May 11, 2011
I will admit, it all started with a mishear. In my defense, Loreena McKennitt's lyrics can sometimes be hard to understand without a sheet, at least initially. But the end result is that it got me thinking about liminal spaces, magic, and transformation. And this blog post has been percolating for a while as a result.
I love Loreena McKennitt's song "The Old Ways", it is a lament about the passing of an age as a new age takes over. The singer is recounting her encounter with a representative of the old ways who is passing from our world, and her longing to rejoin them. One line in this song struck a chord in me, which I heard as "The doorways are lost, he sang as he flew"*. This started me thinking about doorways, and liminal spaces. The idea that the doorways between the old and the new had been "lost" kept open the possibility of finding them again and perhaps recapturing some of the magic of the old ways. It also opens the question of whether perhaps those old doorways have already been rediscovered, but we have not yet recognised them.
The idea of liminality is that there are places and times where one stands "between". Usually between an older life and a newer way of being, and this transition may be accompanied by some sort of ritual or recognition. These liminal times involve being in the state or time "before", the transition itself (which may be accompanied by a ritual), and the state or time "after". This transition can be easily visualized as a doorway or passage that must be traversed before the transformation is complete.
Bastillion Bachman had a wonderful "cave of transformation" in Brigadoon that epitomized liminality perfectly - one entered the "cave", which was actually a tunnel. Inside the cave you encountered some vendors that would allow you to take an animal form and emerge from this tunnel having been transformed.
So thinking about transformation and liminiality, I started thinking about doorways. A book, when you look at it, is a small door. You open that door and traverse each passage of the book until you emerge. A good book leaves you transformed, for better or worse.
But what about something like your computer monitor? Is that not an opening to other worlds? If I open a doorway into another world via my keyboard, my monitor becomes the doorway to that space where transformation can occur.
I love the idea that the Fairy doors that were abandoned when the Old Ones went into the West, might be found again. And that we can still be magically transformed if we find one.
*The actual line is "The Old Ways are lost, he sang as he flew", which makes a lot more sense in context of the song title - but I prefer my version :)
The Old Ways - Loreena McKennitt
May 6, 2011
Steam SkyCity is Celebrating our 4th Anniversary!
Saturday, May 7 & Sunday, May 8
Benefitting Relay for Life
For the 4th year we are celebrating with the Mad Scientist's Convention in Steam SkyCity
and this year we are including our annual Spring Hunt the same weekend!
What madness could possess us, what insane impulse could bring us to combine this much evil? We set out on this voyage certain of our goals, and certain of our success.
My shaking, palsied hands cannot put down on paper the horror that transpired. We were warned of the consequences of such a foolish plan, but dismissed the warnings as the foolish superstitions of ignorant villagers. Thus we sealed our doom. Now there is no way out, this must come to fruition as has been foretold. The gibbering madness will consume us all, and the eldritch horrors will rise up from the depths and eat us all.
So much fun in store!
Spring Brain Hunt
That's right, this year you are seeking BRAINS! As always, our residents and friends have donated goodies that are placed in givers all over the sim. Find them, click them, take the goodies!
This year, we have added some new features that are primarily for our amusement.
Also, as always, the things are hidden with varying degrees of evil. Some are easy to find, some are deliciously difficult. You are encouraged to scream, cry, whine, and threaten to Leave teh Internetz Forevah if you become frustrated. Your pain is delicious. Mr Volare will be handling the complaint shovel again this year.
As always, we will provide our special Clues that Don't Actually Help (R)(tm)(c)(rtfm) which will be sold in a RFL vendor to benefit Team Caledon.
These clues are sold for amusement only and are not intended to actually direct you to brains, provide advice for life, nor instruct in self-trepination techniques.
4th Annual SSC Mad Scientist Convention
Opening Reception and Welcome in Steam SkyCity Commons
Convention swag, evil networking, refreshments
Spring Brain Hunt begins - see rules above
Graverobbing Contest begins - 1st event of Mad Science Triathlon! This event challenges the Mad Scientists to find graves hidden throughout Steam SkyCity. These graves will be located in the ground, which may be underwater. These graves contain sundry body parts, as well as some grave detritus. These graves will provide the parts needed to build creatures. Parts are moddable and can be retextured, they are transferrable if you want to swap with others, they are no copy. Finished creature will have at least 5 graverobbed parts, no more than 50 total prims. You may add from your own inventory so long as the finished creature has at least 5 graverobbed parts and is less than 50 prims. Finished creatures will be judged at the Mad Scientists Ball on Sunday.
Speed Build Contest - $L20 entry fee
Oxbridge Village Sandbox - Come up to the sandbox and have some fun! We will tell you what you are building and the parameters when you arrive.
Manifesto Slam - 2nd Event of Mad Science Triathlon! Come and declaim you plans for World Domination, How it Ought to Be, or just Menace the Populace.
Implausible Superweapon Contest - $L50 entry fee, 50 prim limit. Build something awesome and come show it off at the Mad Scientist's Ball on Sunday evening.
Spring Brain Hunt Continues all day
Double 0 Skeet Shooting - 3rd event of the Mad Science Triathlon. Pesky secret agent keeps messing up your carefully plotted schemes for world domination? Annoying hero keeps rescuing the menaced maiden just before you can foreclose on the mortgage? Get your vengeance!
Bring your own weapon (needs physical bullets). If you prefer to keep your hands clean, you may appoint a trusted lieutenant to shoot the actual weapon in your stead. That is if you trust said lieutenant not to try for a field promotion...
Mad Scientist Ball with Magz!
Judging for Implausible Superweapon and Graverobbing contest creation
Awards for above contests and the Mad Scientist Triathlon
Lots of dancing and merriment for the survivors of the weekend's horrors
Pay no attention to the horrors lurking in the darkness, they are simply phantoms created by your fevered imagination, artifacts of your madness. They cannot actually harm you...
a) This is intended to be fun. If you have a low tolerance for frustration and lag, or if you think hunts are about being entitled to each and every item in the givers it is respectfully suggested you find something else fun to do this weekend. If you have a good sense of humor and can tolerate the weekend hijinks of the grid, come play!
b) This event has been about celebrating Steam SkyCity since its inception 4 years ago. Since the events coincide with Relay for Life, which is close to my heart, I offer it as a fundraiser for Team Caledon. However, my primary desire is for anyone to be able to come and enjoy themselves. Events that have entry fees are set low and clues are priced very low. There is a donation kiosk in the Commons - if you enjoy yourself this weekend and wish to support Relay for Life please place donations there.