Sep 29, 2007

Report From the Future: Year 2007

This is one time I am glad that Oolon stepped into Tardis and went into the future (for he brought a little encouragement back to me). Good to know that what I am doing today may be most appreciated even into the 21st century.

Report from the future

One can only imagine and hope that drinking Bellambi Estates Uisge Beatha in the future would look and sound something like this:

Scene: A cozy wood panelled room. Bookcases floor to ceiling filled with many first edition leather-bound books of philosophy, poetry, religious studies, mathematics; books of fiction by Tolstoy, Bronte, Doyle, and Carroll.

Couple sitting in front of the fireplace at a rosewood table having just completed dinner.

Gentleman: My dear, that was a lovely dinner. Truly delicious.

Lady: (setting the decanter on the table along with 2 crystal glasses) Thank you, sweetheart.

Gentleman: Oh you brought out the Bellambi Uisge Beatha! What a wonderful surprise!
(taking the offered glass) Mmmm...see the gold highlights flashing in the amber in my glass...such a surprisingly earthy, full-bodied taste.

Lady: (Leaning down to kiss her husband before taking her seat beside him) Mmm hmm. The Uisge Beatha was a tremendous find at the auction in Old Caledon last year.

Gentleman: One year on Burns' Night, I drank Glenmorangie. Made by one of the smallest of all Highland distilleries. Many whiskies trace their origins to the reign of Queen Victoria. (taking another long sip) Mention is always made of the water used in distilling a whisky. Uisge Beatha was made, they say, from water that came from springs in the Tuloch Ard and from Loch Avie.

Lady: I always think that whisky evokes British adventurers, explorers and Army men drinking 'the water of life'; surely a secret to their success, since in avoiding untreated local water some of them undoubtedly saved their lives. (Actually, the same claim that others have made for medicinal gin.) But, I believe that whisky remains at home in a tent in Africa or a house in the shires, in a bungalow in India or a Scottish farm, in modern London or the far side of the Anglosphere.

Gentleman: So true, my dear. So true. (leaning back in his chair and placing his arm around his lovely wife as they stare into the fire)

Lady: Slanté! My love.


Slanté to all of you!

Sep 27, 2007

Journey to....Mysterious Island: The Chow Chow Club

Gratefully accepting the dark red, heavily starched men's shirt from Bardhaven (how did the man tolerate wearing something that could essentially stand upright of its own accord?) after Professor Avalanche and his dear Pixie crashed into us and aided our escape, I followed the group into the caverns of the volcano. Bless those dear souls who shared their last bits of clothing with the nearly-itchysporkchowchow-soup members of the team. It should be noted that dear Kiralette looked none to happy about going in there, but she did indeed follow along as well.

That we all survived the last several hours is testament to the tenacity that is representative of Caledon. Here we were reunited and pushing forward with the expedition. Barefoot and wearing very few clothes, but alive and relatively well. Gnarlihotep had returned to us with a strange look on his face and a very primitive map of the island. I was only able to study it for a short while as Lady Darkling and Bardhaven took control of the map and the situation.

Gnarli's little Sherpas were milling about with a number of packs on their backs. The little one, whom I had earlier in this journey chastised soundly, timidly approached me. Bless him. He had several of my scientific instruments, my journal, pen and ink, and my Claymore. In his dirk! He must have picked it up as we scurried from the fires and pots. I smiled at him, promised him some lovely fish at the end of this expedition, and told him that he would be most welcome to come to live with me at Loch Avie if he should desire it. Despite his shortcomings, he was doing me good service....and Nellie might enjoy a new friend (or dinner - may need to rethink this).

As we entered the caves, I saw that Lady Darkling noticed the same strange organ music that I had heard days before - and now again. Looking around Lady Amber also seemed fairly entranced, and in fact, almost everyone seemed to hear it now. It was deep and dark...coming from the belly of this beast. I sensed a change, however, and saw Darkling leading us along as if hypnotised. We all followed her. It seemed the right thing to do. With my dirk tucked into the pocket of my newly acquired shirt, and my Claymore in my hands, I walked along through the pressing heat. The heat was growing as was the music, and some deep rumbling sound....a different sound than we had heard from Phillip before now.

As the passage grew wider and an opening was spotted, I moved forward to see what had been found. Gasping, I realized that we had found the portal by which the lava and ash were sent forth from the sim. The height was dizzying, and all that I could see from my spot along the trail was a fragile rock bridge which would apparently lead us further down into the beast. Suddenly Gnarli went quickly past me stating that he needed to be at the back of the group for a rest. Gabrielle, Terry, and Oolon were looking all around the chamber apparently not fearful of the heights.

Just as I noticed that Darkling was against the wall and as still as the stone, the mountain groaned loudly and spewed forth a huge magma ball. It flew past us – but only barely. I heard screaming. Most of us had run for cover back through the passage from whence we came. Darkling, however, stood with her back ramrod straight against the wall where she had been since we found the bridge. She was screaming. No! She was singing….with a very odd quality about her voice. Singing as I had never heard her sing before. I might have sworn that someone else was singing with her; however, looking around I noted that the rest of our crew was gathering their belongings, their companions, and their wits about themselves, but no one was singing.

Soon Bardhaven came forward and took Lady Darkling’s hand. They exchanged a few words between them and then started moving forward to the bridge. Her singing began again. This time, I joined the eerie song. I did not know the words, but somehow the strange melody came easily to me, and provided a strong counterpoint to the music of the mountain.

One by one, as the mountain shook all around us and the bridge crumbled away, we made our way across the bridge. The molten rock below us was churning and boiling. I attempted to commit as many details of the scene to memory as possible for there was certainly NO time to sketch it or to take any readings with my equipment. Professor Krogstad and Lady Kate would be expecting some sort of report if I ever made it out of these caves.

Incredibly we all made it across the great chasm without injury. Gnarlihotep went forward to discuss the map with Darkling and Bardhaven. Kiralette was close at hand. The poor thing still had the memory of her burning, injured hands, and we were now placing her in much greater danger. Indeed, I think she may have found more adventure than she was looking for. As the four of them talked quietly of the right route to take, Terry and Oolon seemed to be taking some scientific measurements of their own, sampling some of the rock and muttering something about ancient energy sources. The Professor was assisting Miss Fuchsia along the trail. Amber, Gabi, and I were standing nearby awaiting the decision of the navigators. Whether it was fear or some strange connection to the mountain, I realized the three of us were all now singing and swaying (nearly dancing) as we waited.

Finally we were all moving again. Shortly we came to a fork in our pathway. Lady Darkling continued on down a path with Bardhaven, Kiralette, and Gnarli following. I was, however, drawn down the other path. I felt sure the music was coming from that direction….and now I heard drums. Amber, Gabi, Oolon, Terry, Alfonso, and the Pixie followed along with me, as did a few of the pengi. The others must have been behind Gnarli (I hope).

Moving along as quickly and quietly as possible, we noted that the music was growing louder and louder. The mountain seemed to be vibrating with this sound rather than the flow of magma and rock.

Suddenly, the space opened up before us. Through the haze and smoke, I saw rock, poles, a platform of some sort, movement…..Blinking, I rubbed my eyes with the edge of my shirt and looked again.

“Good Lord!” I cried “It’s a Gentleman’s Club!”

There it was laid out before us, here in the center of the volcano. Natives dancing everywhere. Beautiful Itchysporkchowchow women dancing around poles. Surely it must only be ritualistic dancing.

“Miss Bellambi, I believe you are right on the first count” said Professor Avalanche, “for I have never seen any ritual quite like this.”

Our mouths were agape as we took it all in….dancers, patrons, the drummers on the platform seemingly in a trance.

And over to the other side of the space…the organ! An enormous instrument carved directly into the mountain! And on the bench, a dark figure. Playing. Playing the terrifying music. A man? Yes I think so. Through the red haze of the room, I could just make out a light colored vest and dark closely cropped hair.

Who is this fiend? Just as we were about to approach the figure, the warriors descended upon us. Oh great….and Templeton was in the lead and heading straight for me.

Sep 21, 2007

Music, Dancing, Laughter, Haggification - Everything a Great Ceilidh Should Be

Hosting a Highland Gathering of sorts had been something that I wanted to do since I moved into the Loch so many months ago now. The concept had been brewing in my mind. Always that concept involved music and dancing and (hopefully) fun for as many residents of Caledon, and friends from all over, as we could pack into the sim.

Closing the Harvest Festival with this event was an added bonus for me. Being part of something that the larger collective of Caledon and Steelhead is a powerful thing. At one point Loch Avie hosted over 40 avatars in the sky-arena-become-dance-pavilion. Loch Avie held up very well indeed.

Music was provided by Lord Primbroke, who is also a member of my clan. Despite some technical difficulties on his end, and that he was stitching up the last hem on Baron Wulfenbach's custom kilt until the last possible minute, he supplied the gathering with WONDERFUL Scots and Celtic well as some fantastic dance music, which happened to have some connection to Scotland.
Buidheachas, mo charaid!

Lady Primbroke and her brother, TotalLunar Eclipse.
I nearly fainted away (and no my corset was not laced too tightly) at the sight of Lunar in a kilt. I never thought I would see the day! Lunar - thank you, my friend. Your presence in my homeland was valued and most appreciated.

The Bellambi Bustle Bump - the latest Bellambi Clan dance - must be done in the family tartan. With Lady Primbroke.

The view from above - fairly early in the evening

Miss Cornelia Rothschild looking particularly beautiful.

Lady Autopilotpatty and Duke Regent Kintyre (Erasmus Margulis) enjoying the festivities together.

The Графиня (Grafinya), Lady Kate Nicholas shows off the Clan Tartan

A trifecta of Ducal Dance: Cymru, Murdann, and Loch Avie

Clan Bellambi represents - (above, l-r) Lady Christine, Hotspur O'Toole, Lady Kate, Loch Avie

As the evening progressed it seemed only appropriate to reflect on the day....

Caber Tossing.....

Academy of Arms Tournament....that brought out the Warrior Duchess and the gents recalled that most do not fight on the sands with shirts and coats on.

Of course no party is complete without a visit from the Daleks. They didn't want to miss out on the battles.

And George, my newly tamed, wild haggis (ah! So that's what haggification is) came out to visit despite the fact that domesticated haggi had been boiled and roasted earlier in the day. I could never eat George, though. "I'll love him and hug him and call him my own."

We danced into the wee hours of the morning. Such a bonny day!

And the end to a wonderful week in Steelhead and Caledon.

Sep 20, 2007

Tournament of the Loch Avie Academy of Arms

The second major event of the Highland Fling was the Tournament of the Loch Avie Academy of Arms. Sir Telemachus took care of the details of the tournament itself - signing the combatants, determining the matches, setting the rules, and then emceeing and refereeing the event.

I was thrilled to rez the Loch Avie Sky Arena (which may yet get a gælic name) high above the loch itself. The arena had been created just for me as a possible venue for the Tournament for Life, which we held as a demonstration event and fundraiser for the Relay for Life several months ago now. Ultimately we chose another arena for that event. But the Sky Arena is now the official tournament field for the Academy of Arms. (Makes a very fine party/dancing space as well. This will be demonstrated in the very next post.)

Greeting the very first arrivals to the arena
Sir Telemachus, Miss Diamanda Gustafson, Miss Kashi Babii, His Grace Cymru.

Miss Laval prepares to battle Miss Gustafson

Battle number one went to Miss Gustafson.

A nice crowd gathers in the Loch Avie Sky Arena

Miss Poppy was paired against her love, the Duke Regent of Kintyre. To the surprise of most, he indeed did fight to win and defeated Miss Poppy in the second match.

Two members of my clan battle in match number 3. Mr. O'Toole defeated Sir ZenMondo.

Miss Babii readies herself for battle (against her father).

The battle begins - Cymru against his own daughter. Miss Babii took the match

The FINAL battle was between Miss Gustafson and Miss Babii. Miss Gustafson prevailed! She is now the Highland Fling's first champion.

Sir Telemachus announces the winner: Miss Diamanda Gustafson.

The Battle Royale begins - all comers are welcome to battle during these times.

(left to right) Miss Babii, Sir ZenMondo, Lord Primbroke, Sir Telemachus, Mr. O'toole.

The final four of the Battle Royale.

My thanks to all who participated in this event, and to those who continue to spar and practice - awaiting the next time. A reminder that the weapons system is free to all who desire to use it.

Sep 19, 2007

And the Tossing Champion Is......

The 1st Annual Highland Fling Caber Tossing Champion Trophy
created by Professor Alfonso Avalanche

Loch Avie saw the first Highland Fling Caber Toss Competition this past Saturday afternoon. It was a grand event, very well attended and with some very skilled competitors.

When I first thought of hosting a Highland Games event, I knew that we MUST have caber toss. There is very little else that represents traditional Scots competition than this. Having not heard of any caber events in SL prior to this one, I contacted my good friend, Professor Alfonso Avalanche. The Professor and I discussed exactly what I was looking for, and after he returned from some well-deserved time away, he began work on the prototype of the caber and competition meter. I happily tried the device out one day in the Loch - and it worked beautifully. A perfect and simple to use device, which allows one to toss the caber when in mouse look. The meter judges how straight the caber is tossed (on a north/south axis), distance, and straightness, and scores each toss from 0-1000.

Mr. O'Toole at the line for his first throw.

Mr. Exrex Somme awaits his turn at the toss as Baron Wulfenbach looks on.

There were some very skilled tossers in the match. In the final round, 3 tough competitors were in a toss-off as they were tied at 988. Baron Wulfenbach, Mr. Hotspur O'Toole, and Mr. Roy Smashcan.

The Baron's final toss.

Mr. Roy Smashcan makes his final attempt

At the end of the competition it was Mr. Hotspur O'Toole with a nearly perfect score of 999, who took home the trophy.

Slainte, sir! Well done!

Sep 18, 2007

OOC - A few words about Boobie-Thon

This annual event showcases female and male bloggers showing their (covered and uncovered) breasts in order to raise money for charity during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please check back in the upcoming days for more information and news about this years event.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Boobie-Thon will run from October 1, 2007-October 8, 2007. The main page houses covered breasts and is free for all to view. For at least a $50.00 donation one may enter the "pay per boobie" site, which includes the uncovered breasts that many will submit.

I, the typist behind Eva Bellambi, have been a past participant in the event, and will be participating again this year. In fact I have just submitted my photos for posting.

I encourage all of you to donate for this cause, whether by viewing the breasts of those who support this particular event, or by choosing to donate elsewhere. I also want to ensure that we are all reminded to, Feel Your Boobies as the ad campaign says. Perform self breast exams at least once per month, and discuss any changes with your doctor.

Be safe and well!

We're Off to See the Wizard...

the Wonderful Wizard of Oz!

If ever oh ever a Wiz there was....because because because because because

I dropped into the dance about midway through. But it was great fun! These pictures are likely more than I could possibly offer in words.


Mr. Exrex Somme as the Scarecrow.

Tensai's flying monkey. Brilliant!!

The Emerald City Duo - Lord and Lady Primbroke

Aza Zymurgy as the scariest scarecrow of them all.

The Tin Man (Hotspur O'Toole) and his other self (Frequency Picnic as Hank the Farm Hand)salsa their way across to the Great Oz

GAH! IM Storm!?! NO! Just a couple of twisters! (Frequency and Hotspur)

"We have cows!"

Even in Oz the Daleks come out to fight when Dr. Who is played.

(yours truly) Loch Avie as the Glenda the Good Witch.

After the dance, I returned to Loch Avie to prepare for the Highland Fling. As I stepped onto the sands of the newly placed sky arena, His Grace, Garnlihotep Abel and Sir Telemachus Dean joined me to take the tour. Soon I decided to change out of my costune and into something much more practical. And then it just got silly as Lord Greystoke (Gnarli) handed out some Gnarlikitties for us to ride and even to shoot each other while on. Good SL fun. Tee Hee.

Before change out of costume.


On the Gnarlikitty. Woot!