Monday, June 30, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation: XIII. In the Belly of the Donut Beast

Written 26 June, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation

XIII: In the Belly of the Donut Beast

The secret headquarters of the TSA seemed normal enough at first. I mean, for a secret world headquarters. It was, we would soon find out, far from ordinary.

We were in a lobby. The walls were festooned with posters bearing messages like “Know Your Enemy! No. 7: The Bagel” and “Friends Don’t Let Friends Dunk and Drive.” A reception desk sat empty before us. A phone rang.

Without thinking, I picked it up. “TSA,” I said. “All power to the donut. How can I help you?”

“This is Agent 99 at the Ahern regional telehub. I’m declaring an emergency. We’re running low on glazed.”

I covered the mouthpiece with my size 20 hand. Or, rather, I tried. It wasn’t big enough for the job, so I went into Appearance and cranked my hand size up to 40.

“Ssst!” I said to Sweetie. “They’re low on glazed at Ahern!”

Sweetie grabbed the phone. “Why are you annoying us? Don’t you know it’s past five? Everyone has gone home. Take your donut crisis elsewhere!” She slammed down the receiver.

“That takes care of that,” she said. “Gosh, your hands are big.”


We crept down a long corridor, passing countless locked doors. “Bo-ring!” I whispered.

“Ya think?” admonished Sweetie. “Look at the names!”

I began to check out the nameplates on the doors:

Honksfordonuts Johnson, Vice-President, Delivery Systems, Donut-and-Missile Division

Krullerme Happy, Group Leader, Donut Disinformation Bureau

Rollin Indough, Specialist in Sugar and Cyanide

Sprinkles Savvy, Pastry Weapons

“These seem like weird names for a donut shop,” I said. “Or for that matter, for TSA headquarters. They seem a strange blend of the two. Donuts and national security. National security and donuts. Say, are those footsteps?”

“Night watchman!” whispered Sweetie. She stepped to the nearest door and passed a plastic key card under a scanner. The door opened and we ducked inside and closed the door, barely daring to breathe. The steps grew louder, paused just outside the door, and then receded.

Sweetie opened the door, stuck her head out, read the sign, and closed the door. “This is the Forensic Donut Division,” she said wistfully. “but there’s no time to look around.”

I followed Sweetie into the corridor, but even at a glimpse I could see the place was amazing. There were donut hurling machines that had become gummed up because some fool had filled them with glazed rather than cake donuts, donut bombs that had prematurely exploded, and a white powdered donut with one bite taken from it.

Department of Donut Hole Science
Bureau of Glazes and Powders
Board of Icing Tinting, Colors Not Found in Nature Work Group, Hue McFinder, Director

“I like this one,” said Sweetie. “Frying Pan Maintenance Gallery; Happy Dish Slaves Since 2007.”

“Yeah, I said. “Iscrub Uscrub, supervisor.”

We passed a billboard.

“Memos,” Sweetie said. “Look at the titles!”

“’Donuts and Airport Security Devices,’” I read. “’Mutually exclusive?’”

“’Adjusting Your Sniffing Device to Detect Nutmeg and Mace,’” read Sweetie. “And look! ‘The Importance of Teleport Tom in Donut History.’”

“’What To Do When You Find Squashed Donuts in a Passenger’s Shoes,’” I read. “Looks like the TSA is taking over Krispy Kreme.”

“Oh, you silly! You have it all backwards!” said Sweetie.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Krispy Kreme has taken over the TSA. In fact, the United States Government is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Krispy Kreme Korporation.”

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation: XII. Hot Glazed Now

Written 19-26 June, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation

XII. Hot Glazed Now

“What would you like more than anything in the world?” Sweetie asked me.

I looked soulfully into her eyes.

“Not that,” she laughed. “I mean to eat.”

That was easy. “A donut,” I said.

“Just a donut?”

“No, a—a hot glazed donut. Mmm. Glazed donuts! A box of a dozen hot glazed donuts.”

“Pull over here,” Sweetie commanded.

Obediently, Top Cop pulled her freebie Gaxis golf cart getaway vehicle to the curb.

“See that sign?” asked Sweetie.

I squinted. “Let me zoom my camera… OMG! ‘Hot Donuts Now!’”

 “Yes,” said Sweetie. “It’s the first-ever virtual Krispy Kreme ® franchise.”

“And so we’re going to load up on donuts and then go find the secret world headquarters of the TSA and break in?” I asked dreamily.

“Not exactly,” Sweetie said. “TSA headquarters is six floors below street level. Directly below the Krispy Kreme.”

“That’s sacrilege!” I said. “Has our federal government no sense of donut sanctity?”

“You need ask such a question?” Sweetie asked.

“You guys be sure to bring me back a cruller,” said Top Cop. “I’d be drummed out of the Fraternal Order of Virtual Police if I missed an opportunity like this!”

“We will,” promised Sweetie. “You just be sure to be here when we get back!”

“Okay, okay,” said Top Cop. “It won’t be like last time. I promise.”


 “I’ll have two chocolate cake and one vanilla cake and four powdered and one apple cinnamon and one brown sugar maple and two crullers for our friend Michel—I mean Top Cop—and two blueberry filled and three lemon filled and four raspberry filled and one custard-filled and one with sprinkles and a dozen glazed,” I said to the counterman. “What’ll you have, Sweetie? I mean, Fashionista Bandit?”

And then Sweetie said the magic words: “Sweet donutty goodness.”

Without a word the donut man lifted a section of the counter, allowing us to pass into the inner sanctum of donut heaven. He strode to the walk-in cooler and opened the door. Sweetie stepped inside and motioned to me to join her.

I looked longingly at the automatic machinery in the store. It was rolling donuts six at a time down a shiny stainless steel ramp, dunking the dough in hot oil, turning and rolling the half-fried nuggets of, I have to say it, sweet donutty goodness, and, finally, running them under a nozzle to douse them with superheated supersweet sugar. “What about my donuts?” I asked, looking wistfully at the package I’d left at the counter.

“Hssst!” said Sweetie, and I scurried after her.

The donut man slammed the cooler door and Sweetie glanced at me. I typed in the number I, dear reader, entrusted you with while we were on vacation and which you were recently so kind as to read back to me. Well, thanks to Tycho Beresford, anyway. He was the only one who actually responded. We began to move downward.

“Secret elevator,” Sweetie said. “Did you notice the store had a health department rating of 71?”

“Dunkin’ Donuts has to be bribing the Department of Virtual Health,” I said. “Krispy Kreme is kicking their ass. The place looked clean enough to me.”

The elevator clanked and hummed as we descended. And of course, it being a Second Life elevator, we bounced around inside it like two crazy chickens.

 “How deep IS this secret headquarters place?” I asked. Why, oh why hadn’t I grabbed a chocolate iced as I ran through the kitchen?

“Deep” Sweetie said. “Below zero meters elevation.”

“Below zero meters!” I said. “Is that possible?”

“Anything is possible in Second Life,” said Sweetie. “Haven’t you learned that yet?”

“I suppose,” I said, remembering the time we had flown to 50,000,000 meters.

“Especially if you learn how to use the negative elevation simulator exploit,” she said. “Shush. No talking from here on.”

“But what are we here for? What’s our mission? Besides being fashionably attired while breaking and entering, I mean.”

The cooler ground to a stop and Sweetie opened the cooler door. “Follow me,” she said, “into the center of all evil in the Metaverse.”

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation: XI. Shoes to Match

Written 25 June, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation

XI. Shoes to Match

“I have JUST the shoes,” I said. I produced my very first Second Life shoes, a blingtardy pair of colorable strappy sandals. I consulted my Mystitool to find the color numbers and tinted the straps.

“Good enough,” I pronounced.

“Marginal,” said Tozh, wrinkling her nose. “Hardly platinum quality. And to tell the truth, not even gold. Maybe not even silver. And of course the bling has to go.”

“/1 bling off,” I said.

“Not good enough,” declared Tozh. “Kill the script.” I did.

I looked at Sweetie. She was shaking her head.

“No go?” I asked.

“Put those things on the ground,” she said, “and back carefully away.” I did as instructed. They disappeared.

“I’ve hated those things since day one,” declared Sweetie. “Guess where they are now.”

“Your trash?” I ventured.

“And I’m about to empty my trash.”

“You’re kidding!” I said. “You’ve not emptied your trash since…”

“I’ve NEVER emptied my trash,” announced Sweetie. “There are things in there from Orientation Island. Not to mention a huge number of objects named Object. But here goes.”

I swallowed hard and took my medicine.

“That’s it,” said Sweetie. “Ugly shoes are gone. Now it’s time for us to go. Thank you so much, Tozh. Now forget you know us.”

“No, don’t do that,” I said. “PRETEND you don’t know us. If you don’t hear from us by Saturday, send a basket of fruit to us at GITMO and tell our lawyer to sell Whimsy and use the proceeds for our defense.”

“You forget,” said Sweetie. “Under the new rules, we won’t get a defense.”

“Well, then,” I said. “have a big party in our honor.”

“Viva la revolution!” said Sweetie.

And we were away.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation: X. We are Go for the Mission! (Except for My Shoes)

Houri Chey

A Three-Donut Vacation

X. We are Go for the Mission! (Except for My Shoes)

“Okay,” said Tozh. “I’ma tell you what I’m’a gonna do.”

We had hit an additional half-dozen boutiques, with the net result that Sweetie had purchased three hats and a pair of shoes and I had succumbed to temptation and bought a fat pack of a dress that looked horrible when I put it on. We had seen nothing suitable for a fashionista breaking-and-entering.

“I wouldn’t do this for just everyone,” Tozh said, “but I owe you two. You were kind to me when I was a noob, and I like you both a lot.

“I have two outfits that are special to me. I think they’ll work just find for your purpose. But they’re one-of-a-kind. You have to promise to take good care of them and give them back to me when you’re through with them.”

“Cross Sweetie’s heart and hope to die,” I said.

“This one," said Tozh, “is for Sweetie. It was made specially for me by Ginny Talamasca.”

“Which Ginny?” asked Sweetie. “The new one or the one who…”

“The late Ginny,” said Tozh. “She was a most special person. Back when I was in my Picasso period she saw me and made an outfit specially for me. Knowing your discerning tastes, I think you’ll be happy with it.

Chey, I think this one-of-a-kind from Fashionista Fair will suit you.” She dropped an outfit on me.


I watched Sweetie as bits of her new gown began to be appear.

“This is beautiful,” Sweetie said. “Or I think so, anyway. It’s still rezzing.”

“I was high bidder for your outfit, Chey,” said Tozh. “It set me back 40,000 Lindens.”

“OMG!” I said. “That’s like…”

“Yeah,” said Tozh. “With the way the dollar has depreciated over the last few weeks, $3800.00 U.S. So be careful with it.”

“I will,” I promised.

“I mean it,” said Tozh. “Bloodstains are notoriously difficult to remove.”

“OMG!” I said. We totally have to find shoes to go with our outfits!”

“I bought shoes for Sweetie’s outfit,” Tozh said, “when I wore it.”

Sweetie blanched. “OMG! This dress has been WORN?”

“Only for a fitting,” Tozh said hastily. “What sort of fashionista do you think I am? I’m not the kind of woman who would send you out to battle against the totalitarian forces of the Teleportation Security Authority in a pre-owned gown! Especially,” she added, “since someone might associate it with me.”

Sweetie fanned herself vigorously with a three-prim Japanese fan. “Thank goodness! I was afraid I would have to add you to my ever-growing list of people to be assassinated!”

I had been trying on my own outfit. Now Sweetie turned to me, eyes wide.

“What?” I asked.

“Since Sweetie will be doing the heavy lifting, I’ve dressed you to distract,” said Tozh.

I looked at myself! Good grief!

“I look like a houri,” I said.

“Indeed you do,” said Tozh.

“Woo hoo!” said Sweetie. “Sexy! No one will even notice me.”

“You’re sort of hard to ignore,” I said, “but I accept the compliment.”

A Three-Donut Vacation: IX. "Just The Facts, Ma'am."

This hairdo is all that stands in the way
of my very own Platinum Fashionista Union card.
Written 23 June, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation

IX. Just the Facts, Ma’am

Our friend Michel—I mean Top Cop—arrived in swat gear. She was all business.

“Just the facts, Ma’am,” she said to Sweetie.

“That poster there,” said Sweetie. “The one that reads “I would dance the hootchie-cootchie buck naked on my mother’s grave before I would wear a stolen garment.”

“Yeah,” said Top Cop. “Ironic, isn’t it? The poster is bitching about theft of intellectual property and at the same time ripping off the “I won’t wear fur” PETA posters. The poster is intellectual property theft in and of itself. I’m going to have to take it in as evidence.”

“It can be your wanted poster, too,” said Sweetie. “The woman in the photo is ImSoNotADiva Bartlett, the owner of this little shop of knockoff horrors.”

“How hypocritical,” I said, “for that poster to be placed in a palace of purloined products.”

“Come to mention it,” said Top Cop, “I recognize that $1000L outfit. It’s a freebie from New Citizens Plaza.”

“It’s about more than posters and charging ridiculous prices for freebies,” said Tozh. “Every item in this store is an exact copy from a top designer.”

“That makes it a $10.99,” said Top Cop. “That’s a Copybot felony. We can charge her under the RICO act.”

“Oh, yeah, the organized crime act,” I said. "The uh Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act."

“No ma’am,” said Top Cop. “The Raking in Income from the Clothing of Others Act." You can get life for that. I’m calling for backup.”

“I’m getting some interesting chat on the Platinum group,” said Tozh.

“Me too,” said Sweetie.

“I’m not, dammit!” I said, for I, a mere gold card carrier, wasn't a member. “What? What?”

Sweetie pasted the messages in Chat:

(10/23 13:22:03): <>: I could swear that’s my Dior knockoff gown at her shop.

(10/23 13:22:05: <>: I KNOW that’s my Chanel knockoff!

(10/23 13:22:10: <>: Don’t worry. She’ll get hers sooner or later.

(10/23 10:22:12: : And maybe sooner than later. I see a cop in her shop. Just a second… a van and three squad cars just pulled up, and SCTV and Metaverse Messenger have helicopters circling. She’s busted!

“You redacted the names?” I complained. “That’s the most important part!”

“Sorry,” Sweetie said. “You’re not authorized.”

“DAMN this hairdo!” I said.

“Wait!” Tozh said. “There’s more.” She pasted the chat:

(10/23 13:22:31: ImSoNotADiva Bartlett: Muwahahahahaha! My little friends in blue are too late. Too late! I’ve already procured a fortune peddling your pathetic products. I’ve made enough for a Get Out of Jail Free card. So charges will be dropped. Then I can grease the wheels of the bureaucracy and buy my way back into power!

(10/23 13:23:13): ImSoNotADiva Bartlett: You’ve served me well, you, you fashion fascists! I’m back! Ba-ack! Muwahahaha!

(10/23 13:23:46: : That’s it! You can bet she won’t be an officer in the group after this!

Diva, who had been walking the thin line between sanity and madness even during Sweetie’s trial, had gone over the edge!

PETA Ripoffs?

PETA Ripoffs?

Here are two ads from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and two from a group of content creators in Second Life. See a resemblance?

The content creators are lamenting an all-to-real problem in-world, the theft of their intellectual properties. Lamentably, however, they are ripping off PETA's intellectual property by copying the look-and-feel of the PETA ads. Even if they have permission from PETA-- which I somehow doubt-- the creators' point could have been made in a more original way.

My thanks to Sweetie, who originally pointed out the connection between the two series of advertisements.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation: VIII. The Consultant

Written 23 June, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation

VIII. The Consultant

We were in luck. Our friend Tozh was available and willing to help.

She teleported in in a Catwoman crouch, which was entirely appropriate, as she was in Nekofab mode.

Most nekos play cats so cutesy-wutesy I want to go throw up in the woods. You know what I mean. They lick their wrists, stand prissily about, swish their too-long tails. It’s the universal bad neko AO, I suppose. Tosh (and my brother Mordecai Scaggs) are different. Mordecai is a dignified Victorian tiger and Tosh—well, let’s just say Tozh was working a Salvador Dali / R. Crumb / M.C. Escher / Edvard Munch look. She looked fabulous.

“What’s this emergency?” Tozh asked.

“We need something special for a counter-counter terrorism breaking-and-entering,” Sweetie said. “None of our usual unusual outfits seem to work.”

“And you’ve tried mixing and matching, I suppose?” asked Tozh.

Sweetie favored her with a withering look.

“Right, then,” said Tozh. “That means it’s time to shop.”


Tozh, like Sweetie, carries a platinum Fashionista union membership card. (My own is mere gold. I’ve been told it won’t be upgraded until I lose my resource-consuming Mai hairdo from Zero Style, but I get a lot of compliments on it from strangers who are able to overcome my avatar rendering cost enough to type, so I’ve not yet been able to bring myself to drag it to the Trash folder. Well, once I did, but it was by mistake. I misplaced it, and there it was, in the last place I looked. It was good I peeked in the trash, for besides my hair, my folder of fabulous poseballs was there. I still break out in a cold sweat whenever I empty the trash.)

Being a platinum member, Tozh of course knows all the hole-in-the-wall boutiques. We hit three or four of them, without luck. But in the fifth!

“These are astonishing!” said Sweetie.

“Yep,” said Tozh. “Hand-drawn. Lovingly Photoshopped. Unnoticeable seams. And they come with prim shoes, which of course you must immediately throw away.”

“Yeah, I said. “Shoes that come with outfit = fashion disaster.”

“Who’s this designer?” asked Sweetie.

“An unknown. Apparently she was once high-up in government circles, but she had some sort of breakdown. She had a hard time after that, camping, working as an escort. Finally, she opened this little shop. It’s an underground hit in Second Life fashionista circles.”

“I’ve heard of it,” said Sweetie

“I haven’t,” I said.

Sweetie gave me a pitying look. “You wouldn’t have,” she said.

“Yeah,” said Tozh. “It was the subject of a notice on the Platinum Fashionista group.”

“A group?” I asked. “A group for platinums? Grrr!” I resolved to straightaway dump the Mai hair so I could be advanced to the fashion elite. Tiny Empire players have nothing over fashionistas when it comes to desire for advancement! Not that I’m competitive!

“I remember the notice,” said Sweetie. “The place was called—”

I looked at the sign above the door. Savidton. There was something about it. Savidton. Savidton. Then I read it backwards.

Sweetie and I spoke at the same instant. “NotDivas!”

“OMG!” said Sweetie. “Say, isn’t that a Copybot leaning in the corner?”

Indeed it was.

The three of us turned our pitiless fashionista gazes on the merchandise.

“Say,” said Tozh. “I know this top. It looks like a Last Call blouse.”

“Those are PixelDoll swimsuits,” I said. “I know; I have the polka-dotted one.”

“Those gowns are from Rebel Designs,” said Sweetie. “And—”

“Look!” I gasped. I pointed at a poster above the door. And guess who the photo was of?

Sweetie raised her gaze and immediately swooned (meaning she looked in her Animations folder, found her Fall Down Stiff pose, and double clicked on it). When she had been revived, she said, “I’m calling for professional help.”

“We already have professional help,” I whispered, nodding toward Tozh.

“No, silly Chey. Not fashion help. Police help.”

A Three Donut Vacation: VII. Whatever Does One Wear When Engaged in Espionage?

Dangerously Overworked Poseballs at the House of 1000 Pleasures

Chey and Amazon Sweetie. My Apologies for the Quality of the Photo.
The Film was Mysteriously Fogged When Going Through TSA Inspection at a Teleport Hub.
Note the Height Differential. Chey stands 6'10" high with shoes and hair.
Sweetie is Like What? Nine Feet Tall?

Written 23 June, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation

VII. Whatever Does One Wear When Engaged in Espionage?

“Time to plan,” said Sweetie.

“That’s right,” I said. “We have a lot to consider. What weapons will we take? Which getaway vehicle will we use? And we’ll need to case the joint.”

“No, no, no,” said Sweetie. “You’re forgetting the most important thing.”

“That being?” I said.

“What will we wear?”

“Oh, that’s right!” I said. “A fashion opportunity like this doesn’t come along every day!”


So many gowns, so little time! And we had to make the best choice so we would look ravishing when photographed, if caught.

The floor of the House of 1000 Pleasures was littered with boxes and our inventories were a mess. Of course, Sweetie’s inventory is ALWAYS a mess. That’s why she so often wears snippets from three or four outfits. She’s not mixing and matching. She’s just grabbing what she can find. And yet she always seems to make a fashionista statement.

“How about this?” I asked, twirling around.

“It’s a beautiful outfit,” said Sweetie, “but you could never get that huge prim skirt through a doorway.”

“Probably not,” I said, “but it would make a great parachute.”

“More to the point,” said Sweetie. “What do you think of my outfit?”

“It’s perfect,” I said. She was wearing her Amazon Sweetie shape, which pushed her height to something more than seven feet, and a high hairdo with a braided ponytail that reached to her butt—quite a distance in that shape. Her hairdo and platform stomping boots added another foot to her height. She was armored from head to toe and bristling with weapons.

“Can you see out of that tiny slit in your helmet?” I asked.

“Well, duh!” She said.

“Oh, right,” I said, remembering camera position is a few meters above and behind the avatar. “Of course you can.”

“No good,” she said, and began taking off her many and varied attachments. “I won’t be exactly inconspicuous at this height.”

She didn’t stop until she was completely naked. Our eyes met and I jumped on the Resolution poseball. Because Sweetie is so often barefoot (we’re the same height, but my CFM pumps make me about 5” taller), I usually take the blue ball, but considering Amazon Sweetie’s height, I took the pink ball.

“We’re not going to get anywhere at this rate,” sighed Sweetie. It was some thirty minutes later. We’d been forced to abandon Resolution because it had overheated and was throwing off sparks. “I’ve tried on every avatar and outfit in my inventory. And that’s the third poseball we’ve ruined this week.”

I sighed. “I think we need expert help.”

I saw Sweetie’s virtual eyebrows raise. “Tozh!” she exclaimed.

“Tozh,” I said.

A Word of Explanation

Okay, a word of explanation.

When I wrote the proceeding blog, I used Word’s strikeout feature to black out my friend’s name (as if you wouldn’t see it). So it originally read something like Michel R. our friend. Unfortunately, Blogger doesn’t seem to support strikeout.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation: VI. Getting the Go

Lucrezia Borgia Bartolomeo Veneziano

Boris Badenov, Natasha Fatale, and Fearless Leader

Written 23 June, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation

VI. Getting the Go


TO: Group Members, Sweetie’s Super Secret Spy Sorority

FROM: The Incomparably Dressed and always Perky Sweetie

RE: Raid on TSA Headquarters Secret Stuff

We are meeting at 4 pm Linden time at Pele the volcano on Whimsy to hear a message from our leader. Please arrive fabulously attired and be no more than fashionably late. Virtual finger foods will be provided.

Tell no one. Loose lips sink sims.


Sweetie was anxious. “Do you think there’s enough food?”

“Vell,” I said. “Lady vingers, petit-fours, cucumber sandviches, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and wodka. I should think so. And if we run out, we can just make copies. But more importantly, do I look all right?

Sweetie gave me a quick up and down. “Morticia Addams, right?”

“No!” I said, stung. “Haven’t you been listening to the accent? I’m Natasha Fatale, dollink, from the Rocky and Bullvinkle Show. I’m the intellectual superior of that no-goodnik Boris Badenov and a member in good standing of Local 12 of the Villains, Thieves, and Scoundrels Union.”

“But who am I?” asked Sweetie. She was wearing a gown suitable for a medieval French or Italian court and her elaborate white hairdo was wound high on her head. A miniature electric train ran around and around in her tresses.

“Mata Hari?” I asked.

“Mata Hari? That early Twentieth Century Dutch tramp? You silly girl! Don’t you see the skull and crossbones on the hollow poison-filled ring on my finger? I’m Lucrezia Borgia!”


The first cell member to arrive was Michel R-- I mean a close friend who cannot be named. She was completely invisible. Even her tag wasn’t showing. “Hssst!” came a voice from thin air. “Is it safe?”

“It’s never safe,” I said. “The TSA could nuke us at any time. But I swept the sim for bugs and to be safe I’ve disabled scripts on the entire island—to the chagrin of some honeymooners, who got bounced off their pose balls. We’ve taken all appropriate measures.”

“Good,” said our friend xxxxx, and turned off her invisibility. She was dressed head to toe in camouflage.

“We’re busted!” I cried. “It’s Whimsy’s top cop!”

“No, no,” Sweetie said. “She’s gone deep undercover to infiltrate Second Life’s Wall of Blue.”

“That’s right,” said xxxxx, “so cool your jets before I run you in.”

The minutes went by. No one else arrived.

“Where’s everybody else?” I asked.

“Silly spy,” said Sweetie. “Cells have only three people. You guys need to start your own cells.”

“Oh,” I said.

“We’re waiting to hear from our Fearless Leader.” She nodded toward a plume of pink and green smoke.

I looked hard at the smoke. I thought I could make out a shadowy oval shape inside.

“Friendly greetings!” it said.

“OMG,” gasped xxxxx. “I know that voice! It’s Tor—“

“Shush,” said Sweetie. “Only code names from now on. We’d better make some up.”

“You can call me Fearless Leader,” said Fearless Leader.

“I’m Fashionista Bandit,” said Sweetie.

“Wait a minute,” I cried. “I wanted to be Fashionista Bandit.”

“You can be, um, let’s see, “High Priestess of Fashion,” said Sweetie.

I liked that, but I wanted a promotion. “Goddess of Fashion,” I said, sulking.

Sweetie sighed. “You’re competitive, even with names,” she said.

“I’m not competitive!” I said. “I'm not! I’m the most noncompetitive person there is! There is NO ONE less competitive!”

“See what I mean?” Sweetie said to no one in particular.

“I’ll be Top Cop,” said xxxxx.

Fearless Leader spoke. “Your mission, should you choose to accept, will be to infiltrate the world headquarters of the Teleportation Security Administration and there carry out instructions known only to your cell leader. If you fail in your mission, Linden Lab and the world community of watermelons will disavow any knowledge of you or your actions. This cloud of smoke will self-destruct in ten seconds.”

“Stand back!” cried Sweetie. “That watermelon is about to explode!”

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation: V. Double-Naught

Symbol of Our Fearless Leader

Written 19 June, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation

V. Double-Naught

“Why have you been moping about so?” This from Sweetie.

I’d been neglecting my appearance. My inventory was growing cluttered with objects called Object, and I hadn’t built anything in ages. “You know why,” I said.


“I’m just part of your cover,” I said accusingly. “I mean nothing to you. I’m just an assignment to you.”

“How could you think that?” Sweetie asked. “You know we were together before this TSA business started.”

“Gosh, that’s right,” I said, perking up.

“Yeah. I was first approached after that whole Sweetie vs. the United States of America thing. They said they liked my style.”

That made sense. But I felt terrible.

“But why wasn’t I recruited? I wanna be recruited!”

“Silly girl,” she said. “You were recruited.”

“Was that why you sent me that offer to join your group Sweetie’s Super Secret Spy Sorority?”

“Of course. You were the very first member of my cell. And shhh! Don’t say the name out loud.”

I felt inestimably better.

“Who recruited us?” I asked.

“Sssh! It’s a secret! A champion of personal freedom.”

“But who?”

“Promise not to tell?

“Cross my heart and hope to die.”

“Torley Linden. He always gets pulled aside by TSA because of his watermelon colors. It has turned him into a radical.”

“Good old Torley! It’s not easy being pink and green.”

“But you must never tell anyone.”

“Mum’s the word. But what happens now?” I asked.

“I’ve been holding off until we had all the free clothes we can handle. I was going to tell you tomorrow.”

“We’re going there,” I said, “aren’t we? To TSA headquarter?”

“Yes, Sweetie said. “There's a reason why Torley publishes so very many snapshots on FLICKR. I get my instructions there, in code. Torley is going to instruct us to infiltrate the secret world headquarters of the TSA.”

Three-Donut Vacation: Part IV. Fashionista Bandits

Teleport Tom is LIVID!

Written 19 June, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation

IV. Fashionista Bandits

And that’s how we became known as the fashionista bandits.

Robbing banks did little for our bottom line, but the fringe benefits were marvelous. We were soon haute coutured out the gills. When my inventory went over 20,000 items I started passing items to my alt to hold. Her name is Dakota Burns.

“Waaah!” she said. “I hate this. Can’t you just put them all in a box?”

“I tried that,” I told her. “I put stuff in boxes and boxes within boxes until I had 10,000 items in a single box. Every freebie I ever picked up, copies of all my textures, clothes, everything. And then I took the box into inventory.”

“It worked?” Dakota asked.


“What happened?”

“I lost the box.”

“Okay, so I’ll hold these old lady clothes for you, but it’ll cost you.”

“How much?”

“Can I have a place to live on Whimsy?”

“Absolutely not. You stay up way too late and play your music way too loud. How does 500L sound?”

“Sounds about right,” she said.


“There’s something I need to tell you,” Sweetie said one day.

I looked at her. “What?”

“I’ve not been entirely truthful with you.”

“Who is he?” I said. “I’ll murderize him!”

“No, not that. I have a secret.”

I’ve seen enough Maury Povich shows to suspect I wasn’t going to like the secret. “What?”

“You remember that first bank?”

“Yeah, the anomalous Ginko. What about it?”

“Remember when I went into the vault? Alone?”


“I’m not who you think I am.”

“C’mon now, I know you’re not a guy in real life.”

“No, not that. I’m—I’m—“

“Spit it out!”

“I’m licensed to kill,” she said. “Double-naught.”

“You’re a spy?” I asked incredulously.

“Yes, and the robberies were a cover.”

“That Ginko was no accident, was it? You found something in the vault.”

“Yeah,” she said. “I did.”

“Well?” I said.

“I’m now in possession of the location of the secret headquarters of the Teleportation Security Administration.”

I laughed. “Teleport Tom won’t be very happy about that!”

“He’s not. For the past month the grid has been in Condition Teleport Tom is Livid.”

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation: III. Watch This!

Sweetie's Gucci Holdup Bag

Our Life of Crime Netted Us Many Fringe Benefits

Written 19 June, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation

III. Watch This!

We were back at Whimsy.

“Watch this,” said Sweetie.

She opened a three-way IM box to me and Nonna Hedges. “Thank goodness she’s online,.” Sweetie said in chat. And in IM: “Nonna, did you hear the news?”

“About the robbery? It’s all over SLTV. Do I know you?”

“No, and let’s keep it that way. Did you hear what the robbers were wearing?

“One of them was wearing my gown,” said Nonna. “The nerve!”

“How are sales?” asked Sweetie demurely.

“Come to think of it, way up. Say, who is this?”

“Let’s just say I own a certain famous Nonna Hedges gown.”

“What do you want?” asked Nonna suspiciously.

“Oh, nothing,” said Sweetie. “Just wanted to let you know it was us. And to tell you we’ll both be wearing Defleur when we pull our next job.”

“You can’t do that!” said Nonna.

“We can’t?”

“Well, I guess you can,” admitted Nonna. “But please don’t.”

Sweetie winked at me. “I’m afraid I don’t have another Hedges gown.”

“Well—well, we can fix that! I’m dropping my entire line on your profile right now. To both of you!”

Sweetie said to me in chat, “Now for Defleur.”


Disclaimer: 1. Remember, this is a fictional blog. We have to tell you, however, that Ms. Hedges and Defleur gowns are absolutely fabulous. 2. Nonna Hedges was not actually contacted for this blog, nor is she open to blackmail. Nor is she engaged in outrageous criminal schemes to promote her gowns through guerilla marketing. Didn't we just tell you the blog was fictional? Duh!

A Three-Donut Vacation: II. A Life of Virtual Crime

Inconpicuous Getaway Car. Most of the Smoke is Coming from the Volcano

The Infamous Fashionista Bandits. Sweetie is wearing Nonna Hedges, Chey R. Fyre.

Written 19 June, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation

II. A Life of Virtual Crime

Constant reader, I take you now, via that convenient literary tool called flashback, to the not-so-distant past—for I must relate the events that led Sweetie and me to the first-class compartment of a hijacked plane.

It started when we bought Whimsy.

“Where are we going to get $295 US for tier?” I wailed.

“You should have thought of that before you bought a sim,” said Sweetie smugly.

“Our landowners and renters bring us about $85 US, and sales from the store amount to about $2 US daily, and we’ve taken in tips worth $32 Lindens. Where will we get the rest?”

So began our life of virtual crime and high fashion.

It was Sweetie’s idea, of course—but if we’re ever brought to justice I’ll fall on my sword and claim it was entirely my own. Sweetie is too artistically sensitive to survive in an environment as ugly as a prison. She would be dying to tweak and all the objects would be no mod. It would be a horrible fate.

We began by robbing the last remaining branch of the Ginko Bank. Ginko is gone now, of course, banned and good riddance, by the Lindens— but due to a faulty sim rollback, there one stood. I rezzed our getaway car (a 1957 Primouth, a completely anonymous vehicle), and we approached the building.

“Quick. Slip this on your head,” Sweetie said, and handed me a .5 x .5 x .5 plywood prim.

“Sweetie, we have hundreds of avatars,” I said. “Dragons, trees, whales, blimps, grandfather clocks, rocks, robots, roaches, fish, birds, hedgehogs, skunks, bears, angels, devils, imps, and the notorious test female and test male. Why a box?”

“Just do it,” she said. “You’ll see why later.”

“Shouldn’t we change into something more apropos,” I asked. “Like prison stripes?”

“No,” she said. “Our splendid attire is the whole point. Now hurry! We have to act before they reverse this anomalous sim rollback.”

“I’ll say it’s anomalous,” I said. “It’s pre-flexi. Must be from 2006. Makes you wonder how far back the backups go.”

“Shhhh!” whispered Sweetie. “No talking. I left my voice changer at home. We’ll do it all in chat.”

Prim boxes obscuring our heads, we burst through the door.

“This is a rubbery,” typed Sweetie. “Everyone on the fluor.”

Nobody moved.

“She means floor,” I said, and everybody dropped.

“Drop all the money in this attractive virtual Gucci handbag,” said Sweetie. “And you!” she nodded her prim box head at a teller. “Your earrings. They’re fabulous.”

“Do you really like them?” the teller asked.

I menaced the teller with my freebie watermelon gun. “Just do it!”

Soon we were hearing ka-ching! sounds as money from the tellers’ drawers hit our Gucci tip bag. $300L. $900L. $1349 L.

“That’s enough!” I said. “Let’s go!”

“Not yet,” said Sweetie. And to the bank manager: “Open the vault.”

“I don’t have the combination,” he cried.

“Not a problem,” said Sweetie. She tried to rez a prim and failed.

“Turn build on,” she said.

The manager smiled nervously. “I can’t do that, ma’am, but I can add you to the Ginko group.” Straightaway we got group invitations.

Wearing the group tag, Sweetie rezzed a cube, sat on it, lassoed it, and, using the edit menu, moved herself into the vault. I heard a muffled voice say (I think) “Got it,” and she was by my side again.

“Kill that prim,” I said, “or they’ll know who we are.”

“Of course we’ll know who you are. We can see the tags over your heads,” said the bank manager. Right away I could see he was wishing he hadn’t.

“How much do you make for managing this bank?” Sweetie asked.

“I get 4L every 10 minutes,” he said. “Those bastard Ginkos!”

Sweetie tipped him $100L. “And who will you say robbed your bank?”

“Uh, two gorgeous ladies with prims on their heads?”

Sweetie stared at him. She said, “No, two gorgeous ladies with prims on their heads and gowns by Defleur and Nonna Hedges. And be sure not to forget that last part.” And we were away.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Three-Donut Vacation: I. Three-Donut Vacation

I don't think most of us get extra screening because they think we are terrorists. I think we get it because they know we're not. They screen people who are not terrorists because it helps them pretend they are protecting us, in the same way doctors in the middle ages used to wear tall hats: because they couldn't cure you. It's all show...

This is a flying nation. We fly. And everyone knows airport security is an increasingly sad joke, that TSA itself often appears to have forgotten its mission, if it ever knew it, and taken on a new one--the ritual abuse of passengers.

-- Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, 23 February, 2006

For a history of our problems with the TSA, see the blog entry and the dozen or so posts that follow.

I have to say my vacation was the best I've ever had. I even had two days at home after the trip to lounge about and catch up on the mail. It was truly a three-donut vacation.

Oh, wait, did I say that out loud?

What I MEANT to say is OMG, I am SO glad to be home after the most horrendous misadventure with the Teleportation Security Administration!

It began, as most things do, innocently enough. Sweetie and I were doing a routine teleport.

Well, routine for us. Sweetie was wearing a bomb avatar. It didn't help that she kept making that whistling I'm-Falling-From-the-Sky sound.

But even then, we would have been okay if that TSA bastard at the security gate hadn't tried to nab my bottle of perfume.

"What's the deal?" I said. "It's in a quart-sized Ziploc bag, as regulation 44J-23-10-A2 requires."

"Ah, yes," he said. "But 44J-23-10-A2 says you can transport a 3-ounce bottle of liquid. This bottle is four ounces." He reached for it.

I moved it out of range. "What if I had two three-ounce bottles?" I asked.

"That would be acceptable," he said.

"So it's okay to bring six ounces of potentially explosive plane-destroying liquid aboard, but not four?"

"Pretty much," he said.

"I'm going to stand right here until I use up an ounce," I said. I imagined it would take weeks.

"Won't work," he said. "The bottle would still hold four ounces. And you would technically be loitering."

"Do you have a three-ounce bottle you could lend me? Or sell to me?"

"Afraid not," he said, and grabbed the bottle.

Strangely enough, when he tried to snatch it away, the bottle remained in my hand. His hand was attached to it, but didn't seem to be connected to the rest of his body.

"Sweetie," I said. "Tell me you didn't!"

"He was messing with my girl," she said, wiping her katana carefully and sliding it into its scabbard.

"My hand!" screamed the TSA agent. "They cut of my f***ing hand! I was just following procedures!"

"Oh, grow up!" Sweetie said. "This is Second Life. You can always reattach it."

"Help! Help!" he screamed, and a sea of blue shirts began to move toward us.

"Run for it!" I screamed to Sweetie, and I dashed through the metal detector and toward the nearest aircraft. Sweetie was close behind, despite stopping to have her boarding pass scanned. Sweetie is by nature law-abiding.

We scrambled down the jetway and through the entry door of the plane. Sweetie, behind me, pulled the door to and latched it.

"Listen up!" I yelled. "We are commandeering this aircraft in the name of the independent nation-state of Whimsy. We will be departing for Whimsy immediately. Stay calm and in your seats and everything will be fine. Nobody will get hurt. And extra peanuts for everyone!"

"What she said," said Sweetie, who had taken a post beside the pilot. Her katana was out again, its burnished blade reflecting the multicolored lights of the instruments. She waggled the tip at the pilot. "Quick, now! I want to hear those turbines!"

Fifteen minutes later, having hustled the first-class passengers back to the tourist section, Sweetie and I were sprawled in plush seats and knocking back Cosmopolitans. Sweetie was rapidly getting plastered.

"Do you notice something unusual about the stewardess?" she asked.

I took a long look. "No," I said, "although she looks a bit like..."

"Exactly," said Sweetie.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Donut of My Vacation

Written 10 June, 2008

The Donut of My Vacation

I'm back home after three weeks of bliss, and I'm happy to say I returned ten pounds lighter than I left. That's due to a lot of walking and judicious eating. Fruits, nuts, low-glycemic carbs, and no donuts.

Well, there were a FEW donuts.

Just down the street from the house in which Sweetie and I were holing up was a produce stand with a country bakery. I would walk the kilometer there most mornings and buy tomatoes, cucumbers, leeks, onions, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, and other fruits de terre.

On the other side of the door was a bakery filled with wondrous things: thick loaves of rye and multigrain bread, baguettes with glistening crusts, cookies of all variety, brownies with chocolate icing and M&M sprinkles as a bonus treat, apple and blueberry and cherry turnovers, coconut cream and apple and peach and cherry and pecan pies in 6", 10", and personal treat sizes, nutty rugelach, scones, cream puffs, cheese straws, and other miracles of pastry science.

And donuts. 3.5"-wide, 1.5"-thick apple cider donuts, plain cake donuts, and beautiful brown donuts rolled in sugar crystals.

It was the last of these I favored.

I told Sweetie I deserved a vacation donut. She didn't discourage me, for I was up every morning, walking, while she slept the sleep of the innocent.

Well, that may be stretching the point. While she slept.

So there came the day when I bought it. My donut. Sixty-nine cents worth of nutmeg-and-cinnamon flavored deep-fried sugary sweetness. The smell was heavenly.

The donut weighed heavily in my hand as I sat on a bench and began to stuff the day's vegetables into my backpack.

Now, I've heard of German shepherds, and Belgian shepherds, and even Dutch and Australian shepherds-- fine dogs all, I'm sure. But who ever heard of a Uzbekistani shepherd?

Not I, certainly, but there one was, a four-month-old black-and-white puppy with a gleam in his eye and mischief on his mind, the guardian of the vegetables, I supposed. He nosed his way through the screen door and came outside and sat on his haunches. I could tell by his manner he fancied my donut, but he was not going to get it. Well, maybe I would give him a piece of it.

But I was robbed of any chance to be generous, for that 75-pound puppy made the first move. In complete indifference to the height of the donut (I was holding it above my head), he climbed right up me and snatched it from my hand. I was left with only donut memories and a dusting of fine sugar crystals on my fingers.


That dog ate the donut of my vacation.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Burn This Message!

Written 3 June, 2008

Burn This Message!

Oh, constant reader, I'm so glad you're here!

Here, take this! Read it!

Yes, it reads 864Ak#@55xz41010104gk.

It's a code, you see-- one that unlocks the darkest secrets of the Transportation Security Administration. Those bastards would kill for it, so I want you to memorize the code and burn the paper. Immediately!

It worse comes to worst and I don't make it back to this blog, I want you to seek out President Obama and give him the code. It'll make his job easier.

In the meanwhile, Sweetie and I are on the run with a head in a duffel bag.

Three guesses whose head it is!