Wednesday, December 7, 2016

what if the way we started made it something cursed from the start?

Banazir Galasbor@banazirgalasbor: The chances, the changes are all yours to make. The mold of your life is in your hands to break.

Deep, of a morning. It is also a morning of strangeness. To wit:

Meet The Almightly Loaf. No, I don't understand it either.

"You could stop at five or six stores, or just one." What?

"Brother...help me!" Someone should, he looks like he needs all the help.

Wait, what happened to the other newscaster? Inquiring minds want to know!

Best news graphic. Best.

"He's been getting away with it for twelve years." That's an...amazing disguise.

And one last thing...

[11:02] Noir thinks we are all like the moon...we all have our darker side.

Indeed so.

More when the strangeness is not tangling up my brain.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

look for me in the white forest

IT BEGINS.



And I'm so very, very unsure about whether I'm ready...



My celebratory holiday mood this year is, shall we say, slow to join in.



So, how I see things playing out from here...

I won't lie, my ethics, my indignation, my fierce desire for justice and redemption want to be heard here, as elsewhere. But that would also alter the original (if vague) purpose of the blog. And thus, we find ourselves with The Compromise.

If you want to tune in to a ton of political retweets, mini-rants, offbeat media, and emergency kittens--your next destination is my Twitter feed.

If you want random pretty things, political and social commentary, reblogs of amusing things, scantily clad damsels, recipes, art, music, and insanity, you'll want to check out my Tumblr. (It still comes with the NSFW codicil.)

On the other hand, if you want a minimum of political chatter, and instead want random Second Life coverage, storms of links to emergent technology, scientific and steampunk mentions, fashion, hair, games and virtual worlds...then keep reading. I'll do my best to keep the ranting against the Squash Monster to a minimum.

I'm not bothering to actively link my Tumblr or Twitter feeds, because they've been linked for years in the sidebar, towards the bottom.

We're all doing the best we can. We'll get by as well as we can. We will rise and we will fight in all the ways that we can--through music, through art, through words on the screen and actions in virtual worlds, as we can. And between the battles and the revolutions, there will be tea and crumpets, love and play, fantastically odd adventures, and the mundane necessities of survival.

"And here...we...go--"

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I read the news today, oh boy



I may be somewhat inaccessible for the next few days. While I rarely refer to real-world events, this particular one was momentous, and damning. The discovery that more than half of my country voted against nearly everything I am, everything that forms me, everything I stand for--that's...daunting, and I need time to come to terms with that.

I believe, strongly, in the power of compassion and love, even though I'm rarely the best one to express it. I believe that every person has the seeds of good and evil within them, that no one is entirely one thing or the other, and that everyone can choose to do the right thing with the right motivation. I know for a fact that at least one person I care for voted against my existence, and I'm fairly sure some friends did, as well, and I'm doing everything I can to believe that those that did are not irredeemable. That they are not racist, misogynistic, bigoted monsters.

I am working very hard not to dismiss them as caricatures of who they truly are, as people, as dear friends.

But I can't discount the fact that all this was predicated on wideband discrimination--of immigrants, of women, of religions that aren't a narrowly specified form of Christianity that ignores largely what it means to be a follower of Christ. I can't discount that there are pending legal cases for both fraud and child rape against our President-elect. I absolutely cannot discount that crowds of followers shouted "Lügenpresse!" at the journalists covering those events, which is a term that hasn't been in vogue since the Nazis were in power in Germany. I cannot discount these facts.

So...I'm taking some time off. You'll see me when you see me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

a few tiny pins and some crazy glue

(Continued from part one.)



The builds are great for this one, by the way. There's some prim flickering in some of the scenes, which--combined with the high, headache-inducing static bursts now and again--are fairly annoying, but they're few and far between. Mostly, the textures are pretty realistic, they feel like real places, and it's easy to feel real immersion.



There's some really odd art in some of the motel rooms.



Putting the story together from the fragments we're given is always something of a challenge with Pulse haunts, because some years the stories are strong, some years they aren't. This year the writers wandered a lot to reach their points, so there are definite times the storyline flounders. It's not impossible to arrange it into at least a loose structure, but it's kind of like they wanted to tell three different stories, and didn't link them cohesively.



The farmhouse is excessively creepy, though. Before the farmhouse, it's a standard conspiracy theorist's wet dream, but what happens in the farmhouse turns it towards dark Americana, Outcast II style.



I love the cross-stitch work on the upper floor of the farmhouse.

Past this point, things get really strange, so I won't spoil them. And warnings for those who want them: there is gore. It's not frequent, but it's intense when it happens. There are also high-pitched noises that made my friends and I flinch repeatedly and beg for the noises to stop. But overall, I think it's a worthy haunt.

NOWHERE will continue until November 20th; you can pick up the HUD and the instructions here to start playing. It's more disjointed than in previous years, and some of the prize hiding spots are wicked challenging, but it's mostly worth the time you'll spend wondering who some of the named folks are in the storyline, and how you ended up in an sf/horror movie in the first place.

Monday, November 7, 2016

get you some bees and a diode or two

When I first heard about NOWHERE, the yearly haunt event from SN@TCH and Pulse, I was very excited. But...my friends weren't exactly as thrilled, because of the L$50 price tag for the HUD. I bought the HUD, they didn't, and we waited for tonight, when the haunt would finally go free.



I wasn't planning on taking pictures, but this stopped me in my tracks. Old man sitting at a gas station, blathering some truly insane things to passersby...but there's something very wrong with his eyes.



I took a closer look, while he muttered about lights in the sky, and how he didn't trust us enough to loan us his truck, and how we better just mosey on up the road a pace to the motel. Is that...his entire skin texture over his eyes?

How does that even happen??



I had to go closer still. Yep, that was what was going on. His eyes behind his entire skin and outfit painted over the "front" corneas? Green. Too surreal.

(Continued in part two.)

I thought I, thought I was ready to bleed

"We are sad. We are battered. Our sails are shredded." But we endure. Through each day, through each moment. Melancholy can be easy company, it's just important not to sink into it and stagnate. Just keep moving. One mile at a time, one step at a time, one inch if it's all we can manage. Just keep moving.

Also, I know it's a wee bit early for snowflake crafts, but these were new spins on the basic idea, and it may take a little time to work with them before they come out well. So having a bit of time before Yule may be a good thing!



And, in case you're still in the mood for the morbid and disturbing, the Bloody Horror Fair is still going on. It is a labyrinthine puzzle of waterways and faded islands, but there are some really neat items for sale. Check it out if you're not done with gore and bones.

Monday, October 31, 2016

storms are brewing in your eyes

The winds blow, the leaves fall, the bright year giving way to the dark, as it always has, as it always will. Whispers through the open windows, to listen, focus, heed, and with a smile I turn away. Not all their messages are meant for me, after all.

This has been a tumultuous spring and summer, full of dizzying heights and heartbreaking losses, and far too few moments of honest contentment. Strangely, in the midst of a rather savage relationship upset--the Train Wreck Love Life strikes again, as it always has, as it always will--I find contentment in the chill in the air, the hint of wood smoke, the laughter of children, the taste of store-bought sweetness on the tongue.


Tonight we will welcome the ancestors with good heart and open spirit, and bid farewell to recent shades. Tonight we will scavenge through remaining holiday candy and watch terrible horror films and gasp and giggle at appropriate moments. I'm still not sure if I'll make it into SL today, because of these things; I wanted to cover at least a few more haunts, but I may have finally run out of time.

So I will wish you all the blessings of the season, instead. Now is the time to stock up for the winter, pull out the sweaters and the blankets, air our homes of summer's swelter. Now is the time for candles, lanterns, stories around the hearth or the fire. Now is the time for the rich stews, the warmed wines, the spiced ciders. Also apple crisps, which we may not have time to bake up tonight, but do sound yummy and amazing.

The veil thins, and other worlds will be within our reach, if we desire to peer through. If we ask the right questions, we may learn things, but we need to be very sure we wish to learn. The wheel turns, as it always has, as it always will, fortunes and fates of all flavors going round and round.



Blessings and safe journeys to you all.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Daddy's Haunted Hideout

Next is Daddy's Haunted Hideout in Unique Falls. If ever there was proof needed of the growing popularity of the DD/lg phenomenon, it's the fact that here we have a haunt named after Daddy, and earlier, we had a haunt named after his (or another Daddy's) babygirl.



I rezzed into heavy brush, or unharvested corn stalks, or...whatever. Dead, taller-than-me weeds of some kind, anyway.



When I finally found my way out, I passed a tree rife with climbing skeletons...



...and remnants of a roller coaster. Do these two things go together?



Floating ghosts and hooded figures patrol the crypts.



This was a curiously old-school--like, a prop from many, many years ago in SL, definitely showing its age--prop, and I can't decide if it worked or detracted.



Simple but effective headstones...



...and in the one 'haunted house' on the property, this intriguing casket room.

It's not a bad haunt. It's better than average, but...outside of getting curiously lost at the start, it was just another haunt in the group of haunts I've done over the past two months. Not bad, just...not outstanding.

and that one, let's just keep walking by

(Continued from part one.)



There was another room devoted to art, or at least, was formerly rented to an artist, and...this and the wallpaper? Were the only safe images to take. Apparently the artist was quite irked with his nude model...



In the third room, an exorcism was taking place. I tried not to disturb the priest's concentration.



The last room was devoted to a UFO enthusiast's worst nightmare or greatest hope--being present at an actual invasion of UFOs, outside the hotel.



Just remember--that UFO you thought you saw out the window? You didn't actually see that. Be well, citizens.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

you shouldn't look this one too long in the eye

I returned to the Haunted Silent Peacock Hotel because I received word they'd added...or, at least, opened...more of the attraction to the public. Four rooms, to be precise.



The first one was themed around the Addams Family. Very romantic honeymoon suite, for the gothically inclined.



The only problem was, the room was really dark, so I played around with Firestorm's photo filters until I got an effect I liked.



This actually looked better filtered than 'natural', but again, only because of the dimness of the room.



Next up: the Mad Scientist's Lair, complete with wandering monster and electrical arcs from arcane equipment.

(Continued in part two.)



some are born mad, some achieve madness, some have madness thrust upon 'em

(Continued from part four.)



She calls the stone children to her, and offers solace and solid comfort, but it does not seem to work for anyone still bound in flesh.



Behind this stone saint, the fog moves, is lit with a febrile glow, and her plinth seems less a refuge, and more a dire portent of things to come.



Past the graveyard is a small shack with shelves of potions and mystical ingredients. No one was present, but when an attempt is made to read the dusty, faded cards, a glowing circle of protection still activates for the reading.

Is it to keep spirits out? Or flesh in?



A strange, neutered angel points the way to the cave. The opening to the cave is dark, and there are odd chitterings heard inside.



The lamps that light the way, at least through those cave passages smoothed by the hands of men, seem to be incandescent skulls, dripping magma. Are these lamps alive? Could they be saved? Were they penitents mounted willingly, or prisoned souls burning in torment?

And further in, the skittering...the sounds of many legs...and the presence of giant, foreboding webs...


I can't recommend this one enough. I have no idea if it operates year-round, though I suspect it does; I have no idea if it's intended as a roleplay sim or not. I do know that every inch of it is steeped in melancholy and the whispered passage of dark things. I know that the caretakers are attentive, but do not seem to interfere.

If it weren't for all the spiders, I could live here. Do make time to see it, if you have the inclination.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

to see these lovely freaks of nature for a limited time

(Continued from part three.)



Other shadows move on upper floors...but they are indistinct, unsettling but immaterial.



Who keeps the candles lit?



You find the asylum's small chapel, but it's to no deity you recognize. And the stray cat that has made its home here...two heads, and so thin...how has it survive in this place?



A small crypt lies just past the asylum, but again, it's a startling discovery to find a carved stone bas-relief of Mayan, or perhaps Aztec origin. Why is it here?



In the cemetary proper, more statuary, but at least one hold's a saint's relic, some forgotten martyr's skull. Which one? And why here?

(Continued in part five.)

a portrait of insanity, approached with pure humanity

(Continued from part two.)



Stepping through the doors of the Ironwood Asylum is something of a psychic disconnect. It's dark, dusty, and abandoned, but there's a familiar song playing over and over, one that speaks to light, not darkness...or does it?



There's a shadow on the wall, gesturing, and it stops you in place for a moment while you struggle to remember that shadows are not supposed to move.



There is art on the walls of the asylum, but it's of the type that disturbs, instead of enlightens.



This is the music-box that's playing the song. The sigil atop it, however...is it Ozgin? Andras? It's hard to tell, even with a flashlight, in the dim dusk that pervades Ironwood Hills.



And on the floor, inset in small mosaic tiles, an image of two trees, root to root...an allegory for split minds? For the division between worlds? The separation of spirit and flesh? What does it mean?

(Continued in part four.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

step right up, we've something here for everyone's enjoyment

(Continued from part one.)



There's a carnival on the other side, the tents collapsing under years of neglect, the grass grown tall and sere.



Some of the toys follow you with their glass eyes. Some menace you without a single move. Some talk back, and you're never sure how to answer.



There used to be a sideshow, but if any of the attractions are left, you haven't found them...



Images of sculpted solace abound, but they didn't help the former residents, now, did they?



And there's a strange, mystic symbol above the tower at the aslyum...you dread finding its source, but you're drawn to investigate anyway...

(Continued in part three.)

accept our hospitality, indulge in abnormality



You awake in a dusty back store room. You don't remember how you got here. When you rise, you hear distant vintage music, and see a room full of damaged mannequins. Was this where you were meant to be?



Welcome to Ironwood Hills.



There are signs of civilization, but nothing recent, nothing untouched by time and nature.



The few others you see, well...they either ignore you, or...they've long since passed away.



Your only answers lie through the mouth of a screaming man...what will you find on the other side?

(Continued in part two.)