Friday, August 29, 2014

Whirlwind Romance

My poor little blog gets a bit neglected these days. It's largely because I am a little too well-known around Second Life. I can't talk about other people and my relationships with them because they, too, are well-known, sometimes only by association.  It seems a bit unfair for them to have to read about my feelings, let alone to know that many others are reading too.

I always wanted this blog to be a true and accurate history of what I went through in my Second Life. But I am part of a community, and cannot write what I wouldn't write in my local newspaper.

I don't expect it's much fun being the partner of chryblnd Scribe. I am always more or less at work, no matter where I am. Like almost everyone who works in SL, I work with creative people, who don't really schedule their problems to suit business hours. I am known at almost everything I go to, and I am very often running the events I go to. There's not a lot of time, and what time there is might not be quality time. Sometimes I am drained from interactions through the day, sometimes I am working through my own issues. These are things that happen to many couples. I try hard to schedule a big enough slab of time that some of it will be quality time. And I try to withdraw from the fray, when I can; but those strategies can create a double edged sword too.

And like everyone else, I have my own quirks, fears and insecurities.

Friends know that my long-term friend and I parted company in February. It's difficult to describe it, now, as much more than a friendship. I thought it was more, certainly, and though I have no problem compartmentalising first and second lives, it seems, in hindsight, that I valued the friendship as a virtual romantic attachment. And the other person did not see it that way.

As the relationship came undone, I was devastated by the loss and the fallout. The pain was ferocious. There's more to that, but it has to be private.

In May I met someone new, and it drew some of the poison out of me. It was fun, and it scratched an itch. He was charming and alluring,very romantic and yes, it moved fast, and yes, it's over now.

My chagrin is a weight that pulls down my face and drags on my spirit. I also feel the lack of all that wonder and delight.

So here are the positives I have learned. There are negatives, but forgive me, I spend all day with those. We don't need to do those.
  • Different relationships can have different dynamics, and sometimes how your last relationship ended is no indicator of how your next will start
  • Yes, it actually is possible to move into a new relationship without baggage
  • Love is lovely, and I need to be able to love freely. I am expressive and Second Life is an outlet for the expression of exactly that romantic love
  • When I am happy, I am nice to people, and people are nice back. I smile when I buy my bus ticket, I answer the phone with a positive demeanour, and it legitimately affects the outcomes.
  • There's a reason lovers don't factor into my self-care plan. Only I can care for myself properly, and when I do it right, I do it very well indeed.
I have had five romantic relationships in my almost six years in SL. That's more than I intended, or would have thought remotely likely.

Meet Jet. He's my dog. He looks like he can take being chryblnd Scribe's dog :-)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Idle Rogue Productions: Le Cirque de Nuit

What a wondrous journey Le Cirque de Nuit has been! In small but complex steps, this notion made it's way to me, from my first rudimentary attempt to combine circus and neo-burlesque, to the strangely rare gift of a book voucher serendipitously arriving at the same time as a new and clever friend, who recommended The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. The book was a cute and quick read, but the striking imagery of a monochromatic Victorian Circus stayed with me throughout the remainder of The Very Bad Year that was 2013.

Many things failed in 2013, and others were fatally wounded. Projects that should have been meteoric failed to launch, people who should have felt beloved did not, the fog of many unhappinesses clung to me wherever I rode, but as the year ended I dreamed of a black and white steampunk circus, and when I woke, the idea stayed luminous; by December the dream was a plan, and it strengthened and consolidated throughout the first months of 2014.

Le Cirque de Nuit demanded all the time it needed. We thought we'd be performing it in January, February at the latest, but it was April before everything was in place. In that time, Gloriana Maertens built an enchanting environment that was an inspiration to everyone who saw it; Arrehn Oberlander joined the project with a formidable skillset and enough will to see this project through to a higher level. The two of them gave me toys that weren't even whispers in my dreams, and they polished and refined them as we watched the various other elements fall together around this charmed endeavour.

We called for auditions, and warned hopeful candidates that we intended to edit their work to get it to a higher standard than anyone had seen before. And one by one the candidates brought us intricate, beautifully realised acts that required nothing from us but our delight. Stars from all over the grid came willingly to work with us, hard-working, gifted performers who agreed time and again to rehearse with us, to meet with Arrehn, to learn new tools and new ways of performing. Not once was there a tantrum or a rift: everyone who joined this project brought with them goodwill and diligence, and sustained it even when they weren't quite sure of the vision. I am so grateful to you all for staying with me, for trusting in the concept and in our ability to make it real.

Two days before the April 6th premiere, we held a "teaser" preview for SL media, and as they reacted, we knew it was really, truly the spellbinding achievement we suspected it could be. Opening night audiences were rapturous, with the sim filling at both performances within minutes and people left outside the sime clamouring for a chance to see it.

Tonight we perform it again, two more times, in hopes of satiating some of the demand. Is it my magnum opus? Is it that one lucky time when everything fell into place? Is it the beginning of a SLifetime of producing totally immersive, high-quality original entertainment? Is it enough, just one time, to wash the taste of ash from my mouth?

Le Cirque de Nuit is a dance entertainment production set in a black-and-white steampunk circus, and will be performed to audiences on the Idle Rogue sim in Second Life at 7pm and 10pm on Saturday, April 19th. It features original performances by 13 professional dancers from around Second Life, as well as art installation interludes in a 90-minute production.Seats are limited to ensure a high-quality production, so the sim will be reset an hour before each performance. Audiences are advised to arrive early, seat their avatar and remove all unnecessary scripts and devices to assist the performance.
An Idle Rogue Production.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Burnal Equinox Festival in Second Life - March 28-30, 2014

"At a time far into our future, the earth has been devastated by a multitude of plagues. Harsh climate change, pollution, famine and war.
One of the last inhabitable areas left on the earth is the playa. Toxic fumes cover the ground and rise to 100 meters. The only safe living
environment is above the toxic levels because the playa winds help purify the air at this altitude. Passing through this toxic zone is possible but long term exposure can be fatal.
One redeeming factor of the toxin is that when it is captured, placed into a balloon and mixed with the correct proportion of playa dust, it takes
on the form of a very powerful lighter than air gas. A single 5 meter balloon can lift 1000’s of pounds into the air. The gaseous concoction has been fondly named Fairy Dust.
Modern manufacturing no longer exists. Everyday items are scavenged from the remains of abandoned buildings. Humans have had to learn to survive by creating with their own hands. They build platforms supported by balloons filled with Fairy Dust. These floating platforms are the hosts for a new civilization above the ground. The citizens of this floating city commute by building lighter than air vehicles. They are powered by whatever means can be found and lifted into the air by balloons filled with the Fairy Dust.

Every Spring the residents of this community celebrate a renewal of life. Balloons have been the savior of this city. Residents design and decorate their lifting balloons as part of the Equinox celebration. This tradition has been carried down from their ancestors from when the earth was plentiful. They celebrate this event in hopes that the earth will renew itself. They celebrate the clean air that still exists high in the clouds. They celebrate their existence on earth, as different as it might be from their ancestors, They are ALIVE!"

Guerilla Burlesque is delighted to be performing at the Burnal Equinox Festival on Sunday March 30th, 2014. We will make two appearances:
  • At 6pm - Come and see Mr Timeless and The Pale Hypnotic, a massively popular collaboration with sound by Deepsky Timeless and vision by Guerilla Burlesque. It's a post-apocalyptic medicine show featuring all the beauty and drama of your dystopian dreams
  • At 10pm - Guerilla Burlesque's very popular revue lights up the Burnal Equinox festival, with a celebration of the triumph and tragedy of the human race
Travel to the Burn2 Burnal Equinox Festival in Second Life
and you can join the facebook group for information about the other installations and events in this festival. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Artje sets the whetstone and her axe carefully aside and gazes down over the valley at Ossencrest, a small smile tugging at her mouth. She is home again, or at the home of her heart. No-one could really call the austere fort a home. It's a base, only, a place for the Priory's researchers to sleep in a real bed and re-supply again before returning to their work tracing the history of the wild mountains. But she likes it here. She likes the Priory scribes and their introverted small talk. She likes the roaring fires and the soothing sounds of ink scratching paper. Most of all she loves the Sakura, marching resolutely up through the cleft.

  She remembers the first day she came to Scholar's Cleft with complete clarity. She'd been slugging it out with the Modniir, and in fear for her life, really, at the point in the fight where only running can save you. Funny, she'd never been afraid of the Centaurs, despite their fierce brows and fleet-footed battle. They were harsh though, and they often called for others to join them  in pursuit of a lone traveller. But Artje's bow was always a good match for their speed, and her first solo battles were in the Hirathi Hinterlands. 

Now that she has her beloved Jade Bow, no Modniir can hope to threaten her, which is just as well, as their raids on the Priory outpost are still a daily occurrence. But the first day she came to the Cleft she had fought her way into what seemed like a corner of the map. She had despaired of escaping them, when suddenly the glorious cherry trees appeared, then giving way to stairs, and a marvellously solid, squat fort, and she ran for her life up through the gate to safety.

Artje gathers up her weapon and tools and packs them carefully in her leather bags. The ceremonial axes gleam where she has just finished honing them, a task she is only just beginning to master. She will never be a great crafter. It's not a thing she aspires to, and she doesn't have the time anyway. But she is proud of the skill she's gaining with the stone. Sharpened axes make for faster dead enemies, and that's a valuable outcome these days.

She hauls her weapons and bags up to the spartan sleeping quarters. The nights close out early here, most of the scribes retiring not long after sundown and arising as soon as the light breaks over the Snowden Drifts. There will be stewed meat tonight, she can smell it clinging to the eaves. It's a good, rich, smell. Modniir raiders notwithstanding, they are safe here, free to go about the work of preserving Tyria's history. To Artje, it seems all the more important in these savage times. 

She worries about travelling away from it all, from Lion's Arch and from the Borderlands. There is great need out there. But there is great need within Artje, too, and the safe haven of Scholar's Cleft called her from across the battlefields. She is glad to be here, warm, dry, and amongst peaceable friends. She is glad of the rest, the short forays for good meat, the skirmishes with the uncomplicated Centaurs. The good dependable work of protecting and providing for the Priors and scribes. She cannot stay for long, but she can stay a little. She is grateful for the succour.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Meanwhile, in Tyria ...

Artje runs alone now. The will of a self-imposed exile ebbs and flows through her soul, fierce as any tide, shifting and changing pieces of her, gathering detritus and dumping it in secluded corners. Bitter sands scour her through and through, borne along by anger and pain.

It's said the ranger is the loneliest profession. Separated from the mob by the need for distance, the ranger is fast and light on her feet. She strikes from an unseen vantage point, and for it, is never quite trusted.

Artje has been learning to use her dual axes, though her beloved bow is always at her back. The jewelled and embossed Krytan axes, with their wicked curved blades, are satisfyingly lethal, especially in the madness of Lion's Arch. She has learned to fear close combat less, and to move through awkward spaces a little easier. It's not her mountains, but the urgency there, assisting Lion's Arch in the fight for it's life, is sufficiently distracting.

It suits her to travel light. She knows it's the Tyrian way to join a guild, and she is often invited, but she rebels against their rules and requirements. She thinks sadly of her old guild, the easy companionship of friends discovering their strengths together. But even there she ran alone, darting into the mists whenever possible, consumed by the urgent ferocity of battle.

She goes rarely into the mists lately. Her lassitude is enormous. Some days, it's bigger than she is. On those days she does not fight.

She tries to return to her old home, from the time before Tyria, but it's a despondent experience. All the betrayal is there, all the trouble she can't fix. Artje looks carefully where she enters, these days.

Sometimes she catches a familiar melody, and remembers the days of old Ascalon; the breezes through the red and green and golden trees, the crystal rivers and sunny villages. The swift run to the wall, the brutal process of fighting the Charr on their turf, the excitement of learning to draw them out, to meet their fierceness and to beat them at it. The time before time, when the world was an adventure she could not lose. The joy of conquering mountains, the shocking tragedy of Ascalon burning.

Artje watches, warily, the inexorable turning of the Wheel. The old life is razed but breath and pulse and thought still, somehow, go on. So it was and so it ever will be.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

il est fini

... and so it came to pass that the epic movie, the love story that was chry and Shippy, ground to a halt, rusted out by her insecurity, eaten away by a communication malaise.

Il est fini.