This article was originally posted to SLSailing.com on November 25, 2008
Since I’m away this week, I thought it might be fun to cheat and put up the unpublished first draft of an article I revised and finally posted November 10.
I was about to delete this draft, but thought it was remarkable how different this version was from what I finally posted. That final article was eight short sentances – the “FANCI HALLOWEEN 2008″ section at the end of the “NEW GUNS“ post.
Literally everything in this draft got deleted when I went back to edit it. Thank god for editing!
Since this post is sort of ‘insider baseball,’ I’ll only leave it up for a week while I’m gone. See you soon!
Early last evening I got a call from Vin Mariani, who was munching popcorn over in Quoddy Head sim while watching Night of the Living Dead as part of the horror movie marathon put on by Surf and Beejee. The grit and graininess of that George Romero movie coupled with it’s screenplay full of classic cult lines make NLD a “so-bad-it’s-great” must-see each year film around Halloween. I admit it, however: this is the first time I have ever seen it in Second Life.
It turned out Chaos was already sailing his Knockabout en route towards the dockside cinema, and I caught up with him in Osprey Reef. He suggested we take a little detour on the way to get a look at the furthest West points in the chain of 10 sims (see below). He was right; it is right around the corner, but we almost never sail through those sims. Well, we did on Halloween!
We had a great sail that only took a few extra minutes (well, actually 20 minutes, but it was worth it). It proved easy to tack through the multiple islands that adorned the sims as we moved Westward. There are shallow spots over there, so pay attention when you cruise through. The Sims were planned with sailboats in mind so it’s no problem: the shallow areas are where you’d expect them to be.
I known I’m being redundant, but let me say again that the sims in this region were very attractive at night, even though we sailed through far too quickly to fully appreciate all the region has to offer. Go back and take a look for yourself!
Points of Interest for the Accidental Tourist: Memories of Bulia
As you move from East to West at this latitude, take a look at the map above. You pass a series of pretty diverse landmarks. For example, just before you reach the border that defines the entry into USS-West you’ll see an impressive island with notable vertical bluffs off to starboard. That’s the Medici/ White Residential Compound located in Union Passage Sim (where it sits under the watchful eye of the Osprey Coast Guard Station immediately to the South). Give a loud WOOT! to SYC’s Rear Commodores as you pass bye!
Right beyond that you’ll see the USS Bulia Historical Sim-Site, commemorating the day the Lawson Landing/Sailors Cove Estate linked waters with USS this past summer, freeing sailors from the oppression of arbitrary and capricious sailing barriers that emerged following the Great East-West Schism.
I recall the events of that Great Day with crystal clarity… Marktwain White, his jaw set and his eyes resolute, standing confident and tall at the helm of the SYC Committee Boat. Nothing unusual; just another routine day in USS-South. However, a bare heartbeat later the lazy harbor mood flipped upside down and burst electric when MTW spun the wheel with deliberate force, bringing the nose of the SYC command boat sharply around to a new bearing that pointed dead West. Even before the boat completed its pivot to the new course, Mark’s left hand found the engine controls, and pushed them to the limit, locking both throttles wide open. Suddenly unleashed, the dual outboards responded with a ferocious roar and the props dug in. For a tiny fraction of a second the boat seemed motionless, and I could see it pitching aft as the props torqued, looking for all the world like a lion on its haunches prepared to spring. During that instant Marks right arm stretched forward, index finger calling out his target: The Bulia Wall. Enough was enough; no more discussion. Today that wall was coming down.
Then the image vanished as the boat lept forward with the force of a rocket sled, the cavitating props covering the scene in an envelope of exploding salt spray. I heard Chad mutter to himself ”Dang… He must have tuned up those engines last night… Did he buy that script in Texas?” Heads bobbed in silent agreement with Chad, as we watched the SYC boat lunge forward with all the force MTW could coax out of his pre-mono SL vehicle algorithm.
Let me tell you, Mark never wavered from that due West course, and he slammed that boat straight dead center against the rocks at the base of the Bulia Wall, riding the shattered remains of the boat’s cockpit a full quarter of the distance up the incline of the much hated, but heretofore impenetrable, Barrier separating USS from the world to the West.
The deafening noise that erupted from MTW’s audacious assault immediately resounded across the entire grid, and sailors everywhere turned their attention to Bulia, their facial expressions betraying a shared sense of wide-eyed shock and awe.
What those sailors next witnessed will, without doubt, go down in the annals of SL Sailing folklore and legend. Mirabile dictu, high over the West horizon the crowd suddenly saw Patrick Leavitt’s seaplane descend from the clouds, haloed in the reflection of the morning sun. The crowd gave out an involuntary gasp as Patrick pitched the plane’s nose into a near vertical dive aimed at the West side of that despised Bulia Wall, and as he picked up speed he calmy selected an impact point precisely opposite the place where MTW was now comfortably standing, waiting for him.
Legend has it that Patrick used his estate-owner superpowers to channel the combined force of Sailors Cove’s more than two dozen sims in an attempt to reach a theoretical critical cpu temperature threshold needed to melt wall prims off the server. Patrick never acknowledged that rumor; his spokesperson offerred a written statement saying only that each of us must be willing to take those steps necessary to confront and end divisive tyranny wherever it occurs.
However he impelled that vehicle, Patrick adjusted his angle of impact with precision; the high velocity collision that resulted put a really bad scratch mark on the west wall prims, while bouncing Patrick out of the plane’s cockpit to safety on dry land at the base of the wall. You may ask where Patrick acquired the skill to pull off such a hazardous trick? Well, background research at SLSailing.com reveals incontrovertible video evidence that Patrick had repeatedly practiced this precise suicidal collision maneuver in the Big Cat Cup Races, where he repeatedly bashed his Z-40 catamaran into the EOW. On more than one occasion he sustained a concussion and was knocked totally out of SL! When I saw him do this again and again, I admit I thought Patrick was just clumsy or had a slow learning curve. Now we finally know the real story. He was practicing a secret mission to help rid sailors of despotic navigational tyranny!
So you may wonder what happened next; MTW was on the East side, Patrick was on the West. I have it on very good authority they both clambered up to the top of that awful wall, the wall that divided sailors against their will, and Patrick and MTW announced Never Again in barbershop harmony. In a message of hope and determination that still rings loud and clear to this day, they together pledged an end to the wall and they vowed to fight any future effort to obstruct open waterways or free communication in the sailing community.
I know that sounds like a tall order, but have some faith. As soon as they put the bullhorns down, I’m pretty sure they noticed it was getting late, so they turned around and asked Fanci and Nber to call the concierge to get LL to haul away the pile of broken toys littering the passage way. Then, arm in arm, they trundled off to lunch, another job well done.
[Please Note: If your recollection of the above events is different than what I just described, please DO NOT e-mail me. We all know that eye-witness testimony concerning long past events is notoriously unreliable, and after painstaking personal reflection, I’m absolutely certain my version is at least 31% accurate.
Anyway, if it did not happen as I reported, then it should have. Beside, it’s my version, and I’m sticking to it!
If you want objective proof, you’ll have to wait for the movie version.]
Points of Interest for the Accidental Tourist: Further West
Meanwhile, back at our sailing tour of Southern USS-West, the next point of interest is the German language Schiffsratten Yacht Club is located in Tiga sim. Going fairly quickly, it took us about 20 minutes to cross through all of the Sims to the West as shown in the diagram above and then make it back to Tiga so we could start heading North. If you decide to cruise through this region I’d suggest leaving 40 – 60 minutes for the tour, since there are so many places to dally along the way.
Well,anyway, remember Vin? He was still at the movies watching the original NLD. chaos and I actually made pretty good time sailing, and arrived someplace in the middle of the film when the blonde girl from the graveyard (a.k.a.”Johnny’s sister“) has an acute delusional anxiety episode. That actualy happens a lot, and her character is so useless in the movie it’s hard to find generate much compassion for her sorry plight. Actually, the thing that has always bothered me most about her over the years (yes I have thought about this, actually) is the fact she never takes off her raincoat through the movie. It makes sense that she is wearing it in the graveyard when they get attacked, but when they go into the farmhouse she never takes it off. I know, I know, you think that’s a pretty small item… well, after you see the movie 20 times you notice those things (to paraphrase John Waters: “Let’s watch that move again, but this time just look at everybody’s elbows!”).
I mention this issue here because After 10 minutes Vin, Chaos and I had settled into the chairs and flipped from skipper-mode to movie fan-mode well enough that we all suddenly shouted “Take off the raincoat!!!” in unison. Grin; actually, I guess that’s no real surprise. A race crew lives for that kind of teamwork!!
Eventually, of course, we knew it was time for us to move on, since we were already late for the Halloween party Fanci Beebe and Patrick Leavitt were throwing a on the sim just South of where we were currently eating popcorn. I guess I should also mention that Chaos was all set for the party. he left his foul weather sailing gear at home, and has sealed all evening wrapped up as a mummy, “Tiny Version.” I have to admit it. When it comes to the “undead,” Chaos Mandelbrot was pretty impressive.
The only thing that really bothered me was the fact he continued to decompose all evening long.
Anyway, we made a dramatic appearance at the sim. I took the helm for the first time that evening and a perfect hockey stop right at the center of the dock. of course, nobody paid any attention so we climbed out of the boat and walked up the winding path to the dance floor.
NOTE: Draft #1 abruptly ended here when I reread the post and realized it totally fell off the tracks around the second paragraph….
(REMEMBER THIS WAS JUST A DRAFT!)