Oct 29, 2007

Spectacular Spooktacular

The weekend found me up to the wee hours of the morning dancing on the tombs of Lord Bardhaven's ancestors along with many other well-gothed Caledonians. To say that the event was a success would be an understatement.

Our dark host - Lord Zealot Benmergui

And our lovely hostess, Lady Kirawill Collingwood

The music, selected by Bardhaven himself, placed into a playlist and broadcast by my cousin, Gabrielle Riel, on her one year anniversary of being a DJ in SL, was perfect. The mood created in the sim by Lord and Lady Bardhaven was perfect for the season. And the little hidden treasures, gifts, and otherworldly surprises added to the experience for anyone brave enough to go searching.

The whole event caused me to reflect on the pagan nature which remains inside me from my ancestors of old....those who danced around Dunadd and Dál Riata in the ancient times.

Enjoy these few shots from the event for a little taste of what was created in that space.

Carntaigh, Murdann, and Loch Avie work the graveyard

Serra Anansi and Turing Weyland in the foreground

One of many apparitions that joined in the revelry that night.

In full swing.

(left to right) Serra, Gabrielle, Amber, Eva.
Diamanda is in the background.

Snow fell for a brief period of time...reminding several of us of real life trick or treat nights of long ago.

An undead Lord Greystoke. Eeek!

Gateway to great evil? or great pleasure? I leave it to those who encountered what was behind those doors to decide for themselves.

Here I am in the Siren's Grotto. A very comfy throne, but next time I wear my mermaid avatar.

Here I am toward the end of my time at the party, which went on for another 2 hours after I left, peering from behind my mask.

Happy Halloween! And thanks again Lord and Lady Bardhaven!

Oct 27, 2007

Hronked the Penguin ~ Nevermore!

Just the other evening, I was leaving Taigh Ròis for an evening exploring the Metaverse. I was hoping to find some Noir sims....something in the 1920-1940 time period. I dressed for the occasion and had just headed out the front door when there she was.

A little penguin.

"Hronk!" She said.

Needless to say, I was somewhat taken aback given my nightmares of late. And they had just subsided, too. What would this little encounter do for my subconscious? I was not sure.

"Hello. And what may I do for you young miss?" I said cautiously as the penguin moved forward.

Oddly enough I seemed to sense that this penguin had heard that I actually liked penguins, and that I had been kind - even to a most impertinent little gent - and offered that the Loch would be a safe haven for the creatures.

She then produced a lovely red rose, clutched in her beak. An offering of peace?

I smiled in spite of my earlier hesitations. She came a little closer. I noted that on her neck she wore a collar, which must have been placed there either by scientists or her owner. I pondered whether she might have escaped from The Duke of Greystoke's Zoo. Bending down, I saw the name Creeggan on the tag, and then tousled her top knot of feathers.

"Hronk." she said almost purring.

She then held out a piece of parchment in her beak. As I took the work and unrolled it, I saw her waddling off down the hill toward Nellie's bay.

Finding it difficult to read the parchment in the twilight, I walked over to the bench underneath the rose arbor and lit a lamp. As I read the title of the poem that I discovered in my hands, a shiver went up my spine as much from the sheer enjoyment of such a Halloween gift as from the remembered fear in years past as this was read.

I share it with you now - a small token for your reading pleasure as we head toward All Hallow's Eve ~ Samhain.


Edgar Allan Poe

The Raven

[First published in 1845]

horizontal space Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

Oct 21, 2007

Miss Frequency Picnic's Rez Day Bash

High above Caledon Middlesea, on Friday night just passed, we celebrated the first year of Frequency Picnic's Second Life. It was a most un-Victorian party, which is quite fantastic on occasion. Being that we were 600 meters up, we were free to celebrate as it pleased the Rez Day Girl. Hotspur O'Toole extended and decorated his party deck Upstairs and the party space was created.

Dancing in honor of Freq - high above Middlesea at Polymath Upstairs

The party was equal parts fun and fantasy, comedy and sport, naughty and sweet....really very very fun. The crowd assembled was just as eclectic, with many representatives from the Hobo community as well as a few Caledonians and Steelheadians. One thing I have discovered over the course of my friendship with Frequency and Hotspur (Good lord, I think it has been nearly 8 or 9 months now!) is that when their Hobo friends get together with them they know how to have a lot of silly fun. And they all seem to have more avatars, costumes, and toys than anyone I know -including Exrex Somme. ;-)

The evening was highlighted by some very fine mud wrestling, girls on trampolines, plenty of great music and dancing, and lots of wishes and hugs for the Rez Day girl.

Freq in Cage Left

Jamison: Cage Right

Freq and I tackle our host into the mud.

Things got Hot Hot HOT. Is this Tele after all that mud wrestling with the women at the party?

Uh - no. I guess not.

Flaming Eva

Finally most of the folks decided it was time to head off to their beds (we did have to call a ride for a few of the revelers who had enjoyed their drinks and the hookah a little too much. And I would not be surprised if H found a few sleeping it off in hidden corners of Upstairs.). A few of us kept the music going and talked for a good long while after the others left. Really a great time!

Amplebeak, Gloire, Hotspur, me, and Frequency dance the last few dances in the wee hours of the morning.

Thanks for giving us the excuse to party, Freq! You have my love and wishes for another happy year in SL!

Oct 19, 2007

Dark Beauty

What a wonderful surprise to find such beauty as I was traveling through Winterfell the other evening. My favorite spot of the night was at Santa Maria. The tower is pictured below.
The whole place set me to thinking of beauty.....

Gathering Leaves

by Robert Frost

Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?
Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.
Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who's to say where
The harvest shall stop?

Ode to Autumn

by John Keats
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

As I Walk with Beauty

As I walk, as I walk
The universe is walking with me
In beauty it walks before me
In beauty it walks behind me
In beauty it walks below me
In beauty it walks above me
Beauty is on every side
As I walk, I walk with Beauty.

Traditional Navajo Prayer

Ode to Beauty
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Who gave thee, O Beauty!
The keys of this breast,
Too credulous lover
Of blest and unblest?
Say when in lapsed ages
Thee knew I of old;
Or what was the service
For which I was sold?
When first my eyes saw thee,
I found me thy thrall,
By magical drawings,
Sweet tyrant of all!
I drank at thy fountain
False waters of thirst;
Thou intimate stranger,
Thou latest and first!
Thy dangerous glances
Make women of men;
New-born we are melting
Into nature again.
Lavish, lavish promiser,
Nigh persuading gods to err,
Guest of million painted forms
Which in turn thy glory warms,
The frailest leaf, the mossy bark,
The acorn's cup, the raindrop's arc,
The swinging spider's silver line,
The ruby of the drop of wine,
The shining pebble of the pond,
Thou inscribest with a bond
In thy momentary play
Would bankrupt Nature to repay.

Ah! what avails it
To hide or to shun
Whom the Infinite One
Hath granted his throne?
The heaven high over
Is the deep's lover,
The sun and sea
Informed by thee,
Before me run,
And draw me on,
Yet fly me still,
As Fate refuses
To me the heart Fate for me chooses,
Is it that my opulent soul
Was mingled from the generous whole,
Sea valleys and the deep of skies
Furnished several supplies,
And the sands whereof I'm made
Draw me to them self-betrayed?
I turn the proud portfolios
Which hold the grand designs
Of Salvator, of Guercino,
And Piranesi's lines.
I hear the lofty Pæans
Of the masters of the shell,
Who heard the starry music,
And recount the numbers well:
Olympian bards who sung
Divine Ideas below,
Which always find us young,
And always keep us so.
Oft in streets or humblest places
I detect far wandered graces,
Which from Eden wide astray
In lowly homes have lost their way.

Thee gliding through the sea of form,
Like the lightning through the storm,
Somewhat not to be possessed,
Somewhat not to be caressed,
No feet so fleet could ever find,
No perfect form could ever bind.
Thou eternal fugitive
Hovering over all that live,
Quick and skilful to inspire
Sweet extravagant desire,
Starry space and lily bell
Filling with thy roseate smell,
Wilt not give the lips to taste
Of the nectar which thou hast.

All that's good and great with thee
Stands in deep conspiracy.
Thou hast bribed the dark and lonely
To report thy features only,
And the cold and purple morning
Itself with thoughts of thee adorning,
The leafy dell, the city mart,
Equal trophies of thine art,
E'en the flowing azure air
Thou hast touched for my despair,
And if I languish into dreams,
Again I meet the ardent beams.
Queen of things! I dare not die
In Being's deeps past ear and eye,
Lest there I find the same deceiver,
And be the sport of Fate forever.
Dread power, but dear! if God thou be,
Unmake me quite, or give thyself to me.

Survey Request Received

As part of the Health Care and Corporate Use listservs of SL, I frequently discuss the use of SL for training, education, provision of certain types of health care services, and corporate use. This morning I received the following request and I pass it on to you. I explained to the investigator that the readership of my blog is a very diverse population spread across the globe, and that I felt sure many of you would be willing to participate in the study.

I completed the questions in about 7 minutes. There are only 3 demographic questions and one area for you to free text about your SL experience. The researcher hopes to be able to communicate via email with some participants; therefore, the option exists to provide this information to her.

As part of my master’s degree in the field of
Technology, I am conducting a study on
what motivates people to
in Second Life
from a scientific point of view. I need your
assistance! I
am looking for participants who are
willing to fill
out a very short
questionnaire online
about your experiences in Second
As a full
time grad student and grade school teacher,
time, I
will tell you in advance
how much I appreciate
you taking your time and
expertise to help
To participate in this study, please

Thanks to all of you who are willing to support the efforts of this young researcher.


Oct 15, 2007

Steelhead Saloons and Rez Day Boys

Friday and Saturday nights in and around Caledon are nearly always busy and filled with fun and laughter. This week was no exception to that rule. I found myself sticking fairly close to home - save for a few shopping trips - and dancing quite a lot.

Friday, of course, is always the Steelhead themed dance. This past week, the theme was Moulin Rouge since we found ourselves in the new saloon, build by that very talented gentleman builder, TotalLunar Eclipse.

I had not been in world for any length of time earlier in the week and had missed the Steelhead town meeting (and had not reviewed the minutes - sorry Christine) so I did not know the theme of the dance until Friday night when I logged-in and saw the group notice. My typist smiled to herself because only an hour or so before she had been playing with her young daughters, dancing in the family room of her home to a number of songs....and then along with a couple of DVDs. We danced to a couple of pieces written in Anglo-Saxon (yeah - I did say, Anglo-Saxon) from The Lord of the Rings. Our favorite is always:

Bealocwealm hafað fréone frecan forth onsended
giedd sculon singan gléomenn sorgiende
on Meduselde þæt he ma no wære
his dryhtne dyrest and mæga deorost.

We meandered around our favorite music going from Bealocwealm to swing to songs of eastern influence to show tunes and ending up with the Fatboy Slim remix of The Can Can in Moulin Rouge.

I was certainly ready, then, to put on the corset, split knickers, garters and stockings, and skirts of my costume for the event in Steelhead.

Can Can! Trying to form the line with Lord and Lady Primbroke.

Our fantastic DJ, Sheriff Fuzzball Ortega, struts his stuff as Mr. Iason Hassanov seems to be intently watching a favorite dancing girl in the Moulin Rouge

Tensai as dancing fish (Hemoine Pennyfeather dances in the background).

It's not easy doing choreography with a fish.....but loads of fun.

The architect and builder (and fine dance partner), Lunar.

After the dance was over, I found my way to another dance courtesy of Sir Telemachus Dean's well-timed offer of a chariot (tp). We danced for another three quarters of an hour or so. During this time I was reminded that Sir Tele had not been invited to join the ranks of the swoon-worthy (by a number of young ladies), and as I am his patron the privilege of extending the public invitation fell to me. Sadly, I have no photographic record of the swoonage as my head was apparently spinning too wildly to have snapped a picture. Hopefully someone captured it and will either send a shot my way, or let me know where it has been posted. *grins*


The next evening found me in Davaar helping to celebrate mo charaid, Edward Pearse's Rez Day. Christine had outdone herself with this party. The pavilion was beautifully set and decorated, and the event was a great deal of fun as the conversations were, as is our Caledonian tradition, filled with humor, double entendres, and esoterica. And the music was fantastically varied.

Hope you had a wonderful Rez Day, Lord Primbroke! And I wish you many more happy days to come.

(left to right) Gabrielle, Edward, Christine, me, Kate

Kate and I practice our deep knee bends.

(left to right) Shylah Garmes, Diamanda, Storm Chatnoir, Edward

A shot of Edward, Christine, and me after the chimes struck Shirtless O'Clock.

A sample of the crowd

Doing my best dancing with Heavy Metal (yes that's WITH heavy metal). Iason and Hotspur.

Baron Wulfenbach won the prize for the most heavy metal, however. I admit I was a bit afraid to try to trip the light fantastic with that particular avatar.

Exhausted, but happy, at the end of a full couple of nights.

Oct 11, 2007

Race for the Cure

The Thon has come to an end. This year, funds raised were less than last year, but over the course of the last 6 years, Boobie-Thon has raised over $40,000 for Breast Cancer Research. Not bad for a grass roots blogger effort.

Thanks to all of you who traveled to the site, enjoyed the photos (and perhaps searched for this Duchess' typist), and for those who donated.

Several of you bemoaned the fact that you missed the donations deadline of October 8, which also means that the uncovered photographs are also closed to you. Well there is always next year for the pictures. But if you should like to contribute, please travel directly to the Susan G. Koman website.

Please IM me with any questions. And thank you yet again for your support of Breast Cancer research and treatment development.

Oct 8, 2007

Transformation In Progress

Today is a beautiful day.

The deep blue sky glows above the gold of the autumn birches. Silence, except for the rustle of a gentle breeze in the aspen trees. You can see for meters, and as you wander closer to the loch, the occasional splash of a leaping trout, or was it a salmon?

The trails along Loch Avie are considered by many to be among the most beautiful of the Caledon glens. Tourists from all over the metaverse return here because of the glen's unique aura of peace. I know because I speak to them frequently. Caledon and Loch Avie are special places in the hearts of all who have experienced it.

Looking into Victoria City, the Moors, and Tamrannoch.

....spectacular waterfalls....the high hill....wonderful views of the surrounding landscapes......

The above is adapted from a work by Ray Berry entitled, "The New Loch Ness Monsters".

I have been considering a change of landscape in Loch Avie for a little while now. My goal is to make it more reflective of the Scottish landscapes of old. I believe that the topography is sound, and frankly I love that my little piece of SL not only has a mountain, hills, and loch, but also a seaside. So what I hope to create will suit both the Highlands where lochs abound and the lowlands situated beside the sea.

The search for the perfect water feature....

The transformation has already begun. Many of the pine trees have already been felled and the new plantings should begin soon.

Lady Kate Nicholas joins me on the quest for saplings and full grown trees for transplantation.

Another thing that will happen in the near future, is that Taigh Ròis will be boxed along with all her furnishings so that she can rez and derez at my will. A little enchantment in order to have open spaces and more prims available when I desire it, coming out of the mist a bit like Brigadoon...more frequently than every hundred years and without consequences for coming or going, however.

Dreaming the future of Loch Avie

Taking a rest and breathing in the sweet, uplifting scents of the roses.