Friday, November 9, 2012

Leveraged Buyout: Part XV. Postscript

Leveraged Buyout

Part XV: Postscript

Written 9 November, 2012

Sweetie and I were lounging on towels on a secluded beach on Whimsy Kaboom, watching birds fly and listening to the sound of the surf as the sun slowly set.

"You made a big mistake in your blog," she said.

"I did? What"

"You put spy scripts in Taggmasster 2000's tie pin and cufflinks." she said.

"And?"

"You should have put them in his ox-horn helmet and bear tooth necklace," she said.

"Well, at least I got the prim penis part right," I said.

"Ewww!" Sweetie said.

"Too bad we weren't able to use our idea about his deep voice being due to a voice changer," I said. "I was looking forward to humiliating him at the board meeting."

"Having a revolt on his sims was better," Sweetie said.

"Yeah," I said, "but I still wish we could have worked in the voice changer."

"It's hardly like we plot out these posts," Sweetie said.

"Shhh!" I said. "My readers might be listening." I turned out the light.

After a while Sweetie said, "You heard the latest?"

I turned the light back on. "On Tagg? No."

"I was out shopping and one of the stores had Sleezy's news magazine running. Now he's homeless and on the run from all those angry panthers, and now that his daddy's attempted coup of America failed, he's claiming religious discrimination. He says his Gorean world view causes women to abuse him. He's working a lawsuit against the panthers, and maybe us."

"What, for making fun of him in my blog?"

"Yes," she said.

"Is Gor a religion" I asked.

Sweetie yawned. "Good question. Can someone just make up a religion and get away with it?"

"It worked for Joseph Smith," I said, "but I don't think anyone else will be finding gold tablets in a field. Forensic technology has come a long way."

"Tagg and his friends should have picked a better science fiction author than John Norman," Sweetie said. "His books are terrible. He couldn't write his way out of a paper bag."

"Well, L. Ron Hubbard was already taken."

Sweetie rolled over onto an elbow. "Why can't there be a Ray Bradbury cult?" she mused.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Leveraged Buyout: Part XIIV. Denoument


The following is the transcript of the official Whimsy court reporter, the Whimsy Swear Jar. It hasn't been changed in any way.

Leveraged Buyout

Part XIIV: Denoument

Written 6 November, 2012

Sweetie, Dakota, and I were lying on the lounging rug at our House of 1000 Pleasures.

"Sweetie, you were brilliant!" Dakota said.

"Thanks, Dakota. So were you. But how did the covenant get changed back?"

"Oh, I'm a black hat. I've been with Anonymous these past couple of years. It took a while, but I got past Whimsy's firewall and replaced Tagg's doctored covenant with the original. Thank goodness, it was among the old lady clothes Chey gave me to hold for her."

I said, "Those. Were. Not. Old. Lady. Clothes."

"Whatever," Dakota said. She knows saying whatever just pisses me off.

"It's good to see you back on the grid, Dakota," Sweetie said. "What will you do now?"

"I don't know. I'm going to take Chey up on her offer to take me shopping, though. My look is outdated. Last time I was out someone inspected me and laughed at the creation date of my clothes. And then I suppose I'll go back in the box until Chey needs me again."

"Which may be never," I said through my teeth.

"The life of an alt, huh?" said Sweetie. "They forget about you until it's handy to rez you."

"Pretty much. Sweetie. You know, I can't get over Sleezy turning on Whimsy like that."

"Oh, she's just jealous of me. You see, the difference between us is she's a narcissist. I'm an egoist. She wants to look good so the world will revolve around her. I know the world will revolve around me no matter how I look. She doesn't understand the distinction."

"I should ban her," I said.

"No need," Sweetie said. "She won't be back unless we have another crisis to boost her career."

"Heaven forbid," I said.

"Well, I'm off to go shopping," Dakota said.

"Last time I looked," I said, "you had $3L. That won't go far."

"Oh, not to worry. I have $20,000L."

Sweetie snorted and rolled over laughing.

"Oh no, you don't!" I said. "That's my money."

"I'm considering it compensation for a job well done," Dakota said. "And besides, you promised." She teleported away before I could respond.

"You did promise," said Sweetie.

"Fine," I said. "I'll just eat Ramen noodles all month so I can make my tier to Linden Lab."

"Well, there are plenty of pineapples and coconuts here on Whimsy," Sweetie said. "which wouldn't have been the case if Taggmasster 2000 had gotten his way."

"I'll make it through somehow," I said, "but I'm already craving a Big Mac."

"Well, just snuggle up to me," she said. "I'll make it all better."

Leveraged Buyout: Part XIII. The Board Meeting, Part II

The following is the transcript of the official Whimsy court reporter, the Whimsy Swear Jar. It hasn't been changed in any way.

Leveraged Buyout

Part XIII: The Board Meeting, Part II


Written 5 November, 2012

Dakota Burns: I call the meeting back to order.

Taggmasster 2000: I'd like to talk about the plan Eremalos will implement if this board is so kind as to give us control of Whimsy.

Dakota Burns: Oh, why not!?

Sweetie: Ooh, an interrobang! I love interrobangs!

Taggmasster 2000: Let me just start this short movie. Oh, it won't play! Who disabled scripts on this sim?

Dakota Burns: I've turned off scripts to make sure you don't sneak more spyware into your jewelry and, erm, part.

Taggmasster 2000: Dear board, please pretend the movie is running. Eremalos Capital is in control of the sim. As grandiose music plays we see a crystal city, filled with tall spires-- the working heart of the capitalistic sim known as Tagg 17-- er, Whimsy. A great hotel sits atop the volcano Pele, the lava pit visible through the transparent glass floor of a grand ballroom.

Judge Camper. I have a sudden craving for popcorn.

Taggmasster 2000: At the base of the mountain we see kajira huts, and beyond on the absolutely flat plain we see 512 square meter plots where hundreds of avatars are happy to pay rent to rez their sad little homes and pose balls. Above, in the sky there's a grand floating mall where Second Life's best designers sell their wares-- skins, hair, shoes, vehicles, and mesh loincloths. We-- damn! The film broke!

Whimsy Swear Jar: You just spoke a dirty word, Taggmasster 2000. Please pay me $25L. You now owe me $25L.

Sweetie: And how will this grand city be financed, Taggmasster? With funds from Eremalos Capital?

Taggmasster 2000: Oh, no! We've already invested. We'll hold a sim-wide yard sale to sell off Whimsy's many prims and the contents of Ms. Palisades voluminous inventory. We'll sell her lucrative jewelry business and sell the robot sanatorium to a group of Battlestar Galactica role players-- they're already showing interest. We'll pre-sell pre-fab condos and give renters a big discount for paying six months in advance.

Sweetie: And you'll use the proceeds to pay Whimsy's tier?

Taggmasster 2000: Oh, no. You see, our contract expires on November 21st.

Dakota Burns: Why so soon?

Sweetie: Because Whimsy's tier is due on the 22nd. That's why!

Dakota Burns: So you'll leave behind a healthy sim with funds enough to pay the tier?

Taggmasster 2000: We will of course pay ourselves a moderate fee for our consultation and management services.

Sweetie: And what will be the balance upon your departure?

Taggmasster 2000: Uh, let's see here... approximately... I have it here somewhere... zero Lindens.

Dakota Burns: So you'll leave us with no money and a $300 USD tier payment due?

Taggmasster 2000: Yes, brilliant, isn't it?

Dakota Burns: But where did the-- where will the money go?

Taggmasster 2000: I told you there would be management fees.

Sweetie: Let's get this straight-- You already have more than $20,000L of Cheyenne's money. You'll have the proceeds from selling all the prims on Whimsy and the 32,000 items in Cheyenne's inventory--

Taggmasster 2000: That reminds me-- Ms. Burns, we'll be wanting those old lady clothes you're holding for Ms. Palisades. They should move well in the yard sale.

Sweetie: Our residents have paid their tier for the month and yet they'll be unceremoniously moved out of their homes and you'll set up hundreds of small plots and rent them-- and you'll rent space to merchants for your floating mall.

Taggmaster 2000: Accurate so far.

Sweetie: You'll sell Chey's jewelry business and the robot sanatorium. And then, the day before tier is due you'll leave, taking all the money with you.

Taggmaster 2000: That's it in a nutshell. I told you it was brilliant!

Sweetie: And who else thinks this is a good idea?

Dakota Burns: Three hands are raised-- Taggmasster, Judge Camper, and Sleezy Spinoza. Judge, your vote doesn't count. So two in favor, and Sleezy, how could you? Those opposed? Myself and Sweetie. It's tied, two to two.

Taggmasster 2000: So it will all come down to those proxies, won't it?

Sweetie: I think they're fake.

Taggmasster 2000: But you can't prove it.

Sweetie: No. But we have an alternate vision. Our renters will continue to enjoy lovely sunrises and enjoy Whimsy's many amenities. Visitors will enjoy the beaches, the underwater area, the gardens, the train, and the Robot Sanatorium will continue to provide care for the many malfunctioning mechanoids of the Metaverse. And Cheyenne will be allowed back on the sim-- provisionally.

Dakota Burns: I won't bother to call the vote. It will be two to two. As for the proxies, I took the time during our break to get in touch with Chey's renters. Two were unavailable, but the others denied having given Tagg their proxies. As for the prims and scripts, not even one replied to my query. I'm sure they didn't reply to Taggmasster either. Upon advice of counsel, I'm throwing the lot out. That means we're stalemated.

Judge Camper: Not so fast! I took the liberty during the break to rez a prim. So I'm now eligible, and I vote with my client. His vision carries over Sweetie and Chey's vision! We now have to call a vote of the shareholders.

Dakota Burns: Don't tell me how to do my job, Camper. We will now have a vote of the shareholders. As Cheyenne's proxy I vote now with her 12,542 shares. I say Nay.

Sweetie: I vote Nay with my 1451 prims.

Dakota Burns: That's 13993 against.

Sleezy Spinoza: As a reporter I must remain objective. I and my one share abstain from this vote.

Dakota Burns: Too damn bad you didn't abstain before.

Whimsy Swear Jar: You just spoke a dirty word, DAKOTA BURNS. Please pay me $25L. You now owe me $L175.

Judge Camper: I and my one share vote Aye.

Taggmasster 2000: I and my 50,000 shares vote Aye.

Dakota Burns: Proposal carri-- wait a minute! How do you come up with 50,000 shares?

Taggmasster 2000:  We contacted the intersim prim banking authority and borrowed 50,000 additional prims for Whimsy.

Sweetie: You can't do that!

Taggmasster 2000: You can if you're me! And check the covenant. You'll see it suddenly says borrowed prims count.

Dakota Burns: Do I have to say motion carries?

Taggmasster 2000: Yes, you do.

Dakota Burns: Very well then. Motion--

Judge Camper: Tagg, you're gonna want to listen to this. Sleezy has gone on the air.

Sleezy Spinoza: We're here on Whimsy again as the board meeting to determine the sim's fate continues.  It looks as if Taggmasster's 2000's proposal to stupidscape Whimsy is about to carry. But we break to bring you this exclusive report. Trouble is brewing on the Gorean sims Tagg 1 through Tagg 16.  Liberated kajirae, working with the panther minority, have seized control in a bloody coup and are declaring a new nation-state to be called Feminiland.

Taggmasster 2000: What?!!!

Sweetie: Ooh, triple interrobang!

Taggmasster 2000: This can't be happening!

Sleezy Spinoza: The rebels aren't saying who supplied them with the fruitcake cannons and exploding lipsticks they needed for the takeover, but they and their sister nation-state of Whimsy have already established diplomatic ties. Feminiland has issued a fatwah for their former leader, one Taggmasster 2000, who is also wanted by Linden authorities for the unauthorized "borrowing" of some 50,000 prims.

Taggmasster 2000: I wish Dad had been here. He's so much better at this than me. I think I should leave now.

Dakota Burns: Taggmasster, upon re-reading the Whimsy covenant I see no reference whatsoever to Whimsy having issued any shares. This sim clearly belongs to Cheyenne Palisades and you have no business here whatsoever. Judge Camper, you are to immediately rescind the restraining order on Ms. Palisades and you are to issue one for yourself. If we catch you here again we'll feed you to Callie, our giant patrolling sea serpent. And that goes for you too, Tagg! Wait, don't run away so fast! You owe the swear jar $25L.

Sweetie: Too late, Dakota. He's gone.

Dakota Burns: Judge Camper, before you issue that restraining order on yourself, issue an arrest warrant for Taggmasster.

Sleezy Spinoza: And there you have it, viewers, the exciting conclusion to the attempted leveraged buyout of Whimsy by the Eremalos Capital Group.

Whimsy Swear Jar: Thank you, DAKOTA BURNS, for your payment. We are now even. Please watch your mouth.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Leveraged Buyout: Part XII. The Board Meeting, Part I

Not Safe for Work

Leveraged Buyout

Part XII: The Board Meeting, Part I

Written 5 November, 2012

Taggmasster 2000: I'd like to call this meeting to order.

Sweetie: Objection! Cheyenne Palisades is owner of this sim and by the covenant she's Chair of this board.

Taggmasster 2000: And yet she's not here.

Dakota Burns: You know why she's not here, you Gorean pimp! You fucking banned her.

Whimsy Swear Jar: You just spoke a dirty word, DAKOTA BURNS. Please pay me $25L. You now owe me $25L.

Dakota Burns: I'm not payin' you, you piece of slabsided pottery!

Whimsy Swear Jar: You just spoke a dirty word, DAKOTA BURNS. Please pay me $25L. You now owe me $50L.

Dakota Burns: What, s-l-a-b-s-i-d-e-d is a swear word now?

Taggmasster 2000: Friends and fellow board members, I object to this pimp insult. I didn't ban Ms. Palisades. I would never stoop so low. She was banned by our legal system due to her violent nature.

Dakota Burns: Oh, no, you don't! The ban has to be lifted so she can attend this travesty of a board meeting.

Judge Camper: My decision is final.

Dakota Burns: Then as I have Ms. Palisades' proxy--"

Taggmasster 2000: I will be happy to serve as interim board chair.

Dakota Burns: STFU, you asshat! I have Chey's proxy and I'm declaring myself chair of this meeting.

Whimsy Swear Jar: You just spoke a dirty word, DAKOTA BURNS. Please pay me $25L. You now owe me $75L.

Dakota Burns: Yeah, but I gotcha by using the acronym for shut the fuck up, didn't I?"

Whimsy Swear Jar: You just spoke a dirty word, DAKOTA BURNS. Please pay me $25L. You now owe me $100L.

Dakota Burns: Dammit!

Whimsy Swear Jar: You just spoke a dirty word, DAKOTA BURNS. Please pay me $25L. You now owe me $125L.

Dakota Burns: Doesn't matter anyway. I have no money to pay you.

Taggmasster 2000: As Ms. Burns is delinquent in her payment to the Whimsy swear jar and by extention to the nation-state of Wimsy, that would rule her ineligible to serve as chair.

Dakota Burns: Sez who?

Sweetie: I will promise to pay the current fees owed by Ms. Burns to Whimsy Estates. I move that pending Ms. Palisades' return her alt Dakota Burns be appointed interim chair.

Dakota Burns: I second that.

Judge Camper. You can't second that, you're the subject of the motion.

Dakota Burns: Then as holder of Chey's proxy I second the motion. I call the vote. All in favor? Opposed? I'm board chair.

Sweetie: Yay!

Dakota Burns: As interim board chair I direct that Judge Camper be removed from the premises due to the fact he owns no stock in Whimsy Estates.

Judge Camper: But I'm counsel to Mr. 2000 and Eramalos Capital Group!

Dakota Burns: Very well, but you have no voting privilege here.

Taggmasster 2000: Then as Cheyenne's attorney of record, Sweetie shouldn't be allowed to vote either.

Dakota Burns: But she does own stock. And if you don't back away from her she'll no doubt cut off your fucking head.

Whimsy Swear Jar: You just spoke a dirty word, DAKOTA BURNS. Please pay me $25L. You now owe me $150L.

Sweetie: Go easy, Dakota. I'm not made of money.

Dakota Burns: Before we proceed, does any one have any cameras, recording devices, or spy scripts?

Sweetie: We all have cameras, Dakota. It's part of the interface.

Dakota Burns: So we do. But I'd better not hear any shutter sounds.

Sweetie: I just scanned Taggmasster 2000. He has spy scripts in his cufflinks, tie clasp and prim penis.

Dakota Burns: Take them off, Tagg, and pass them to Baliff Merlin. Baliff Merlin, remove all scripts and hand the, er, items back to Mr. 2000.

Sweetie: Baliff Merlin! It's so nice to see you! It's been years! And you're a furry now! Who would have guessed!

Dakota Burns: Now let's go around the room so everyone can introduce themselves and tell us why they qualify to be here. I'm Dakota Burns, Ms. Palisades' alt, and I have her proxy. And I think I left a prim here somewhere back in 2008.

Sweetie: I'm Sweetie No-Last-Name and I'm Ms. Palisades' attorney of record and hot girlfriend. I have more than a thousand prims here on Whimsy.

Taggmasster 2000: Hello, everybody. I'm Taggmasster 2000. I represent Eremalos Capital Group. I'm happy to tell you our plans for these sims. First we intend to--

Dakota Burns: Zip it, Tagg. You'll get your turn to speak.

Sleezy Spinoza: Everyone knows who I am. I'm Sleezy Spinoza and I'm here as a representative of the media. Also I had a friend help me rez a prim so I could vote a share. And oh, what fun it was!

Taggmasster 2000: I have the proxy of Whimsy's residents, animals, and scripts.

Dakota Burns: What's that? It did? Oh, that's terrible! Everyone, I'm keeping Chey informed of proceedings through IM. She tells me one of our renters had her beach house flooded by the weather machine we set up to mirror Hurricane Sandy's effect here in Whimsy. She's been too busy to get in world, so Tagg couldn't possibly have her proxy. I'm ruling her and her shares absent.

Taggmasster 2000: Now see here--

Dakota Burns: Pretend I have a gavel. Now pretend I'm banging it. You're out of order, Gorian.

Sweetie: I demand Taggmasster show proof of his proxies.

Taggmasster 2000: Here are signed copies.

Dakota Burns: Well, I'll be a blue-haired freak of nature! He actually has signatures. But wait-- these all seem to be in the same hand.

Taggmasster 2000: Well, they gave them to me electronically.

Dakota Burns: I need to study these. I'm declaring a 30-minute recess. Please don't travel more than 96 meters from this spot or rez any prims during the break.

Leveraged Buyout: Part XI. Dakota Here


Leveraged Buyout

Part XI: Dakota Here

Written 5 November, 2012

Dakota Burns here. That's me on the right, above, with Chey, back in 20007.

I've not had money since then to update my look. I have no mesh clothing, or even sculpted clothes. I'm a blue-haired fashion disaster-- but Chey promises to take me shopping if I can save her Whimsy sims. I'll do my best!

Leveraged Buyout: Part X. Banned!

Leveraged Buyout

Part X: Banned!

Written 5 November, 2012

One minute I was lying in bed with Sweetie and the next I was standing on the square at the Ahern Welcome Area!

"Oh, look, another nude newbie!" someone said.

"Where?" I asked, and then realized it was me. I was starkers.

"I'm not a newbie," I said, and tried to put on my emergency starter outfit. Of course, since there were 70 avies on the sim it didn't happen right away.

Looking up, I noticed there were zero Lindens in my account. As it was just after the first of the month, there had been just over $22,000L from Whimsians paying tier. Every month I convert it to dollars to offset part of the cost of the money I pay the Linden for Whimsy's. I knew Taggmasster had somehow stolen all my money.

I IMed Sweetie. "Wakie wakey, hon. Did the sim crash?"

She yawned and then said, "Uh, no, I'm still in bed."

"Damnit!" I said. "I've been banned from my own sim!"

"Well, you were in violation of the retraining order."

"A bogus restraining order," I shouted, "and one that should never have been issued in the first place!"

"Calm down," she said. "I'm sure Leaf Shermer will put you up."

"Yeah, but I won't be able to go to the board meeting. Damn that Judge Camper!"

"Want me to cut his head off?" Sweetie asked.

"At the first opportunity," I said.

"I can act as your proxy," she said.

"No," I said. "That would be a conflict of interest because you'll be representing me as my attorney. Can you rush over to one of the law schools and pick up a law degree?"

"No need," Sweetie said. "I have one already."

"Why am I not surprised?" I said. "But are you on the bar?"

"Since Whimsy is at least for the moment an independent nation-state, I can issue myself one," she said. Then, "I have an idea. You can give Dakota your proxy."

Dakota Burns is my alt. She began life as sacrificial virgin to the volcano goddess Pele, but quickly assumed a personality and life of her own. Besides, Pele doesn't accept human sacrifices.

"Dakota and I aren't on good terms," I said. "The last time we talked I dumped all my transferrable excess inventory on her to hold and never paid her. She's still complaining about having a wardrobe full of old lady clothes."

"Well," Sweetie said, "don't be so tight. Pay her this time."

"I'll do it," I said, "but I have a bad feeling about this. We have no idea what Dakota has been up to these last few years."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Leveraged Buyout: Part IX. We Have Suspicions About the Covenant

Leveraged Buyout

Part IX: We Have Suspicions About the Covenant

Written 4 November, 2012

I was lying in bed, studying Whimsy's covenant.

"I don't remember putting all this about shares in the covenant," I said to Sweetie, who was lying beside me. "Do you?"

"I do not," she said.

I had a thought. "Did you read the covenant?" I asked.

"I did not," she said.

"Sweetie!" I said.

"My job is to muse," she said. "not to worry about details. A muse's life is short.  We muse and then flit away. If we didn't, how could we come up with absurd ideas like, uh, this story line?"

"Life is all details!" I said.

She smiled, "You're good with details," she said, "so if you say you didn't put in anything about shares, then you didn't."

"That means Tagg somehow got into the covenant and altered it," I said.

"Fortunately, you have a copy in your inventory," said Sweetie.

"How did you know that?" I said.

"I just know you," she said.

"Hmmm, I said. "None of this is in the actual covenant:"
Whimsy Estates is an incorporated entity, subject to the laws of the United States and the Terms of Service of Linden Lab.
Whimsy Estates will issue one share of stock per prim of land holdings-- 15,000 sims per full sim, 3750 prims per homestead sim, and 750 prims per light sim. 
Renters and property owners present at the time of incorporation are entitled to shares of Whimsy Estate's stock in proportion to their contribution, based on their prim allotment. Renters receive one share per prim of their rental; landowners receive one share for each square meter.
Scripted prims present on the land at the time of incorporation receive one share of stock per scripted prim. When prim sets are animated, the prim set will be issued one share per prim, regardless of  the number of scripts in the set. Thus, two-prim simple circling birds with receive two shares, a 30-prim vehicle will receive 30 prims. Temp-on-Rez primsets are not eligible for shares.
 Non-issued shares and shares voided when prims are removed from the land shall be controlled by the Board of Directors and may be reissued at the pleasure of the Board.
The former owner of Whimsy retains any shares not issued on the date of incorporation.
Shares controlled by non-sentient prims shall be voted by the Chair of the Board of Directors.
"This is definitely not my doing," I said.
Whimsy shall be governed by a Board of Directors of no less than five and no more than nine directors. which shall set its term limits and election procedures. A Chief Executive Officer shall be appointed by the Board and shall operate under the direction of the Board. 
"I didn't write any of this," I said, "but they'll use this against us. Who knows how many shares they'll be able to claim!. Clearly, Taggmasster managed to gain access to the Region menu and alter it."

"We'll have to prove that," Sweetie said, "and I think I know how."

Leveraged Buyout: Part VIII. Taggmasster Makes His Move

Leveraged Buyout

Part VIII: Taggmasster Makes His Move

Written 4 November, 2012

"Honey," said Sweetie, "You might want to take a look at About Land."

"Why?" I asked suspiciously.

"Just do it."

I clicked the top of my screen and the menu opened.

"OMG!" I said.

"Did you notice the owner is listed as 'Pending'?" she said. "And the group is Pending."

"That's what I'm OMGing about," I said. "OMG all over again! How could they do that?"

At that moment Judge Camper chose to ring in. "Welcome to the world of high finance," he said, via IM. "Have you looked at the Region controls?"

"No," I said. "We were just looking at About Land."

"Try Region," he said.

I did. "OMG!" I said. "The Region menu is blacked out."

"Just as it would be if you didn't own the sim-- which you don't, quite, at the moment."

I said, "It seems the region name has been changed from Whimsy to Pending."

"Yes. Go back to the About Land menu and look at the prims."

"Crap!" I said. "My prims are no longer mine! Sweetie's, too! I can't even tell which are mine and which are hers. They're all marked Unknown."

Judge Camper said, "The audio is set to the Eremalos death metal channel, and the media to EremalosNews: Greedy and Sneaky. And if you cam over to Whimsy Kaboom you'll see the Eremalos corporate yacht taking up most of the sim."

"I'll return it!" I said.

"I'm afraid you can't," said Judge Camper. "You no longer have the ability."

"How did they do all this?" I asked.

"Taggmasster 2000 got one of his judge buddies to issue a temporary restraining order against you," he said. "You're not even supposed to be on the sim."

"What did I do to warrant all this?" I asked.

"Have you looked at your blog lately?" he said. "You can be quite vicious. Tagg persuaded the judge you're unstable and dangerous."

"But how could they do it? I own Whimsy fair and square."

"They don't play fairly, Chey."

A thought came to me. "How much did they pay you?"

"You know my rates: $1L per ten minutes. They paid me well over my going-- I mean, how can you believe I would do that to you?"

"Judge Camper, You're fired!"

"It's JusticeUnlimited," he sniffed. "I've worked three hours for you--"

"And probably six against," I said.

"-- and you'll be receiving my invoice for $18L."

"Send it to Taggmasster 2000," I said, and muted him.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Leveraged Buyout: Part VII. I Gather Background Information


This video is Not Safe for Work

Leveraged Buyout

Part VII: I Gather Background Information

Written 4 November, 2012

With a showdown coming, I needed advice-- and not the kind I would get from Judge Camper. I needed to talk to an old friend. But which one?

As I looked over my friends list, I realized most of my acquaintances are no longer on the grid-- and the few who still come in world weren't logged in. So I did the next best thing. I called the Linden Concierge Line to talk to the Australian guy. He's always there.

If you don't know, concierge service is available to those who own private islands or half a sim or more on the mainland. I'm eligible because I own Whimsy.

I guess that makes me part of the 1%, or one of the landed gentry, as my friend Melissa Yeuxdoux says, but hey, a perk is a perk. I picked up the phone.

When I told the Australian guy what was happening he said gravely, "This has been happening for a long time."

He said, "Do you ever wonder why so many sims have disappeared? Svarga-- although we Lindens rescued that one; it was sort of like Obama saving Detroit. The Hanging Gardens of Apollo. Privateer Space. So many more. Do you ever wonder why a sim disappears?"

"Erm, the owners decide it's more important to use the money for a car payment than for tier?" I said. "Or they lose their jobs or get divorced or have to send their kids to college?"

"Sometimes that happens," he said, "but more often sim owners lose their property to takeover specialists-- corporate vultures. Leveraged buyouts. Hostile takeovers."

"Oh!' I said. "They get busted out!"

"Yeah," he said. "They get busted out."

"I saw that episodes of the Sopranos," I said. "The owner of a sporting goods store gets in debt because of his gambling and goes to Tony for a loan. Tony puts Paulie Walnuts in charge and Paulie starts ordering all sorts of merchandise and moving it out the back door. Eventually the business owes a huge amount of money for merchandise that has fallen off the back of a truck. The creditors are screaming and as a final touch Tony's crew torches the place for the insurance money. Tony and his crew acquire a healthy business and gut it."

"Exactly," said the Australian guy. "That's what happened to all those sims."

"I knew the mob was in Second Life!" I said.

"No, no," he said. "Well, there is a mob here, but they just get off on wearing pimp suits and and acting tough. I'm talking about Wall Street types. These blokes look for companies they can exploit and then use every trick in the book to transfer the wealth from the company to their own pockets?"

"Like Bain Capital," I said.

"Exactly like Bain Capital," he said.

"Here's how it works. These people find a company and then borrow money from speculators to buy stocks or bonds. With even a small percentage they can attend board meetings and influence stockholders. By blustering, lying, and conniving, they get themselves put in charge, giving themselves big salaries and invoicing millions of dollars for their management "expertise." The fees, of course, go in their pockets and in the pockets of the speculators who funded them.

"Now they're calling all the shots. They borrow heavily against the company's assets, making sure to come up with fees that ensure most of the money goes to them. They sell off company assets, strip workers of their pensions and health insurance, cut their salaries, and more often than not lay most of the workforce off. The jobs are shipped overseas to China or India or done away with entirely. All the savings goes into their pockets.

"Then they declare bankruptcy and exit stage left, leaving the stockholders with staggering debts and a hollow shell of a company that has been stripped of its assets."

"And then, of course," I said, "they look for another target."

"Exactly," he said. "What these guys do isn't illegal-- they donate lots of money to politicians who make sure what they do isn't a crime-- but it should be. It's certainly corrupt and immoral. It destroys companies, reduces the gross national product, and ruins the lives of thousands of workers. It drives entire towns to ruin by destroying their financial base. The plant that had a thousand workers now has none, and those thousand people have no money to spend for food, clothing, gasoline, new cars..."

"That's horrible!" I said.

"And to think one of your presidential candidates is one of that lot!"

"Obama! I said. "Damn him!"

"No, no," he said. "The other one."

"Oh, the one who lies about everything? The one with the plastic hair?"

"Yeah, that one," he said.

"Well damn him, then," I said.

"Second Life is much smaller than it used to be," the Australian guy said, "and now you know why."

"Because of the vultures," I said. "But what can I do to save Whimsy?"

"We're not allowed to provide legal advice on the concierge line," he said, "but maybe you should get a lawyer."

"Unfortunately, I already have one," I said.

Leveraged Buyout: Part VI. Barbarians (Literally!) at the Gate

Leveraged Buyout

Part VI: Barbarians (Literally!) at the Gate

Written 3 November, 2012

"I was expecting a taller Taggmasster," I said to Sweetie.

"Silence, infidel!" roared Tagg in his basso profundo.

"Uh, you got it backwards, Taggy," I said. "You're the uh-- I don't know how to say this-- barbarian. We here on Whimsy are civilized. See," I said, piroutetting, "high couture!"

"Not as couture as mine," Sweetie reminded me.

"Still pretty high when compared to a loincloth," I said.

"I'll have you know this is mesh," Taggmasster said, "and mesh loincloths don't come cheap."

"Sweetie, put your sword down," said Sleezy. "I have an interview to do. Do I look good?"

"Good enough I'm thinking about offering you a collar," Taggmasster said.

After primping her hair, Sleezy said, "Hello! Here with an exclusive report, it's Sleezy Spinoza on the isle of Whimsy, site of the recent zombie horde and much-talked-about target for takeover by Taggmasster 2000's Eremalos Capitol Group. Here is you-know-who to talk about you-know-what and who-can-guess-how-much! Miss Palisades--"

"Miss Palisades will not be speaking today." This from Judge Cam--- er, JusticeUnlimited, or whatever his display name was. "On my advice."

"Oh, pooh!" said Sleezy, who immediately turned to Taggmasster 2000.

So, Mr. Taggmasster, tell me, what brings you here to the beautiful Whimsy simsies?"

"Simsies?" Tagg asked.

"Sounds better on camera than sims," said Sleezy. "Just go with it."

"'I'm here on behalf of my company, Eremalos. We plan to acquire a controlling interest in Whimsy."

"Can I cut his head off, Chey? "Can I, can I, can I?"

"Not yet, Sweetie," I said.

"And there you have it," said Sleezy, turning to face her own camera. "There is to be a financial showdown on the Whimsy simsies. More at 11. And now a word from our sponsor."

"Wait!," said Justice Unlimited. "I represent Ms. Palisades---"

"Allegedly," I said.

"-- and I've been authorized by her to engage in negotiations with unnamed parties who wish to acquire a controlling interest in her sims. I'll be accepting all bids and of course making sure Ms. Palisades gets the best terms possible."

"Whimsy is not for sale," I said, as a camera's flash went off in my face.

Sweetie turned. "More zombies! Let me at 'em!"

Sleezy stepped in front of Sweetie-- which is a fairly dangerous thing to do when Sweetie's katana is out of its sheath. "No!" she said. "These aren't zombies, they're legitimate press. Don't you see their cameras?"

"I don't care if they have press credentials," Sweetie hissed. "I don't honor plastic badges."

"Please, Sweetie," I said. "It will be trouble enough sweeping up the members of the press you've already killed. And besides, you might get your picture in the papers."

"I might?" she said brightly.

Leveraged Buyout: Part V. Fighting the Zombie Financial Horde

Leveraged Buyout

Part V: Fighting the Zombie Financial Horde

Written 3 November, 2012

A closer look at the 43 new arrivals on Whimsy revealed something disconcerting: they weren't only financial paparazzi-- they were Gorean financial paparazzi-- and they weren't only Gorean financial paparazzi, they were zombie Gorean financial paparazzi.

"Damn," I said. "I forgot Halloween on Second Life lasts until Thanksgiving!"

"They've come to eat our brains!" Sweetie cried.

"They've come to take our sim!" I cried.

"They've come to eat our brains while taking our sim!" we both cried.

"Eek!" cried Sleezy. "It's the undead brain dead Gorean press corps! Kill them all! Protect my exclusive! They's repeat anything they hear, and they won't even fact-check it! It'll be around the world in an instant!"

"Let me at them!" Sweetie cried. Judge Camper moved to stop her.

"Dammit, Judge Camper-- all right, stop harrumphing, I'll call you JusticeUnlimited of whatever-- get your hands off me! I have zombies to kill. What? Fine! I'll sign your damn waiver."

With the legalities out of the way, Sweetie got down to business. Since zombies are notoriously slow and Sweetie's sword is notoriously fast, there was soon a big pile of dead undead.

"Mute them, Chey!" said Sweetie. "Derender them! I'm tired of looking at them!

"Erm, honey," I said, "if I mute and derender them it means I won't be able to see them. You still will."

"What good is that?" Sweetie said.

"Not much to you," I admitted, "but maybe I can talk a Linden into setting them to temporary; that'll clean 'em up."

"Sweetie!" said Sleezy. "You're my hero! You protected my exclusive rights to the story!"

"There is no story," I said. "There will be no sale!"

"Oh yes there will," said an impossibly deep voice.

Sleezy turned pale. "Taggmasster 2000!" she said.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Leveraged Buyout: Part IV. It's Difficult to Concentrate when Sweetie's Katana is On the Table



Leveraged Buyout

Part IV: It's Difficult to Concentrate when Sweetie's Katana is On the Table

Written 2 November

Sleezy Spinoza, Captain Camper, Sweetie, and I were on Whimsy, seated at a low Japanese table, drinking sake.

The view of the lagoon was lovely, but the table's built-in animation was distracting (every 30 seconds or so one of us would stand up, lose our balance, and fall, then resume drinking).

What mostly kept us from concentrating, though, was Sweetie's katana. She had placed it conspicously on the table and was lovingly polishing it with a microfiber cloth.

Judge Camper looked uneasily at Sleezy and said to me, "I thought we would be having this conversation by ourselves."

"Oh, we can," I said, "but first I need to know what's going on."

Sleezy said, "Oh, Cheyenne, must you continue to pretend this isn't your doing?"

"Yes," Sweetie said, glaring, "she must. And by the way, I'm scanning you both for spy scripts and recording devices right now."

"Oh, Sweetie," I said. "Is that really necessary? We've known these people for years."

"Yes, it's necessary" hissed Sweetie. "I'm telling you, they're plotting against you."

"I'm not plotting against either of you, Sweetie," Sleezy said.

"Oh, no? Let me look through your handbag for exploding lipsticks."

"No! I-- I can't. My cosmetics are the secret to my commercial success!"

Sweetie looked as if she might grab Sleezy's bag.

"Everybody calm down," I said. "Sweetie asked to be present at this meeting; Sleezy asked to talk to me and I want to know why; and Judge Camper, I want to know why you messaged me after so many years. You've not had a word to say to me since you replaced Judge Virtual Judy on The Second Life People's Court."

"Fine!" said Sleezy. "I want the exclusive. What's behind this deal? How did you get it? When did it start? How rich is it going to make you?"

"What are you talking about, Sleezy? Stop playing around!" I said.

"The sale! The sale!"

"What sale? Are you talking about my jewelry?"

"No, the sale! Everybody's buzzing about it!"

"Everybody who?" demanded Sweetie. "I want names and I want addresses. Give me their ISPs now! I'm going to have a talk with them."

"Oh, really! It's just the business community."

"What business community?" I asked.

"The financial community," Sleezy said. "The corporate speculators. You know, the Gordon Geckos of this virtual world-- the corporate takeover people."

I said, "Tell me what you're talking about-- plainly-- or this meeting is over."

"The buyout! By the Tagg group! Of your sims!"

"What!?" I said. (Sweetie loves it when I use interrobangs. It's her signature punctuation mark).

"You're going to be rich," said Sleezy. "I never thought you'd sell this place, but I don't blame you. Who could turn down so many millions of Lindens?

"I'm not selling Whimsy!" I said through closed lips.

"I don't mean selling, really, just letting the Tagg Group take a controlling interest. You're giving control of your shares to them, right?"

"No!" I said. "How did you come up with this nonsense?"

"Why, I've heard reports that Taggmasster 2000 has been on the sim for days. He's talking to everybody, making plans for the transfer of ownership."

"We didn't sell any part of Whimsy to anybody," Sweetie said, menacingly, "and we're not planning on selling any part of it. This is ours. Ours! Nobody is going to take it."

"I see," said Sleezy. Then, brightly, "Is that for attribution?"

"It's our precious," said Sweetie, stroking her katana. "Our precious!"

"A Gollum reference always works," I said.

Judge Camper jumped in. "That's why I wanted to talk to you, Cheyenne. I can't believe you engaged in such an important-- and lucrative-- business deal without calling me, your old friend, corporate lawyer."

"You're a corporate troll now?" I asked.

"Corporate lawyer, thank you," he said. "Graduate, Santa Clara University Virtual Law School. Member, VBA-- Virtual Bar Association."

"Well, I'm not selling the sim," I said. That's why I didn't call you, and that's why I'm not going on television tonight with Sleezy. This is all just preposterous."

Suddenly Sweetie was standing on the table in samurai mode, katana in hand. "My scanners just went off! There are people on the sim! Lots of them!"

I checked my radar. "Forty-seven, to be exact," I said.

"It's an attack!" said Sweetie. "I'm telling you, it's an attack!"

"Noooo," Sleezy wailed. "My exclusive! How did they find out?"

"What was your last Facebook update?" I asked her.

"What a bunch of noseyparkers!" she said. "That was a top-secret-available-to-anybody post!"

"Oh, dear," said Judge Camper. "We've lost our window of opportunity. It seems the business paparazzi have caught wind of the buyout. There'll be no end of talking heads and fake analysts and money hunters out there, and they'll all be waiting to interview Cheyenne about the buyout."

"What buyout?" I said. "I'm not selling to anybody!"

"I'm going to kill them all," grumbled Sweetie.

Judge Camper said, "If you're being taken over by Taggmasster 2000 and his group of Wall Street sharks, you're in the high cotton. Welcome to the world of high finance, you two."

"But we're not selling," I insisted.

Judge Camper looked at me thoughtfully. "Hostile takeover," he said. "That's even worse."

"There are barbarians at the gate," Sweetie said darkly.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Leveraged Buyout: Part III. Old Friends Turn Up

Leveraged Buyout

Part III: Old Friends Turn Up

Written 1 November, 2012

Not long afterward I got an IM from an old acquaintance-- Sleezy Spinoza.

I'd been following Sleezy's career. Her coverage during Sweetie's trial brought her to the attention of network moguls, and her performance during the kidnapping of our giant drinking bird Bob got her a nighttime news magazine.She's become almost a virtual Oprah.

"It's Sleezy, Chey. I'm sure you remember me."

"I'm sure I do," I said.

"Ordinarily my assistant Neelix Nesslerode makes these calls, but he's been missing these past few weeks. It's mysterious; no one knows what's up with him, but it seems to involve a lot of prim gnomes being shipped to his house. His neighbors have been complaining, so I'm picking them up for him. Creepy little things. They're all on my mantel, staring at me..."

After a few minutes waiting to see if Sleezy would pick up the trail of her lost thoughts I gave up and said, "And so..."

"Oh, yes! I know it's terribly last minute, but Chey, really! As long as we're known each other, you have to give me the exclusive. I'm not as young as I used to be and I have to start acting like a serious anchorwoman before my looks go."

"Sleezy, what are you talking about? What exclusive?"

I was sure she was talking about our new SOAR build. It was spectacular, but how in the world had she heard about it? Or maybe it had something to do with Sweetie. But no, Sweetie hadn't blown anything up for days, so that couldn't be it.

"Oh, I see," said Sleezy. "Maybe you've given the story to someone else already? It's that damn Neelix, isn't it? Isn't it?"

"Sleezy, seriously, I have no idea what you want. Why don't we just start this conversation over again?"

"I'm calling to ask you to be on my show tonight."

"But why?" I asked.

"Okay, I get it. You're bound by a confidentiality agreement. You don't want an IM record. Sent me a teleport request or drop a landmark on my profile and we can talk in person."

"Just a second," I said.

While I was fishing around for a landmark I got another IM.

"This is JusticeUnlimited."

"I know it's you, Judge Camper," I said. "I have display names turned off."

"Cheyenne, It's urgent I talk to you in private. Is there somewhere we can chat?"

"Of course there is," I said. "Whimsy is a big place."

And then I sent the same landmark to Judge Camper and Sleezy.

While I awaited their arrival, I IMed Sweetie.

"What have you been up to? Practically the whole cast from your trial is calling me!"

Sweetie responded as I'd known she would. "What? You mean they want to talk to you and not to me? That doesn't sound right. Not at all. Something's wrong, I know it. They want to separate us, don't they?"

Oh-oh. Sweetie was in full-blown paranoia mode. I guess that's part and parcel of being a secret agent.

"Somebody's plotting against us, Chey, my super senses tell me. I'm coming to protect you. You need someone with my skill set in this time of danger."

Leveraged Buyout: Part II. Gaston's Confession

"I Go Up, I Go Down"
Leveraged Buyout

Part II: Gaston's Confession

Written 31 Octoboo, 2012

"I've done a terrible thing," said Gaston. He would have had a sad expression on his face if I had sprung for the optional facial expressions package.

"The evil Gaston has been plotting against you!" chortled Alphonse.

"Go back to your station, downbot," I said. Alphonse muttered something nasty in French and returned to his post.

"I am happy," said Gaston. "I take people up. I take people down. Sometimes they tip me. Sometimes I tip them."

"Wait a minute!" I said. "Tip them? As in tip them out? Out of their seats?"

"It doesn't happen often," he said defensively.

"It shouldn't happen at all," I said. "But go on with your story."

"And then I gave a ride to Taggmasster 2000."

"Another robot?" I asked.

"No, no," said Gaston. "He wore a loincloth and carried a big sword. I think it symbolized the imagined length of his, er..."

"A Gorean!" I said.

"Yes," said Gaston. "Taggmasster 2000 From Gor. He bragged of his many kajirae as we rode to the top of the blimp tower. And as we rose he asked if I was content with my lot here on Whimsy. I told him I was."

"Then he said, 'But I notice you're made of steel. That other robot-- Alphonse, is it?-- is made of brass.'

"I sniffed. Steel is cheaper than brass, I told him.

"'But wouldn't you rather have a brass body?' Taggmasster asked.

Somehow he had hit upon my deepest insecurity! As you know, that despicable Alphonse is made of brass. Oh, how I long to be like him!"

"Wait a minute," I said. "I thought Alphonse was jealous of you because you take people up and he takes them down."

"He is," said Gaston. "But I'm jealous, too. Why, oh, why didn't you order me in brass?"

"Cost $200L more," I said. "But if you were brass, then you wouldn't be you, would you?"

"Hmm," he said. "I never thought of that. No curiosity circuitry."

"Continue," I said.

"Taggmasster was charming," he said. "Did you know he speaks binary?"

"No," I said, "or if it helps, 0. "

"Wow!" Gaston said. "You parlay binary?

"0," I said. "I know only yes and no. I mean, only 1 and 0."

"Taggmasster told me he could get me a new brass body."

"Surely you didn't fall for that," I said.

"Unfortunately," said Gaston, "I did.

"Taggmasster told me all I had to do was tell him about Whimsy. So I did-- how peaceful it is when the volcano Pele isn't erupting, how many visitors we have, how we have the only giant granite Paleolithic slightly-deified drinking bird known to the archaeological community, how content our residents are, how people come from all around to ride Kitto Flora's little steam train, how in its attempt to commercialize the sim the Whimsy Transportation Authority enraged Whimsians by running the tracks down the gullet of our giant stone Mr. Tiki.

"That nice Taggmasster was especially interested in the WTA. He asked lots of questions. So I told him  how you and Sweetie had time and again foiled their evil plans."

"Well, no harm done," I said.

Or so I thought.