Monday, June 29

What Honor I Can Bestow

My Dear Ash,

It did not seem that long ago that I first built you. In trying to save a life that was too far gone, I was astounded to discover I had in fact created an entirely new life.

From the beginning you have proven your bravery. You sacrificed your first body to save a brother you had never met. You were uncompromising in protecting me when I had regressed in age by a failed experiment to a petulant child. You were crucial in the liberation of Steeltopia and the restoration of the Emperor's just reign. And finally, you assisted the construction of and my escape to the Clockwork Caravel. For all this, you never asked for more than the proper uniforms, the tools of your trade and a place to recharge at night.

All this is now denied you. I hope this gift will begin to make up for it.

Your older sister Gematria was built with a Galvanic Tesseractor integrated into her design. The GT is my greatest invention, a device that folds time and space to allow a construct to travel almost anywhere and anywhen.

This may seem like a simple pocketwatch to you, but it is far more than that. Under the functioning face you will find a miniaturized hadron collider powered by a flywheel in a frictionless zone. Yes, Ash, this is a Galvanic Tesseractor attachment, built especially for you.

Fasten the chain to complete the circuit and let it charge. Gematria will show you how to use it when you are ready. While she uses a Quantum Displacer Control disguised as a necklace to manipulate the transchronal energies, all of your controls are within your device.

Use it well, my Son. You've earned it.

With Proud Affections,
~Dr. Darien James Mason

*Replicas of the GMT Quantum Displacer Control and the Galvanic Tesseractor Pocketwatch (aka Pocketwatch of Gemological Mystery) are available at Clockwork Couture. Please note that while the GMT-QDC is conspicuously beautiful and indicative of a wearer that grasps the secrets of traveling the Continuum, it does not function without a working Tesseractor. The Tesseractor Pocketwatch replica, for safety reasons, is preset to take the wearer through time at the rate of one minute per minute with proper maintenance. Which, really, is for the best. Trust me on this.

Saturday, June 27

A Fresh Start


"Good Evening, Ladies and Gentlemen! I am Doctor Darien James Mason, Captain of the aethership Clockwork Caravel. Behind me you see my children, Gematria and Ash. They are free-willed clockwork constructs. Children, would you like to introduce yourselves and explain our mission?"

"Gladly, Father! I am Gematria Mason. Our employers at Clockwork Couture have asked us to explore the myriad worlds of aetherspace, and retrieve artifacts and accouterments of interest to you, the discerning Neo-Victorian!"

"Greetings. I am Ash Mason, the Engineer for the Clockwork Caravel. During our adventures we will be providing links with detailed information on clothing and gear we have especially useful, which luckily for our Steampunk audience will be available from Clockwork Couture. Father?"

"Yes, we understand our adventures will introduce us to an entirely new audience. Those of you who wish read our adventures in our former home of Second Life are welcome to peruse through my journal and Gematria's. To clarify, Gem's name was originally Qlippothic, but after the second unit...*shrugs* well, it's an interesting read. Gematria! Set course for...Hmm? What is it Ash?"

"Our engines are still aimed at Zindra."

"What? Oh! Dear me, that would have been embarrassing wouldn't it? Recalibrate the engines please."

"Yes Father."

Friday, June 26

The Reckoning

"People of the Second Life! I am Doctor Darien James Mason onboard the aethership Gygax II! In retaliation for for my unjust banishment, my Aether Cannon is positioned and charged to annihilate the monumentally ill-conceived project of the Lindens, the continent of Zindra! To show I mean no harm to the Residents of the Grid I am giving you all five minutes to jump off your poseballs and pack up your..."

"Doctor Mason?"

"RED FIRE! What is it, Gematria? Can't you see I'm in the middle of my monologue?"

"We have an incoming call from a Miss Abigail from Clockwork Couture. They wish to discuss a corporate sponsorship!"

"I can't be distracted with...pardon? Corporate..?"

"Line #2, Doctor."


Left behind

What does it mean to be a descendant of Bloodwing? It means trying your entire life to free yourself from a byzantine legacy of dark magic and betrayal. It means having his anthem trapped in your head...always. Qli-2 is still unaccounted for. And I fear for Amarantis.

OSGrid: LBSA Plaza Renovation, Industria

I sat by as Mr. Frisby (he's "Mr. OSGrid"), Doctor Rorrim (the elfin lady) and the other gurus of this Grid collaboratively revamped the sim. Before it had been a steel pyramid with a maze underneath. A maze for first rezzers who may not even know how to move yet?

The couch I was sitting in fell many stories as the area was leveled, and the ground was changed to a glowing blue grid.

I also received an invitation to investigate an OSG sim called Industria. At my visit it was still obviously in the building phase. Something about an industrial zone built around an old TB ward? Yes, they would need a doctor, wouldn't they? It may have a Crimson Falls feel to it when it's done, I certainly hope so.

I've learned of the fate that befell the Clockwinder and Dr. Obolensky's coup. I cannot directly intervene, but I can scan the waters of the Linden Grid for that giant milk bottle. I can also coordinate communications with the resistance if need be. My Revenge will have to wait.

Thursday, June 25

I'm in this mood because of scorn

A second refusal. It was like trying to reason with a brick wall. Not even for the rulers of the Steamlands would they relent. The Lindens had more pressing concerns, obviously. I could see the swirling black clouds that blocked my view of the Grid. Further, a nation was getting ready to suspend passports to the Grid. I sympathized with my antipodean friends. And then there was the matter of that nuclear missle... Even if they did relent, would there be anything left in a few years for me to return to?

At last, I was no longer confined to the bridge of my aethership. I had a passageway that ran the length of the vessel (the side portals were still locked to me as the rooms were unfinished, of course) all the way to the engine room, which was also pressurized and gyrostabilized at 1G. With the instability and general inaccessability on the surface of OSGrid of late, I need some room to pace.

I paid a visit to my crew in back. The room was flickering from the showers of sparks as they welded a pipe to the engine core. They abruptly stood to attention as I entered. I adjusted my goggles and examined the pipe, the soddering still glowing a cherry red. Then I examined the blueprints framed on the wall of the chamber.

"These plans have been tampered with!" I roared.

Gematria calmly explained. "Father. The critical errors of the last..."

"I am well aware of the errors of the Gygax I engines." I pulled a lever bolted to the wall and a pneumatic tube dropped into my outstretched hand with a blast of cold air.

"Here are my blueprints. Do not alter them again."

"Father. Permission to speak freely." Ash looked to me with visible concern.

"Denied. You will both obey your Creator. Have I made myself clear?"

"Yes, Doctor Mason", they spoke slowly in unision. A subtle form of protest, no longer calling me Father. Let them. As the bulkhead doors closed behind me I felt the vibrations of the floor become more pronounced. They were recalibrating to my specifications, as ordered.

So I'm locked out, along with all of Australia

Confirmed: Second Life, online adult games to be banned outright in Australia

Zindra was a day late, a dollar short and half-assed to begin with. My sympathies go out to Sir Edward Pearse and all the other Netizens Down Under. It may be too late for me, but you can still go to your Parliament and fight for your freedoms!

Strike Two

Hello Darien,
Linden Lab has reviewed, at your request, your appeal of our decision to permanently terminate your Second Life access.

The original decision to terminate your Second Life access was reached after investigation of your use of the Second Life software and service. Upon further examination of your case, we have determined that the permanent closure of your accounts was justified and correctly applied.

The evidence shows that you have severely or repeatedly violated the Second Life Terms of Service or Community Standards, and therefore your account and any alternate Second Life accounts are now permanently inaccessible.

This concludes our investigation of your appeal. Please consider the matter resolved, as no further communications will be sent.
Harry Linden

Wednesday, June 24

Another Avatar Influence

Most of you won't know Dick Dyszel. I would manually flip the UHF dial to channel 20 to watch this local Washingtonian every Saturday Morning. He was a host back when televison depended on such people to keep you occupied when the station was changing tapes, and portrayed a variety of characters. He was our Bozo the Clown. He was Captain 20, a spaceship captain. He was Count Gor de Vol, host of Creature Feature, showing Godzilla movies and those sloppy B-Horror movies MST3K would later greedily sink their teeth into.

And this man was an innovator. I dare even call him tubepunk. I remember he hooked up a video game to the television, then he'd call a fan and tell them to say "POW!" into the phone to fire the laser and kill the aliens. Interactive TV in the 70's! In the 90's he took his Creature Feature show online and was one of the first to discover the medium's true potential.

Oh yes, and he had a mustache.

I was reminded of him because his biography will be showing at the AFI Theatre in Maryland this Saturday.

Monday, June 22

Radio Riel's New Steampunk Stream!

If Shoutcast isn't working on your machine for some reason (like the one I'm on the moment), copy this into your media broswer:

Keep feeding the forge!

The opposite of "selfish" is "elfish"!

The Seneschelf, Lady Serra Anansi of Winterfell, is spearheading a ticket-writing campaign to allow me back on the Grid. I sincerely appreciate her efforts, and I hope that Lnden Labs will listen to their most dedicated customers. I am humbled by her willingness to support me, as well as the efforts of Desmond Shang, Tensai Hilra, Lunar Eclipse, Mosseveno Tenk, and a growing roster of sim owners, shopkeepers, and wonderful Netizens.

I know whatever world I find myself in I will still be surrounded by friends!


Gygax sensors indicate a nuclear weapon has been launched on the Main Grid!

(And no, it wasn't me.)

Sunday, June 21

What could possibly go wrong?

My Friends,

I've heard your pleas, your suggestions, your tips and tricks. All of you who possess alternate accounts for community purposes have every right to be concerned about how I've been treated. I have one valid option left, and at your suggestion, I'll permit it.

If you wish to see me in Second Life again, please contact Linden Labs and ask them to unban my account. Point out how I've been an upstanding member of the Steampunk communities. Point out how I've contributed to the SL economy and creative base and brought in several other talented individuals to the Grid.

My Eternal Thanks,

~Darien Mason

Friday, June 19

OSGrid: Ironforge

The scanners onboard the Gygax indicated this area was a crater formed by a meteor strike. As such we could extract vital resources to expand the ship's abilities. I was pleased to find some Sparks had arrived before me.

I felt nostalgic in this steam train. There was also a well-built iron bridge over a nearby stream. This was obviously a test build, since the train went nowhere.

At first I thought this was a tethered airship, but then I realized it was a windmill! I had considered building one for Mason labs, but it would not have been this advanced! The resident must be one of those "ecopunks" I've heard about.

A stranded barge. Was someone experimenting with magnetic fields?

I found a teleport ring and found myself on board a familiar-looking airship. Note the metallic balloons. Gematria built her CIRRUS fireship on a the same principles. Back on the surface I found huge boulders of solid iron ore lying in plain sight. This would be much easier than I thought!

I heard creaking noises and looked up. That home was in a precarious position. I flew to investigate. Note the poor chap in the corner. Too late to save, even with my abilities. What was he thinking building here anyway? Eh? Is that an alcove in the rocks?

EUREKA! It's a cavorite well! There's energy here for me to...

*evil grin*

Well, you'll find out soon enough, won't you?

Thursday, June 18

Foundation Day

My deva hadn't quite expected a birthday like this. The Founder and his kin have been exiled many times before. He would rage for a bit, then laugh it up and start again. I am grateful for the advice you have given me, my friends. Yes, it would be easy to sneak back into the Linden Grid. But what would be the point? My presence will still be felt in the Steamlands through other venues.

The esteemed Sir JJ Drinkwater thinks my exile is a blessing in disguise. OSGrid has its builders, he says. But it needs more than builders (and an economy) for it to grow. It needs a community.

If you wish to send me a birthday gift of some sort? Send me a friendship request in OSGrid. I'll be in Quirm tonight if you wish to stop by. Now if you someone would be so kind as to transfer some men's Victorian attire...and hair...and a mustache?

Wednesday, June 17

There in Spirit

Thanks to a bit of media fiddling by Tensai I was able to participate in the Steelhead Town Meeting last night. I was overjoyed to sit in on the playful madness that is Steelheads city politics!

This advancement further deconstructs the Second Life experience. Why log onto SL and teleport to a crowded room to suffer the lag of 30 avatars sitting down through a lagging chat, when you can contribute to the conversation from the safety of your web browser?

Tuesday, June 16

Avatar Influences

The Aviatrix, Zoe Connolly asks us to name the influence in the creation of our online personas.

I guess I'll start at the beginning. Bloodwing's persona evolved from reading Milton and Dante and listening to way too much VNV Nation. I also recycled a mythological tale I wrote in grad school about Hades and Persephone bearing a daughter. (I flipped the gender.) He was offered a role in a "vampire circus", he said he preferred a kabuki design that an actual clown. A very Japanese sense of honor and duty crept in. His facial markings were identified by several Japanese SL residents as a that of a dragon protagonist from one of the plays. It's good to know I have a classical reference if I ever wanted to rebuild him...

Dr. Mason, the man buried beneath the demon, was inspired by my comic book heroes (and villains), Dr. Strange, Reed Richards, and Dr. Doom (especially using magic and science in tandem to accomplish his goals). There was the archetypal Mad Scientist, Victor von Frankenstein, constantly pushing the boundaries of what should not be done just to prove it could be done. There's also some of Stoker's van Helsing, using the latest medical advances (blood transplants!) and the occult to save lives and defeat the unholy.

When Dr. Mason and Bloodwing were fighting for control of the same body, someone said it reminded them of the BBC series Jekyll, and I watched an episode and took notes. I should also point out that I had not read Girl Genius or become a fan of Doctor Steel before I built Dr. Mason, but subsequent influence is unavoidable. Doctor Steel has his Toy Soldiers, Doctor Mason has his Dolls (you can blame the Dauphine too.)


Let me make this simple...


Monday, June 15

OSGrid: Welcome to Quirm

Quirm is a small village surrounding a lake, with plenty of greenery. Gaslamps light the cheery walkways. There are several "stores" made from carriage houses, of furniture free for the taking. The forethought into this building this place stands out from the primitive designs I've found elsewhere in this frontier. The town has a printing office, and they have a newspaper, the Ruth. While they seemed to have printed at least two issues, I was unable to open one of the papers. I immediately discovered why.

This construct was out of order. She appeared to have confused the printing press with a laundry press, and caught her skirt in the machinery. The horseless carriage was impressive, but...they'd have to take it apart to get it out of the store. Also, like Caledon, there are no wide roads. in addition, the lagstorm was horrendous! I tried to speak to a grayed-out lady of apparent high breeding (based on the shape of her hoopskirt) only to have her blink out of existence on multiple occasions. I started to wonder if the buildings were held together with tiny two-prim screws...

There was also an inventor's store, giving away more graphophones. There was even the beginnings of a library! Cultured folk indeed! My kind of people! I found a building supply store with a sign apologizing for removing items "not fitting with the theme of the community". Ah, a Mayor with vision!

All the time I explored, however, I could not escape the feeling I was being watched...

I live again!!!

Cloning technology outsmarts the Lindens! MUAHAHA...Oh. Wait.

Saturday, June 13

OSGrid - Making Contact

This is Shortdog Philbin and Marcus Llewellyn, the first two conversationalists I've met in OSGrid. I found them on a near by beach, taking a break from building and scripting. Indeed, as I suspected, the place is a Builder's Paradise. (Also noteworthy is there is no Linden Tax on taking daguerrotypes...) They confirmed that the economy varies from island to island, always arbitrary but mostly nonexistent. What does economy anyway when everyone is creating supplies ex nihlo?

I was able to brighten their day in return for their hospitality. They were unaware that Miss Kirsten, a developer they admired, had come out of seclusion and produced a new viewer, Kirstens S17. How gleeful they were!

I asked if there were any solid communities in OSGrid, and they were told by their Chief Builder that that was their "next step". They confirmed reports I read of elven tribes and dragons that migrated here. They provided me with coordinates to a Steampunk community near the place where I first landed here. (That explains the graphophone I discovered among the bric-a-brac at the collection sites.) It is an region called Quirm. I tried to tesseract there...I swear I saw the gaslamps! Only to be snapped back to the beach where my new friends were kvetching about "failing asset servers". The scene faded to monochrome as Ash pulled me back to the Gygax as a precaution.

Tomorrow...on to Quirm!

Exploration of OSGrid

Close by the Grid are a cluster of less-developed Grids that are preferred by the Builders among us who wish to work undisturbed by the hubbub of the Linden environment. At first I was hesitant to tesseract down. The world was sparsely populated (scanners detected a population of 32 and the land seemed rather unstable...100 islands had just mysteriously vanished the night before. But Gem and Ash told me they would have to turn off the oxygen supply to make improvements on the ship, so...

There I am. Erm, no. I'm the one in the front. While Ruthitis has been eradicated in Linden territories, it is the newcomer state here. I was also frequently afflicted with bouts of rickets and paralysis. Indeed, it reminds me much of the SL of four years ago when I first emigrated.

The architecture and clothing of other visitors are quite basic. I have yet to see a flexi prim. Or a poseball. Or gratefully, any bling.

I began scavenging. One store of free and almost-free supplies granted me $999,999 of he the local currency. What sort of economy *is* this?

Oddly enough, the most well-crafted equipment I've found are built be the Hobos! Hmmm...hobos...perhaps if I contact young Master Bermann...

Friday, June 12

Here am I floating in my tin can

Hello my good friends in the Steamlands. I assume by now that my disappearance has become a hot topic of discussion and conjecture. Let me assure you that I am well, as are my children Gematria and Ash.

It was only a matter of time. I knew that someday the same bureaucratic tyrants that terrorized the Pearses and the Riels would come for me. All Sparks rue the day when the mobs gather outside one's laboratory. Even worse than the outraged vigilantes, or course, are the outraged authorities. The difference between the two threats is "Search and Destroy" versus "Research and Destroy". Perhaps it was one explosion too many, or someone took one of my compulsive rants about world domination a bit too seriously. Did I reach some unspoken limit on how many sentient constructs I could unleash upon the world? For all I know their investors may have been squeamish about my Dolls. Would they have preferred an army of cybernetic Komodo Dragons trotting about to purchase my supplies?

Only they could override my lab's defenses so easily. The drab blue uniforms charged through the doorway and the secret entrances just in time to see me tesseract to safety onboard the Gygax II, orbiting out of their sphere of influence.

Gem and Ash have been working tirelessly on this project for months, only stopping to recharge, make the occasional social gathering or stop a coup in Steeltopia. Unfortunately, the ship was not finished yet. My construct children can pass through the airlock and continue to upgrade the aethership without an atmosphere, of course. But the only safe chamber for me is the control room.

I look through my viewscreen at the quiet tableau of green and blue. I can make out the new continent, Zimvader or something. The Founder died once to prevent New Gomorrah from coming to be, yet the Reality Engineers are intent to build it themselves. I see the Mainland of course, I have to adjust the contrast from all the bling. Below it I see the hastily built peninsula of Nautilus, gaudily overbuilt. It takes some magnification to make out Steelhead and Caledon. One is truly blessed to find a beautiful home. How doubly blessed I was to find two.

Ah, there's New Babbage. I can trace the soot cloud. Marvellous to behold from this height. I should warn them about that large school of air kraken nesting on that cumulo-nimbus.

I'll just listen in on the aether frequencies, catch up on the journals and twittergraphs and...I'll miss...I'm sorry, I'm just...a bit over...


Thursday, June 11

A farewell to Lady Beaumont

Even though the Masons and the Beaumonts have had their feuds at times, I do wish Lady Lavendar the best on her travels, even as my family starts its new journey.

Wednesday, June 10

This is not a goodbye.

Since 12 September 2005, I have spent my virtual life fighting my inner demons. On 9 June, 2009, the demons won. I have no one to blame but myself. One portal is closed, but many others are opening. I am still Doctor Darien James Mason. The only change is the Grid of Second Life will no longer be my central platform for my storytelling.

I appealed the decision of course, and was quickly rebuffed. I could go on a tirade about Ye Lindens and their moralizing in the name of the Almighty Dollar, but I won't. I could spew vitriol at them from a safe distance, but Mr. Prokofy is so much better at it than I.

I will still write stories. I will still post things on the Nings and fritter on the Twitter. I will still listen to Radio Riel. I will just spend a lot less of my time fighting lag.

As for my properties? The fate of Caledon Regency Hospital, logically, lies with the members of the Caledon Red Cross. Appointments can still be made with Dr. Geier at the new Tanglewood Clinic.

As for Mason Labs, I thank Lunar-san for offering to keep it open. Consider it my gift to the Sparks of Steelhead. Should the Consulate wish to procure the facility for their own purposes I would be most delighted.

I have two tickets in my pocket to explore two new worlds. When the gates open (and I am authorized to do so) you will see more pictures, and I will invite you all to join me. Gematria and Ash are accompanying me on my journey. Koen has returned to Erebus to settle some family business.

Lumina, Qli-2, Kiralette, Frau Lowey, Jeremiah and my faithful dolls sparky and vanna are the survivors successors of Mason Labs.

We will keep in touch.

P.S. It is of the utmost irony that my first love Sumalee has arrived inworld only a couple days before my exile. We shall be reunited again my dear, very soon.

Tuesday, June 9

I sure could use a pint...

Second Life may be closed to me at the moment, but what is most important are the friends I have made through that medium, and whose connections have grown beyond the realm of pixels.

On Saturday, the 13th of June I will be meeting Miss Magdalena Kamenev at the Royal Mile Pub in Wheaton, MD at 1pm. Anyone reading this is welcome to meet us there.

Those of you who were present at or vicariously enjoyed the Radio Riel Pubcast will know it's the perfect setting for us Steampunks!

Due to circumstances beyond my control...

None of the characters under my control will be available in Second Life until further notice. This is a very sensitive matter, the details of which I am not at liberty to disclose.

I understand my rent on the properties I own may lapse. If this is the case I understand the Guvna and Lunar-san reclaims their land.

Likewise I will be unable to host at Port Galveston or any other venue until this is resolved.

I thank you all for your patience.

~The Player behind Mason Labs

Do they even serve tea in middle school?

In the comments section, Sir Elemental approves. Nothing was mentioned about the cameraman's tea habit however.

Saturday, June 6

Introducing Ms. Audurbugh

Those of you who monitor the twittersphere regularly may know of @CynthiaY29, an avid collector and distributor of news, factoids and diversions along with polite disclosure and libertarian expression. Being the inquisitive sort she dipped her toes into Second Life, and like many newcomers she felt overwhelmed by the options. I graciously invited her to Mason Labs.

After a short tour of my Steelhead residence I invited her along to witness the wedding of my old and dear friend, Annastina Christensen.

After the ceremony was complete, I accompanied her to Sheriff Ortega's birthday party onboard a pirate ship in Steelhead's harbor.

She asked me the normal questions all newcomers ask, but with the sort of politeness and tactful observations one rarely sees from the stereotypical "n00b". I am sure she will quickly become as influential a figure in Second Life as she is on Twitter.

The only unpleasant surprise that evening was seeing what Lady Fauve's Fae magicks had done to Miss Eugenia Burton!

Friday, June 5

winding keys and studying dark hieroglyphics

Thanks to Lady Fauve I have had the pleasure of speaking with and viewing the artwork of Snowbell Caproni. I have seen him at public events before and heard the Dolls speaking of the "angel dollmaker", but now after being formally introduced I recognize him as one of those few, like myself, who see through and work beyond those arbitrary walls between Science and Magick.

I am particularly intrigued by some ancient scrolls he possesses that that resemble the gyphs and diagrams from the Selenite mines beneath Caledon. I will be setting up an art exhibit of Mr. Caproni's work and findings in Mason Labs shortly.

Fair Warning: Please note that those unaccustomed to the "Gothic Lolita" culture may find some of these artworks disturbing.

Also, beginning next Friday, Mr. Caproni and I will both be assisting Lady Fauve in a new venue on her Barony. I do miss hosting in the Steamlands...

Monday, June 1


Finished aesthetic upgrades on Gematria. She warned me while I was working on her that marion was creeping up on me with the axe. Bless her, my Firstbuilt.

Marion, marion, had such potential. A pity you wasted it on jealous rages. I gave you so many second chances. Even among your peers you were a terror. I tried to teach you the error of your ways and you sabotaged my operations in revenge. Treasonous behavior, my would-be Doll General. Even my patience has its limits.

Rust In Peace, murder-doll. Back to the underworld with you. Do send Vortex my regards.

I'll have to revise my recruitment techniques...