Currency in the Steamlands

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I have published a new article on currency in the Steamlands. The article appears on the new blog of the Society of Steamland Bloggers. You may find it here…

You are also invited to join our inworld group.

A Modicum of Melancholy and An Unexpected Gift

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One never does know what a given day will bring. Especially when one is in the exploring business.

I was on The Mainland over the weekend helping a friend in the selection of a new home. The houses were displayed illegally on a parcel belonging to Gov. Linden, the absentee ruler of The Mainland. I don’t have much call to explore The Mainland these days which brings a modicum of melancholy as at one time such exploration was one of my main pursuits in this world.

The friend I was assisting was called away at one point but I stayed behind to continue to assess the builds she was connsidering. But the illegal aspect of the display itself bothered me…as a former owner of Mainland property. I recall when I was a Mayor and proud of the town I had built when someone ruined the view for my tenants with the construction of a horrible collection of blight which was illegally installed on land belonging to the aforementioned absentee governor. The only way to deal with such an incursion was to “write up” a complaint, the so-called Abuse Report. It actually did work and the visual atrocity was removed.

Apparently the residual effect of those days long gone (but not forgotten) caused me to consider, on this more recent occasion, filing such a report but to do so a full investigation into the parcel in question had to be carried out. Not knowing what I was about to get myself into – or ‘why’ really – I proceeded to jump off the sky platform the display was attached to and visit the ground level of the parcel. (I did, in fact, file an Abuse Report though it really “wasn’t my table,” I had “no dog in this fight,” in other words, how much did I really care about this whole thing. But for some reason I could not let it go. I shall let the analysis of this long-buried hostility against the perpetrators of such crimes sit for another day.)  When I landed on the ground, I looked around at the adjoining parcels to see if this illegal display carried over into someone else’s yard.

It was then that the most surprising discovery occurred! The adjacent parcel – owned legally by the way – belonged to Mr. Nexus Burbclave, an old friend and former tenant of mine in my Mainland towns. Mr. Burbclave, an inventor, is the owner of Nexus Labs. I walked through his open door and into his offices and up to his store. I recognized some of the products from
“back in the day” and was fascinated by those of more recent vintage. When I returned home to Laudanum I dashed off a note to Mr. Burbclave just to say hello and catch up a bit.

When I announced the closing of my last mainland town, Pine Tree Square, in the spring of last year (it seems sooo much longer ago than that), I received the nicest letter from Mr. Burbclave. It was a letter I shall never forget as I have saved it and packed it away with my momentos from that time. He had expressed his gratitude for my work in creating and maintaining the town and my efforts, however futile, to promote it. He had wished me luck in my new life in this world. He was not the only tenant to write me, there were several nice letters, but each of them touched me…and his was done in the most gratifying manner.

I sent off my note to Mr. Burbclave and went about my day, anticipating a hello from him in response. His note did arrive and it was just as cordial as expected. What was unexpected was his inclusion of a gift to me, a gift I can happily share with you.

Mr. Burbclave sent me, from his own private collection, a Samuel Morse telegraph key, built by Tribbles Altneu. This particular key, it turns out, was first used here in Winterfell! With this key the first transnational telegraphic message from Winterfell to Caledon was sent. It was a ceremonial message of greeting from Lady Twilight to Guv’nah Shang. This took place before I came to The Steamlands but from what I have discovered in my research, this key was installed in the Seneschelf’s office and the message was sent to a receiving station in Victoria City and then delivered by messenger to Guv. Shang’s office, whereupon the Guv’nah read the message aloud to an assemblage of Caledon gentry and military leaders. The Guv’nah then dictated a reply which was carried by an aide to the telegraph post and sent back to Winterfell and presented to Miss Serra.

Due to the historic nature of this particular piece I felt I could not keep it in one of my homes but must share it with the public. Until a permanent arrangement can be made for an appropriate display, I will place the telegraph key on a table on the ground floor of my official Ambassador’s Office in Winterfell Absinthe. The general public is invited to view this artifact of our realm’s history. It should be on display by week’s end.

To Mr. Burbclave, I accept this gift as Winterfell Ambassador on behalf of Lady Twilight and all of Winterfell. We thank you for your kindness.


New Toulouse Is Not For Everybody

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I just flew in from Winterfell…and boy are my arms tired! (rim shot)

A great old line from the Vaudeville days. The funniest thing is – in this world, that line is not a joke!

I am in the study of my home in Jardin parish in New Toulouse. It has taken quite some time but I have begun to settle in here after moving from my old spot in NT prime last spring. Oh the top floor still looks like a yard sale with furniture, books, artwork, lamps and half-empty boxes and crates all about as I search through my belongings looking for items to use in this house. And I have yet to even think about tending to the grounds…flowers, plants and some outdoor seating are needed. But progress is being made. Just today I have – finally – arranged this study and the living room on the ground floor. Yes it still needs the finishing touches but I can now live here and offer others a place to sit when they visit. And I can now take my place at my desk and write in this journal.

Until now the only chance I’ve had to spend serious time in this house was one weekend last month – and it was not by choice, mind you. A hurricane came through – Hurricane Bernadette they called it – and I came here to watch over the house and check regularly on the Winterfell Embassy in Bourbon to see how each weathered the storm.

The only furniture I had available in this house at the time was a couple of chairs, a table and a cot. One bookcase was in place and my wireless set sat on one of its shelves. The storm came in on a Friday and I spent the time reading and following the weather and news reports on the radio.

On that Saturday I tuned in to the “Revelry in Reverie” broadcast. It was odd listening to a program coming live from Winterfell while I was here in New Toulouse. Miz Gabi was up there in Winterfell, spinning the tunes while I – a Winterfallen – was here in New Toulouse, watching the storm. At one point Miz Gabi announced “over the air” that the eye of the storm was over NT while she was away in Winterfell. What an amazing coincidence!

In the afternoon my brother Levon was due to come in to experience the hurricane first hand. He arrived just as I returned from one of my trips to Bourbon to check on the embassy. “I am drenched to the bone, brother. If you want to venture out, you are on your own. You may have my rowboat. It did me well in last year’s hurricane…until the altercation with the Zombies, the streetcar and the tornado, that is. But that was a triple whammy. What are the chances of it happening again?” He looked out the window and considered the odds. “It looks quite nasty, Danko,” he said as the rain fell and the wind howled. “Zombies, you say?” He moved from the window and took the other chair by the table. Levon seemed to be having second thoughts about braving the storm.

I offered my brother some tea and turned up the volume on the radio. A local talk show called “Group Chat” was on. A gallery
owner had called in to complain about the hurricane ruining an opening. Levon and I laughed. There’s always one who doesn’t get the message. “Maybe next time you’d want to check the local calendar or the weather forecast before scheduling an event?” I said aloud to the radio as Levon laughed away. The gallery owner continued to complain. I addressed the radio again, “Maybe in your home world the weather revolves around you and your own personal convenience. Well not here, sister!” Levon guffawed so hard he almost fell off his chair. It was clearly time to break out the hard stuff. We kept listening and commenting, sipping our bourbon, as the gallery owner whined on.

That lady wanted a place where nothing happens. A quiet, static place. Unfortunately for her she picked New Toulouse. Her bad.

New Toulouse is not quiet nor static nor boring, not at all. It is a place where lively events take place, where creative people work on interesting projects, where the community comes together to share their talents, where one never quite knows what might happen next or what might come around the corner. Like those Zombies I ran into last year.

Levon stayed into the evening. After he left I dozed off for a bit. Then it was down to Bourbon to check on the embassy again. I stopped by the Hurricane Dance at the Edison Ballroom just to say hello. Miz Gabi was hosting and providing great music. I ended up staying quite a while. I danced a while, played the clarinet for a bit and danced some more. Outside the streets were filled with water but we were on high ground and in high spirits, telling our storm stories and laughing and enjoying each other, the music and the moment. At one point the gallery owner and her complaint became the topic of conversation…and the butt of our jokes.

That lady had located her gallery in a place full of character and characters. A place one would think would appeal to the type of person who would visit and appreciate an art gallery. But from what I heard, the lady packed up her gallery and moved out that very night.

After all, who wants to have an art gallery in an interesting place?

Society of Steamland Bloggers

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As mentioned in an article here last month, we have started a group for bloggers of the Steamloands. The formal announcement went out yesterday. Here it is…

Bloggers of the Steamlands unite!

I am pleased to announce the formation of an inworld group in Second Life called, the Society of Steamland Bloggers.

The SSB is intended to serve the bloggers of the Steamland nations and tap their expertise as well. The idea is to bring bloggers together via an inworld group and through the use of a…blog! You will be invited to share your knowledge and ideas and ask your questions about blogging or about the Steamlands as well as announce new blogs and new posts. The group is intended for those who blog about the Steamlands or who blog about some other topic but live, work or play in the Steamlands.

My co-conspirator in this effort is Miss Abigail Raymaker. She has established a blog for the Society itself. You may find it here…

We have just recently formed the group inworld and are now accepting members. We will soon send out group notices (and post these on the Society’s blog of course!) to get the ball rolling.

For more information about the group, see the above blog or contact Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Danko Whitfield or Editor, Miss Abigail Raymaker.

Respectfully submitted,

Danko Whitfield

Caledon To Rely Heavily On Air Force

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By Danko Whitfield, War Correspondent

(VICTORIA CITY) — It is clear that the coming war on the Mainland cannot be won by Caledon if the emphasis is placed on naval power and the landing of ground troops via ship. No, it is air power that Caledon must rely upon if its hopes of victory can be achieved. And Caledon’s air strength is considered by most observers I have spoken with as second to none.

These photographs of some of Caledon’s air machinery were acquired from my source some time ago but only now would military censors allow their publication…

Still, in spite of Caledon’s obvious air superiority, multiple sources continue to question whether Caledon’s naval capabilities can meet the requirements necessary simply to support the air war, much less to control the Mainland waters in the battle zone and land ground troops.

Victoriana Revisited

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Writing these lines from my backyard in Laudanum as I look upon Adm. Beaumont’s ships on the waters of Eventide. I am sipping a pint of Guinness that I brought from The Emerald Inn, my pub just down the street from my home. (I suppose there may be some law about carrying a glass of beer on the streets of Winterfell but who exactly is going to write that ticket? We have no policemen here. And even if we did, hell – I am the Ambassador! I know people! I know the Seneschelf personally. As would be said in another time, I have the number of her private line!) I am sipping my stout and eating a bar of chocolate. Nothing will ruin this day! Not some arcane law. Not even the thought of a non-existent policeman. Especially not after the journey I have just returned from.

Do you remember Victoriana? I do. I used to visit there even before I came to settle in The Steamlands. My friend, Mr. Steampunk, had introduced me to this beautiful nation, its attractions, its trains, its tinies’ territory. I was quite fond of Victoriana (in spite of the lag) and once took my sister Annie – when she was new to this world – on a tour there.

During the time I was consolidating my Mainland operations and considering closing my last town, Mayor Lindsay suddenly announced that Victoriana would close. I still have the letter he sent to his residents and visitors. It was so sad. I was sad already about closing my City of Teasdale and stopping the building of East Onatopp and my consideration of closing my last town, Pine Tree Square. And then I read his letter. What the authorities had done to him was unforgiveable, I understood his decision, I sympathized. If there was any doubt left in my mind that I should leave the business of operating a town and retreat to The Steamlands, his letter erased it. Two days later I sent a letter to my tenants and the friends of my last town. But I would not leave this world.

I had heard quite some time back now that the Mayor had resettled and rebuilt in another world and I had given some thought to visiting there but had mixed emotions. But after visiting other worlds over the past year, I finally decided to explore the world where Victoriana now existed. I returned home to Winterfell very early this morning.

If you recall Victoriana in this world, you will certainly recognize it in its new home world (inworldz). Much of it looks the same and certainly it feels the same (even the familiar lag and long wait to ‘rez’ is there, unfortunately). It is beautifully recreated, improved, extended. A nostalgic trip it was. But alas, it is empty. Emptier than before. Yet I know I will return.

I could describe it for you in detail but I would be telling you what you already know. I will not make a pitch for you to visit Victoriana in its new home. But if you are an explorer….well, I need not say more.

If you do visit inworldz I invite you to join the local branch of the Steampunk Explorer group. I have not been able to convince my business partner, Boston Steampunk, to make the trip but my colleague from OSgrid, Professor Wagstaff, has done so and we have established the group in inworldz. I plan to revisit Victoriana and look for other Victorian Steampunk venues in that same world as well. But I do not plan to migrate to inworldz nor OSgrid nor Blue Mars nor any of the others. Builders may enjoy them for the uninterrupted peace they can have as they see their dream builds come true. But the shops, the pubs, the public places are empty and in the residential areas, there is no one home. Maybe one of these worlds is the future but if so, that day is a long way off.

In the meantime, you will find me in this world…in my backyard in Laudanum, sipping Guinness, eating chocolate and gazing at the Admiralty’s ships on the water as the fog rolls through.

New Tweets from the 19th Century

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Mr. Ceejay Tigerpaw has created a beautiful ballroom in the sky above Winterfell Storisende. He has also added a StarGate for intersim travel on the ground level of the territory at the main rock formation. See if you can find it.

I have sold one of my three parcels in Cape Wrath and now have a new neighbor. Mrs. Nitely is a newcomer to the Steamlands but seems to have an appreciation for this spot on Wrath’s west coast. I so wanted to find a buyer who would understand the special nature of the parcel – as it is not for everyone – and it appears luck was with me. She invited me for lemonade once her home was ready. With her husband presently away at sea, the oceanside spot must bring a calming and reassuring element to her days.

The recent hurricane in New Toulouse brought the opportunity to meet another new neighbor, this one in Jardin. In the hours before the hurricane made landfall, I was preparing my home and I saw she was in and knocked on her door just to check that she was set for the storm. We had a pleasant visit. Her name is Nana. Quite a nice lady. I had heard others speak highly of her so I was not surprised.

I have a new house guest in Laudanum, a cat. He appeared on my doorstep recently and announced himself rather loudly. I don’t know much about animals but he is too old to be considered a kitten yet young still. I asked around the neighborhood but no one was missing a cat. So I have adopted him and named him Ulysses, after the President of the United States. Is there a higher honor for…a president?