Mr. Whybrow



Thanks to a g+ post last week by Ms. Beth Ghostraven, I learned of the RL passing of the gentle being behind the avatar, Alastair Whybrow.

Mr. Whybrow was my friend and neighbor when my Evergreen Pub was located in Caledon SouthEnd in Second Life, right across the street from his fine jewelry store. I will never forget my first day in the neighborhood when Mr. Whybrow came out of his store to greet me and to comment favorably on the addition of the pub and to offer any assistance.

We chatted about neighborhood news on a regular basis, always remaining in our proper Victorian characters, even in IM. But we did drop the formality of Mr. Whybrow and Mr. Whitfield when in private convo, then it was always the more familiar, “Mr. W.” And we would delight in the fact that we were both Mr. W. and therefore the convo often became rather silly, even when serious issues were being discussed.

But my favorite memories of Mr. W, will always be the spur-of-the-moment RP he would engage in, in ISC (Caledon) Chat. Usually it was something started by someone else. Then Alastair would jump in and get the ball rolling. And soon we were off on some brief, silly, joyous Caledonian adventure. Whether I joined in the RP or just read along with others tuned in at that time, Mr. Whybrow always gave us a series of laughs.

When an opportunity to relocate my pub came up, Mr. Whybrow purchased my land and created a nice public garden, which I returned to visit a few times.

This morning I went back to the old neighborhood in SouthEnd. I knew there would be some sort of remembrance in place, as they always do these things right in Caledon. Both Bluebird Park and the parcel where his Sparkle of Sound fine jewelry store and adjacent buildings stood are now the sites of memorials and tributes. Flags in Caledon are lowered to half staff in Mr. Whybrow’s memory.

I shall raise a glass to Alastair Whybrow this evening at the new location of the Evergreen Pub. You touched me and many others with your kindness and humor. Fair winds, Mr. W.


Author’s Note

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I’ve been mulling this over for months and today I finally changed the name of this journal.

For the last three-and-one-half years, it has been called, “Steaming Along: Danko Whitfield In The 19th Century – The Wanderings Of A Steampunk Explorer.” I still love that title and will miss it. But my story has steamed along past the 19th century so many times that I have wondered if the title was confusing. I could always lay claim to being based in the 19th century, as a time traveller certainly must be based somewhere.  But some time back, the place I live in changed and I was moved to an earlier time.

I likely will be able to establish a second home back in the 19th century very soon and so I could have propped up the old title until further notice…but…

Important parts of my entries on these pages have been taking place in other times and it appears this will continue for the foreseeable future… and the foreseeable past, for that matter. So I feel the time has finally come and the title must be broadened to reflect this and to avoid a possible new source of confusion.

In the short term at least, it appears I will be based in the 18th, 19th and 21st centuries as well as spending quite a bit of time in the 20th century. And there is a trip to the 26th century in my future as well. Although that might actually be seen as my past. And then there are the trips to the Devokan Ages, I could only guesstimate what century I’m in with those travels.  At any rate, you can see the reason for my dilemma over the title.

And so this publication becomes, “The Further Adventures Of Danko Whitfield, Semi-Retired Time Traveller – Wandering The Centuries With A Steampunk Explorer.”

Nix Sands

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After three years in Second Life, I left the Mainland behind and moved to Winterfell. I settled in one of the southern towns, Laudanum, which at that time had a Victorian Steampunk element in its mix of eras. Within a month I made a second home in Cape Wrath in the neighboring and allied nation of Caledon.

In my Mainland years, I didn’t pay much attention to my wardrobe. I was usually seen in a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers as I puttered around my towns, installing a building or tweaking a walkway, planting a tree or hanging out in my pub.

But when I came to the Steamlands, I had to get with the program and dress the part. I picked up a few items here and there, some freebies as I started, just to have something while I continued to shop and develop a “look” or style I felt comfortable with.

One day, while browsing the shops in Caledon Penzance, I happened into Xcentricity, the shop of one Nix Sands. I purchased some trousers and a waistcoat which came with a free white shirt.

After a few days of wearing these items with a coat I had purchased elsewhere, I was back at Xcentricity, browsing the waistcoats once again. I had found the basic element of my “look.” Nix’ various waistcoats and pants became – and still are – a mainstay in my closet. I’d say I’m wearing a waistcoat, pants and (color-changing/texture-changing) shoes from Xcentricity about 80 or 90-percent of the time I am in SL. Add to that a coat or jacket from other designers – Doc Wrangler, Thadovian or Eleanor Banx’ Cosmic Steam Designs – and a conscious decision to go without a cravat except on formal occasions, and I had my “look.”

It was further enhanced when I belatedly discovered that one of the many waistcoats I had purchased in Nix’ shop had come with a bonus item – a black shirt. Ohhhh, how smart that shirt looks with the rest of the items I’ve mentioned.

The other day I learned that, as we put such things in the Steamlands, Nix Sands’ typist had passed away. Such sad news to me and so many others he had touched with his creativity and sense of humor, whether they actually knew him or not. Myself, I had only IM’d with him once that I can recall. I knew him from the clothes on my back (and elsewhere) and from his other creations.

He was the man behind Gorgon Motors, building fine cars of a long bygone era. The Tinies community of the Steamlands and beyond knows him for his line of tinies outfits. He also made flying machines, radios, guns, and a selection of mustaches and beards among other things. All unique and with a dash of wit. Last night at our Summer Songs bash at Storytellers Pub, I wore a Victorian bathing outfit and matching straw hat that I bought in Nix store a couple years back.

The day I heard the news, I went over to his shop in the 1888 sim and picked up a couple more items.

Xcentricity shop in 1888 sim
Xcentricity shop in 1888 sim

Then stopped in Seraph City to see if there was any reminder of his auto dealership there.

Gorgon Motors sign in Seraph City
Gorgon Motors sign in Seraph City

And, even though I already knew it had been emptied out, I stopped at his main store in Caledon Penzance one last time. Items of tribute to Nix lined the front steps.

A lady sat on the steps quietly. I did not know her but recognized her name and said hello. We chatted about Nix.

“He was the kindest person,” she said, “wicked sense of humour. We were only creator friends, not even super close but we always exchanged silly builds and stuff. I miss that already.”

Last night in Caledon, there was a memorial tribute to Nix Sands that was attended by more than 50 avatars. Several leading citizens of The Steamlands spoke briefly and gave their memories of his role in their lives.

Audience at Nix Sands memorial in Caledon prime
Audience at Nix Sands memorial in Caledon prime

Nix Sands’ life in this virtual world is a fine example of how one person can have an important impact on the lives of others.

Book & Tankard

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Just wanted to give a quick shout out (you can tell I’m just back from the 21st century, can’t you?) to the folks at one of Caledon’s newer watering holes.

Finally had the chance to hop over to the Book and Tankard Pub in Victoria City, Miss Beth Ghostraven, proprietress. It is located conveniently next to the Caledon Library buildings, from whence it gets, I suspect, the part of its name that does not come from the fact that it is a pub.

The Book and Tankard is a well-appointed spot to pass the time with a good book in a comfy chair or sofa by a nice fire, these spring nights still holding a bit of chill in Caledon. Or you can sit at the bar itself or, when the weather permits, outside on the porch with a view of the center of Victoria City and watch the librarians pass by.

Should you stop in for a tankard of ale or something else from the fine selection of beverages, do tell Miss G that Ambassador Whitfield sent you and she will see that you are well cared for, I assure you.

Book and Tankard Pub, Caledon Victoria City

Book and Tankard Pub, Caledon Victoria City

The Evergreen Pub

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I have moved one of my pubs from the Steamlands to the Mainland. The Evergreen Pub, which had been located in Caledon SouthEnd for the past two-plus years, can now be found in Maia, right alongside the tracks of the SLRR. The About Land description calls it “the Duke of Evergreen’s pub away from home.”

The Evergreen has a long history, at least by this world’s standards. It was established five years ago in a village I founded in the mainland region of Quirolla. The village was called Pine Tree Square and consisted of a couple of shops, a few cottages, my office, my workshop and the pub.

A few months later The Evergreen moved along with Pine Tree Square to a larger area in the Brooks region. After opening in one building the pub moved to a new building by Teatone Catteneo that was created especially for The Evergreen Pub. It operated in Brooks for about a year and a half. During this time a second Evergreen Pub location was added in the City of Teasdale in the Suri mainland region.

Pine Tree Square in Brooks was bustling, so I moved it to a larger spot, a full region in Deitide at the intersection of two Linden roads, The Evergreen Pub moving along with it again.

It was at this point the downward turn in the RL economy came full-force to SL. Teasdale was closed and The Evergreen’s location there went dark. A few months later, Pine Tree Square followed. The Evergreen Pub was the last building to close. My friend Robyn, who lived in Pine Tree Square in both Brooks and Deitide, joined me for last call.

But it was a case of one door closing and another opening. At the same time I was closing the last of my Mainland towns and stepping down as Mayor, I was embarking on a new and completely unexpected journey. It began in Winterfell, my new home, and continued in Caledon, where The Evergreen Pub was relocated to SouthEnd. There it stood for over two years until last month when it returned to the Mainland.

The original custom build of The Evergreen was updated by Ms. Catteneo last year and presented to me as a gift. The new version was wonderful but I still loved the old one too. What to do? Oh, what I wouldn’t have done for two locations at that point! I settled for a hybrid version with some of my favorite elements from both. A new and expanded version of the hybrid sits in Maia today.

Stop by soon.

Steamlands Football League

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Winterfell Takes Caledon, 3-1

by Danko Whitfield

Winterfell Mourning Crier

After a devastating loss to the New Babbage Steamers last week, the Winterfell Elves rebounded to take the Caledon Victorians 3 to 1 in a match in SouthEnd on Friday night last. The go-ahead goal was scored by the Elves’ captain, Wildstar Beaumont.

“We played ’em hard, we never let up on ’em,”  declared Coach Serra of Winterfell. Referring to last year’s rout by Caledon in a match in Anodyne, after which some observers questioned the toughness of the Winterfell team, Coach Serra declared, “Tough? We showed ’em who’s tough. What do they think we are? A bunch of fairies?”

The spring football (soccer) “short season” wraps up this week when the Elves play the Salmons at Steelhead.

Letter from Hudson

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February 4

Dear Danko,

Was in the neighborhood so stopped into your new town. Sorry to have missed you but I had business in Caledon and was only in for the day.

Handsome little village you have there. Wandered through the buildings as most of the doors were unlocked. So you’re going through with that general store after all, eh? Brother Levon is all excited about it. He said to pass along that he will arrive in Winterfell in a fortnight. Found the shop, saw there were some mens clothing items for sale. Needed something appropriate for the trip to Caledon so I gave you a little business. Am I your first customer? Do I win something? Just kidding.

Walked down to the boathouse to see if there was a way to get across to your castle or the cottage but there was no one around. Went back up the hill and found a bench to sit on and enjoyed the view of the castle for awhile. Castle is very impressive, must be something to live there. Looking forward to the castle-warming party! Do Dukes do that sort of thing?

Stopped in your gallery and looked at the photographs of Winterfell. Very nice. I’ll have to come back when your exhibit opens. Used your office to change into the new clothes I purchased. Very attractive building. Saw another building under construction, what’s that going to be?

Caught the ferry to Cape Wrath and walked by the old family retreat. Wish you had talked with me before you sold it. Eh, probably dreaming there anyway, forget I mentioned it. After finishing my business in Caledon on behalf of the college, took the train down to SouthEnd and am sitting here in your pub, writing this letter and enjoying a pint. Funny, you have a town called Evergreen but your Evergreen Pub is in SouthEnd and the Emerald Inn will be in Evergreen. Shouldn’t you be moving this pub up there? Am I missing something here? Sure you have a good reason.

Well, must close now and catch the train for the trip home. Let me know if you have a grand opening or other festivities, would love to be there for you. Never thought I’d be related to a Duke! Don’t let it go to your head now m’Lord. Ha!

Annie asks if you have read the letters yet? You should write to her when you do. I know you know that but I promised her I’d nudge you. Don’t work too hard, Brother, get your rest. Don’t let this new town take all your time. Get out there and have some fun too. I’m sure there’s a lady friend or two who would be pleased to accompany you. You know what Uncle Manuel always says, take it easy…but take it.

Write soon.


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