Aug 31, 2008

Where to even begin.

As I sit here in my suite in the Stone Willow Inn, watching several of our number as we learn animation basics from Kamilah, I am reflecting on the events of CaleCon thus far. BUT, I am also finding myself already thinking of the next one. We have had several suggestions about how/what/where/when not only from the participants of the Stratford group, but also from many Caledonians at large.

Having a friend or two in RL who have been part of event and convention planning - things of much larger proportions than CaleCon - I have been getting some advice on logical next steps. For this knowledge I am so grateful. You know me - learning from the lessons of others is something I value greatly.

Frankly, this Inaugural CaleCon has been wonderful; however, I fully realize that what this first small attempt has actually been is the first baby step to where we want to go in the future. A bit of research and marketing, if you will. But more on that later.

I hope that many of my readers were able to tune into the Radio Riel broadcast and the Simulcast of the Dinner/Dance on the media stream. There is mass amounts of video editing that I will be doing when I am back home and will post here and/or in YouTube.

Honestly, I really have no idea where to begin a discussion of last night. Words that I have heard used by those of us here in Stratford/St. Mary's and by those in attendance in world last night:

  • So much fun!
  • OMG - what are they doing?
  • Who is that lady in the blue shawl?
  • Yes, Otenth is the beard wearing the man.
  • I never dreamed how much fun and hilarity this would be.
  • Hoo!
  • Where is JJ?
  • Has anyone seen Sir JJ?
  • Oh my gosh! Look at Kamilah! She is wonderful!
  • Mwuahahahahahahaha
  • Yeah - but can they tp?
  • Is JJ there?
  • Oh look at Scotti and Kaye! They really are sisters!!
  • Hey who is that in the tartan corset?
We also had many explorations before the party. I will more fully review the play and the tea tasting in the next few days. (Frankly, writing this has been so interrupted by learning, laughter, and general good fun, which is just great!)

But for now, let me share some pictures.

Kamilah makes her RL debut. Lady of Light.


Rik standing in front of the SL projection from Carntaigh

Lionsgate and Loch Avie

Typical. All ladies dancing, but that was no problem for these independent women.

Aug 30, 2008

What a first night of CaleCon!

There will be more content here later in the day, but I just wanted to make an entry to let you know that we all arrived safely - if after some trouble with air travel or traffic. Last night was spent getting to know each other and in some great - and often humorous - conversation about SL and Caledon.

A few of us at the end of the Loch Avie Cocktail Party. The only one I'm confirming is me - and I'm on the left. :-)

Now - I must get downstairs for some breakfast and our first workshop.


Aug 28, 2008

IT'S TIME - CaleCon Begins In Just Over 24 Hours

Hard to believe it, but the time has finally come to begin the trek to Stratford, Ontario for the Inaugural Caledonian Convention - affectionately known as CaleCon.

Over the course of the next four days, a few of us will gather together in the Stone Willow Inn for a time to let our humans get to know each other. We will discuss how we came to know and love Caledon, and what things inspire us in world and out. We'll learn about chocolate, animation, and teas. We'll dance and sing, and eat and drink.

And we'll share as much of this as possible with everyone. Though we wish you could all be there with us!!

Look for the announcements from Radio Riel about broadcasts and other things. Join us in world in Carntaigh on Saturday at 4:30pm SLT for a dance and the simulcast of the dinner and dance from Stratford. I'll be working to bring you the video portion of the night in conjunction with Radio Riel who is providing the stream - and of course, the fabulous music.

Schedule of Events

August 29th

Loch Avie's Cocktail Party

Late supper in town (possibly)

August 30th

Book discussion: Favorite books that enrich or inform your life in Caledon

Theatre: Taming of the Shrew

Afternoon Tea - Stratford Tea Leaves

CaleCon Dinner and Dance

August 31st

Posing and Animation workshop

Radio Riel Interviews

Chocolate Symposium

Dinner and Pub Crawl

Finally - this poem by James Hogg seemed to be appropriate to the occasion of celebrating both Caledon and the Anniversary of the Firth.


Caledonia! thou land of the mountain and rock,

Of the ocean, the mist, and the wind-

Thou land of the torrent, the pine, and the oak,

Of the roebuck, the hart, and the hind;

Though bare are thy cliffs, and though barren thy glens,

Though bleak thy dun islands appear,

Yet kind are the hearts, and undaunted the clans,

That roam on these mountains so drear!

A foe from abroad, or a tyrant at home,

Could never thy ardour restrain;

The marshall'd array of imperial Rome

Essay'd thy proud spirit in vain!

Firm seat of religion, of valour, of truth,

Of genius unshackled and free,

The muses have left all the vales of the south,

My loved Caledonia, for thee!

Sweet land of the bay and wild-winding deeps

Where loveliness slumbers at even,

While far in the depth of the blue water sleeps

A calm little motionless heaven!

Thou land of the valley, the moor, and the hill,

Of the storm and the proud rolling wave-

Yes, thou art the land of fair liberty still,

And the land of my forefathers' grave!

James Hogg

Aug 24, 2008

Winterfallen Celebrate in Taure En Lor

"Winterfell is a twilight dream realm where airships fly over wolves in
the forests, ships sail past the vampires stalking the docks and
creatures of all sizes and shapes dance with wild abandon in the
patches of wild mushrooms.

Dreams rule the night. Dreams inspire us. Dreams enchant us. Dreams
free us to be as we truly are, drawing us to this grove to share the
magic in all of us.

As the community center for all of Winterfell you will find here a
library, art gallery, shops, and places to relax but most importantly
you will find friends."
from Serra Anansi

I arrived just as the festivities were kicking off and within the first 30 minutes we had 39 folks in the sim. The lag was tremendous, but the company was fantastic fun.

Having just discovered that Serra and I would survive well (musically - and likely otherwise :-) together should we be shipwrecked, I have included a song from one of our "Top 5 when stranded on an island list" to go along with the few pictures that I was able to snap while dancing yesterday afternoon.

October Project - Adam and Eve

Only ever really one story
A boy and a girl and a dream of the world, an apple, a kiss
A moment of sky, a moment you choose without knowing why
Burning like a fever inside you
The heat of your skin and the taste of your lips
A shadow, a storm, a darkening sky, the reason you live, the secret you
And God said the reason had hung from the tree, but I feel the reason
hanging on me
I am free of my innocence, falling too far
I am helpless to change, I am hopelessly lost, I am all that you are
I've fallen from all I know to keep you here, I need you here
I wonder how far to go without you here
Only ever really one story
A boy and a girl and the end of the world, a secret, a kiss, a hole in
the sky
The reason you fall, the moment you fly
And God said the reason had hung from the tree, but I feel the reason
hanging on me
I am free of my innocence, falling too far
I am helpless to change, I am hopelessly lost, I am all that you are

Aug 22, 2008

Wedding in Antiquity

Logging in late last night after my typist spent some nice time with her husband, children, and brother (who was an unexpected, but pleasant surprise guest), I found myself going through the usual routine of seeing to the post. There were a few things going on around the grid in the groups of which I am a part. I really had no particular plan for the evening, so I set about figuring out what I should wear for the night, and then rounding in the Loch to make sure that nothing was amiss.

Suddenly the call came up out of Antiquity:
"We need navy representatives to battle these pirates in the waters of Antiquity tonight."

That sounded just like the ticket. I was feeling the need for some fun and perhaps a little friendly competition. So I determined to head on over. A few of us from Middlesea Fleet (or whatever we are calling ourselves these days) showed up to join representatives from the Antiquity Navy. Post Captain O'Toole, Commander Murakami, and Mr. McCullough (unsure of his rank), and myself.

In two rounds of battles the Navy group fought well, but the Pirates won the day. Just as we prepared our ships for the third battle a call came out over the battle channel from my dear friend, Governor AngusGrahma Caewlin. He surprised us all by requesting the honour of our presence at his wedding to Lady Sharrah 15 minutes!!

We all moored our ships as fast as we could and made haste to change into more appropriate clothing. Battle-worn uniforms were NOT going to do it. So I popped over to Loch Avie and found a gown and some jewlery making it back to the Angus' home just in time to hug the bride and groom and find my place for the service to begin.

It was all very beautiful. Even the toughest pirate and most hardened naval officer there had to find their handkerchiefs as the ceremony unfolded. Or perhaps it was just a bit of ash drifting in the air from St. Kitts which got in their eyes.

The Assembly

You be the judge.

Captain Slam McMahon - officiant

[2008/08/21 21:50] Captain Slam McMahon: In marriage, we give ourselves freely and generously into the hands of the one we love, and in doing so, each of us receives the love and trust of the other as our most precious gift. But even as that gift is shared by two people who are in love, it also touches the friends and family members who in various ways support and contribute to the relationship.

[2008/08/21 21:51] Captain Slam McMahon: All of you are Angus' and Sharrah's community, and each of you has played some part in bringing them to this moment. This is why gathering as a community is such an important part of a wedding ceremony. Because they are now taking a new form as a married couple, and in this form, they become part of their community in a new way.

[2008/08/21 21:51] Captain Slam McMahon: We are here to remember and rejoice with you and to recount with one another that it is love that guides us on our path, and to celebrate as you begin this journey together
[2008/08/21 21:52] Captain Slam McMahon: It is in this spirit that you have come here to today to exchange these vows.
[2008/08/21 21:52] Captain Slam McMahon: You may now exchange vows to one another

Gathering before the ship's captain.

[2008/08/21 21:53] AngusGraham Ceawlin: My dear Sharrah
You have given me new life
you have become my light in darkness
My north star to ever keep me on course
[2008/08/21 21:53] Eva Bellambi smiles softly [2008/08/21 21:54] Lincoln Trafalgar daubs her eyes.
your smile continually warms my very being long after we part
your caress constantly courses thru me each time you touch me
I cannot breath with out thinking of you
my heart does not beat with out your hand upon it
I cannot think of life with out you in any world we are in
I give you my love with out reservation
i give my self in total to you
[2008/08/21 21:56] Sharrah Brendel: dabs a tear
[2008/08/21 21:56] AngusGraham Ceawlin: freely and completley I am yours

The crowd of witnesses

[2008/08/21 21:56] Sharrah Brendel: My dear Angus because you are my love,
my life is enriched in a myriad of ways.
Like a cool refreshing breeze on a sweltering day,
like a ray of sunshine parting dark clouds,
you lift me up.
I learn so much from you;
you help me see old things in new ways.
I wonder if you are aware
of the bright seeds you are sowing in me.
I'm a better person for knowing you,
[2008/08/21 21:57] Lincoln Trafalgar sniffles through her smile. [2008/08/21 21:57] Eva Bellambi smiles at the happy couple and looks for her handkerchief
[2008/08/21 21:57] Sharrah Brendel: You relax me, refresh me, renew me.
Your bounteous generous heart envelops me
contentment and love and peace.
My wish is that your life is filled daily
with dazzling blessings,
just as I am blessed by you and all that you do.
You are my shelter
From life's frequent storms;
Like a comfortable blanket;
You keep me snug, safe and warm.
You're a light in the window
A safe harbor, with you I am not lost
I'm so glad I found you;
Our love is a gift we share.
I can be myself with you,
Safe in your love and care.
I miss you when you're out of sight;.
I think of you often with great anticipation and delight;
You're so much a part of me.
Through fun and fears, play and tears;
I prize our time--the days, the months and someday..years
More than you can know.
Just harmony for me and you,
The two of us--a perfect blend.
I'll cherish you and all we share my whole life through,
My dear and treasured love you are my Everything
I will cherish you always

"You may kiss your bride."

Lord and Lady Ceawlin

After the ceremony I managed to stay awake long enough to dance along with them at their reception/celebration. What a lovely couple.

May joy and peace surround you both.
Contentment latch your door
and happiness be with you now and God bless you evermore.

Beannachd Dia dhuit!

Aug 20, 2008

"A New Dance Turn"

A little poetry for the day.

by: W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)
HE cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet,
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.

"The Cat and the Moon" is reprinted from The Wild Swans at Coole. W.B. Yeats. New York: Macmillan, 1919.

Aug 18, 2008

Boogie Woogie!

What a wonderful night we had last Thursday high in the skies of Loch Avie as we traveled into the future for a mid-20th century (1940s) USO party.

Iason Hassanov did the heavy lifting (how appropriate) on the decorations as he translated my vision into reality. Working with Hotspur, O'Toole, he created a wonderful hanger/base setting for the event. Once my computer was repaired, I jumped in an made a few final touches adding the stage, posters, piano, mic, and other nick-nacks.

Otenth Paderborn was fantastic in his musical selections. Unfortunately much of the early part of the dance, I spent trying to get a reliable stream of the music from human's my conference hotel room. Once I established that, it was a bit easier for me to fully enjoy myself. I did, however, miss a lot of photographic opportunities during the first hour of the fun.

We had about 42 avatars at the height of the party, but had a steady group of 30 or so throughout the night. Thanks to all you guys and dolls who joined in the fun - particularly our soldiers and sailors!



Aug 13, 2008

St. Kitts Safe???

Kate Nicholas
Boyarina, Winterfell Eventide
12 August

Dear Kate-
I sit here in my makeshift offices while abroad on holiday staring at a letter that has just been delivered by special courier from my cousin, Gabrielle. It is an invitation to make sure that I am able to join our Benevolent Dictator for Life, Desmond, in St. Kitts this coming Monday for a beach party. ???

She says that he had an external consultant review the stability and safety of the island, and that it has been declared entirely safe. My word, Kate! How is that possible? When last we took measurements on the island, the geologic patterns suggested entirely the opposite as I recall.

I fear that St. Kitts is entirely UN-safe. This could prove to be a disaster of epic proportions if Desmond's "experts" are wrong.

The courier has awaited my response to Gabi, which I have written expressing my fears, and that same gentleman is to deliver this to you. I am cutting my holiday short, and am having my things packed post-haste to join you as soon as is possible. I suggest that we must gather more seismic and geologic data as soon as possible for review by the Guvnah.

I am, as ever, your dear friend and colleague~


Aug 8, 2008

Into the Future - Loch Avie to Host 1940s Party

Well I'm still kind of down, but not entirely out. The MacBook Pro that is generally my portal into the Metaverse is still in the repair shop, but I am now hopeful that my human will have it back in her possession by tomorrow. Keep those fingers crossed!

So I am once again moving forward with plans for the 1940s World War II USO - inspired party in Loch Avie. The event will take place high in the skies over the Loch. You will find the teleportation device just outside the Loch Avie Public House (it looks rather like a Scottish jell-o cube).

Many thanks to Iason Hassanov, who upon one simple mention of this party from me during a conversation began work on decorating the skyplat. I am particularly thankful since I have not been on my own computer in a week. He has coordinated his efforts with Hotspur O'Toole and they have been adding touches all week long. A couple of days ago, I was able to get in world while my typist used her husband's machine and began work on the stage (there is still quite a lot to do there). But things are generally ready.

I encourage you to come in your favorite WWII uniform, your best USO costume, or anything else from the 1940s; however, that is certainly not required. Just join us and have some fun!!

Into the Future in Caledon Loch Avie

A 1940s World War II - USO Party

August 14th

6:30pm-8:30pm SLT

Aug 4, 2008


Through the generosity of my typist's spouse, she has been able to log me in for a couple of hours since the great disaster of August 1st (dead MacBook Pro). His machine is bigger, faster, better, more. :-) Therefore, it was a great pleasure to have my human log me in world on such a fine machine, and then a few seconds later be summoned by Colonel Somme to the newest AM Radio exhibit.

What a joy!

The new farm house on the exhibit

I have known AM Radio since early in 2007 and have happily watched his work gain recognition and critical acclaim. His generosity cannot be understated either. All proceeds from his work go to charity (Heifer International being the primary recipient of said funds).

The photos inspired me to find poetry (no big shock there), but for a more full account of his work please go to this NPIRL article.

A picture taken from the skylight window.

"Honest. I did not mean to topple all the chairs over. "

I Felt the Sunlight
by Wang Xiaoni

Along the long, long corridor
I go on walking . . .
—Before me
there are dazzling windows,
on either side, walls reflecting the light.
The sunlight and I,
I'm standing with the sunlight.
—Now I remember
how intense that sunlight is!
So warm it stops me from taking another step,
so bright I hold my breath.
The light of the whole universe converges
—I'm unaware of the existence of anything else.
There is only me,
leaning on sunlight,
still for a full ten seconds.
Sometimes, ten
is longer than a quarter of a century.
Finally, I dash down the
push open the door,
and run in the spring sunlight . . .

Hmmm. New instrumentation for the Royal Society Offices??


Aug 2, 2008

In Which The Duchess Laments A Loss of Technology

Everything was going well even though my typist has been in summertime RL mode, which means that she has been in world and on this ætheric location with much less frequency than she generally is. Then last night she had a technological disaster happen. Her MacBook Pro was minding it's own business when

it fell to the floor. And now she finds herself hoping that the hard drive parked as it has been designed to do for the machine will not even boot and the monitor is cracked. She finds herself anxiously awaiting the AppleCare office opening at 6am SLT so that she can tell them her tale of woe.

Looking on line for the AppleCare support number to help my typist.

Yes - I can live (and so can she) if her SL experience is less than optimal running on older machines for a little while. It is summer after all; she has books to read, friends to see in meatspace (as Lord BardHaven is want to call it), and other things that she can do out of Loch Avie and the rest of the Metaverse.

"Not open until 6am, my dear."

The concern is for the family photos, the entire iTunes collection, and to a certain extent the photos from her last 18 months in world. These are things that either cannot be replaced, or would take time to recreate in the case of the iTunes library. Thank the Good Lord that many family photos are on her iPhone along with most of the iTunes collection.

So you will understand if you do not see me even as much as you have grown used to over the last several weeks. And please forgive me if the 1940s party that I have been planning does not actually happen on August 14th as I thought it might. But it WILL happen eventually.