My friendship with DOUGIE Flossberg began with the no-show March Train Rally on the SLRR ( see post) As Jer Straaf might put it, “He is a man who knows how to have fun”
Even in this wonderful virtual world of limitless possibilities, I find myself fenced into “work mode”by my own hands, and I forget sometimes that SL can and should be fun. Getting off my island, where I was translating my SL book “Digital Rabbit Hole” into Spanish and preparing readings, I discovered the joys of Train Riding in SL and that was the first step to beginning to put a little extra dose of fun in my virtual experience.
DOUGIE has collected an amazing inventory in his 4 years here and is always generously willing to share it with an appreciative audience, I am now officially part of that audience I believe. I started riding trains with him and have ridden some very wild variations on the theme of vehicles..of which he seems to have thousands in this category alone. So when he said “Let’s see what I got” I knew it would be an interesting afternoon.
Actually I want to back-track a few days and begin by showing you a unique ride that was built in 2006 by Tedt Thurston called “Star Tours.” DOUGIE and I have this kind of relationship, he says:
“Get in” “Hop on” or “Sit here” and I don’t hesitate a heartbeat.
I took this ride solo and admired the ingenuity from way back in earlier SL times.
Then yesterday, after a full tour of a Star Trek vessel, that looked a bit like DS9, but even though I have watched about 800 hours of it recently with Menubar, I can’t be sure that’s the season it was taken from. He tp’d me to the Airport and then the serious fun began to emerge out of his sometimes disorganized, but amazingly complete inventory. I was treated to my first blimp ride with wonderful whirring engines that seemed to cross sim borders with a minimal loss of hair on either of our heads.
After that it was helicopters, and I promise you that, in real life you would have to drug me unconscious for me to get in one of those. I watch the news. They are always falling out of the sky for no reason, and seem highly “accident prone.” This pretty blue one was well behaved, didn’t try to chase its” tail in a downward spin and obviously the pilot knew what he was doing.
We were jarred and osterized a bit on the crossings, but managed to stay in the cockpit. We swerved to avoid landing jet planes, low- rising sky boxes and the usual mainland air debris. I breathed a sigh of relief and unclenched my knuckles from my seat as we made a beautiful five-point landing back at the airport.
He saved the best for last. His own Executive Private Jet, which was both exciting and fatal as it turned out. The afternoon was perfect for flying. DOUGIE executed his flawless take-off and I sat back to watch the eclectic Mainland scenery pass by both below and above me. The power of the jets calmed me with its’ low hum and vibration and I felt pretty lucky to be on a new guided tour of the skies. As I have mentioned before in back posts, I do like engines and speed.
Those dreaded sim crossings were starting to make demands on his prowess as a pilot and also on the nerves of this passenger, who always wondered if I would still be inside the plane when we crossed over. I knew we might be in trouble when DOUGIE pulled up hard to avoid a platform hovering dangerously low, and it caused a stall- out. For a minute all went quiet in the cockpit. I get really nervous when it does that, and shot a panicked look towards him. Maybe already being dead is what gives him that cool calm manner in moments like this, but I am still very much alive and hope to stay that way.
Well… we miraculously pulled out of that deadly stall, much to the credit of the pilot’s skill, and the comforting roar of the engines kicked back in as we started to climb at a more normal angle. After a few minutes I realized he was fighting with the controls and a new enemy region crossing had struck again, this time putting us in a climb not even this experienced pilot could get us out of. We climbed…
and we climbed …the curvature of the earth was seen in the distance, and I started thinking probably private jets were not built to see such things, and worried for the outcome as we kept ascending, the meter dial of numbers madly gearing up
I could see nothing below us nothing above us but pitch black space and even I knew we were approaching the limit of SL rezzing and soon we would be without a plane around us and on our own. I have survived a few falls of this type in my 3 years here and all I can say is, they are never very pleasant. Just as we reached somewhere over 5k meters I closed my eyes.
When I reopened them I found myself whooshing through black space, still curled up in my fetal-expecting-a- high- impact -landing position and I saw that DOUGIE had escaped his own crash landing by just crashing out of our world and therefore sparing himself the horrors that I was now facing.The sky turned from Space-void black to ominous freezing airless blue, and I held my breath all the way down so my lungs wouldn’t explode. I won’t even go into the medically gruesome details of my landing, and will just leave you with the peaceful picture of a crouching avatar falling quickly back down to earth.
I must say to the credit of Mr Flossberg who never did re -appear after we lost the plane, that when he did show up in the evening, he sent me a lovely get- well gift.It was a burning house and all I could think of was, people just don’t give those kinds of personal gifts anymore to show they care.