Powered Jet Blimp. It wasn't hard to miss.

Well. I shan't enumerate all the technical difficulties. Let us just say, there were many. A good three hours worth, I'd say. But that is movie making, and we DID finally get the footage I am told is necessary. And the best part was afterwards having the freedom to fly whereabouts I liked, turning a few loops about the assembled blimps.

"Showoff", I believe, was the phrase I heard escaping laconically from Director Hotspur O'Toole's lips. Well, yes. But given a chance to sport about centre stage, who can blame one for a bit of prima donna indulgence? The cameras were not on then, besides. At least, I certainly hope they weren't!

Then it was back to Tanglewood for a few fond goodbyes as I turned it over to my dear friend, Miss Terry Lightfoot. The beanstalk was the creation of my partner in, business, Dr. Jules Whittlesea, and I am more than glad that Miss Lightfoot has decided to keep it.

In fact, I toured it again last night, and I am happy to say that despite the loss of the ocean to the north of Tanglewood, the mermaid pond remains, along with my favourite duckies, bridge and the lovely lily pads on which to sit and chat. There has been more than a few times when I just needed a moment to think, and concentrating on that breathing in and out thingee we do. As odd as it might sound, going a bit fishy for a half hour and lying in the grotto was so tremendously calming. And it is such a wonderful place to hang about with friends.

I might be turning over the keys to Tanglewood, but I think I will still be spending quite a bit of time there. It is so lovely for horse riding, besides :) (OH THAT! Well, this post is long enough, but I will soon tell the story of Miss Tombola, Equestrienne and breeder!)