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?

" 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


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. 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 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, 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 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 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.)

Monday, October 24, 2016

but now the story's done, it's just history

Hit a couple of disappointing, why-did-I-port-here haunt experiences, so had nearly decided to give up for the night--until I saw this. Apparently it's set in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. Interesting.

They definitely didn't have tricycles in 1692...and no one had even envisioned Saw.

It's a decent enough altar layout.

Help who? And with what?

A TV on the floor. I am disappointed.

Why does this small graveyard say 'Private' if it doesn't even have a gate?

Okay, this was mildly impressive. A flame-tinted, glowing pentagram tracing itself on the wooden floor of one of the cabins.

And in another graveyard area, wraiths carried skeletons around in circles.

This one does not come recommended. Every time they get something right, they do three more things wrong. Perhaps I was letting my bad mood from the previous two haunts affect me, but I was expecting a historical recreation of Salem, and instead, I got this mishmash of time periods and nothing that made effective sense in the least. Let's all just move on.

looking likely I'm thirty, and feeling one hundred and ten

Took a bit to find it--the port dropped me off at the club itself--but down the hill, through the trees, I found a small haunted house ride. And it's not on Adult land.

Let's go see.

So, I had to click the panel that rezzes out a car a couple times, but once it did, and I got in, the ride started immediately. And it is FAST--about the fastest haunted ride I've been in this year.

Inside's a pretty standard collection of haunted decor, a lot of things we've seen before, blood splashed liberally along the walls, cobwebs, blood pools, et cetera...but the difference is the speed with which everything passes by.

It feels very old-school--not in the sense of old SL, but in the sense of those little carnival rides found in small towns, where everything's sort of rickety and creaking, but it's still fun? It's that kind of feel.

And in the middle of the ride, a set of surprisingly realistic textured tombstones. Impressive.

It took me around twice, because I didn't have time to jump off, and at the end of the second go-round, it launched me into the air, where I landed at the foot of the stairs to the upper section. There's not a lot of upstairs to see, the main draw is the ride--but it's a good, if short, ride to take. I recommend it, I thought it was a lot of fun.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

then he rode away, and he rode away, and he died

(Continued from part one.)

It took me a bit to realize that the haunt wasn't the blasted hellscape, but accessed through the teleporter on the wall of the cabin with the vendors. Hmm. So our first location is a fairly trashed hospital.

I did not join their group in order to use the 'sex morgue'. No thank you. And I am NOT talking about what was in the hospital's jail cell.

Off to the next section, which is a far more traditional haunted house.

Why is this particular clown everywhere this year? And here, it doesn't even make any sense. Not that there would be much more sense to be made, had they placed it in the hospital set...

And who's this large fellow? No idea, but he was standing guard upstairs in the haunted house.

I'm next? Where have I heard that before?

Oh, it's not a terrible haunt, it has some okay moments, and a couple of good photo props, but there's more cliché than content, frankly. Still, for completionists, I'm including it, to go and see.

he said lady, where's your dark undercoat?

Why are there so many haunts this year on Adult land? Is it just that people happen to own more Adult land now in SL? Or are there really that many people turned on by wraiths and corpses?

At any rate, tonight found me in StoryBrook trying to make sense of a blasted hellscape littered with charred, yet still moving bodies, and scattered fires burning through the cracks in the dark ground. Great. It's a haunt based in Hell?

And I won't lie, the description worried me:
"Adult Haunted House,sex, all evil things welcome. You must be wearing tag to use sex equipment. Not for the good at heart. Ultimate costume shop! haunted house, hangout, halloween avatars, sex morgue,spells,,interactive"
Exact quote from the events listing, punctuation--or lack thereof--intact.

There are bodies everywhere on this little parcel of Hell, so, so many of them...and parts of them...

Lava, lightning, what else, earthquakes??

That's just asking for trouble. Unsubtle.

(Continued in part two.)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

but I'm still, I'm still an animal

(Continued from part one.)

One of these moving.

Well, that's certainly unsettling.

That's even more unsettling.

Why does she seem so calm? Doesn't she know what's behind her?

You know, I am really not liking this particular spider. I'd like it very much if it stopped showing up, thank you all so much.

The Silent Hill caged, hanging figures do not fit in with the rest of the haunts on this lawn,'s so busy around this bend in the path I almost didn't notice.

And the final section of the haunt is sitting for a bit, and asking questions of a crystal ball.

So, is it worth it? Well, there's a lot of walking, and before the walking, a lot of rowing, but it is an experience. Is it child-friendly? That's a more difficult question. The swamp portion, definitely. The house, well, barring some mannequin nudity and jumpscare sound effects, it' But after the escape from the house? It's all zombies, hanging bodies, and cannibalized body parts, and I don't think that is at all safe for kids--pretend or not.

Somewhere, a disconnect happened, between "Keep everything purely PG" and "Make it the SCARIEST haunt ever!" I'm not saying don't go, just don't go expecting a clean, safe, bloodless haunt. Because you won't get it.

I change shapes just to hide in this place

Oh, boy. Something listed as the "Halloween Interactive Haunt Scariest Haunt yet!" at the Almost Home Adoption Agency? Which, far as I can tell, is on a General sim. This could be dire.

Welcome Emilly Orr to The Haunt of Herston Canyon. Please, read the signs and get prepared accordingly before your ride. Thanks for coming!

Sure. Thanks. I'll be sure to read all the signs.

If this is a haunt appropriate to "all ages", does that mean kids are more accepting of crucified skeletons than full-grown adults? That's interesting.

Oh, it's another ride? Interesting. And wau, there are a lot of rule cards.

It was raining heavily the closer I got to the docks. and it seemed to be my job to take a boat out...into the the go through the ride. Great.

Well, getting soaked to the skin wasn't fun, but I have to admit, the canal was pretty. And it was sort of soothing, in a strange way, the sound of the oars through water, the sound of the rain.

Then I had to jump out of the boat, into the murky water...and clamber up onto a rickety dock section by this fellow.

At the end of the pier, I found a house. And painted on the wall of the house was this cryptic message...and a room full of doors.

Oh. I have to find the right door. Drat.

(Continued in part two.)

Friday, October 21, 2016

for you, for you, I would even trust the devil for rebirth

(Continued from part one.)

The house may be simple, but outside, there's a swirling, misty gateway to the roller coaster. And that, my friends, is worth a donation to the upkeep of the haunted house all on its own. It is amazing.

I mean, I've been on haunted rides before, and believe me, this year the rides have been better than any year previous in SL's history, and this one now tops my personal list.

Keep in mind, I chose six from the images I'd snapped along the way, and I didn't even come close to getting everything.

There are so many different effects, but sometimes, the trick is, it only looks good in mouselook. This one? Mouselook, straight camming around, doesn't matter, it all looks good.

Are there places where the textures don't line up perfectly? Sure. But you're seriously not going to care.

The gravestones outside the ride are even more fun.

So, three separate areas--an okay, if small house; a fantastic spookhouse ride; and a really funny set of epitaphs in the cemetary. I highly recommend you take this one in before it disappears, because it is well worth your time.

for you, for you, I would bring down the heavens on this earth

"'Tis the season to be creepy...fa la la la la, la la ah AAAAAAAH!"

Today finds me in Templeton Cove, looking for their haunt. It's not clearly marked from the port-in point.

I guess it's over this direction?

Ah, there it is. Just past this tree.

Oh, that's adorable. They're dancing.

Hmm, a nursery without spectral children and cribs? Just blocks and a hobby horse, and one abandoned doll. How odd.

Still tired of seeing this particular ripped mesh statue all over the grid this year, but at least this pose suits the setting--she's sitting, watching spirit orbs fly out the window while whatever's trapped in the mirror tries to get her attention.

And not only is there a body on the bed, not only is it wrapped in spidersilk, but there's not a trace of arachnid activity in the rest of the room. Now that's creepy.

(Continued in part two.)