Archive for March, 2011

The Bronx Zoo Cobra on the ….. Slither

This is too funny to ignore. There is a venomous Egyptian cobra missing from morning check-in since Saturday, March 26th. The reptile house at the Bronx Zoo is closed until further notice. Please note that this is a female snake. My guess is that she’s off to do her spring shopping: a new hat, perhaps a boa, a new shoe…. *grin* Zha thinks the snake is looking for skinny jeans. 🙂

In the meantime, she’s tweeting up a storm. How is she tweeting? you may ask, as many others asked. “There’s an asp for that” she has replied. *grin* ooooo – and now you know how Eve was convinced to eat the apple – snakes are VERY clever and VERY funny.

The “zookeeper” and the mongoose are also tweeting.

In the meantime, as the snake has informed the city of NY: snakes and apples, perfect together.

Spent

I’ve not been in SL lately. The atomic world has been taking its toll. Which is not to say I’m not keeping a half-an-eye watch on SL – I do. Like Santa, I can see if y’all are playing nicely or not. I’ve also kept watch on my other reader feeds and plurks and tweets and IMs. A friend sent the following link: Spent , run by the Urban Ministries of Durham. This is a “game” that simulates trying to live for a month once you have no job, no income and very little good fortune. I don’t usually play games. This one intrigued me, and didn’t seem all that “game-ish”.

This is not a game. This is a slap-in-the-face reality check. This is a hard kick to someplace that hurts. The premise is that you are a single parent, unemployed, homeless, with no savings, down to your last $1000. The challenge: make it through a month. Your first choice is to find a job or exit the “game”. It gets a LOT harder after that. I had to choose between earning money or seeing my child in a school play. I regret to say that I chose earning money, because there was still more than half the month left and I was running out of money. I skipped health insurance. I compromised over and over. The first time I played I failed the typing test (don’t ask) and so could only take a job as waitstaff. That did not pay enough and the hours conflicted with using the library internet and the bus was late and I was docked my pay. You can see how it goes.

My son played. Over and over and over. He made it to the last day once. But he had to kill his pet which was sick and crying because he didn’t have money to pay the vet. He had to make some other cruel choices. He had no health insurance. If he contested his unjust speeding ticket he would have to lose a day of work and be docked. He was stunned, absolutely flabbergasted to learn the if you do not maintain a minimum balance in your checking account, the bank TAKES MORE MONEY from you monthly, because you are poor. I think he must have spluttered that 3 times minimum: you mean, because I don’t have enough money, they’re going to take MORE money from me???? We live in a state where you are required by law to insure your car. I forget what he had to give up in order to insure the car. Something else desirable. He never did manage to buy health insurance. One round found him with an ailment in his jaw, but he had to live with the pain because he could not afford any medical care. You are given the choice between being a “hit-and-run-driver” or running out of money in the middle of the month.

Each time you make a choice, you are provided with facts or statistics. For example, once you have gotten a job and know your salary, you are offered the choice to buy health insurance. Trust me – you can’t afford it. Even though you can’t afford to be without it. The message ends with: Let’s hope you don’t get sick. When you have to decide where to rent, trading distance and cost, you learn that “for every dollar a working family saves on housing, they spend an ADDITONAL 77 cents on transportation”. In other words – the difference is 23 cents. Twenty three cents. And on and on. Yes, you CAN make it through the month. But you may not have enough for when the rent comes due for the NEXT month. And you might not like yourself very much for the choices you made to survive.

Take the Challenge. It’s very educational. And I’m thinking about it A LOT when I want to moan about the atomic world taking its toll.

We Are Not Amused

It was 80 degrees and sunny 5 days ago. This morning the snow was 2 inches deep on my car. More is predicted overnight. This is an evil thing to do to poor defenseless daffodils. I have nothing nice to say so I will say nothing more.

Hope

Finally. Some signs that winter WILL finally end. This one has been very difficult, in many different ways. Today it is raining AGAIN. We had 2 inches of rain earlier this week. Today they are forecasting 3-4 inches more. Flooding for sure. At least it’s not snow, right? Here’s to spring and sun and warmth and wanting to wake up in the morning.

The Marquis Ivercourt Speaks

We have a guest blogger today. This is a bit unusual, I must say. I’ve not had nobility – real or pseudo – post to my blog hitherto. It was my great pleasure and honor to become acquainted with the Marquis a few years ago. At that time he lived a much simpler life – had not yet acquired his dragon Ancalagon nor his title. But the years have obviously brought about a metamorphosis resulting in this current incarnation. With great….. amusement…., I present The Marquis Faust Ivercourt.

Greetings, my devoted supplicants! I, the Marquis Faust Ivercourt, have grown weary of my time governing my vast and profitable family lands, and have elected to venture forth on an adventure! Yes, that is right. I, the endless fountain of wonder that I am, have decided to grace this Hunt for Steam with my noble personage. I shall traverse to all the exotic fairs and markets, where I am told my vassals have left tribute for me to collect (as is their duty), with little more than my silk Levant Suit (made by BlackOpal Designs, the very best craftsmen in the Orient, as to be expected for any garment with which I deign worthy to garb myself, you know), my Adventuring Hat, my dragon Ancalagon, and my limitless wits. Also my impeccable style, but my excellence with regards to that needs not be mentioned. It simply is.

With that humble introduction completed, allow me to recount for future generations those adventures my noble person undertook before allowing his exceptionally interesting life to be chronicled by the grateful author of this magical book. [Editor’s intervention: I believe the Marquis refers to myself and my blog.] Though a book without pages is most impressive, to one well-traveled such as I, it is simply another amusing trinket. Nevertheless, one must always keep the masses content and distracted. So without further ado, my loyal subjects, let me begin this exciting tale of a hunt. Tally-ho, gentlemen! Let the hunt begin! Adventure-ho!

…Ah. I see how it is. It seems I have fallen out of touch with my subjects in the matter of taste. This IS the first store, is it not, Ancalagon? Pop Tart and Urban Assault?

Ancalagon: GRAAAAWR!

Very eloquently put, old friend. For those of you not versed in the language of lizards, Ancalagon simply remarked on how this must, indeed be the start of the hunt, for on its wall is a gear. Very well! It is no matter. I simply must find the small gear, and then we shall be off! Surely this won’t take long. Now…where is the gear…


Ahhh, it is like I am in Paris once again. I believe now I understand this store. The temptation of the Libertine philosophy, the pleasures of the night, the sweet, sweet feelings of freedom…not that I, the noble Gentleman Adventurer that I am, ever partook in such base pleasures. The 2nd Earl of Rochester was simply an acquaintance of mine. Simply politics, that noble and ancient art… *cough*

Ancalagon: RAAAAAARRR!

Yes, perhaps it is best if we moved on. I have found the tribute left for me.

A new travelling companion! A most worthy tribute! He shall be called Verne.

I do say, this was certainly a good beginning for a hunt. Now let’s be off! Where to next…

…Well, that is most inconvenient.

It seems I must halt my hunt, my poor subjects. But do not fear! The adventure must continue! If I cannot traverse this land, I shall find others to do so! Now, I must be off to find loyal minions to venture forth into the unknown on my behalf. Farewell for now! And remember, it is a vassal’s duty to offer tribute to their lord. Come Ancalagon, Verne. Tribute will not collect itself!

*grin* I did wonder if I should have included a warning in my introduction. So why is the self-styled Marquis blocked? Because the automatic age verification system refuses to accept any of the information that Faust has provided. When online customer support was contacted, he was told that they could do nothing, he needed to snail-mail them his identification and they would manually approve him. But not to fear – they promised to destroy the identification papers when they were through. The Marquis has decided to forego this approach. Instead he calls upon his devoted family and friends to aid him in his quest. And they get to keep whatever prizes are found at the Adult sites! Whoo-hooo! I have been warned told that the Marquis intends to grace us with more of his travels, as his time permits.

Steam 4 Hunt


Faust is back! Yay!! 🙂 And Faust loves Steampunk. He headed off to do some shopping and discovered that there was a hunt in progress for the month of March. It’s the Steam 4 Hunt, running March 1-31 and you can read all about it on the Steam The Hunt blog. The blog lists the stores, has pictures of the great prizes and contains more information as well.

I joined up with Faust in the second store and was so intent on finding gears that I forgot to start taking pictures until a few stores later. Certainly the first few stores were INCREDIBLY cool and interesting. I started taking pictures in E&D Engineering. The textures on sale there are simply fantastic! I was itching to start building just so I had an excuse to buy the textures and use them. Dale joined us there and we wandered about looking at all the items, not even trying too hard to find the gear. *grin* Deep Blue Sea Designs was another fun and appealing store. Faust was finding gears and I was wandering about admiring all the neat things for sale and the playful build. Oura joined us by the time we reached the Yellow Jester so she was there to admire Dale’s acquisition: a jester hat! I nearly added to my rocking animal collection at Capalini Fine Furnishings in Babbage. Faust and I spent quite a bit of time rocking away. Michele joined us at that point and the five of us kept hunting. And shopping. I have to say that from a store owner’s perspective, it was a successful hunt since all five of us bought items along the way, not just grabbing prizes and tp’ing out.

The next day Faust enticed me back in to keep hunting (he’d long since jumped way ahead, collecting gears and fantastic prizes). The store itself was quite small but was packed full of goodies. Xcentricity in Babbage is wonderful, just wonderful. The sim is fun and VERY steampunk. The store is full of intriguing objects. I really want the Rocket Boots. Not only do they look like fun, but they remind me of a friend who no longer comes into SL very much. 😦 Faust planned to go back for the Gatling Gun Top Hat. I may NEED a pith helmet, as well. 🙂

This is DEFINITELY a fun hunt. I don’t think I’ve even unpacked most of the prizes. The stores themselves have been the real prize and pleasure for me! Faust has been enjoying himself. He has promised to write a post in his inimitable style, cluing us in to his experiences. *grin*


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