Lucy Tornado

The Reading – New Film from TSMGO Studios & Mysterio Productions

My mate Enjah has been working hard (very bloody hard!) on her new movie – and what a doozy! She’s leapt from 2-3 minute comic shorts to a 9 minute drama set in the gorgeous seaside village of Cowell & mighty forest of Kahruvel, places close to my heart 🙂

So, without further ado, I present the latest TSMGO Studio release of the Mysterio Production*, The Reading…

* Don’t let Enjah’s modesty fool you. This is almost entirely the product of her hard work and certainly my only input was a few discussion emails and a very dodgy East European accent ;-D

Nurse Tornado Opens a Shelter for The Poor & Lost of Steelhead…

Shamian Alley has a very welcome addition as Nurse Lucy Tornado has opened a shelter where the poor & lost of Shanghai can lay their head and fill their bellies all under her tender mercies… pop over and say hello to the old gent who helps out there, Mudpie I believe he calls himself.
Lucys Shelter - 20 Shamain Alley_001

Lucys Shelter_001

Lucys Shelter_002

Goodunnit: Chapter 10 – And One More Makes Three

As the sun rose over Polymath Tower, pouring its spiteful light down upon my pounding head, I was calculating whether or not my lungs would make the dash to the pawnshop or simply explode with the effort.

One of my neighbours, Miss Tornado who ran the flophouse at twenty, had found me slumped on her steps and woken me with a message “There’s an angry old nun looking for you, says you’re needed over at Ho Pings.” Angry old nun could only mean the fearsome Mother Supirior, a nun so tough I heard she’d once had a face off with the owl-eating demon from Boomtown and won. I wasn’t sure if it was a contest to see who had the scariest face, but old MS would have won that hands down anyway.

As I ran down the cobbled street, I caught my reflection in a window. Christ and all his angels! My clothes were rumpled to the point of disgrace, my hair and whiskers jutted out at all angles and my face, oh god my face! I looked like a half-starved, half-crazed, half-burst scarecrow running round a field shrieking at birds! And judging by the smell, it was manure spreading time. I hoped to God Sister Sweetchecks didn’t see me like this.

Fuzz was stood with Mother Supierior outside the gawdy pawnbrokers and he gasped in shock as I came to a halt heaving and wheezing, “Gods Alive! Beck you look worse than the stiff!”. Old MS shot him a withering glare, he smiled slightly and added a hasty “well, almost.”

I grunted and self-consciously tried to run my fingers through my matted hair. It didn’t help. “You called?” my voice sounded as if my mouth was made from worn-out carpet, which given the taste it may have been.

“Hmmm not sure I did the right thing…”

“Can it Fuzz,” I snapped, “just tell me what you want.”

The sheriff just glared at me for what felt like an age, his face a mixture of anger and pity that made my skin crawl with shame, “I’m… I’m sorry Fuzz…” I started to say before the wolverine in a wimple cut me dead.

“And so you should be! You sir are a mess. A mess! You come here reeking of that vile smoke and sweat and cheap perfume,” I looked at Fuzz, shocked. He stepped back out of her eyeline and flashed me a slight sardonic smile that said “You’re on your own, pal.”

“I… I…” I stammered.

“I have not finished, Dr Beck,” she said, her tone brooking no discussion on the matter. I shut my trap and held on tight, something told me this was going to be a bumpy ride. “How dare you speak to the sheriff like that! How dare you! He called you into this – against my better judgement I may add,” Fuzz nodded, his smile all Chesire Cat, “and you arrive not only late and resembling something dredged up from the harbour, but with an attitude to match your odour – foul! Well it is not good enough sir! It is simply not good enough! And another thing…” She stopped as Fuzz stepped forward again, all faux gravitas, “I think that’s enough Mother Superior, I think Dr Beck has got the message loud and clear, haven’t you Doc.”

I was stunned. It felt like I’d been drop-kicked by my granny and then made to dress up as her poodle, “I… Well, yes. I’m sorry Sister,” “Mother Superior!” she corrected. “Mother Superior, of course, I’m sorry.”

“Yes, well, see you buck your ideas up, young man. See you buck them right up. Now if you excuse me, I think I need some fresh air!” and she stomped off like a monochrome thundercloud looking for someone to smite with lightning.

I looked at Fuzz, too stunned to speak. Fuzz grinned at me, “What can I say, doc? She’s one tough Mother.”

I nodded sagely, like Canute agreeing with someone lecturing on water’s ability to drown people, “Well, I’m sorry Fuzz, how about I go get straightened out and then come back, huh?”

“Nah, you’re here now, aren’t you? Let me show you the new stiff.”

“Another John Doe or old man Ping?” I asked, wondering what the hell was going on in Steelhead. So many murders could only point one way – the tong.

“Yup, Ho Ping, the questionable owner of this questionable establishment,” Fuzz stared at the model flamingoes by the door and sighed. Ho Ping, a tong fence who always managed to stay just on the right side of the law, ran a pawnshop where he ran a nice sideline in bleeding the poor Chinese workers dry. Like the rot eating away at the foundations of the harbour, Ping was a cancer gnawing away at the people of Shamain. Somehow I doubted they’d miss him much. But who killed him? Ping was deep with the Tong after all. Was this some kind of turf war? I’d not heard about a new gang trying to muscle in, though. Maybe some poor sap in hock to him finally snapped and cashed Ho Ping’s cheque in, but this didn’t seem likely as the repercusions for their family both here and back home would be terrible. There was one other explanation, one that made more sense than rival tongs or rogue borrowers. “Let me see the body,” I said already walking into the shop…

****{}****

To be continued…
All the “Goodunnit? Murder in Steelhead!” posts can be read here.

*****{*}*****

Links to other blogs and stories:
1) The start of this case was discussed at this weekly town hall meeting here.

All Your Breadz Are Belong To Us

Osprey had a plan. A secret plan. A sneaky plan. A good plan. A plan to say a big fat happy birthday to Lucy. You can read more about it here on Osprey’s blog – let me merely bathe you eyes in the glory of a dozen large tin ducks on tricycles flashmobbing Lucy, then a prog rock gig, Philip Linden’s house, a pub and finally a nightclub quacking all the way 😉

On a small, forgotten island, Osprey watched the horizon for the unsuspecting Lucy…
Lucy's Duckie Burpday

Whilst beneath the waves a silent army of ducks waited for her signal…
Lucy's Duckie Burpday

On cue (LUCY! DUCK!) the army burst forth quacking all the way!
Lucy's Duckie BurpdayLucy's Duckie Burpday

Lucy's Duckie Burpday

Lucy's Duckie BurpdayLucy's Duckie Burpday

After a quick party with Lucy, she donned the tin duck too and we set off looking for sims to gatequack!
Lucy's Duckie Burpday

Lucy's Duckie Burpday

We quacked our way through a couple of numbers with The Invisible Band!
Lucy's Duckie Burpday

Danced at a great little pub!
Lucy's Duckie Burpday

Held a board meeting at Philip Linden’s house (we discussed seed funding)…
Lucy's Duckie Burpday

I took a dip in Philip’s pond… I mean pool…
Lucy's Duckie Burpday

And finally we took over a great nightclub where we demanded BREAD!
Lucy's Duckie Burpday

Lucy's Duckie Burpday

Lucy's Duckie Burpday

Don’t think this is the last the grid has seen of Da Duckz and their own style of Hamlet’s beebop reality, oh noes we’ll be back! 😉

p.s. For more pics and stuff see these blogs and flickrs: Osprey, Enjah, Lucy, Kumi, Ilia. I’ll add more as they appear 🙂

QUACK!

Three Times The Fun!

Big time kudos to Holo, Mari and the others from Bay City for organising the first ever Tri-Cities parade (and to Osprey for her usual bang-up job on publicity) because the Halloween march through the cities and leap off Shermville bridge was a hoot! Everything happened on time and the party under the water afterwards was a blast!

Here I am (a zombie version of me) on my steampunk horse 🙂
Tri-Cities Halloween Parade - 1st Nov 09

The Nova Albion Parade off to meet the others on the bridge!
Tri-Cities Halloween Parade - 1st Nov 09

BAT!
Tri-Cities Halloween Parade - 1st Nov 09

The bat killed Lucy!
Tri-Cities Halloween Parade - 1st Nov 09

LisaHot plays a mean drum and fires a meaner cannon!
Tri-Cities Halloween Parade - 1st Nov 09

On the bridge a the sun came up…
Tri-Cities Halloween Parade - 1st Nov 09

Osprey looking teh sexeh!
Tri-Cities Halloween Parade - 1st Nov 09

Lucy needs a shave!
Tri-Cities Halloween Parade - 1st Nov 09

Kumi gets it oooonnnnnnn!
Tri-Cities Halloween Parade - 1st Nov 09

Holo leads the Bay City parade up the bridge…
Tri-Cities Halloween Parade - 1st Nov 09

Getting ready to jump…
Tri-Cities Halloween Parade - 1st Nov 09

Heere we all goooooooooooo!
Tri-Cities Halloween Parade - 1st Nov 09

Party with da fishes!
Tri-Cities Halloween Parade - 1st Nov 09

A Tale of Two Writers…

Lucy and I have different writing styles. Luce is smart, witty and clever – I’m all knob gags and Carry On giggles. Both sytles are great, but not easily thrust together (oh-er! See, there I go!) Anyhoo, Luce found this ace cartoon that just about sums us up 😀

p.s I’m writng and posting and surfing this on my phone on the bus. I mention it just cos it narks some folks 😀

xkcd.com comics disaster voyeurism

xkcd.com comics disaster voyeurism

TSMGO and The Army of Os

Sigh. RL, eh? Bummer. It’s had me in it’s grip for the last few weeks and is only now letting me go. I’ve got another cold* and generally need a holiday. All in all, I’ve not had the time, energy or inclination to jump in-world. Except, that is, to perform in the always fun “The Show Must Go On”**

Over the past month the merry troupe of deranged players has performed for the Great and Good of Caledon, the Great and Small of Raglan Shire and the “Great, you came!” of Phobos. All three shows had very different audiences united by the single fact they loved it!

To show (or shoe) or appreciation of what Osprey has done for us*** Lucy, Enjah and I decided to dress up as mini-Ospreys and surprise here after the latest show in Phobos last Sunday. As you can see, we make a pretty variable-quality of Osprey, but when all together who could tell us apart, honestly 😀
The Army of Os!

Here we are on Osprey’s blog

HBA… Or am I?
*************

* Ahhh, the joys of fatherhood, I don’t think I’ve actually been well at all this year. Nothing dramatic, bar flu over the New Year, more like a constant sense of ‘otherness’ in my body, as if there is something else in here with me and it’s spreading its legs and arms out to squeeze me to the edge. Bastard.

** Or “The Shoe Must Go On” as I seem to insist on typing. Whereas “The Show…” is a 40-minute dazzling and witty variety show of comedy, dance and naked cooking, “The Shoe…” is a 3 hour long soul-stripping act about an old man talking to his long dead wife as he struggles to put a shoe on to get out and collect his pension so he can put some money in the gas meter and keep warm. Shown only once, five of the audience committed suicide and twelve others are still being cared for in the Patch Adams wing of the Ingmar Bergman Ennui Clinic to this day. The play now only exists in a locked lead box sealed in the heart of a secret volcano somewhere in Hawaii.

*** Worked us like dogs, beaten our bare back, delivered many a bollocking, confused us and generally made the whole wonderful thing possible pretty much on her own.

TSMGO: Building a wall…

Well, I may not be a builder, but I can build. I can’t say I’d want to do it all the time as it stops me from doing fun stuff like seeing friends or exploring, but I do enjoy it nonetheless. It all started when… actually I can’t remember… anyhoo, I ended up building a wall for a backdrop to Lucy Tornado’s ventriloquist act in which I play the dummy (‘erindoors says it’s a part with my name on).

I got the brick texture from Salazar so it matched the theatre (I even matched the brick sizes!) and started building.
Vent Act Wall 1

I decided that I wanted it to look like a RL set as much as possible do I left the back the default plywood texture…
Vent Act Wall 2

I even made some stuts and nails to hold it all up…
Vent Act Wall 3

Vent Act Wall 4

And then added a “Property of…” stamp for the back 🙂
Vent Act Wall 5

To the front I added, over the course of a few days, pictures of Lucita and Burrito the Dummy as well as a neon sign and neon star (both with glow of about 0.5 added):
A wall for the ventriloquist act

It was with the introduction of the stamp, faces and neon signs that I hit problems… how to make a transparency! The stamps and neon signs were designed in Microsoft Publisher and then saved as JPGs before being imported into GIMP. The mugshots were taken against a brown screen (as opposed to a green one as this left a visible halo of green around no matter what I did whereas the brown meant that any halo would match the background – sneaky!). The brown I used was taken from one of the bricks using the “Show Colour Under Cursor” option buried in a submenu of the Advanced menu and the screen was a simple prim stretched out and turned brown using the RGB values shown. Once I had taken these pictures I saved them to my PC from Flickr as JPG files which meant that I had five JPGs to somehow convert to TGA with all the background transparant. It was both hard and easy at the same time. Hard because it was a steep learning curve that Enjah helped a lot with, and easy as it can be done in half-a-dozen clicks. For those of you new to (the free!) GIMP like me, here is how I did it:

1) Open the picture in GIMP
2) In Layers, go to Transparency and click the Add Alpha Channel option.
3) Go to Tools > Selection and click Colour Picker
4) Click on the colour you want gone.
5) Alter the thresehold up and down (re-clicking on the colour every time you change) to get the best result you can – least amount of background whilst not removing bits of the picture you want to keep.
6) When happy, hit the delete key – the colour will vanish and be replaced by the traditional checker board that represents a transparant area.
7) If this is good, click save and choose TGA file extension. Uncheck the RLE options and the other option (the name escapes me) to make sure this is saved in a way that SL can upload.
8) Yer done. Pop in world, upload and see if it’s what you want.

Top Tip 1: When I used Publisher for the neon sign, I made the mistake of making the font too small and saving the JPG as 150dpi. This resulted in a very pixelated result once uploaded. To fix this I switched on Clear Type in Windows (Start > Contol Panel > I forget where), put the JPG quality up to 300dpi and made the font as big as possible. I also used Wordart to make it curved.

Top Tip 2: I used the free XnView to crop the finished TGA files. I foubd it made cropping the final results easier but I’ll bet GIMP can do that, I just don’t know how.

Top Tip 3: I used the Elipse Selection and Invert Selection to make the cut out faces round – you can’t really tell in the reult, but it helped avoid the ‘passport photo’ look.

Phew. I think that is it 🙂 Hope this helps anyone trying the same thing with GIMP, oh and please let me know if I can make the process any easier.

SL Peeps: Mr Burrito

Ooooo, this is one tough tomato… Mr Burrito, the bad tempered dumm… er, I mean assistant to The Great Lucita in her groundbreaking ventriloquist act currently wowing audiences in the one and only The Show Must Go On. If you see him, say Hi! but don’t ever, ever use the D-word… you have been warned!
Postcard from Second Life.