Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Happy Birthday Caledon

The 2nd birthday party begins!

Some of the maps of Caledon over the past two years, displayed above the birthday plaque

Dancers at the first Grand Ball of the Roses for the day. Myself and Mrs. Warburton, with Miss Graves and Miss Bohemia to the right

Watching the fireworks in the Firth


If I had the smell of fireworks it would have been damn near perfect.

Some of the onlookers watch in happy contemplation of being Caledonians

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

A Day of Music Celebrating Two Years of Caledon

On Tuesday, February 26, Radio Riel joins with Caledon Independent Broadcasters for an unparalleled event in the history of the Independent State of Caledon - 24 hours of live and continuously presented music, all in honor of the second anniversary of our state!

Please join us at the castle of His Grace of Cymru, Viderian Vollmar, in Caledon Cymru (

The presenter schedule for the day is as follows:

0:00 - 1:00 - Jun Kuroda
1:00 - 2:00 - Jun Kuroda
2:00 - 3:00 - Edward Pearse, Grand Ball of the Roses
3:00 - 4:00 - Edward Pearse, Grand Ball of the Roses
4:00 - 5:00 - Edward Pearse, Fireworks on the Firth
6:00 - 7:00 - ShayLee Greenspan
7:00 - 8:00 - ShayLee Greenspan
8:00 - 9:00 - BobG0d Slade
9:00 - 10:00 - BobG0d Slade
10:00 - 11:00 - Soliel Snook
11:00 - 12:00 - Soliel Snook
12:00 -13:00 - Elrik Merlin, Grand Ball of the Roses
13:00 - 14:00 - Elrik Merlin, Grand Ball of the Roses
14:00 - 15:00 - Elrik Merlin, Fireworks on the Firth
15:00 - 16:00 - Diamanda Gustafson
16:00 - 17:00 - Diamanda Gustafson
17:00 - 18:00 - Marcus Tairov
18:00 - 19:00 - Duckthulu Dagger
19:00 - 20:00 - Gabrielle Riel, Grand Ball of the Roses
20:00 - 21:00 - Gabrielle Riel, Grand Ball of the Roses
21:00 - 22:00 - Gabrielle Riel, Fireworks on the Firth
22:00 - 23:00 - ZenMondo Wormser
23:00 - 24:00 - ZenMondo Wormser

Monday, 25 February 2008


I've built a couple of memorials in SL recently. The first was an addition to Tribute Island to commemorate one of my favourite comedians Dave Allen.

The man whose television show with its cigarettes, alcohol, religious commentary and swearing would barely pass the AO restrictions today, assuming it was even allowed on air.

The most recent was one that was more of a building project.

Based on the memorial to Charles Gordon from my RL home city:

I've ended up with this (though I still have one texture to finish):

I took the photos myself and converted them to textures. Each build teaches me a little more. Experience is the best teacher :-)

Sunday, 24 February 2008

The Great Experiment

Since the successful creation of my mechanical arm I have been toying with the idea of extrapolating the use further. Having seen the creations of other scientists, I know it can be done.

I think he is almost ready.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Steampunk reimagining

The phrase "steampunk" started in the 1980s as a tongue-in-cheek reference to Cyberpunk, when trying to find a genre term for the works of Tim Powers, James Blaylock and K. W. Jeter. Since then it's moved from a rather small cult following to almost mainstream.

We've had steampunk re-imaginings of Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who and a variety of other ideas. DC Comics did Gotham by Gaslight in the late 1980s.

Using that as inspiration, Action figure customiser Sillof created a Gaslight Justice League.

His most recent effort has been to start of a Victorian range of Marvel Comics heroes.

First up is, naturally, Iron Man:

Nice work sir.

"Eccentric" doesn't cover the half of it

Recently I discovered the existence of a gentleman by the name of Jack Churchill. Or more properly Lieutenant-Colonel Jack Malcolm Thorpe Flemington Churchill, DSO and Bar, MC and Bar. Also known as "Fighting Jack Churchill" or "Mad Jack Churchill" depending on the source.

Never heard of him?

Born in Hong Kong of English parents, he graduated from the Sandhurst Military Academy in 1926 and joined the Manchester Regiment. Serving in Burma, he picked up a few notable habits that would become his trademarks. One was a love of motorcycles. He took a course in signals in Poona while stationed in Rangoon. The 1,500 mile trip from Calcutta to Poona (after having caught a ship from Rangoon to Calcutta) was part of the adventure. On the same bike he travelled the 500 miles from Maymyo to Rangoon, a trip harder by the absence of roads. In Maymyo he picked up another trademark: he learnt the bagpipes from the pipe major of the Cameron Highlanders. Not something normally associated with Englishmen.

Churchill served through the Burma Rebellion of 1930-1932 before returning to England. Peacetime service seemed to grate on him as he found various ways to annoy his fellow officers. Piping the orderly officer to the Guard Room at 3:00 AM, or at one point turning up on parade carrying an umbrella. When the battalion adjutant asked him to explain himself, Churchill's reply of "because it’s raining, sir," did not endear him to his superior.

Inevitably Churchill resigned his commission after 10 years of service and went on to pursue a variety of things. He continued his piping and in 1938 placed second in the officers' class of the Piping Championships at Aldershot. Not bad since he was the only Englishman out of the seventy or so competitors. Also at this time Churchill took up archery. His eventual skill with the bow got him work with Sabu on The Thief of Baghdad as well as The Drum, and A Yank at Oxford. He became so good that he represented Britain at the world championships in Oslo in 1939.

Then in 1939 Poland was invaded and "Mad Jack" re-enlisted. The war-diary of 4th Infantry Brigade, to which Churchill's battalion belonged, commented on this extraordinary figure. "One of the most reassuring sights of the embarkation [from Dunkirk] was the sight of Captain Churchill passing down the beach with his bows and arrows. His high example and his great work ... were a great help to the 4th Infantry Brigade."

In addition to his Robin Hood weaponry, Churchill also carried a basket-hilted claymore. Later on, asked by a general who awarded him a decoration why he carried a sword in action, Churchill is said to have answered: "In my opinion, sir, any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed."

He won his first Military Cross during the retreat to the Channel, when he hitched six trucks together to salvage a disabled British tank; although in the end he could not save the tank, he did rescue a wounded British officer.

After Dunkirk, Churchill returned to England and promptly signed up as a member of a new organisation known as the Commandos. Whatever a commando was, he would be one. It was here he also met the woman he would marry.

Training was completed, he took part in the assault on the German base in Vaagso, Norway. While the two companies he commanded advanced on their target, Churchill stood in the lead craft, and played on his pipes "The March of the Cameron Men". His report at mission's end was simply: Maaloy battery and island captured. Casualties slight. Demolitions in progress. Churchill.

For his actions at Dunkirk and Vaasgo, Churchill received the Military Cross and Bar. He received the Distinguished Service Order in 1943 for capturing the battery at Salerno, while commanding Number 2 Commando. Leading from the front, Churchill infiltrated the town with only a corporal in support. He kidnapped a sentry and forced him to make his comrades surrender. Churchill and the riflemen walked out of town with 42 prisoners and a mortar squad.

1944 saw Churchill and his Commandos in Yugoslavia, where they supported the efforts of Tito's partisans. The commandos raided the German-held island of Brač and assaulted hill 622. Only Churchill and six others managed to reach the objective. A mortar shell killed or wounded everyone but Churchill, who played "Will Ye No Come Back Again?" on his pipes as the Germans advanced. He was knocked unconscious by grenades and was flown to Berlin for interrogation after being captured. He was placed in Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

In September 1944, he and an RAF officer crawled under the wire through an abandoned drain and set out to walk to the Baltic coast, only to be recaptured near the coastal city of Rostock, only a few miles from the sea. In time, they were moved to a camp at Niederdorf, Austria. Churchill escaped from Niederdorf in April 1945 and walked 150 miles to Verona, Italy where he met an American armoured column.

The Pacific war was still going and Churchill was sent to Burma, where the largest land battles against Japan were still raging, but by the time he reached India, Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been bombed, and the war was effectively over. "You know," he said to a friend only half joking, "if it hadn't been for those damned Yanks we could have kept the war going for another 10 years."

However, Churchill wasn't finished yet. At 40 he qualified as a paratrooper, completing jump school. His movie buddy Robert Taylor asked if he could appear in Ivanhoe as an archer on top of Warwick Castle.

He went on to serve in Palestine, where he earned fame for defending a Jewish medical convoy from an Arab ambush - radioing for backup and providing small-arms fire while wearing his full military dress uniform. Another time he and twelve other men evacuated a hospital full of Israeli medical personnel when they came under attack by Arab rockets.

After Palestine, Churchill went on to serve as an instructor at a land-air warfare school in Australia and become a hardcore surfer. He even designed and built his own surfboards. He retired from the army in 1959, recipient of two awards for bravery.

Later in life, passengers on a London commuter train were often startled by seeing an older male passenger rise, open a window, and hurl his briefcase out into the night. The passenger would then leave the car and wait by the train’s door until it stopped at the next station. It was Churchill, of course, enjoying his little gesture and reasonably sure that his fellow passengers could not know he had thrown the case into the garden of his house. It saved him carrying it home from the station.

Churchill passed away at his home in Surrey in 1996. Sounds like he would have been an interesting chap.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Neualtenburg no more?

I recently popped over to Port Neualtenburg in the hunt for some items, only to discover a stark and barren site.

It would seem our former erstwhile foe has gone.


EDIT: The reason is here.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Privateer Space

Having seen various reports about this new sim throughout the aetheric community, I thought I should go and have a look myself. Let me just say there's a VAST gulf between reading about it and seeing it for yourself. Part of the fun is finding the various SF jokes that abound in the textures and the builds. Do *you* know where Asteroid Al's is from?

This is where you start. The Galactic Truck Stop. "Last fuel for 20,000 light years". Here you can pick up an EVA suit and your own Spacebuggy for zipping around the sim.

"Take me out to the black, tell 'em I ain't coming back.."

Honest Zorg's Used Space Craft. You can pick up a Spacebuggy with TCS on it if you want too. Just be careful to take note of the No Entry signs.

Hotel New California. Yes that's the Swinetrek in parking orbit.

The police building. It was here I met the sim's creator Aley Arai. She was claiming her client was innocent by reason of the victim having fallen into a sun. Uh huh. Likely story.

A looooong talk with her (which I later realised was about 1.5 hours) and I was back off exploring. Amazing person. And quite happy to share her knowledge of how SL does (and doesn't) work.

Ringworld, from Megaprims.

Prior to this I had been under the belief that prims could not be rezzed permanently above 780 metres or so. Here am I at 2000, the top of the prims on the sim.

Space Pirates, hiding among the debris.

New Detroit. Underneath you'll find the *actual* way SL works, including "random inventory deletion server", the "Random Bug & Crash server" and the 1000 terabytes of pixel p0rn.

The surface of Mars

Ancient subterranian (submartian?) ruins.

"My God it's full of stars!" There are four monoliths in the sim. Find them all!

Surface of Da Mooo000o0ooo0n.

During the looong discussion, we ventured into the topic of Space 1999. Where upon I was presented with my very own Eagle. Now I had a chance to set it out properly!

Mining inside a gas giant.

And she's STILL building. Inspired by the Valley Forge (from Silent Running) this will become a host for alien plants. I've suggested triffids in here at some point :-)

You could spend hours in here (I did) and still not see it all. Definitely a sim to return to. Privateer Space can be found at Space/122/134/639

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Chinese New Year, and Radio Riel party

With the Mardi Gras parade set to go on Friday night, Steelhead's usual Friday dance was shifted to Saturday. This week was the celebration of the Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year). Though ironically is usually prompts everyone into wearing Japanese outfits :-)

Yours truly

My dear Christine looking stunning in a cheongsam.

The DeCostas

Tensai and Lunar

Miss Lily

Mr Hassanov, who decided to come as Chinese Take-Away

Miss Laval

As the festivities began drawing to a close I headed to Caledon Penzance where a party celebrating the official opening of the new Radio Riel offices was underway. Any excuse :-)

Sadly for Lionel Ritchie, we weren't dancing on the ceiling.

Tiny groovers

I was in a strange mood. I had not prepared a playlist and was just going by feel, and even then had things like Popcorn, Reel Big Fish, Falco, Robbie Williams, Front 242 and of course Weird Al Yankovic, are not usually the sort of things you'd expect to hear in the same set. Meh, they were warned :-)

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Additonal praise

Many thanks to the Editors at Prim Perfect magazine for their highlight of the new Radio Riel office called Even better than realism.

It's always nice when your friends say nice things about your builds, but it's unexpected when strangers appreciate it as well.

Thank you!

Monday, 4 February 2008

Building post No. 2

When Radio Riel opened its doors in Caledon Penzance I was asked by Her Grace to make a n office, after she'd seen my work on my new shop.. It's been a while but between RL, other commissions and events I've finally finished my own newest building. Some are other's textures, some are modified textures and some are created the whole cloth by myself.

It should receive an official opening tomorrow.

External view

Front façade

Ground floor

New Broadcaster's Booth

First Floor offices

Our own broadcast tower (you'll have to look behind the stairs for the power source).

Building post No. 1

I'm rather picky when it comes to building. Good texturing can often be let down by poor prim alignment, or a nice layout can be ruined by someone with no sense of scale (even after allowing for the 7' avatars that about in SL). So it's nice when I see someone who has accomplished both wonderful textures and put them on a great build.

Just north west of the hub in Caledon II used to be a series of townhouses based on some in existence in RL Sydney. While the wrecking ball had been taken to them, the replacement buildings more than make up for any disappointment I might feel.

My main focus of this collection of buildings is The Golden Harp.

No. 1 Penny Lane, an impressive collection of late 19th century architecture.

The Outside of the Golden Harp.

Inside the foyer, the pub's namesake.

The main bar, including some very comfy looking lounge chairs, as well as a collection of booths.

Up to the first floor is the games room, featureing En Guard, draughts, chess, backgammon...

... a pool table...

... and even a dart board. (My aim is terrible)

Up to the second floor has an outside beer garden for those evenings where the weather is warm.