Dec 31, 2008

A New Year is Upon Us

May you and yours have a happy and healthy new year.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

- Alfred Lord Tennyson

Dec 29, 2008


For some unknown reason I am feeling greatly unsettled and out of sorts tonight. I've been trying to determine the cause so that I might put an end to it, but nothing is standing plainly out as the culprit. I don't know what to fix and that is extremely frustrating to me.

I have had a lovely time during these first 5 days of Christmas.

Sure there are things that bother or even concern me in both SL and RL, but no one thing that has overwhelmed me consciously tonight.

Ah well, I shall read a bit more and then head to an early bed. I don't even have the heart to log in tonight.

It's times like these when one can be happy that they have a large, reddish-blond snuggle with.

Dec 28, 2008

A Rez Day party of epic proportions

Gads! Put Exrex, Calli, and me on the case of a great Rez Day party and what do you get?

Avatars filling the Oceanside venue at Artificial Isle (Thanks again, Zatz!), folks from Caledon, Steelhead, Babbage, Anitquity, Winterfell, and several other sims. Hobos, NPIRL artists, Vicereines (who seem to enjoy caging Duchesses while they are away and moving them onto the stage with intent to orbit, but the stage did not cooperate- Hmph!), several Wrath Fleet members, and many others.

We had mud wrestling, water slides, swimming, dancing, fencing, joke telling, capture the flag (boats), and all around revelry. After the main party ended, there were enough folks who wanted to continue the fun that it was moved to Steelhead for another hour or so.

Thanks to all who assisted, and particularly Therese Slade and her wonderful music!

Happy 2nd Rez Day, Hotspur!

Dec 24, 2008

Blessings of this Day to all of you.

The Frasers of Skye and Good Night, Loch Avie

Continued from Ancient Homelands:

I walked over to where Exrex was kneeling. He moved aside and held the torch nearby the cave wall. What I saw there, down low on the rock-face, partially covered by snow and ice amazed me.

Exrex's topcoat slipped from my shoulders as I knelt, but I did not feel the cold at this moment.

A crest!

The Frasers

My family.

Mo annsa, we will build a home here with our people. Our clan will thrive here and our family grow. The winds of change that blew us from our home - perhaps temporarily - in Inverness have landed us here on this good land overlooking the sea. This hill is easily defended and we will build a strong sturdy home upon it...the rolling hills around us seem to be fertile. He smiled and held his beloved to him, touching her belly. And we shall ensure the fertility of our new home tonight.

The lady blushed slightly. No - really she flushed - her skin reacting to his touch and suggestion as it had many times before. The difference was evident to me as I viewed this from my place in time, as was her new comfort and ease of manner. Yes, I could hear her thought, we are home.

Exrex watched me as the visions appeared to me. I suspect he was afraid I would faint again. I smiled at him assuring him that all was well. At that point, I just wanted to get to Loch Avie and begin making plans. I needed to make inquiries on the land to determine if anyone was claiming this place. I had documents to get in order, crates to pack. So much to do!

He helped me back on board the airship. We saw that Nellie was not moving to leave the place, and we set off for my home...or what was currently still my home.

We landed near the pub and as Exrex was calling several of the Lancers out to assist with the care of the ship after her long journey, my cousin, Gabrielle, arrived. Excitedly she asked me if I had forgotten that the Realm of the Roses Ball was this night.

I smiled at her and told her that it had currently slipped my mind, but that I had made all preparations the preceding week. The conservatory and surrounds were ready for our guests.

Gabrielle and I had spoken a couple of weeks before and she asked if I would hold the evening Realm of the Roses Ball in Loch Avie. This is her annual Holiday Gift to those of us in Caledon, Winterfell, and our other sister communities. And what a gift it was.

(OOC comments -
When Gabi and I were planning this event together, we knew that it would be the last formal event for Loch Avie prior to the awful OS restrictions going into place. I knew it would be special - and likely very difficult, since I will leave Loch Avie behind very soon. I had really had no idea just how difficult nor wonderful the night would be. What follows are pictures from the event, which saw 60 avatars in the sim for much of the night. The music was wonderful. Gabrielle chose traditional Christmas music, but with a Loch Avie flavor. Pipes, Jigs, and during one very precious portion of the night - Songs about a rose.
I was incredibly touched and moved, and I (ME...the REAL PERSON) was in tears as I heard the songs, watched my friends and neighbors enjoying themselves in my lands, and received private notes and public comments about me, Loch Avie, and how much we have meant to individuals and the community.
Honestly - these were some of the most tender and genuine comments - and I shall treasure them for a long time. Particularly the ones sent privately from people even those that I never really knew. Thank you. Thank everyone for attending this, for sending Loch Avie off with such love. Thank you for allowing me feel that love. And thank you, Gabi, for your gift to ME. )

Early in the night, I shared a dance with my dear friend, Grafinya Inbir Abigh, Kate Nicholas

The crowd steadily grew and the minuet was a huge hit.

Baron Klaus Wulfenbach kisses my hand

The lovely Miss Teaa and her friend enjoy the night.

A waltz with Lunar

Kamilah Hauptmann, Radslns Huchence, Dr. Mason

Kamilah has apparently captured the sun for warmth in the cold snowy night. I was, however, incredibly warm as I danced and enjoyed my beloved friends.

The setting. Friends dancing inside and out.
Would that I could name all the names of the guests.

THANK YOU, Cousin.

Eva and Gabrielle

Dec 20, 2008

Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish Friends and Loved Ones

As my typist was out and about today performing some last minute holiday errands, she had National Public Radio tuned in on her radio. Composer Erran Baron Cohen was interviewed on Fresh Aire and we were treated to a sampling of songs from his latest CD, Songs in the Key of Hanukkah. The music offers a new take on traditional sounds.

Mr. Cohen's work was recorded in London, Berlin and Tel Aviv. The CD combines klezmer, reggae, electronica and hip hop as it reinterprets classics. The album even features New York rapper Y-Love rhyming in Yiddish. Y-Love is a convert to Orthodox Judaism and raps in English, Yiddish, and Aramaic. (Now that takes a whole lotta talent.)

My typist was completely engaged as she listened to the radio program. Once returning home, a Google search successfully found Mr. Cohen's website. Here is the Dreidel song and video from Songs in the Key of Hanukkah. Enjoy!

And Happy Hanukkah!

Dec 18, 2008

Farewell Cousin Kendra

This is likely not news to most of my readers for by now you have most probably heard the news of Kendra Bancroft's typist's death.

Maddie Blaustein 1960-2008

Maddie reportedly died in her sleep after a short illness. She was very well known to the SL community at large having been an active participant since 2004. She was, however, very particularly known to the Caledon and Neualtenburg communities most recently as a very willing participant in the 2007 Relay For Life fundraising "war" between the two SL states. The human person was a very well known voice actress. Her most obvious body of work is found in the Pokeman series and movies as Meowth. She also voiced characters for Yu-Gi-Oh!, GI Joe, and Sonic the Hedgehog.

For me - as Eva - she was Kendra, a distant cousin. How I enjoyed her, though. Planning for the RFL work together, laughing about silly things like the kissing booth on Loch Avie, and feeling for her when SL had to take a back seat to the financial issues of her real life.

Maddie - You are already missed.

May you find peace and joy in this, the next part of your journey.


Dec 16, 2008

Ancient Homelands

Continued from Mists of Departure

Colonel Exrex Somme and I followed Nellie as she swam non-stop for hours. Her determination never wavered, and she stayed fairly close to the surface of the water. I was not sure whether that was for our benefit alone, or whether she also needed to remain close to her air source given her energyexpenditure.

Exrex kept the airship moving along nicely and I took copious notes on our route.

Finally Nellie stopped in a land I had never seen before this time. The mists were swirling around us as we hovered just 50 or so meters above the surface of the water. As the wind from our engines kicked the fog and mist up around us, I could see that the water she was in was a small inlet - a very small loch. As the ground came into view,Exrex maneuvered the ship a little lower down. Nellie had swum to the shore, was breathing hard, and looking up at a rise in the ground.

Snow was all around us on the ground as Exrex landed and moored the airship. We climbed out - me in his topcoat and a spare pair of too-large boots which had been in the ship. I looked up at the rise ahead of us. We climbed and climbed. I noted with interest thatExrex was not at all trying to dissuade me from my climb. I believe he sensed it too.

All around me there was a feeling of peace, of belonging. That odd sense of dread and disorder that had plagued me in Loch Avie had now disappeared. I needed to know where Nellie had brought me. I had to see this land.

At the top of the mountain I could see the ocean below on two sides, the loch and other land in the other direction. The land was sparkling like diamonds of snow and ice. A frozen pond. A small cave. This land was old and apparently not touched by human hands for some time.

I felt more than saw a flash of light, and the Celtic faces before me. Suddenly all went black.

Exrex was kneeling next to me. "Your Grace. Your Grace! Are you quite alright, my dear? You appeared to faint, but I was able to step up just in time to break your fall."

I held my head.

"You were only unconscious for a minute or two, my lady. What seems to be wrong? Do you feel ill?"

"Exrex! This is it. This is the land from my dream. I can feel it. This is the land of my grandmother's clan."

Nellie has brought me home.

Exrex made a small fire in the cave and we warmed ourselves a bit. He said that he sensed there was something "friendly" about the land. Looking at his map, he commented that the region was listed as Anodyne. I thought to myself that it was an apt name.

"My grandmother always called her homeland 'Skye'" I said. "But we never visited there."

He soon stood and walked over the the wall of the cave where he found something of interest. He asked if I could join him, and bring another torch.

"What have you found?" I asked.

"Something I believe that will interest Your Grace. This confirms your suspicions without doubt."

Coming next: The Frasers of Skye

Dec 15, 2008

A Grand Celebration

Words cannot express how truly wonderful the event in Artificial Isle last night was (despite one very rude guest, who will be dealt with privately and with MI-5 tact, but deserves no more ætheric time here). After nearly one month of planning and work on the Military Winter Holiday Celebration, it was with great pleasure that I watched the magic of it unfold before my eyes last night.

I arrived in world about 45 minutes prior to the event announced start time and ensured that the grog had been adequately prepared by the officers assigned to such a chore. Really they do this with glee every time assuming that they will never be sentenced to such a thing. It was brilliantly sinister (zinfindel, whisky, rum, onion, sausages, meade, and several other unidentifiable ingredients).

I found when I arrived that ZATZAi and Hotspur were already there attending to various tasks before the guests arrived. The hall looked beautiful. Pray allow me to acknowledge the efforts of so many willing participants as this event was in the planning stages. Without their help, we would not have had the gorgeous setting.

  • ZATZAi Asturias for asking us to host this event and for the use of his sim and amphitheatre; for creating a collaborative environment. He made working on this a true pleasure. He also provided the large tree, several presents, and furnishings.
  • Kate Nicholas for allowing me to modify several of her textures for the walls of the venue, for making the fine tables and chairs as well as the parading animation.
  • Kamilah Hauptmann for the grog mug and animation, Radslns Hutchence for the creation of the grog punch bowl.
  • Christine McAllister for donation of cigars and brandy
  • Ordinal Malaprop for the creation of the dinner roll thrower.
  • Soliel Snook for her wonderful music program creation.
Of course none of the above would have mattered one whit without all of our guests and active participants (photos follow).

The ceremony was loosely based on the Military Dining In/Out ceremony. Adapting this to SL in a multisim/multi-branch military event was interesting. As I wrote the program, I carefully pulled what I could - what made sense - into our ceremony.
  • President and Vice President of the Mess
  • Honored guests
  • Toasting which began with the countries and sovereigns or leaders represented.
  • Limericks and grog
  • Parading of the beef
  • A guest speaker - telling a short story in this case
  • Dancing and general frivolity after the smoking lamp was lit
Our President - Governor AngusGraham Caewlin
Mr. Vice - Commodore Hotspur O'Toole
Honored Guests - ZATZAi Asturias and Fanci Bebee from the United Sailing Sims
Honored Guests - Gregg Barrymore and Angel Magellan, Grand Duke and Duchess of Antiquity
Honored Guest - Kamilah Hauptmann, Vicereine of Caledon
Honored Guest - Sharrah Brendel, Baroness, Antiquity, partner of Governor Caewlin
Honored Guest and speaker - Breezy Carver of Babbage and Steelhead
Honored Guest - Commodore Scattered Sideways, Antiquity
Honored Guest - Colonel Exrex Somme, First Caledon Lancers - Loch Avie's Own
Honored Guest and Music Director - Soliel Snook, Marchioness of Bigglesford

Not only was the evening simply a pleasure, if very intense in management, but we met the goals we established at the outset with ZATZAi. We had a desire to bring several communities with like interests in naval and military activities together, building relationships and offering opportunities which are not always available to single RP or theme groups.

*smiles happily*

I do believe we did this.

This is only the first of many cross-sim events to come. Next? Story-telling and SPD ship battles.

See you there!!

Hosts and DJ confer

Guests begin to arrive

Angus and Sharrah arrive

A Room Full of Guests

Baron Wulfenbach and Miss Lowey of Europa (above)

The Grand Duke and Duchess enjoy themselves

The Head Table

ZATZAi and Fanci toasting

Our friends from the Prussian Navy, Antiquity

Colonel Somme parading the roast beef as per tradition

Alin Hendrassen takes his turn at the grog

Kamilah Hauptmann

The evening wanes as the last few couples remain on the dance floor

Dec 12, 2008

There Are Few Words That Are Fit For Polite Company

Imagine my reaction to logging in to check email today at the end of real life work and finding an IM from my cousin Gabrielle stating that she was in emergency mode moving the planned fashion show from Loch Avie to Caledon Rothesay because "The Lindens have applied the 20 avatar limit to Loch Avie and all of the other OS in Caledon."


So that's it. Broken contract for the OS conversion scheduled for January 5? No warning. No notice. No NOTHING.

What does that mean to me? No "end of the era celebration" in Loch Avie as planned. And lots of growing distrust, distaste, and unrest.

I am livid!

Where do the games end?

Dec 10, 2008

Straight No Chaser

This is so full of win it had to be shared! Even if there is no actual whisky involved.

Happy Holidays.

The Scene Is Being Set for the Military Holiday Celebration

I've been working for the last several days to check things off the project list as we make ready for the Military Winter Holiday Celebration to be held on Sunday, December 14th from 7pm-10pm SLT.

  • Program created - check
  • Textures made (thanks to Kate Nicholas for giving me some great wall textures to modify) and applied - check
  • Tables and chairs placed - check
  • Holiday decor - nearly complete
  • Mistletoe - check
  • Grog - check

Our setting in Artificial Isle
Slurl to the event

There is still work to be done, but doing this work is very pleasing. It is wonderful to have such a fantastic venue to hold this formal military-themed event. Thanks go out to ZATZAi for asking that we create a special event for these sims. He has permitted us to change nearly all the interior textures of his amphitheatre to make it feel like a ballroom in a 19th century Navy Base.

Many thanks in advance to ZATZAi, Hotspur O'Toole, AngusGraham Caewlin, Exrex Somme, and Soliel Snook for their work and efforts in this venture. There are many more folks from several sims who will also be a part (soon as I confirm them, I'll add them to my thank you list) of this fine event.

Even if you are not a part of a formal military RP unit, please join us. Dress Uniform or Black Tie please, if you have it. We look forward to seeing you there!

For more information on the history of a military dining out (formal mess) please see Hibernia on The Skids.

Dec 4, 2008

The Mists Of Departure

I have been uneasy of late.

A mist has been rising from Loch Avie at unexpected times for the last month or so. Adding to my stress has been Nellie’s behavior; she has been very restless - leaving the Loch far more often than usual and swimming much more aggressively. I have been talking to several of the biologists in the Royal Society in an effort to try to decipher her actions. No answers thus far.
But two nights ago upon waking from a vivid dream I sensed that science has nothing at all to do with her behavior. Nor the mist. Nor my discomfort.

I dreamt of ancient waterways, and of a people that were my ancestors traveling across the expanses of water. Men of the clan along with the Chieftain sailing in longboats. Women and children were also present wrapped against a hard coldness. They were stoic as the wind and waves battered the boats. But the eye of my dream was drawn to the Chieftain talking with his second in command.

“…there is too much change in the spirit of the place…”

“Aye, M’Laird. Even those under your protection have expressed the sense that evil spirits were around your land.”

“Och! Mo charaid, I am not so sure tis truly evil. But I’ll tell ye this, the spirit is changing.”

The second nodded and they both turned and faced forward - never looking back toward their homeland. A short time later my eye was captured by the Laird’s wife as she moved from her honored position in the longboat to the bow standing behind her husband. Her small hand reached to touch his shoulder, but he had already sensed her.

“Yes, mo annsa?” And he pulled her pale hand to his shoulder and held it in his own strong, freckled and weathered hand.

“Where do the winds lead you, muileach? Where do they take us?”

“The elders and I have chosen an island not too much farther from here. We will find the land before complete darkness surrounds us if the winds continue with us.”

Suddenly the mists covered them completely and I heard shouting which faded into nothingness. Then total darkness.

I sat bolt upright in bed with a gasp of breath and touched my face. I had been weeping - the tears continued streaming down my flushed cheeks. I was so restless that I decided to walk. I did not bother to put other clothing on – I simply needed to be moving. With my silk nightdress flowing around me, I took the secret passage out through the bottom of the Keep. The grass and snow near the Loch were soft against my bare feet – and cold – but I kept walking.
The dream was beginning to solidify things that I had not been allowing myself to feel. Something was changing in my lands.

Was something coming? Already here? Was the Loch about to be attacked?

Allowing the emotions and thoughts to flow, I realized that for the last several weeks, I had felt unsure; unclear. That is not like me at all. As I turned the corner on the far side of the conservatory, I stepped on something sharp. I knelt down and picked up the object. An arrow fletching. Smiling, I realized that not everything was changing. A knight thought to be long since gone was still patrolling my lands faithfully. This was not the first evidence of Tele’s presence since he left Caledon. Upon closer examination of the ground, I noted hoof prints and boot prints in the snow and mud. It seems my Lancers must have also been here. Perhaps they met with Tele, or, as I had done, simply found evidence of his movements in the loch.

Suddenly Nellie was at the shore. She snorted at me the steam pouring out of her nostrils in great clouds. As I stood she dove deep into Loch Avie. I walked to the shoreline under the great willow tree. I felt her before I saw her next, the water and air vibrating with the ferocity of her movement. She fully breached the surface and landed several yards off shore in a thunderous splash of the loch water. She turned to look at me and paused only briefly as our eyes met. The fire in hers was clear and she was breathing hard. Rapidly she turned out to sea and began swimming. I knew that I must follow her. This much was clear – Nellie practically demanded it.

I ran into my offices in the Keep and called for my airship. Within minutes we were off tracking her.

“It’s as though she has begun a migration, Your Grace,” said my airship pilot.

“Yes. I believe you are correct, Colonel Somme. She is in earnest.” I said pulling the gentleman’s topcoat around my shoulders and feeling glad that Somme had been in the distillery resting after patrol to hear my call over the secure channel.

Next: Ancient Homelands

Dec 1, 2008

Speaking of Finnish Rock Bands

I don't know exactly when or where, but recently at a party in SL there was some discussion about rock bands from Finland. Well, likely it was at Gearz or somewhere that Diamanda was serving up the music (we all know how she loves Finnish Death Metal). At any rate there was some random discussion about the music scene in Finland.

To my great surprise I learned today that a band I only recently discovered - and like quite a lot - is based in Finland.

Poets of the Fall.

Arriving at their official web site today, I learned this and found their 2008 tour dates. As a matter of fact I lunched at the Virgin Oil Company in Helsinki where they held a sold out show this year. :-D

I find their music to span the rock continuum fairly broadly from ballad to much heavier pieces (bet you already have them, Dia). The first song I ever heard from POTF was Fragile. The lyrics really move me. I have posted them below.

You've been biting bullets all these years, I know
There beside yourself, choking back tears
And you aced avoiding possibility
When you made your bed upon the bittersweet

Oh now don't you worry
There's no need to be sorry
There's still time to step lightly

Cos the love you used to feel is still in there, inside
It may be the faded photograph, the lock of hair, don't hide
If you're scared, I'm here to hold you,
If you get lost I'm here to guide you
Love is peace when peace is fragile
Love is all the good in you that still remains
Love is peace when peace is fragile

You've been going out of way to agree
Like you've been rubbing yourself all wrong just to be somebody else's genie
Catering to your disasters every need
Waiting to finally be set free

I said baby don't worry
Life will carry
Just take it slowly....

The goodie that I really want to share with you today is this video for Carnival of Rust. A good song filmed with a very steampunkish look, which I think many of you will enjoy.

Do let me know what you think.