Sunday, October 21, 2007

Murder in Babbage

I’m wondering if Halloween will be as revered in Second Life as it was at Hampshire College…With everyone in a perpetual costume change in-world, Halloween will offer total freedom from the remaining shackle of real life.

I spent the afternoon in Babbage, sipping absinthe with Colleen. We were in a bit of a stupor when we were approached by Mr. Skusting Dagger, an industrial photographer (and graphic artist in real life) who lives in his studio in Babbage He was a handsome fellow, and wore a fantastic top hat armed with a steam powered headlamp. H e was adorned in brass and gold. He made himself comfortable at our table and drank a healthy glass of the green muse.

I asked him if he had heard anything about the recent murder nearby and he said, in fact, there had been three…He mentioned a contraption called the Eliot Device and that the murder suspect was named Jason Moriarty, who, we learned, “hasn’t been seen since he tried to use the device to release the old gods into Babbage…” Oh, and Jason is also a known lycan.

I asked if we could see this device and Mr. Dagger said he’d show us its location, hidden somewhere in the Imperial Theatre next door. I had read about the theatre, and thought it was in ruins. Though I was hazy and headachy, I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to explore. Mr. Dagger kindly offered to escort us to the theatre. He armed himself with another glass and then I encouraged him out the door. I followed quickly as we made our way along the canal and into the theatre. We passed through a set of curtains and plunged into the dark. A gray toned carousel spun on stage, casting ominous black shadows over the red velvet seats. I didn’t see Colleen any where so I sent her a message. “I don’t think you should go with him.” she said too late. “Do you know him?” I’d seen Mr. Dagger at a ball in Caledon, [or was it Steelhead?] a while back but had never made his acquaintance. As impulsive as ever, here I was, alone in a dark theatre, with a stranger more familiar with the territory than I…

He relit his head lamp and began poking at the floor with his cane. “There’s a trap door around here somewhere…” I dropped to my knees and peered into the dark. My hands pressed onto nails studding the floor and with one touch, I found it. A worn wooden plank lifted suddenly and revealed the ramp into a subterranean room.

The mysterious device churned and filled the narrow room. Two well-oiled gears spun on either side of a small dusty metal box. The dials and needles looked lifeless. “I suppose I oughtn’t to touch it.” I wondered aloud, wanting very much to activate the thing. “It’s very private down here.” said Mr. Dagger…The hairs stood on the back of my neck and I twittered “Please don’t stab me…”

[After some sleuthing on the intrĒ½net I’ve found some interesting back-story from Professor Nishi’s blog, as well as that of Loki Eliot [yes, related to the Eliot of the device].].

Friday, October 12, 2007

Me and Colleen

Sitting in front of the fire, hearing all about Colleen's adventures in-world...

Friday, October 5, 2007

Royal Horticulturalist

Achariya and I took a snooze yesterday after a hard afternoon of gardening. Here we are beneath the giant willow tree at Lackeen Forge - my estate. Achariya has been such a huge help to me in sl. She's so generous with her time and always answers my calls. She's outfitted me on numerous occasions, helping me to look respectable. Yesterday she helped me settle in by giving me plants and grasses, as well as the lovely willow, and offered landscaping tips. Every time I see her she's wearing another fantastic outfit and her talents as a gardener continue to astound me. She's earned the title "Royal Horticulturalist". I meant to take a photograph of the gorgeous garden she's built in my old spot (now her spot) at Wellsian. I'm inspired by her creativity and am so happy she's my friend.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


I logged on and found that Des and Achariya had changed my land. Achariya and I had chatted about it but I was being wishy washy. It all happened a bit suddenly and I loved my plot – but Achariya was so excited to build some crazy garden - and she of all people can create something beautiful that will blend - that I couldn’t refuse her offer to swap. So be it. And so I start from scratch again. My new home is now in the fully established Caledon Stormhold. My plot is on a quiet stretch of coast, quite near Wellsian so I’ll be in close proximity to my new friends over there. The only trouble is crossing the sim into Wellsian. As I puttered across last night I was tossed from my little metal steamboat and fell arse over ankles into the water.

My new neighbors are true Caledonian royalty – Lady Amber Palowaski 15th Baroness of Bauerhoff de Caledon and her wife Dame Abigail Raymaker. They came to my plot and inspected me, very politely, and I felt like I did when I first moved to a house in the middle of the Jamaican countryside – a total outsider. Here I felt like an outsider, scammer, and faker. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to break into this tight-knit community, but will try to make time to fit in some of the activities posted this month:

As I speak with navy captains, half-fairies, shape-shifters and Victorian Dames I’ve been introducing myself as a tinker. I mean an Irish gypsy or nomad, but, this being steampunk land, they’re assuming I tinker with metal and steam. Tinkers don’t built stone cottages I suppose, so I might just raise a tent or park a caravan for a while.

Monday, October 1, 2007


“You’ve got to be kidding me.” I spent yesterday fiddling and fussing with landscaping, adjusting ferns, studying trees, constructing a tiny pier…I took some deep breaths of the fresh sea air. The pub sat squat across the inlet, cheery smoke pouring out the chimney. Beyond that I could see flickers of electricity crack within a tall brick mill. The trestle was outfitted with welcoming banners…all was industrious, exciting, friendly. I was happy with my tiny pier and the view out over the sea.

Homes in Second Life tend to be symbolic. There are few kitchens and I’ve not yet run across a toilet (except for an old abandoned privy). Homes are spaces to gather friends, perhaps change your clothes, and tinker with your builds. There are no limits to what you can design in sl. In fact, residents should let their freak flags fly. I bought land in Caledon to participate in a certain aesthetic – a steampunk aesthetic, which takes the best of Victorian curiosity, industry, and craftsmanship to produce a society that is well-mannered, adventurous and, let’s face it, well dressed.

As I tinkered, I noticed a wall going up along my property line. It was very white, in contrast to the beamed and stone structures that one typically sees in Caledon. Next to me, quite next to me actually, a woman in a bright purple gown twirled this way and that, rezzing plants, walls, curtains, fountains…every time I looked over there was some new structure. And it was growing larger, taller, wider, brighter - I felt myself tense up. I flew off the coast to get the lay of the land.

Now, I’ve spent all this energy, some money, and opened myself to ridicule to family and friends to enter this world of sl, for exploration yes, and, admittedly, a bit of imaginary breathing space. Once I was off the coast about 50 feet I could see what was going on.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” I seem to have moved next to My Big Fat Greek McMansion. Is it a house? Ballroom? Setting for a hip hop video? 19th century Victorian Scotland it ain’t. At first I was horrified. Other residents began to gather mid-air to stare at the madness that was being forced upon the fine green fields. It was like watching your favorite neighborhood being torn down in a matter of minutes. I was afraid if I didn’t put a house up she’d keep building right on top of me so I rezzed a squat stone cottage in the middle of my plot. I thought of selling my land immediately. I laughed out loud over my keyboard. This kind of building is exactly what I reject in real life and here it was, invading even a virtual perfect world.