Jul 29, 2008

A Special Anniversary (a wee bit OOC)

Being a child of the space race era, I have a special spot in my heart for NASA. I have explored the Kennedy Space Center on a number of occasions, and truly enjoy historical as well as current books, programming, and other information about NASA and her adventures in science.

And for those of us who enjoy Steampunk and Victorian era themes, here is a comparison of the Verne Moon Gun and the Apollo series rocket/capsule just for fun.

detail from a postage stamp

Happy 50 Years, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Jul 26, 2008

...And Be You Blithe and Bonny...

These last several days and nights, my human has been spending some good and happy time in the Real. During that time, she has taken what she now lovingly refers to as "me days", which means that she takes time off from her work, goes out of the house (so as to completely remove herself from the temptation of doing household chores on these days off), and does only what she wants to do. She has found that this helps her maintain her balance and assists in making her a better wife and mother. The planned - and not-infrequent (once every six-eight weeks or so) - "me time" is de rigueur now.

During these last two days, she found herself exploring some of the local spots near her home. On the first day, she discovered a lovely used book store. The scent of leather and aging paper filled her nostrils as she began her perusal of the stacks. As she flipped through the volumes, she realized the one missing thing in this bookstore was the ever-present cat. "Who is keeping the mice at bay?" she wondered. My human had already found several books for herself and members of her family when she spotted the little navy blue tome on the shelf. Not much bigger than an index card and only about 1/2 inch thick, the book's gold lettering still read plainly, Men and Women - By Robert Browning. JM Dent and Co. Opening the cover gently, the publication date was 1855. "First Edition" it said! The pages are in remarkably good shape - why even the small red ribbon, which serves as the book mark is fully intact. Thrilled, she paid the attendant and nearly danced out of the store with her books tucked gently in her arms.

The area in which she was exploring holds many Victorian era homes and artifacts. So it was pleasant to look up from where she was sitting one morning to see a favorite painting (pleasant - but not really surprising).

Spring in Victoria

I have posted this painting in Red Rose before as we have discussed Spring and love. And I am most pleased to post it again as an excerpt from Men and Women is posted. It seems more than appropriate.

In Three Days
by Robert Browning

So, I shall see her in three days
And just one night, but nights are short,
Then two long hours, and that is morn.
See how I come, unchanged, unworn!
Feel, where my life broke off from thine,
How fresh the splinters keep and fine,---
Only a touch and we combine!

Too long, this time of year, the days!
But nights, at least the nights are short.
As night shows where ger one moon is,
A hand`s-breadth of pure light and bliss,
So life`s night gives my lady birth
And my eyes hold her! What is worth
The rest of heaven, the rest of earth?

O loaded curls, release your store
Of warmth and scent, as once before
The tingling hair did, lights and darks
Outbreaking into fairy sparks,
When under curl and curl I pried
After the warmth and scent inside,
Thro` lights and darks how manifold---
The dark inspired, the light controlled
As early Art embrowns the gold.

What great fear, should one say, "Three days
That change the world might change as well
Your fortune; and if joy delays,
Be happy that no worse befell!"
What small fear, if another says,
"Three days and one short night beside
May throw no shadow on your ways;
But years must teem with change untried,
With chance not easily defied,
With an end somewhere undescried."
No fear!---or if a fear be born
This minute, it dies out in scorn.
Fear? I shall see her in three days
And one night, now the nights are short,
Then just two hours, and that is morn.

Alexandre DeFaux - Courting Couple in a Rowboat.

I was also reminded of this painting from an older post entitled, The Logistics of Kissing, which somehow seems so fitting as my human and I read our first editions of Mr. Browning's Men and Women.

Be you blithe and bonny!

Jul 20, 2008

Meditation Is Good for the Soul

Those of you who are frequent readers of my journal will know that I fully support the efforts of scientists, physicians, and other healthcare providers as they work to rid the world of cancers. I was more heavily involved in the Second Life Relay for Life last year, but have certainly lent a hand as I could this year. I have also supported grass-roots efforts in both SL and RL to raise funds for care and cure.

Boobie-Thon is something that I have been a part of for the last three years, and I plan to continue that tradition this fall when it rolls around again.

I have many reasons that I support these efforts including the death of my father-in-law in 1999 after a fairly lenthy and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. But I must tell you that I had no plans of walking the relay last night. In fact, I thought that I would simply go in world work on a couple of projects and then head back out to the real and read one of the few books that I am currently reading.

A couple of events changed my mind....so that as the calls came out for relay runners when I popped in world, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. On Friday I had news that one of my dear friends in Caledon had heard from her father was newly diagnoses with thoracic cancer, and then just yesterday the call came from my mother: a woman who has been their neighbor for 37 years (and the mother of my best childhood friend) was just diagnosed with a non-operable brain tumor. Devastating! Both...devastating.

So you can easily imagine that my laps last night, though few compared to many, were filled with personal meaning.

Today, it was good to spend some quiet time in a lovely asian-themed sim, Hosoi Ichiba. I first learned about this sim from the SL arts blog, which is tracked on the sidebar of this journal. I did not make it to the art exhibit noted in the article in SL ArtsParks, but I will get back there.

I was really just in the mood to explore quietly. And I found that here. This sim is simply beautiful, and most everything is for sale, including the buildings (but it does not shout at you). In fact, I found about 5 or so avatars performing their morning Tai Chi routines, but I did not even go close enough to disturb them for a picture.

I plan to return to Hosoi Ichiba. Perhaps you may wish to find a quiet place there for a little meditation and reflection.

Jul 19, 2008

Steampunk Revelry and Outfitting the Keep

Steampunk has definitely been the theme of the last few days for me.

Steampunk-ish Poetry by Phinias Sheridan

Brass and Glass

Ancient dusty inner workings
begging to be fixed anew
Ancient secrets of magic lurking
In the chamber of brass and glass

Found upon an oaken shelf
next to the camera (only $35)
There it sat waiting for me
In it's chamber of brass and glass

Taking it home and fixing it up
I unlocked the ancient secret
As it tick-tocked away on the cup
The wondrous chamber of brass and glass

The Trans-Aetheric Man

I've never seen one like him
Many come through in their brass machines
They were always rude and grim
He was a noble fellow
In his black coat and hat
And goggles which made him look mellow
He never once yelled at Ms. Pocket
Or threw a chair at me
And when they broke her locket
(the one with the portraits of her mother and father)
He merely smiled after they left
and said "I'll fix it, It'll be no bother

My Friday evening was very fun filled as I joined my friends from Steelhead at their dance in the Relay For Life sim. TotalLunar Eclipse, Tensai Hilra, and a number of very talented Steelheadians from the team created a miniature Steelhead and the gorgeous, floating Castle Wulfenbach.

The Bloody Air Brigade by Phinias Sheridan

Floating fantastically flawed on the breeze
The great airship majestically sailed
With a Marvelously malicious murdering intent
Any other ships were not to be hailed
Rumbling roaring red-hot engines spin
Turning magnificent props through the air
We all watched it rumble to and fro
Spyglass to my eye and wind in my hair
like a savage, screaming, sower of lead
she poured down a dark deadly din
flashes of fire in the dead of night
cutting down countless crying men
Her Majesty's marvelous machine
Crewed by daring, dreamy, dark men
It was a fanciful far fetched, almost fake dream
To be in The Bloody Air Brigade

There was much spirit and jovial discussion as the usual crowd was joined by a number of guests - a few n00bs as well as a couple of well known citizens.

This morning once I rose from my bed, I decided that I would travel down to see Caledon Glamorgan. I was anxious to see the work of my friend, His Grace, ambiant Kukulcan. Imagine the pleasant surprise of finding him at his shop and that we both actually had time to chat for a little while.

I found Glamorgan a real treat visually, and ambiant was most gracious. After we parted ways, I went on into the shop and happily found a few things that were needed for the security of the Loch. These have been installed.

You may travel to my Koinup site to view the non-classified daugerotypes of the additions to the Keep as well as my time in Castle Wulfenbach and Glamorgan.

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Jul 17, 2008

Sometimes these memes are fun to try....

Here is the latest that I found on my cousin's website.

My Tarot Card results are below:

You are The Lovers

Motive, power, and action, arising from Inspiration and Impulse.

The Lovers represents intuition and inspiration. Very often a choice needs to be made.

Originally, this card was called just LOVE. And that's actually more apt than "Lovers." Love follows in this sequence of growth and maturity. And, coming after the Emperor, who is about control, it is a radical change in perspective. LOVE is a force that makes you choose and decide for reasons you often can't understand; it makes you surrender control to a higher power. And that is what this card is all about. Finding something or someone who is so much a part of yourself, so perfectly attuned to you and you to them, that you cannot, dare not resist. This card indicates that the you have or will come across a person, career, challenge or thing that you will fall in love with. You will know instinctively that you must have this, even if it means diverging from your chosen path. No matter the difficulties, without it you will never be complete.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Jul 15, 2008

Linne & Eas Shith

The Pool and Falls of the Faeries

Imagine the wonderful surprise I felt when on my walk through Loch Avie two evenings ago, I discovered that the legend of the Cascade of the Faeries which my father taught me as a young girl was true. Suddenly a spring and waterfall appeared on the side of the mountain. There has been no record of this water for the last 300 years. I am unsure what caused the spring and falls to reappear - not unlike Brigadoon - but needless to say I am thrilled for the additional beauty and romance that they bring to Loch Avie. This will be a place for quiet reflection and great enjoyment, I have no doubt.

Miraculous Legend

Fearcharia was a young noblewoman who was pursued in marriage by a local chieftain called Gustov. Frightened by his aggression, the legend says, she fled for sanctuary to Loch Avie which had for years been the lands of the Bellambi Clan. She was savagely beheaded by Gustov before she reached the Keep of the Laird of Loch Avie.

However, as her head touched the ground, a spring bubbled up. The women of the clan prayed for her restoration to life. Their prayers were granted, but forever after, Fearcharia had a thin white line around her neck. It is also said that from that pool of water, the Faeries of Loch Avie were born.

The spring became known for its healing qualities. Pilgrims came from all over Caledon, or even from abroad. They were passed, or were carried through the water, three times particularly on nights when the veil was thin.

Jul 9, 2008


The Word of The Silence

A bare impersonal hush is now my mind,
A world of sight clear and inimitable,
A volume of silence by a Godhead signed,
A greatness pure, virgin of will.

Once on its pages Ignorance could write
In a scribble of intellect the blind guess of Time
And cast gleam-messages of ephemeral light,
A food for souls that wander on Nature's rim.

But now I listen to a greater Word
Born from the mute unseen omniscient Ray:
The Voice that only Silence' ear has heard
Leaps missioned from an eternal glory of Day.

All turns from a wideness and unbroken peace
To a tumult of joy in a sea of wide release.


Sri Aurobindo

Reference: # 103 in "Les poèmes de Sri Aurobindo" (bilingual edition)
also in "Last Poems" - 19
all published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherry
diffusion by SABDA

Silent Hill_001

I Saw in His Eyes

He slept in silence.
I saw in his closed eyes
The Peace of God.

He woke up in silence.
I saw in his blossomed eyes
The Joy of God.

He walked in silence.
I saw in his glowing eyes
The Light of God.

He ran in silence.
I saw in his ambrosial eyes
The Life of God.

Sri Chinmoy
from The Dance of Life



Poets Tower_006

Jul 6, 2008

Goings On of Late

A few of my favorite pictures from the last week or so.

  • Post Ironclad Capture the Flag game (as reported in Hibernia)
  • A snap from the Steelhead 4th of July celebration
  • The Steampunk Rave in Shengri La.
I hope you'll enjoy!

Steampunk Shengri La_Eva and K...
Eva and Kate raving in the Partycules

Steampunk Shengri La_Steampunk...
Steampunk'd Woody and Miss Catt

Jul 3, 2008

A Medieval Rose

Those of you who are frequent readers of this blog, and certainly those who know in world or out, have an understanding of my love of poetry, romance, and of the Medieval time period. I have recently been doing a little research on a work that has intrigued me for a number of reasons, some of which will be quite obvious simply from the title of the work.

Le Roman de la Rose

This poem was begun in 1225-40 by Guillaume de Lorris, and completed from 1270-78 by Jean de Meun.

Title Page

One of the most popular works of medieval French literature, Le Roman de la Rose survives today in some 300 manuscripts dating from the late 13th to early 16th century, and in numerous printed editions from the 15th and 16th centuries. Widely read throughout Europe, the poem influenced much of the literary output of the Middle Ages and was enjoyed by poets such as Chaucer, Gower, Dante and Petrarch.

The poem is written in octosyllabic couplets, and is cast as an allegorical dream-vision, that describes a young man's initiation into love and his efforts to possess the rosebud of which he is enamored. The first 4, 058 lines were composed by Guillaume de Lorris, of whom very little is further known; the remainder—nearly 18, 000 lines more—is the work of Jean de Meun, a Parisian writer and intellectual.

Guillaume created a narrative set in the Garden of Delight. His narrator meets the God of Love and his entourage. As he gazes into the fountain of Narcissus, he spies there a rosebud with which he falls in love. The God of Love then delivers a sermon about behaviour in love, based largely on Ovid's Art of Love. At this point in the dream, the Lover is influenced by many in the entourage of the God - Reason tries to dissuade the Lover; Ami offers courtship advice. The allegorical construct is such that there is no real figure for the lady, whose various attributes are represented by the Rose and by the figures that surround it. The two with whom the Lover interacts directly are male: Bel Acueil, a pleasant young boy who allows him to approach the Rose, and Danger, an obstreperous peasant who chases him away. Two other guardians of the Rose, Fear and Shame, are female. With the aid of Venus, the Lover manages to kiss the Rose; Jealousy builds a fortified tower to protect The Rose. The original poem ends with the Lover's lament.

It's unclear whether it was Guillaume's intent to end the narrative at this point, although in doing so it would have followed the lyric model whereby the Lover never consummates his love or desires. After Guillaume's death, there was a fairly rapid ending of the poem created which allowed the Lover to spend a night of bliss with The Rose. Jean's continuation is transformational. The poem expands to include rational, erotic, self-serving, procreational, and sacred forms of love. In a thinly veiled allegory of sexual intercourse, the Lover finally succeeds in penetrating to the inner sanctum where the Rose is enshrined; the poem ends with his awakening at daybreak.

Jean's expanded focus also allows for extended discussion of such diverse issues as language and signification; Fortune, destiny, and free will; government and justice; optics and meteorology; and the role of procreation in the natural and supernatural order of things.

Le Roman has been far reaching in influence both in the Middle Ages as well as into the 20th century. Part of the story was translated from its original Old French into Middle English as The Romaunt of the Rose, which had a great influence on English literature. Chaucer was familiar with the original French text, and a portion of the Middle English translation is thought to be his work. C. S. Lewis' 1936 study The Allegory of Love renewed interest in the poem.

Friends, there is much more to be written on this work regarding structure, allegory, courtly love, the appetite of the people of the Middle Ages for this work, the critical reception over the centuries, as well as the influence it has exerted. And I am sure that several of my readers would enjoy discussion of the Old French and Middle English languages primarily employed.

Perhaps your humble narrator will continue this discussion in the near future, but for now I leave you with the Summary Outline of Le Roman de la Rose as created by Jacob Babb, and a portion of the work translated. Warning: this may only (and I sincerely hope this is the case) whet your appetite.

Prologue (ll. 1-20)
The Dreamer Falls in Love
The Dreamer finds and explores the Garden (ll. 21-1422)
The paintings of undesirable people on the wall (ll. 139-460
The beautiful people of the Garden and the God of Love (ll. 707-1232)
The Dreamer (now become the Lover) falls in love with the Rose; the God of Love instructs him in love (ll. 1423-2748)
First approach to the Rose and setback (ll. 2749-3081)
The Lover asks for the Rose; Resistance chases him away (ll. 2863-2954)
Reason reasons with the Lover (ll. 2955-3082)
Second approach and setback (ll. 3083-4190)
Friend, Candor, Pity, and Venus help the Lover to approach the Rose (ll. 3083-3454)
Warm Welcome allows him to kiss the Rose (ll. 3455-80)
Warm Welcome taken and imprisoned by Jealousy and friends (ll.3481-4190) (End of Guillaume’s part, beginning of Jean’s continuation)
The Attack on the Fortress
Reason lectures the Lover at great length; he still will not listen (ll. 4191-7200)
Friend returns with more advice (ll. 7201-9972)Monologue of the Jealous Husband (ll. 8437-9330)
The God of Love returns, decides to help the Lover (third attempt on the Rose) (ll. 9973-11983)
The Lover rejected by Wealth (.. 10021-237)
Love’s barons are assembled (ll. 10400-888)
The revelation of False Seeming (ll. 10889-11984)
The attack begins; a gift sent to Warm Welcome; The Old Woman speaks her mind (ll. 11985-14777)
The Lover chased away again; the assault resumes (ll. 14778-15795)
Venus comes to the rescue (ll. 15597-846)
The Lover wins the Rose
Nature confesses to her priest, Genius (ll. 15863-19380)
All of creation is reviewed (ll. 16699-18990)
Nature complains that man does not do her bidding (ll. 18991-19304)
Genius gives his sermon to the troups (ll. 19369-20673)Full pardon is granted to everyone who serves Nature through procreation (ll. 19475-20652)
The Fortress is taken (ll. 20653-21315)
The story of Pygmalion (ll. 20786-21184)
Venus sends her torch into the tower (ll. 21221-246)
The Lover possesses the Rose and awakens (ll. 21316-750)


**Lady Reason's Definition of Love
Tant com ainsinc me dementoie
des grans douleurs que je sentoie
ne ne savoie ou querre mire
de ma tristece ne de m’ire,

ors vi droit a moi revenant
Reson, la bele, l’avenant,
qui de sa tour jus descendi
quant mes conplaintes entendi.

'Beaus amis, dist Reson la bele,
conment se porte la querele?
Seras tu ja d’amer lassez?
N’as-tu pas eü mal assez?
Que te semble or des maus d’amer?
Sunt il trop douz ou trop amer?
Sez en tu le mean eslire
qui te puist aidier et soffire?
As tu or bon seigneur servi,
qui si t’a pris et aservi
et te tourmonte sanz sejour?

'Volantiers, or i'entent donques.
Amours, se bien sui apensee,
C'est maladie de pensee
Antre ·ij· persones annexe,
Franches entr'els, de divers sexe,
Venanz a genz par ardeur nee
De vision desordenee,

Pour acoler et pour besier,
Pour els charnelment aesier.
Amant autre chose n'entant,
Ainz s'art et se delite en tant;
De fruit avoir ne fet il force,

S'il sunt aucun de tel maniere
Que ceste amour n'ont mie chiere,
Toutevois fins amanz se faignent,
Mes par amors amer ne daignent
Et se gabent ainsinc des dames
Et leur prometent cors et ames,
Et jurent menconges et fables
A cels qui trouvent decevables,
Tan qu’il ont leur delit eü.
Mes cil sont le mains deceü
Car adés vient il mieuz, beau mestre
Decevoir, que deceüz estre;
Meesmemant en ceste guerre,
Quant le maien ni sevent querre.

While I moaned thus about the great sorrows
I was suffering,
not knowing where to seek
a remedy for my grief and affliction,

I saw fair Reason
coming straight back towards me.
She had descended from her tower
because she heard my complaints.

'My fair friend,’ said Reason the fair,
'how is our discussion going?
Will you be tired of loving on day?
Have you not suffered enough?
How do the woes of love seem to you?
Are they too sweet or too bitter?
Are you capable of choosing the proper mean among them,
the appropriate degree which would suffice?
Is he a good lord who has thus captured and subjugated you
and who torments you without respite?

'Willingly! Now listen carefully!
Love, if I think correctly,
is a sickness of thought
that takes place between two persons
who are close to and open with each other
...It arises in people from burning desire,
born of disorderly glances,

to embrace and kiss each other
and to have the solace of one another's body.
A lover so burns
and is so enraptured that
he thinks of nothing else;
he takes no account of bearing fruit,
but strives only for delight.

There are those of a certain kind
who do not hold this love dear,
yet who always pretend to be courtly lovers.
However, they do not deign to love for love
and thus deceive ladies
by promising them their hearts and souls
and by swearing lies and fables to those whom they find gullible,
until they have taken their pleasure with them.
But such people are less deceived than the others;
for it is always better, good master, to deceive than to be deceived,
particularly in this war,
when one never knows how to find the right medium.

** The Deflowering of the Rose
N'iert il ne fraiez ne batuz.
Et pour ce m'i suis anbatuz
Que d'autre antree n'i a point
Pour le bouton cueillir a point.
Si saurez com ie me contins:
Tant que a mon gre le bouton tins
Le fet orraiz et la maniere
Pour ce que le mestier vous iere
Quant la douce seson vandra
Seigneur vallet qu'il convandra
Que vous ailliez cueillir les roses
Ou les ouvertes ou les closes.
Que si sagemant i ailliez
Que vous au cueillir ne failliez
Fetes si com vous morroiz fere
Se mieuz n'an savez a chief iere
Car se vous plus largetemant
Ou mieuz ou plus soutinemant?
Poez le passage passer
San vous destraidre ne lasser
Si le passez en vostre guise
Quant vous auroiz la moie aperte
Tant aiez au mains davantage
Que je vous apraign mon usage
San riens prandre de vostre avoir
Si man tenez bon gre falloir.
Quant giere ileuc si anpressiez
Tant soit du rosier apressiez
Que mon vouloir poi les mains tendre
Au raiseaus par le bouton prendre

Bel acueill par dieu me plait
Qui nul outrage fet ni ait
Et ie li mis moult en couvant
Pour ce qu'il m'an parlaie souvant
Que ia nule riens ne feroie
For sa volanté et la moie.

Par les rains saisi le rosier
Qui plus sunt franc que mil osier

....Quand an si haut degre me vi
Que i'oï si noblemant chevi
Que mes proces n'iert mes doutables
Pour ce que fins et agreables
Fusse ver touz mes biens sereurs
Si com doit fere bons deteurs
Car moult estoie a eus tenuz
Quant par eus iere devenuz
Si riche que pour voir le fiche
Richece n'estoit pas si riche
Au Dieu d'amours et a Venus
Qui m'orent aidié mieuz que nus
Puis a touz les barons de l'ost
Don ie pour dieu qu'il ia ne l'ost
Des secours au fins amoureus
Antre les besiers savoureus

...Grant m'orent arriere mis
Especiaument ialousie
A tout son chapel de soussie
Qui des amanz les roses garde
Moult an fet ore bone garde
Ainz que d'ileuc me remuasse
Ou mon veull oncor demourasse
Par grant ioliveté cueilli
La fleur du biau rosier fueilli
Ainsic oï la rose vermeille
A tant fu iorz et ie m'esveille.

At least I know for certain
that at that time it was not a well-worn, beaten path.
Since there was no other place
whatsoever where I might enter to gather the bud,
I hurled myself through that path.
You shall know how I carried on
until I took the bud at my pleasure.
You, my young lords, shall know both the deed and the manner,
so that if, when the sweet season returns,
the need arises for you to go gathering roses,
either opened or closed,
you may go so discreetly that you will not fail in your collecting.
Do as you hear that I did,
if you know no better how to achieve your goal;
for, if you can negotiate the passage better, more easily or deftly,
without straining or tiring yourself,
then do so in your way when you have learned mine.
At least you will have the advantage that I am teaching you my method
without taking any of your money,
and for that you should feel grateful.

Cramped as I was there,
I had approached so near to the rosebush
that I could reach out my hands at will to take the bud from the branches.

Fair Welcoming had begged me for God's sake
to commit no outrage,
and, because he begged me often,
I promised him firmly
that I would never do anything except his will and mine.

I seized the rosebush,
fresher than any willow, by its branches,

When I saw myself raised to such high degree,
an estate gained so nobly that my methods were not suspect,
because I had been loyal and open toward all my benefactors,
as a good debtor should be - for I was very much bound to them,
since through them I had become so rich that (I declare it as the truth)
there was no wealth as rich - when I saw myself thus,
I rendered thanks, among the delicious kisses,
ten or twenty times, first to the God of Love and to Venus,
who had aided me more than anyone,
then to all the barons of the host,
whose help I pray God never to take away from pure lovers.

...Before I stirred from that place
where I should wish to remain forever,
I plucked, with great delight,
the flower from the leaves of the rosebush,
and thus I have my red rose.
Soon it was day, and I awoke.