Mar 29, 2008

Things That Are Real

A Walk in the Springtime
S. D'Angostino

Hands brushing
That first tentative touch as we walk down the lane together
Electricity coursing through our bodies at the nearness
Touches growing more bold
Fingers entwined
Walking ever deeper into the forest

The sound of rushing, falling water growing stronger
A small stone wall
We stop to admire the beauty of nature
The water rushing over the boulders in the river
A large waterfall - the spray rising to the sky
I feel your tentative touch of my shoulder
Skin nearly burning from your touch

Nervously, I lean into your body as our gaze remains on the water
Your solid strength filling my senses

Now more relaxed, but also highly aware
Aware of your skin, your scent, your touch
A hand sliding down my back and wrapping around my waist
And yet my gaze does not change

Somehow I hear of the birds singing in the trees around us
The water ever rushing
Breath on my neck and ear
Then a whisper
Asking permission to kiss me
I manage to turn and respond with a nod

Soft lips caress my own
Warm and gentle
As this first kiss ends, I look into your eyes
Flecks of gold sparkling into my own
I feel my lips trembling of their own free will
I am without power to stop them
Your hand reaches out to touch my cheek
To stroke my trembling lips

And for the first time I feel the way your eyes see into me
Eternally yours in that moment
In that first springtime moment
Now passed the point of turning back

We walk together ever forward down the path

Mar 26, 2008

Sailing to Byzantium

THAT is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

William Butler Yeats

Woman of Byzantium
Dino Z. Berber

Mar 24, 2008

The Astrotorium

Eep Op Ork Ah Ah!

Mr. Kenny Hubble's wonderful creation in Caledon Eyre.

Mar 23, 2008

Wishing You A Blessed Holy Day

Happy Easter to all my Christian readers.

Surrexit Christus hodie. Alleluia!
Humano pro solamine. Alleluia!
In hoc Paschali gaudio. Alleluia!
Benedicamus Domino. Alleluia!
Mortem qui passus pridie. Alleuia!
Miserrimo pro homine. Alleuia!
Laudetur sancta Trinitas. Alleluia!
Deo dicamus gratias. Alleluia!

Mar 22, 2008

Unitarian Jihad Names??

Warning! Don't link to this page while drinking or eating at your computer, it could considerably hinder your ability to get into SL or anywhere else when the beverage hits the CPU or keyboard.

Posted here just because it's silly....and I can. where is that Holy Hand Grenade? I know I put it in this outfit somewhere....

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Sister Hand Grenade of Sweet Reason.

Get yours.

Or perhaps this one....

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Sister Broadsword of Looking at All Sides of the Question.

The Generosity of Ekaterina

Lady Kate Nicholas, also known as the Grafinya of Inbhir Abigh, announces her inheritance of some land in Winterfell. She is now Boyarinya of Eventide. Please follow this link to the Proceedings of the Royal Society for her message.

Mar 19, 2008

As Promised - Details about the Lady's Auction

*Humming*: Money can't buy me love. Can't buy me luh-uv. Luh-uv.... I don't care too much for money. Money can't buy me love.

Ah, but this Saturday, March 22nd, Lindens donated to the SLRFL can buy you a date with one (or more) of our lovely Caledonian Ladies. Representing many of the Provinces of Caledon, the list of those of us "on the block" includes:

Autopilotpatty Poppy
Bryndal Ellison
Carricre Wind
Eladrienne Laval
Eugenia Burton
Eva Bellambi
Frequency Picnic
Fuschia Begonia
June Wozniak
Kay Robbiani
Kiralette Kelley
MaeraLeFey Messmer
Martini Discovolante
Samantha Glume
Scotti Lyle
Shylah Garmes

The article that preceded this one contains some more specific information as does this fine article in Lord BardHaven's ætheric location.

I had a chance to visit the location for the actual event. The choice of Amiaguas Mauritius was quite a brilliant idea. The seaside location is perfect for an event which would have us loosen our stays a bit, let down our hair, and have a good time all in the name of raising funds for the international war on cancer.

The other brilliant bit is that you can bid NOW. The location is open and you may peruse the placards for each wonderful lady and even place your bid(s) ahead of time, particularly if you will not be able to join the group for the event on Saturday.

Let me share with you in pictures a little tour of the location (this may also give potential bidders for time with little ol' me an idea of date possibility 2 - beach and boating).

Late afternoon on the beach in Amiaguas Mauritius

Feeling cooler in the shade of the palms and ferns

Resting midst the Lovely Ladies of Caledon

As the coastal sunset crept over me, I found a cozy place by the fire.

*Singing*: Eva flies away. Dreams the world far away.....the good in her will be my Sunflower Fields.

Sunset. Wonderful.

Enjoy! And come out and support Cancer Research and Care. Support the SL Relay For Life!

Mar 17, 2008

Second Life Relay for Life

Any of you gentle readers who have frequented these pages in the last year (my God -it has been a year here in this ætheric location!) know of my strong support of those researchers and care-givers working to help those with cancer and to find cures for the many kinds of cancers that exist. If you are unfamiliar with efforts in the past, please feel free to browse the Red Rose here (Rites of Spring), here (The first Tournament for Life), and here (Boobie-Thon). You may also search the blog for other articles related to Cancer or the Relay, or Boobie-Thon.

Relay for Life®

Helping Those Touched by Cancer. By participating in an American Cancer Society Relay For Life® event near you, you honor cancer survivors, pay tribute to the lives lost to the disease, and raise money to help fight it.

When cancer affects you or someone you love, the American Cancer Society can lessen your fears and provide inspiration through our many programs and services - all free of charge and made possible through donations from local communities.
Your donations also give those touched by cancer answers to their questions and offer places to turn for help in their community through the Society's Web site, and the 24-hour toll-free number, 1-800-ACS-2345.

Empowering People to Fight Back Against Cancer
A cancer survivor's recovery involves much more than medical treatments - it takes hope to heal. By participating in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life®, those touched by cancer can feel empowered to fight back against this disease.

All of this is made possible because of activities like Relay For Life®. Are you ready to get involved? It's easy! Relay For Life® is about being a community that takes up the fight!

The Second Life Relay for Life is no less serious in it's fund raising efforts as we strive to end these horrible diseases. Relay For Life of Second Life has a web presence, which I encourage you to visit, and on the home page you will also see the team standings and the L$ raised to date.

With RL commitments as they are this year, it is somewhat difficult for me to be as involved as I might otherwise be; however, I certainly do wish to support the efforts of the Caledon teams and the overall SLRFL group.

What follows is information on the first event of which I will be a participant (I am hoping I will actually be present at the event party, but given the timing and my obligations to religious ceremonies during this time of the Christian year, I am not sure.)

The Auction:

As mentioned above I may not be at the event hosted by Lady Autopilotpatty Poppy on March 22nd. I am assured, however, that bids may be made ahead of time - and certainly during my absence if I am not there. Once I have details on this, I will pass the information along to you.

Obviously I am not the only Lady of Caledon who has determined that she is willing to donate some of her time for a date with the highest bidder (all proceeds going to SLRFL), but since this is my blog, I am only going to mention my date information presently. *smiles*

A Date with the Duchess

Sure you have seen the Duchess of Loch Avie as she hosts gala events. You may even know her for her grace under pressure...or for her good humor and friendliness. But have you ever spent more than 5-10 minutes chatting with her during a dance, or as you spar in the Loch? Do you know why she is called the Red Rose of Caledon? Do you know how she enjoys spending her time in SL?

Be the high bidder! Take this time to get to know the Duchess, the lady, the distiller, the woman.

Potential date itineraries:

1) Tour Celtic pubs across the Metaverse with the Duchess, a renowned distiller of whisky. Spend a couple of hours enjoying dancing, drinks, and conversation with Eva

2) An evening of sailing and maritime fun. Sit back and relax as the Duchess takes you to some of her favorite beaches and sailing spots. Feel the wind blow through your hair and the sea spray on your face as we sail on the seas; enjoy the sun (or moon) on your face as we sit and chat on a blanket on the sand.

3) Enjoy Big Band,Jazz and Blues? Come along with Eva for a tour through a few of her favorite music and dance spots. 1940s dress, optional.

4) Winner's choice may also be suggested.

Mar 15, 2008

Report on the Loch Avie Cryogenic Seasonal Support Engine

Those de-classified portions of scientific information may be found in the Proceedings of the Royal Society's latest edition.

Mar 13, 2008

Eva Bellambi, FRS, Talks to Natural Geography

(just because it's fun)

More Poetry from the Library of the Red Rose

The Lovers
Thomas Hovenden

Silent Noon

Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass, --
The finger-points look through like rosy blooms:
Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and glooms
'Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass.
All round our nest, far as the eye can pass,
Are golden kingcup-fields with silver edge
Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge.
'Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass.

Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky: --
So this wing'd hour is dropt to us from above.
Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,
This close-companioned inarticulate hour
When twofold silence was the song of love.

~Dante Gabriel Rossetti

For those who would enjoy the musical presentation of this piece I offer the following link to Ian Bostridge's recording.

Mar 12, 2008

The Tunnel of Light

An expedition to King's Rezzable, Spiral Walcher's new build, with Pascale Illyra, Hotspur, O'Toole and Telemachus Dean (who showed up for our third trip through the tunnel and unfortunately did not make it into the pictures).

Such a wonderful experience in Second Life (Windlight required for the best possible experience). My thanks to Spiral who was on-sight the night we visited and was most gracious and hospitable.

Mar 9, 2008

Steel Pirates - That Bird is Dead!

I had the pleasure of joining my friends in Steelhead last night for the weekly dance. The theme? Pirates. And that is always fun.

Having the distinct honor of dancing for a time with TotalLunar Eclipse, we spent some time talking about what events Loch Avie and Steelhead might collaborate on in the near future. Of course we also caught up on other things including buildings, themes, friends, and Boomtown. By the end of the night, I felt it only right to help a friend and so I volunteered that I would happily advertise a little for Steelhead Boomtown, so my first movie attempt (below) is "sponsored by" Steelhead Boomtown.

The dance was quite fun as always. Tensai was her incredibly creative self....adjusting, building, and scripting on the fly just to make our conversations come to life. Parrot Guns, dead parrots, giant parrots, casks and casks of rum. Barbeque fires. Oh - and monkey dances all around. The company of pirates was simply put - hilariously spectacular.

Arrrrrrrgh! Such fun for this Saucy Loch Wench!

The inspiration for many comments during the dance (Pet Shop Skit - Monty Python):

Mr. Praline: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this parrot what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

Owner: Oh yes, the, uh, the Norwegian Blue...What's,uh...What's wrong with it?

Mr. Praline: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'E's dead, that's what's wrong with it!

Owner: No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting.

Mr. Praline: Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

Owner: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!

Mr. Praline: The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead.

Owner: Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!

Mr. Praline: All right then, if he's restin', I'll wake him up! (shouting at the cage) 'Ello, Mister Polly Parrot! I've got a lovely fresh cuttle fish for you if you

(owner hits the cage)

Owner: There, he moved!

Mr. Praline: No, he didn't, that was you hitting the cage!

Owner: I never!!

Mr. Praline: Yes, you did!

Owner: I never, never did anything...

Mr. Praline: (yelling and hitting the cage repeatedly) 'ELLO POLLY!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o'clock alarm call!

(Takes parrot out of the cage and thumps its head on the counter. Throws it up in the air and watches it plummet to the floor.)

Mr. Praline: Now that's what I call a dead parrot.

Owner: No, no.....No, 'e's stunned!

Mr. Praline: STUNNED?!?

Owner: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Norwegian Blues stun easily, major.

Mr. Praline: look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That parrot is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not 'alf an hour
ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk.

Owner: Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for the fjords.

Mr. Praline: PININ' for the FJORDS?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?, look, why did he fall flat on his back the moment I got 'im home?

Owner: The Norwegian Blue prefers keepin' on it's back! Remarkable bird, id'nit, squire? Lovely plumage!

Mr. Praline: Look, I took the liberty of examining that parrot when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting on its perch in the
first place was that it had been NAILED there.


Owner: Well, o'course it was nailed there! If I hadn't nailed that bird down, it would have nuzzled up to those bars, bent 'em apart with its beak, and
VOOM! Feeweeweewee!

Mr. Praline: "VOOM"?!? Mate, this bird wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it! 'E's bleedin' demised!

Owner: No no! 'E's pining!

Mr. Praline: 'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e
rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the
bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!


Owner: Well, I'd better replace it, then. (he takes a quick peek behind the counter) Sorry squire, I've had a look 'round the back of the shop, and uh,
we're right out of parrots.

Mr. Praline: I see. I see, I get the picture.

Owner: I got a slug.


Mr. Praline: Pray, does it talk?

Owner: Nnnnot really.


Owner: N-no, I guess not. (gets ashamed, looks at his feet)

Mr. Praline: Well.


Owner: (quietly) D'you.... d'you want to come back to my place?

Mr. Praline: (looks around) Yeah, all right, sure.

Mar 7, 2008

Uisge Beatha: It's Good For the Health of the Earth, too

Thank you University of Aberdeen scientists and Glenfiddich Distillery!!

We know that Uisge Beatha truly is the water of life. Those of us of Scottish descent understand that a dram of whisky is an almost magical elixir, capable of curing illnesses, stopping coughs, healing wounds, and soothing hearts.

And now it appears that some of the fine scientists at Aberdeen have discovered that one of the by-products of whisky making can actually clean up contaminated ground and water. What good news! I shall hope to speak with some of the scientists at the next meeting of the Royal Society (well, I shall have to borrow Oolon's tardis so I might travel forward in time about 120 years, but that is easily enough done. :-)

Please enjoy this article taken from the Telegraph.

The fabled medicinal properties of a wee dram - a glass of scotch whisky - may be more than an old wive's tale.

Glenfiddich donated the by-product from their distilling process for the new technology
Glenfiddich donated the by-product from their distilling process for the new technology

Instead of putting water into the whisky scientists have put a whisky by-product into the water and found it had magical properties.

Residue from Scotland's distilleries is being used in a pioneering method to clean up contaminated ground and polluted water.

Scientists at Aberdeen University have created DRAM - Device for the Remediation and Attenuation of Multiple pollutants - which they claim could revolutionise the cleaning up of old and contaminated industrial sites.

They claim the secret process can remove different types of pollutants including chlorines, heavy metals and pesticides at the same time and is far quicker and more cost effective than current clean up techniques.

Aberdeen University said it was not prepared to specify what the by-product was - other than that it is made from completely natural products - for "commercial reasons".

So far the new technology has been used only in the whisky industry but it could also use other by-products from food and drink production.

Trials have been so successful that the university research team is considering setting up a company to exploit its commercial potential.

Dr Graeme Paton, Professor Ken Killham and Dr Leigh Cassidy believe the process they have developed - where by-products are enhanced and incorporated into a unique patented device - could be licensed to land consultants and other companies involved in the clean up of toxic sites.

Scottish Enterprise provided almost £300,000 of funding into the research and the world famous Glenfiddich distillery on Speyside donated the by-product for use in the novel technology.

Dr Paton, a leading soil toxicologist, said: "DRAM is a groundbreaking technology created and progressed at the University of Aberdeen.

"Currently we are using the by-product of Scotland's most famous export but our technology can utilise other by-products from the food and beverage industry.

"The clean up of contaminated groundwater is an absolutely massive global market. The technology that we have developed is environmentally friendly, sustainable and has the potential to put Scotland at the forefront for remediation technologies. It is not just the deployment that is novel but also the underpinning technology to predict the success.

There are an estimated 330,000 contaminated sites in the UK mainly former industrial land blighted by pollutants that have seeped into the land and about £1.2bn is spent every year cleaning them up.

But the team believe their clean-up discovery could also find big markets in India and Asia.

Professor Ken Killham, Professor of Soil Science at the University and a leading authority on the assessment and remediation of contaminated land, said: "There is an urgent need to develop and apply sustainable technologies and to couple these to proven approaches.

"We should not just think about the remediation of high value land in expanding residential areas but also those forgotten sites that constitute most of the UK contaminated land bank."

Dr Leigh Cassidy, Research Fellow, said: "The University of Aberdeen has enabled a unique environment to apply and develop proven scientific techniques with a commercial end-user demand. Close cooperation with institutions and regulators throughout the UK is allowing the genuine application of this technology."

Men Improve With Years...

and other selected works of William Butler Yeats

I have found myself, of late, reading a lot of Yeats. I have enjoyed a few of his poems for years, but am just now really becoming acquainted with the full scope of his life and his life's work. I find that I am enjoying tracing his life by the changing themes and tone of his poetry. Having found a number of very good biographical sites for Mr. Yeats here in the æther, I rather like the succinct nature of the following quote from the Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was born in Dublin. His father was a lawyer and a well-known portrait painter. Yeats was educated in London and in Dublin, but he spent his summers in the west of Ireland in the family's summer house at Connaught. The young Yeats was very much part of the fin de siècle in London; at the same time he was active in societies that attempted an Irish literary revival. His first volume of verse appeared in 1887, but in his earlier period his dramatic production outweighed his poetry both in bulk and in import. Together with Lady Gregory he founded the Irish Theatre, which was to become the Abbey Theatre, and served as its chief playwright until the movement was joined by John Synge. His plays usually treat Irish legends; they also reflect his fascination with mysticism and spiritualism. The Countess Cathleen (1892), The Land of Heart's Desire (1894), Cathleen ni Houlihan (1902), The King's Threshold (1904), and Deirdre (1907) are among the best known.
After 1910, Yeats's dramatic art took a sharp turn toward a highly poetical, static, and esoteric style. His later plays were written for small audiences; they experiment with masks, dance, and music, and were profoundly influenced by the Japanese Noh plays. Although a convinced patriot, Yeats deplored the hatred and the bigotry of the Nationalist movement, and his poetry is full of moving protests against it. He was appointed to the Irish Senate in 1922. Yeats is one of the few writers whose greatest works were written after the award of the Nobel Prize. Whereas he received the Prize chiefly for his dramatic works, his significance today rests on his lyric achievement. His poetry, especially the volumes The Wild Swans at Coole (1919), Michael Robartes and the Dancer (1921), The Tower (1928), The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1933), and Last Poems and Plays (1940), made him one of the outstanding and most influential twentieth-century poets writing in English. His recurrent themes are the contrast of art and life, masks, cyclical theories of life (the symbol of the winding stairs), and the ideal of beauty and ceremony contrasting with the hubbub of modern life.

Although the bulk of his work was written after our particular time-frame of reference here in the Caledon of the 19th Century, the major themes and underlying struggles and joys are familiar to us.

In my previous post, I mentioned that my thoughts have been turning to romance (and spring) of late - and you will see some of that here - however, not all of the poetry I present for your enjoyment will fit that mold. These are just a sampling of what I have been reading; some have found particular personal meaning for me. Others have simply conjured brilliant images.



I am worn out with dreams;
A weather-worn, marble triton
Among the streams;
And all day long I look
Upon this lady's beauty
As though I had found in a book
A pictured beauty,
pleased to have filled the eyes
Or the discerning ears,
Delighted to be but wise,
For men improve with the years;
And yet, and yet,
Is this my dream, or the truth?
O would that we had met
When I had my burning youth!
But I grow old among dreams,
A weather-worn, marble triton
Among the streams.

A man and his lady-fair. Colonel Exrex Somme and his bride, Callipygian Christiensen
(From the RFL event in Loch Avie last season)


Sang Solomon to Sheba,
And kissed her dusky face,
'All day long from mid-day
We have talked in the one place,
All day long from shadowless noon
We have gone round and round
In the narrow theme of love
Like a old horse in a pound.'

To Solomon sang Sheba,
Plated on his knees,
'If you had broached a matter
That might the learned please,
You had before the sun had thrown
Our shadows on the ground
Discovered that my thoughts, not it,
Are but a narrow pound.'

Said Solomon to Sheba,
And kissed her Arab eyes,
'There's not a man or woman
Born under the skies
Dare match in learning with us two,
And all day long we have found
There's not a thing but love can make
The world a narrow pound.'

Eva as Sheba in her tent


May God be praised for woman
That gives up all her mind,
A man may find in no man
A friendship of her kind
That covers all he has brought
As with her flesh and bone,
Nor quarrels with a thought
Because it is not her own.

Though pedantry denies,
It's plain the Bible means
That Solomon grew wise
While talking with his queens,
Yet never could, although
They say he counted grass,
Count all the praises due
When Sheba was his lass,
When she the iron wrought, or
When from the smithy fire
It shuddered in the water:
Harshness of their desire
That made them stretch and yawn,
Pleasure that comes with sleep,
Shudder that made them one.
What else He give or keep
God grant me -- no, not here,
For I am not so bold
To hope a thing so dear
Now I am growing old,
But when, if the tale's true,
The Pestle of the moon
That pounds up all anew
Brings me to birth again --
To find what once I have known,
Until I am driven mad,
Sleep driven from my bed,
By tenderness and care,
Pity, an aching head,
Gnashing of teeth, despair;
And all because of some one
Perverse creature of chance,
And live like Solomon
That Sheba led a dance.

Eva as Sheba awaiting Solomon
"...pleasure that comes with sleep, shudder that made them one"


I KNOW that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My county is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind

Thank you to Colonel Hotspur O'Toole for the use of these photos previously posted in Hibernia on the Skids.


All things uncomely and broken, all things worn out
and old,
The cry of a child by the roadway, the creak of a lum-
bering cart,
The heavy steps of the ploughman, splashing the
wintry mould,
Are wronging your image that blossoms a rose in the
deeps of my heart.

The wrong of unshapely things is a wrong too great
to be told;
I hunger to build them anew and sit on a green knoll
With the earth and the sky and the water, re-made, like
a casket of gold
For my dreams of your image that blossoms a rose in
the deeps of my heart.
In balance with this life, this death.

Mar 6, 2008

Spring Must Be On The Way

I have been in the mood to read romantic things....

Oh wait. I always feel that way, don't I? *smiles*

Here is the first of what I am sure will be several poetry posts in that genre.

The Indian To His Love
by William Butler Yeats

The island dreams under the dawn
And great boughs drop tranquillity;
The peahens dance on a smooth lawn,
A parrot sways upon a tree,
Raging at his own image in the enamelled sea.
Here we will moor our lonely ship
And wander ever with woven hands,
Murmuring softly lip to lip,
Along the grass, along the sands,
Murmuring how far away are the unquiet lands:
How we alone of mortals are
Hid under quiet boughs apart,
While our love grows an Indian star,
A meteor of the burning heart,
One with the tide that gleams, the wings that gleam
and dart,
The heavy boughs, the burnished dove
That moans and sighs a hundred days:
How when we die our shades will rove,
When eve has hushed the feathered ways,
With vapoury footsole by the water's drowsy blaze.

Mar 1, 2008

The Musings of a Flu-Addled Mind

For the last four days my typist has been battling a classic case of the flu. She was diligent with her prevention efforts being one of the first in line for the influenza vaccination at her place of work; however, it appears that the vaccine has not proven effective for several of the strains of flu which are making themselves well known this year. During this illness, she has attempted some hours of work, either isolated in her office or at home. She has also spent much time cuddled in her bed at home. In fact one day last week found her only out of said bed for about 2 hours the entire day.

Why am I telling you this? Well to provide a little context. I have been in world very little over the last several days due to her illness, but have been in receipt of IMs and email, and have been reading blogs and such. There have been a few themes that have kept meandering past my vision and many of them seem to be linked in one way or another.

Oddly enough I was in world sporadically for an extended period of time Friday night as my human's youngest child was up and down for many hours with a GI virus. (Yes - she will be fumigating the home within the next week.) Having a very nice time with friends overall, my experiences on a tour of a sim with Sir Telemachus rather brought everything together in my mind.

The topics? Role Playing, Marketing, Movie-Making, Themed Play, Advertisement

Indeed they all seem to be related. Let's explore it a bit, eh?

Role Play. Merriam Webster on-line defines it simply this way:

\ˈrōl-ˌplā, -ˈplā\

transitive verb
1 : to act out the role of 2: to represent in action

intransitive verb: to play a role

Hardly scratches the surface.

In roleplaying, participants create, adopt and act out the role of characters, or parts, that generally have personalities, motivations, and backgrounds different from their own. Roleplaying, also known as RP, is like being in an improvisational drama or free-form theater, in which the participants are the actors who are playing parts, as well as the audience.

Theme. Wikipedia provides the following guidance:

a broad idea in a story, or a message or lesson conveyed by a work of literature. Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored; are generally implied rather than explicitly stated

Those of us in Caledon can most frequently agree that we are living our Second Lives in a themed environment. Our two primary themes are Victoriana and Steampunk.

Marketing. from Wikipedia:
Marketing is a societal process which discerns consumers' wants, focusing on a product or service to fulfill those wants, attempting to mold the consumers toward the products or services offered. Marketing is fundamental to any business' growth. The marketing teams (marketers) are tasked to create consumer awareness of the products or services through marketing techniques. Unless it pays due attention to its products and services and consumers' demographics and desires, a business will not usually prosper over time.

Outsiders often ask what marketing was done for Caledon, which resulted in the rapid growth that we have seen. Or did Des simply stumble upon a niche market at the right time?
How do we sustain our success as a community?

Advertisement. from Wikipedia:
A communication whose purpose is to inform potential customers about products and services and how to obtain and use them. Many advertisements are also designed to generate increased consumption of those products and services through the creation and reinforcement of brand image and brand loyalty.

Hmm. Is there a formal ad process for Caledon?

Movie Making.
Movie - Defined by Merriam Webster

moving picture
1: motion picture
plural : a showing of a motion picture
plural : the motion-picture medium or industry

With the advent of many new products - several free - we have seen an explosion of films and shorts created in RL and SL.
Filmmakers can conceivably shoot and edit a movie, create and edit the sound and music, and mix the final cut on a home computer. The æthernet has allowed for relatively inexpensive distribution of these independent films; many post their work online for critique and recognition and although there is little profitability in this, a filmmaker can still gain exposure via the ætherweb.

"Your Grace, thank you for the vocabulary lesson, but what are you getting at?"

(Recall I did preface this entire dissertation with the fact that my typist has been febrile.)

As I was in world early on Saturday morning, I traveled to a true RP sim with Sir Tele. I was required to wear an observer's tag so that I would not be...well...attacked or killed by an evil wizard, or have need to be in any character at all. Tele has been rping here for a little bit, and finds himself in the odd position of being in the lowest rank of the players...a guardian for the human city. This sim seems loosely based on The Lord of the Rings (men, elves, dwarves, wizards).
The area itself is lovely. We toured the city of men for some time at our own leisurely pace as no one else was present in the city. We walked onto the top of the city wall and saw three avatars talking outside the gate. Two of them, including the sim owner, had their OOC tags on, the third was an evil wizard in character. Tele, also being in character, asked me to stay put as he walked to the city gate to investigate what was going on.
I stood there camming around and taking some pictures. Apparently this was not appreciated by our little group. They IM'd Tele to say that pictures were not allowed without permission or some such nonsense. He was quite angry. Ever the diplomat, I sent a private apology to the sim owner and told her that I would not take further pictures - that I thought the sim was so lovely I needed to get some shots. She accepted that apology well and even gave me permission to publish the pictures here below. Meanwhile, as both he and I negotiated with the Lady, the wizard attacked Tele with several magic spells. It was rather painful to only be an observer of this, to not really be able to play the role of healer or leader that I am used to playing in our little corner of the metaverse. Shortly after Tele was finally unfrozen, we teleported back to Caledon. The manner of the attack having been unorthodox even for this RP, he was rather upset. He continues to "grow his strengths" in this RPG so that he will have more "points" and abilities. I should think that the Wizard has just ensured that Tele will continue to work on his strengths as I do believe the spell-thrower has just sealed his eventual death sentence.

Tele at the Solheimer Keep

The City of Men

Looking from the gate into the realm of the elves

Vomon, the wizard in question.

Telemachus the Guardian

It truly is a breath-taking sim - particularly in Windlight.

The experience got me thinking even more than I already was about the concepts listed above. Caledon is such a unique experience; a unique state of being. It indeed did find a niche market two years ago, and has found an audience, but also a cast of characters who are willing to build their stories, and thus the story of Caledon. It has grown exponentially, and has found friends in the metaverse with whom wise alliances have been made. We provide assistance and context for each other.

Was this marketed formally? Were advertisements made in the public market place?
Perhaps. But I came to Caledon strictly on word of mouth when there were only three sims (and no blogs). And I stayed because of the avatars I met, the interesting things that were going on in the community, and the sense that Caledon truly was a community.

Caledon's people - her community - truly are her best marketing and advertising tools in my humble opinion. And very little of that is done intentionally. It is simply an outgrowth of "being".

Caledon is Desmond Shang. Caledon is Hypatia Callisto. Caledon is Ordinal Malaprop. Caledon is Kate Nicholas, and Lord and Lady BardHaven. Caledon is Alfonso and Fuschia. Caledon is the Library System, and the Loch Avie Academy of Arms. Caledon is the Middlesea Fleet, the Whist League, Kintyre Chocolate, the Inkboy Gallery, To a T, Radio Riel, Uisge Beatha, and ironclad ships. These few listed are simply a cross section. Caledon is ALL of us...and ALL that we do.

I am thankful that we are not all part of a giant imposed RP; something like I witnessed the other night. I enjoy being able to tell my own story, and to contribute to many small role plays throughout the great Independent State. I mean really...where else could a woman be a Duchess, a distiller, an arms "expert", the head of State Intelligence, a healer, a hostess with the mostess, half a Duchess Sandwich, a pilot, a ship -driver, etc., etc., etc.,?

I LOVE the freedom that we have in Caledon. We are bound to the covenant of our State, to common courtesy and general theme. But the pallet with which we paint our canvas is broad and beautiful.

We have, as most who read this blog are aware, tried large RP events in the past with the best of motives. They have failed miserably and caused much grief along the way. To quote, Mr O'Toole from his post in the forum,
...people often confuse RP with Machinima, Machinima with reality, reality with fantasy, etcetera..

I have found that I do enjoy being part of the movie (machinima) making process. I like helping developing the story, playing the parts, seeing the daily rushes. It's fun. But I am advocating that even this is done on the small scale. Otherwise confusion (could) reigns supreme again.

Successfully, The Middlesea Fleet just assisted Lord Darkmere with an RP battle of his design. Pretty small scale. Finished in 1 afternoon. Fun for all the players involved. No lasting drama. Brilliant!

Hotspur O'Toole has also developed a machinima project. It involves a small cast of creative folks - oh and he is letting me play, too. :-)

It is "sort of reworking and simplification of our old 'War with Neualtenberg/Vulgaria' idea. Our approach has been to 'do more with less' and I have to say, we should have tried it this way from the very beginning. Last shots I filmed for the old movie took an entire day, involved dozens of people standing around a lot, and we got almost no usable footage out of it. I filmed with the 'Less is More' approach the other night, with four people shooting, and got about 40 minutes of beautiful, majestic aerial fleet footage. I'm sold." says the Captain.

One need only read the many Caledon blogs to have a sample of the other small scale RPs and stories being played in SL or simply told in the æther. There are many stories and story-tellers. Our day to day stories in Caledon are played in the themes we treasure.

There are also many other fine movie makers in our fair land. They are recording their projects - their small scale RPs or works of fiction. Sometimes for others to view, but most often for their own satisfaction, or to record the "history" that they make. And our collective story grows. Subplot by subplot. Daily fun, machinima-making, blogging. Telling our stories this way, with only those involved in the particular chapter or verse of our journal, not everyone need be concerned if they are not consulted, or part of the process; however, in the end we are all the richer for the diversity.

I think the telling of these diverse stories is what sustains Caledon and makes her a viable nation long into the future.

*Now I sit down to my tea, hoping to have made sense of my thoughts. Wondering what you may think.*