Posted by: Karl | December 19, 2013

Fiction – A Place To Belong

A PLACE TO BELONG

The winter rain was relentless and after six hours Herbie was thoroughly sick of it. His coat and mane were drenched, his forelock clung to his face no matter how much he tried to shake it off and the harness had become slippery and uncomfortable. Still he plodded on, his four massive hooves splashing through the puddles in the muddy lanes of England’s so-called green and pleasant land.

His relief when he finally arrived at Torrington Common was almost tangible. He unfastened the gate with his teeth and pushed through it, the wheels of the brightly-painted gypsy caravan behind him sinking deep into the mud as he dragged it across the sodden field.  Ahead, by a cluster of trees, he could see more such caravans and even through the rain he could smell other horses. He lifted his head and gave a whinny of delighted greeting.  A few heads lifted and looked towards him, though there was no reply.

With the last of his remaining strength he hauled the caravan to a spot slightly away from the others. Though a traveller too, Herbie did not belong here; he was an outsider in more ways than one, tolerated only because of family ties.

For a minute or two he just stood there, head hanging, every muscle in his massive body aching. Eventually he lifted his head and hollered, “Hey, is someone going to help me out of this damn harness?”

The colts and young stallions, quadruped and biped alike, just laughed and continued talking amongst themselves.  Herbie grumbled under his breath and considered just shifting back to biped form without waiting, but he didn’t much fancy falling face-flat in the mud with thirty kilos of collar and harness on top of him.

Eventually a young biped mare approached him, her ears pricked and an excited smile on her face.   “Herbie!” she squealed, leaping forward to throw her arms round his massive neck. “You’re back!”

Herbie looked down at her, frowning slightly in confusion. “Lily? Lily Meadows?”

“Yep!”  She made a little curtsey and pirouetted before him, showing off her flowing white tail and traditional black and white Gypsy Vanner markings.

“You’ve grown!” Herbie said, surprised. “You were barely more than a yearling last time I saw you.”

“Well, duh,” Lily replied, tossing her head. “You haven’t been back to see us in over two years.”  She started to unfasten Herbie’s harness, unhitching him from the caravan, unbuckling straps and finally, with considerable effort, lifting the heavy collar off from over his neck. He did not wear a bridle; Herbie drove himself and didn’t need one.

As soon as he was free of the encumbrance, Herbie began to shift back to biped form. It was a rare gift he’d inherited from his dam and one that had proved useful, but also was one of the features that caused distrust in others; that and his unusual blue colour which, today, was mostly hidden by mud.  The transformation took almost half a minute – it always took longer when he was tired – and when it was complete he still towered a good four or five hands taller than Lily. She hugged him again, this time her arms around his waist.  “I’m glad you’re back, Herbie, even if the others aren’t. Your mum will be too.”

Herbie smiled back, ruffled her forelock with a broad white human-shaped hand, and climbed into the caravan to get cleaned up and dressed.  This took longer than expected because he fell asleep, from sheer exhaustion, and it was almost two hours later before he awoke again.  He washed and groomed himself at the little sink, put oilskin wraps round his lower legs and threw on a long leather overcoat and a battered old broad-brimmed hat to keep the worst of the rain off him, though thankfully it had by now relented and was reduced to merely normal rain, instead of torrential.

Finally he grabbed a small sack from the table and tucked it under his arm before heading across the gypsy camp to visit his mother.  She was in her caravan, busy with an arrangement of poinsettia flowers, holly and pine-fronds. The inside of the caravan smelled of ginger and oranges and winter-blooming roses. Always roses, for Rosie.  Herbie carefully set down the sack and hugged her.  She seemed tired and much older than last time he saw her.

“Herbie, my son,” Rosie murmured, holding tight to him.

“I missed you, mum,” Herbie whispered, choking back tears. “Merry Christmas. Sorry I’m late.”

“Oh Herbie,” Rosie replied, her hands on each of Herbie’s cheeks. Like Lily and most of the other horses at the camp, she was a traditional Vanner. “You’re here at last, that’s all that matters to me.”

Herbie picked up the sack and handed it to her. “I brought you a present,” he said, smiling again.  She gave an excited giggle like a filly and hurriedly untied it, to reveal three exquisite boxes of hand-carved, polished rosewood. Each bore a word; Tea, Sugar and Biscuits.  Rosie was well-known for her sweet tooth.

“Oh, Herbie! These are beautiful! Thank you! Did you make them yourself?”  He nodded and she hugged him again.  “I have something for you too,” she said, taking a cardboard box down from a cupboard.  Herbie opened the box to find a new hat, which he put on his head right away in exchange for the old one, and underneath it an envelope with his name on it. He picked it up. It was brown and business-like.

“Open it,” Rosie said, a subtle smile on her lips.

Herbie opened the envelope and scanned the document, his eyes growing wide at the cheque stapled to it, made out in his name with an unexpectedly large amount of money.  “What’s this?”

“Your sire has gone back to Germany. Grange Farm is sold. He didn’t want you to have any of the proceeds from the sale but I insisted and he finally agreed to twenty-five percent.”

Herbie stared at the cheque for a long time. He would likely never see his father again and he wasn’t sure if that made him feel happy or sad. Happy for himself because his father had always hated his freak son, but sad because his mother loved him and he knew she would miss him terribly. And suddenly, Herbie was rich, and he had absolutely no idea what to do with this new-found wealth.

Read More…

Posted by: Karl | December 15, 2013

Water Horse and Interesting People

I have bought a Water Horse mesh draft horse avatar and it’s BEAUTIFUL!

And I can be blue.

Image

This thing is huge. I measured myself at 22.5 hands O.O

I also found a lovely horse-centric sim (Crazy Horses Island) which is where the above photo was taken.

Whilst I was there I saw this guy wandering about, he was dressed in a hand-made leopardskin loincloth, gas mask, top hat and battered old boxing gloves. And he IM’d me with some sexual innuendo about my horsey tush. Normally I’d assume griefer and ignore him, but somehow we ended up talking, and far from being an immature griefer he was actualy fun and interesting. I ended up helping him find some freebie stuff, converted him to being an equine furry and we hung out for a few hours. I even offered to make him a gas mask to fit his horse avatar.  Funny how first impressions can be so wrong.

He still wants my tush though, and he still ain’t gonna get it.

(Not unless I can have his first)

Posted by: Karl | December 11, 2013

Crikey!

More than 5 years since I last posted here. Miracle I managed (eventually) to remember the password.

I drifted away from SL roundabout late 2008 or so, but recently I’ve been logging in again. I was reminded somewhere about the L$500 a week stipend that us oldbies used to get and someone said that they were still doing it, even if you’d been premium before and downgraded.  So going premium again was pretty much a no-brainer.  Even with having to pay VAT on the premium fee, it’s still a profit over the year, plus I get a free home.

Of course I had to update my avatar. My old Wynx blue horse looked horribly dated and my human av was even worse.

I have gone back to being a blue horse, and pretty much modded the hell out of the old AX avatar. New hair, new skin, new markings and hoof-fluff (made those myself). All thats left of the AX avatar is head, tail and hooves.  There’s no blaze on the nose and I haven’t yet dared attempt to re-texture it.

131211_001s 131211_003s

I was looking through my old groups and landmarks. So many are gone. So many of my friends no longer log in. There are some notecards in my inventory, to and from old friends and it just about made me cry. Fisk and Tarshy and Orli and Matty and Donovan and Viggo. Mostly Viggo. God, I miss him so much. He came to the UK to visit me and we had a wonderful week in Scotland and another in London but something changed after, I think, and we drifted apart. I have notecards of poetry in my inventory, poetry he wrote all those years ago.

I love the modern poets
Three minute tales of Love and
Hate and Death and Life.
On the radio, between the
Real war in whatever country’s land
And the war in marketplaces,
Stadiums, homes, hearts.
Verse/chorus/verse
Instrumental bridge
Or drum solo
Or harmony
Or cacophony of voices
Heart’s  words
Mind’s visions
Given place in this world
In three/four time
And three-chord tunes
On the radio.

Viggo Engebretsen

Posted by: Karl | October 25, 2008

Why were Mentors treated so badly?

Okay well now I am officially, well and truly pissed off. Livid.

After nearly 2000 Mentors got sacked because they missed a note about renewing, there is no recourse for those people to reapply, or to appeal, under any circumstances whatsoever. There are no plans to take on any new Mentors (and actually now they’ve started the new Greeter programme, I am wondering if the intention is to close down the mentors altogether and find a new and inventive way of sacking the 1500 or so that still remain).

Today I found out this little nugget of information. On October 1st, the deadline for removal of adfarms, Linden labs sent out emails to advertisers still running the farms, to give them an additional warning and opportunity to comply.

WHY THE FUCK DO THEY GIVE THIS COURTESY TO PEOPLE BREAKING THE T.O.S BUT THEY DON’T HAVE THE MANNERS OR DECENCY TO OFFER THIS COURTESY TO PEOPLE WHO WERE, THROUGH DEDICATION, WORKING FOR LINDEN-LABS FOR FREE???

Now they have the gall to ask for more volunteers.

Words. Fail. Me.

Posted by: Karl | October 19, 2008

After due consideration…

… I have decided that even if Linden Labs did start accepting re-applications for mentors, or even reconsidered people who got dropped, I would not do it again. Not if they paid me a million L$.

The number of official mentors dropped from about 3400 to about 1700 in the space of one week. From what I can gather, particularly from reading both the SL Universe forums and the official forums, the majority of mentors that got booted off were ones like myself; quietly doing their job without hassle or flurry, not drawing attention to themselves and just doing what they’d been doing for months or years already. They just never heard about the need to renew.

Nobody actually announced, except in the V-Team blog, that it was necessary to fill in and return a survey to renew. OK apparently they announced it on group chat once, but only people logged-in at the time heard that. Now, had they decided (which they clearly did) that reading the V-Team blog on a weekly/daily basis was a condition of remaining a mentor, they should have said so at induction. It seems to me that reading the V-Team blog is the ONLY condition. Those who read it stayed in. Those who didn’t, didn’t.

So now the Mentor team has lost 50% of their staff involuntarily, because of a condition that approximately 1500 people never heard about. What makes things worse is the quality of staff that has been lost (based on the responses in the forums). Dedicated people like Sarah Nerd. This thins out the quality of the staff that are left behind, then you get reports of Mentors behaving irresponsibly. The group already has an appalling reputation based on the behaviour of a small minority – now that minority just got bigger because so many GOOD Mentors got booted out.

Linden Labs really shot themselves in the foot over this one, and I wouldn’t be seen dead with that official tag on now.

So what next? Well, it seems I have an alternative. There’s a newbie place called GQ Start that Lewis/Salo reccommended me to. I went over there to have a look and introduce myself. Ended up helping a couple of guys, one of whom was very keen to learn to build. So the staff gave me a Helper tag for there and said I’m welcome to hang out whenever I like. They’re also looking for someone to help teach building classes so I might put something together, although I don’t think I can commit to once a week. Its by no means as busy or as big as NCI but it does have classes and the staff are friendly, so I’ll give it a try and see how it goes.

It was nice to be a big blue horse again.

Posted by: Karl | October 6, 2008

BUGGER!

I forgot to renew my Mentor status (deadline was last week) and I’ve been kicked out. And they’re not accepting re-applications at all (until it re-opens which might be months away).

*facepalm*

buggerbuggerbuggerbugger.

Posted by: Karl | October 6, 2008

A Deadly Sin

So, my boyfriend is officially a sinner – or at least he’s now a member of the 7 Sins dance troupe at Reds. I turned up late for his first day of work but it was a packed place, looks like they were all having fun. I didn’t get a pic but he did, and here it is:

4 Deadly Sins

Matty is second from the left, and he’s Greed, alongside Lust, Wrath and Gluttony (Not sure what happened to Pride, Sloth and Envy). They look pretty hot, four red-heads all dancing in synch. And one of them is mine, I am so lucky.

While I was there I was chatting to Rammy Urriah who IMd me to say he liked my blogs. And we got chatting about blogging in general, and blogging in particular for SL. During that conversation it occurred to me that this blog is still called Horse Tales, and yet, it must be nearly a year since I was last a horse in SL. And I actually felt a pang of sadness about that. Most of the places I hang out at now are more about sexy men than sexy furries, so I don’t think being a horse would be too successful, except for the novelty factor. It’s sad though. This time last year, 90% of the friends on my list had never seen me as human. Now, 90% of my friends have never seen me as anything else. And I do miss being a horse, if only for the uniqueness of it, and how it would get people started in conversation.

Maybe I should switch back once in a while.

Or maybe I should find a new title for the blog.

Posted by: Karl | October 4, 2008

strange dreams

I don’t quite know whether to stick this post in mt SL blog or my RL one, so I’m putting it in both.

Woke up fairly early, then went back to sleep again and had a couple of very strange dreams. In the first, I was a cavalry officer in the Napoleonic war. The horse I’d been allocated was a skittish brown mare who went into reverse gear every time she heard a noise she didn’t like. You know, the head up, ears back, teetering backwards sort of thing. Most of the dream was me getting instruction from the groom and sorting out kit and uniform, and trying to control the horse enough to ride up to the location where the camp was located. Oh and I was on the French side, not the English side.

The second dream was a little less comprehensible. There was a big house, like a modern millionaires mansion kind of thing, all fancy architecture, and set in a massive area of English countryside, with woods, a park, a lake, and something called “The Oasis” which was a little secluded pond with places to sit around it. Then there was a TV quiz-type show, in which I was a contestant. It was a sort of treasure hunt thing, set in this fancy house and grounds. During this hunt I met the residents of the house who turned out to be Celty and Jamie from Second Life (which would explain the fabulous furnishings). Celty was involved in the show as an antagonist, trying to thwart the treasure-hunters. However he was upset and angry because the land was being subdivided and more houses built, and the Oasis was going to get built-over, and that was his favourite place. I won the treasure hunt in the end (though I can’t remember what it was that I found) and the end of the dream was me having to go, and promising Celty that I would come back next year. And then there was some workmen come in with JCBs and started tearing stuff up, and I got into an argument with them, in the middle of which I woke up again. (And if I find out that Celty’s real name is Ashton, I’ll freak).

Posted by: Karl | September 27, 2008

dogs on the beach

When I arrived at Boots’ beach today, Dan was there with his VKC German Shepherd, Holly, and so I got Rosie out to play too.  It was funny watching them interact with each other. Rosie had her red ball and Holly had a squeaky toy – Rosie decided she liked Holly’s toy better and kept stealing it, and bringing it to me – I never cease to be amazed by how good the AI is in these things, not only do they learn tricks but they will also start performing those tricks of their own accord as well. I have to say I think the VKC dogs are the most incredible things available in SL – okay they’re expensive but I think they’re worth every linden.

I didn’t take any pics of Rosie with Holly, but here’s a couple I took earlier.

In case you’re wondering, she’s an Aussie Shepherd, which is the closest I could get to a collie-cross I used to have.

It’s also occurred to me that I still have a horse in my inventory. I ought to go riding again one day.

Posted by: Karl | August 29, 2008

New home and…

So, here are some pics of my new home. This is Bluff House VI, or at least the parts of it that I’ve got around to furnishing so far. I’m pleased with the little terrace at the back, complete with vines hanging off the arches, and the new patio table and chairs (made by yours truly, with a texture made from a cast-iron trivet).

And Russ has rather unexpectedly gone and got a new alt, and is going to ditch “Russ Kanno” in favour of the new one, so I have to get used to calling him Matty now (which is nearly his real name anyway so not that hard to remember).

Today he said that he’d like to officially partner me, with his new alt.  I said yes, but in order to do that I’ve had to terminate the official partnership with Viggo. Damn, that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in SL. Not that he’ll ever notice anyway, seeing as he never logs in there any more.  I should feel happy that I have Russ Matty here, but I can’t help feeling totally depressed by the whole thing.

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