Nov 30, 2008

Happy Saint Andrew's Day

Image from a St. Andrew's Day Prayer Card

I have been away from SL for quite some time during this American holiday season - Thanksgiving. Real Life events and family have taken priority as they should. I would say that I have been missing interacting with many of you, and hope that you are well. I believe that my weeknights will be back to some sense of normalcy by tomorrow - if not tonight.

You might take note that I was in world for about 10 minutes yesterday afternoon and found that the first snow has fallen in Loch Avie. Many of the tress still have their colorful leaves, but the first hint at the winter to come has visited my home.

I am busily preparing for a number of events in SL (as posted previously) - happily so. But today, as most of the RL family has departed my typist's home, it is time to pause and think about the day.

I am Christian as most of you know (as is my typist) although I preserve several of the traditions of my Pagan ancestors. Today is a new year on the Christian calendar. A time for preparation. For waiting. This is the first Sunday of Advent. Songs fill my heart as I go about my preparations (especially in real life).

Today is also St. Andrew's Day and how appropriate that I would be singing as he is patron to singers (much like St. Cecilia). He is also patron of fishermen, gout, maidens, anglers, sore throats, and unmarried women.

He was the first apostle and went through life leading people to Jesus, both before and after the Crucifixion. Missionary in Asia Minor and Greece, and possibly areas in modern Russia and Poland. Martyred on an saltire (x-shaped) cross, he is said to have preached for two days from it.

Some peculiar marriage-related superstitions have attached themselves to Saint Andrew's feast day:

  • An old German tradition says that single women who wish to marry should ask for Saint Andrew's help on the Eve of his feast, then sleep naked that night; they will see their future husbands in their dreams.
  • Another says that young women should note the location of barking dogs on Saint Andrew's Eve: their future husbands will come from that direction.
  • On the day after Andrew's feast, young people float cups in a tub; if a boy's and a girl's cup drift together and are intercepted by a cup inscribed "priest", it indicates marriage.

There are several explanations for why Andrew became the patron of Scotland and you will find that information in my post from last year written prior to my St. Andrew's Day celebration.

So cuddle up with your loved one by the fire, sip some whisky, and enjoy the warmth of the season upon us.

I will see you soon.

Nov 27, 2008

I Am Thankful

I am a fortunate woman. This I know for sure. I am thankful - more than can reasonably be expressed.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.

And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

Robert Frost

Nov 23, 2008

Tis the Season

...for Real Life to take over my event schedule.

Part of me is always a little saddened when I miss out on things in SL, particularly things such as The Grand Tour, which by all accounts has been a phenomenal success. Congratulations Miss Gray! Obviously I miss my friends and neighbors in the Metaverse most of all when I am away. The other part of me, however, always rejoices when wonderful, special events take place with friends and family in the realm of the flesh.

The next month is going to be terribly busy out here in the real, so I hope that you will indulge me as I write about some of those events in these pages as well. I expect that you will find me in and out of world most weeknights for a little while (save for when I have family visiting - oh like I do right now); however, most weekends are at least partially out.

I am going to jot an outline of my combine RL and SL commitments here - primarily for my own benefit as I, quite frankly, am having a little trouble making sure I don't miss things. Here goes:

Holiday Events through 12-24-08 (as known on this date)
Real Life events in this color
Second Life events in this color

  • Family visiting for Thanksgiving: 11-20-08 through 12-1-08.
  • Christmas Party hosted by us with Chef Pippa Calland: 12-6-08
  • Cooking Class: 12-12-08
  • Hubby's Work Holiday Party: 12-13-08
  • Choral Cantata: 12-14-08
  • Military Winter Holiday Celebration (Dining Out) hosted by Wrath Fleet at Artificial Isle: 12-14-08
  • Story-Telling at the Anvil: 12-15-08
  • 40th Birthday Party for a friend: 12-19-08
  • Yule Celebration at Book End: 12-20-08
  • Christmas Eve Services (several) 12-24-08

By the way, my typist was with her daughters and mother-in-law on a day trip to New York City yesterday. We spent some wonderful time in the city walking through Central Park and watching the ice skaters, horses and squirrels. Then after some hot chocolate, we made our way to FAO Schwartz where we spent a couple of hours looking and playing (including watching the giant piano being danced. Lunch was a quick one at TGI Friday's near our theatre. I took the group to The Little Mermaid, which was marvelously done. Costuming, sets, and music were fantastic! I would highly recommend it - particularly for families - but I think most would enjoy it. Ursula was played particularly well - as were Flotsam and Jetsam.
After the show, we made our way to Macy's (the kids' first taxi ride) where we shopped a little and grabbed a bite to eat at their Cellar Bar and Grill before hopping back to the bus for the trip home. All in all a really nice time.

Well that's it for now. Perhaps I'll make it into world in a little while. Perhaps not. But it is generally easier to blog or something similar when company is around. It is difficult to act and interact well when both worlds need high levels of attention, neh?

Much Love,

USS Loch Avie

It was a great party the other night! Many, many thanks go out to Iason Hassanov for his work on the build of the aircraft carrier. Thanks most certainly must also be sent to Otenth Paderborn who did a fantastic job with the playlists and requests as he DJ'd the event.

Mr. Iason Hassanov and Miss Hypatia Callisto

Now I have to grumble a bit. YouTube has taken down two (count them - two) versions of a short photo montage I made.
OK - the first time, I'll give you. I had decided to use Jump with My Baby by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. I knew the risks. Even though my copy of this song is fully legal, I was not sure if they would allow use in this instance. I found out - they will not.
So then I used a Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters song that I found on which is supposed to be safe for podcast use. Apparently not.
And so version three was created with music from PodSafe. Not precisely what I was looking for, but it works.

So now I invite you to use your imagination: Picture Bob Hope and the rest of the crew standing on the stage as a young group of musicians joins them on the deck of the carrier and begins playing a peppy tune for the guys and dolls to dance to.

Nov 19, 2008

You, too, could be a Bombshell

In honor of the 1940s USO party in Loch Avie tonight. I give you >fanfare here<
Kamilah and Eva waiting on their close-ups. "Oh, Mr. DeMille. Mr. DeMille."

Watch out, boys.

Bombshell animation overrider may be found here on XStreet. For more poses and other animation packages please see Kamilah's fine blog.

See you all tonight!

OOC - Sometimes A Thought Hits You Out of the Blue

That happened today as I was driving home from work. What was that thought?

"Soliel Snook!! I forgot to thank Soliel!!"

Soliel - my most sincere thanks for your work on behalf of Caer Blanco and the People for Others charity events last month and this. Without you stepping in with such good grace and professionalism, we would really have been in a bind on a couple of event nights/afternoons.

You are a fantastic DJ and a fantastic person.


Nov 18, 2008

Evidence of Cat Command

as sent to me by Professor Adso Krogstad with the following note:

Your Grace,
We have obtained actual kinescopic evidence of a cat following specific orders from cat command to - and I quote - 'TAKE OUT THAT EVIL BEAST THAT HAS TAKEN UP RESIDENCE ON MY OWNER'S DESK. HISS!'

How this information may be used to further your efforts for a safe and secure Caledon, I leave to you. I, however, may need to perform extensive interviews and observations with the Kitty Girls of Caledon and surrounding environs in order to better inform the scientific community on such behaviors. Do you suppose Your Grace might assist in finding volunteers?


*dies laughing* Happy Tuesday, all!

Nov 17, 2008

Anchors Aweigh!

1940s USO Event in Loch Avie

Anchors Aweigh
Stand Navy out to sea
Fight our battle cry:
We'll never change our course
So vicious foes steer shy-y-y-y
Roll out the T. N. T.
Anchors Aweigh
Sail on to victory
And sink their bones to Davy Jones, hooray!


Yo ho there shipmate
Take the fighting to the far off seas
Yo ho there messmate
Hear the wailing of the wild banshees
All hands, fire brands
Let's Blast them as we go. So
Anchors Aweigh my boys
Anchors Aweigh
Farewell to college joys (or "Farewell to foreign shores")
We sail at break of day day day day
Through our last night ashore
Drink to the foam
Until we meet once more
Here's wishing you a happy voyage home!


Heave a ho there sailor
Everybody drink up while you may
Heave a ho there sailor
For your gonna sail at break of day
Drink away, Drink away,
For you sail at break of day, Hey!
Blue of the Mighty Deep
Gold of God’s Sun
Let these our colors be
Till all time be done
On seven seas we learn
Navy’s stern call
Faith, Courage, Service True
With Honor Over, Honor Over All.

Back by popular demand: Loch Avie is proud to host a 1940s themed USO party. This time we celebrate those who protect us on the Seas.

Come dressed in your best naval or maritime uniform from the era. That means WAVES, too. Or if you prefer feel free to come as a USO performer, bombshell entertainer, bathing beauty (ala Esther Williams), or factory worker.

Iason Hassanov has built an aircraft carrier for our party ship! There will be a swimming pool available. And Otenth Paderborn once again has the con on our 1940s tunes.

See you there, sailor!

Nov 15, 2008

Remembering Caer Blanco

I learned today that the Caer Blanco sim has accepted donations totaling L$200,000. How very wonderful!

Thanks to all of you for your time and donations of services, Lindens, time, and talents. A special note of thanks to several of you who worked on events that were within my purview: Diamanda Gustafson, Zealot Benmergui, Edward Pearse, Gabrielle Riel, and Hotspur O'Toole.

Now I invite you to head over to the SLCN Meta Makeover machinima for more information about the charity and to view the sim one last time.

Report from Afar

A report received. Delivered by a Knight not seen in some time.....

'hoofprints in the mud around the Loch....a recent arrow fletching recognized as Sir Tele's nearby.' We realize that TS is abandoned but there are rumors of a rider who moves silently in Caledon...usually in the Loch itself, watching.
as notified by a senior MI-5 agent

Read more from the my personal journal entry here as the Steelhead Adventures/Return to Fusang continues.

Nov 11, 2008

Thank You.

We do not forget at what great cost our Freedom is protected.

Nov 10, 2008

Càit a bheil the 'dol?

author's note: fully in character, but expressing much of the emotion felt on the other side of this keyboard

The first message came in the bundle of post which was delivered as I was heading out to ride Bucephalus in the cool of the autumn afternoon. I quickly flipped through the stack of envelopes that the deliveryman handed me and found a note in Lady Kate Nicholas' hand. What I noted, however, was that it was not her usual meticulous writing, but flowing and rushed in appearance. I decided to break the seal and read it while I walked to the stables.

Dearest Eva-

Eventide is gone.

This decision by the Lab has changed everything. I am simply at a loss. I cannot even begin to analyze the choices made nor the downstream effects at this point.

Eventide is gone......


Eventide! Already?? Oh my dear Kate.... What of the rest of Winterfell? What of Miss Serra? I shall call on both of them tomorrow.

I walked on in numbed silence mourning my friends' loss, feeling the impending doom weighing more heavily on me. When I reached the stable, the groom had already saddled Bucephalus for me. I stuffed the post into the pouch on his saddle and touched his neck gently as I met his eye. He has always known my emotions by the mere touch of my hand or sound of my voice. He understood my need to get as quickly to Winterfell and Eventide as possible, I believe. At the slightest tap of my heels he was off.

On and on I rode at high speed - thankfully astride, as my plan had been to ride the mountain in Loch Avie I had dressed in my jodhpurs and asked that the English saddle be placed on his back - until we reached the edge of the sea which flowed around Kate's lands. But.....there was nothing.... No castle. No trees. No mushrooms. No lands!

Only a monument of fire placed by the Seneschal.

I wept openly.

"This will be only the beginning", I thought to myself. Climbing down from Bucephalus' back, I stared into the sea as though if I looked hard enough things might return to normal. "This is not going to end well."

The ride back to Loch Avie was at a much slower pace. I felt compelled to take in the scenery along the way - not only because of the autumnal beauty, but also because I was not sure how these vistas would change over the course of the next weeks and months. By the time I arrived back to my own soil it had become quite late in the afternoon, the sun was nearly down and the sky was a fiery salmon color. I rode on to the conservatory and let Bucephalus rest by the waters of the Loch. He noticed Nellie and seemed to be jealous of his aquatic kinswoman.

I watched the two horses for a while - the terrestrial and the water - and then stepped inside the conservatory, lit a lamp, and sat down to look at the rest of the post.

Invoice from a field agent.
Correspondence from Mrs. Dogsbody - such a dear lady.
Newspaper from Inverness.
Invitation to a Rez Day party.
Standard form letter from the Lab - Och! Opensim versus Homestead....all the negotiations in the world seem not to make even a tiny change in their ruling.
Letter from Desmond - hmmm. He is advocating for the Caledon voids to be moved to share servers so that resource loads may be leveled and the avatar limits would not be in effect.
Oh dear - a letter from the SLSF. This group has been hit so hard that they are moving all their sims to OpenLife. Details on this subject may be found here.

I sat in the waning light of day with the post in my lap, staring out the windows on my beautiful land, the weight of the world on my shoulders it seemed. The darkness which was creeping over the landscape was echoed in my heart and mind. This latest edict has turned our world upside down. Masses leaving SL for uncharted waters, friends who are now at great financial risk. Soon even my own Loch Avie may not be my lands.

Eva, the eternal optimist, is suddenly and deeply disturbed. Optimism gone.

What has been will no longer be.

I tell myself that these lands are not what (second) life is about. The people are far more important. These things are true; however, people are hurting. This decision by LL has created hardships for many. For me, it seems that it will take away my ability to create and host community events, feats of strength - both mind and body, and charity events. The pub, the distillery, this very conservatory, the MI-5 operations tower.....may all have to disappear.

I plan....that is what I do. Right now, I have no plan. The options with which I am presented do not seem to offer me any kind of option. Is Clan Bellambi to suddenly have no lands to call her own?

Tears flow once more as the optimist is faced with uncertain future. Darkness falls and the lines of a favorite Burns poem come to mind:

Farewell Song to the Banks of Ayr

The gloomy night is gath'ring fast,
Loud roars the wild, inconstant blast,
Yon murky cloud is foul with rain,
I see it driving o'er the plain;
The hunter now has left the moor.
The scatt'red coveys meet secure;
While here I wander, prest with care,
Along the lonely banks of Ayr.

The Autumn mourns her rip'ning corn
By early Winter's ravage torn;
Across her placid, azure sky,
She sees the scowling tempest fly:
Chill runs my blood to hear it rave;
I think upon the stormy wave,
Where many a danger I must dare,
Far from the bonie banks of Ayr.

'Tis not the surging billow's roar,
'Tis not that fatal, deadly shore;
Tho' death in ev'ry shape appear,
The wretched have no more to fear:
But round my heart the ties are bound,
That heart transpierc'd with many a wound;
These bleed afresh, those ties I tear,
To leave the bonie banks of Ayr.

Farewell, old Coila's hills and dales,
Her healthy moors and winding vales;
The scenes where wretched Fancy roves,
Pursuing past, unhappy loves!
Farewell, my friends! farewell, my foes!
My peace with these, my love with those:
The bursting tears my heart declare-
Farewell, the bonnie banks of Ayr!

I saw the reflection of a light in the tower as I look through the windows of the conservatory. Activity in MI-5. Will check on what is happening once I get myself straightened up.

Nov 4, 2008

Photographic Evidence of a FABULOUS Time at the BardHaven Ball

I give you 2omb Raiders: Stop Screaming and Dance

My most sincere thanks once again to The Royal Society - particularly Kate Nicholas and Adso Krogstad, our DJ- Kiralette Kelley, and (of course) Zealot Benmergui, Baron BardHaven.

Nov 3, 2008

You Really Should Read This

From Hypatia's blog.

Re: Openspace Sim Price Hikes

Nov 1, 2008

All Hallow's Eve in the Realm of the Real

In which Eva becomes human -
or her typist becomes The Duchess.

October 31st in the year of our Lord 2008. Transformation begins to take place somewhere in the eastern United States.

A woman, who normally animates pixels creating an avatar known as Eva Bellambi, Duchess of Loch Avie, Lady Chief of Clan Bellambi, The Red Rose of Caledon, Head of MI-5, Scientist, Distiller, Singer, Romantic - begins a transformation into the flesh and blood Duchess of Loch Avie.

This transformation takes place in order for the woman to attend a fabulous feast with Count Dracula, his Countess, and his minions, pets, and other guests in the Catacombs of a brew house not too far away from her home.

The following is documentation of that transformation:

Eva Bellambi, The Duchess of Loch Avie

The Flesh and Blood Eva, Duchess of Loch Avie

Eva - ready for an evening out at the theatre.

Flesh and Blood Eva -ready to Dine with Count Dracula

The Count and his minions better not get out of line. The Duchess Stick is at hand.

"But first, on earth as Vampire sent,
Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent:
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race;
There from thy daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life;
Yet loathe the banquet which perforce
Must feed thy livid living corpse.
Thy victims are they yet expire
Shall know the demon for their sire,
As cursing thee, thou cursing them,
Thy flowers withered on the stem."
-Lord Byron (Giaour)

A couple of pirates dining with us begin to regret leaving those turtlenecks back on the ship.
The Count and Countess
Jack Sparrow and Elisabeth

Late into the night.....
Oh no! Has the Flesh and Blood Eva changed?
Or is this official fuzzy photo (tm) simply showing how this Eva is using Pirate Elisabeth as a human shield?
The world may never know.