Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a flyby

Ever had one of those days/weeks? No? – Oh well, some of us do… a few of us even admit to it.

All week, things had been working their way towards a low point – no root cause, no rhyme or reason, but by Saturday i was on a real downer; the sort that means you shuffle around listlessly, irritated and annoyed at yourself, simply for being that way. To add to the misery, i’d not written a thing for three days – itself, intensely annoying. It’s not a happy place.

So i found myself wondering whether to even bother logging in. The alternative – not logging in and putting up with my own company – didn’t bear contemplation, so i logged in and hid! Good friends were online, things were happening at my usual haunts, but i was feeling the need to be antisocial and morose, and nothing was going to stop me.

Generally, when this happens it tend to do one of two things: either i go on a wild spending spree, which wasn’t an option on this particular occasion, or i feel the need to indulge in some sort of reckless, high-speed, mad-fool activity. So, donning my best Lisbeth Salander look, (still needs some work), i disabled the extreme-danger filter and decided to see what sl could offer…

Velocicraptor

Naturally, this being sl, i went for the slightly unorthodox approach, so when thinking about dangerous and risky activities, i shouldn’t have been surprised when the word ‘dinosaur’ popped into my head. In a moment, i’d typed it into search and clicked on the first result that came up. It certainly looked the part… 18000 square metres of foggy eeriness, out of which loomed giant electric fences and domed research labs, some of which had been severely trashed by some leathery leviathan from the past. It was all very Jurassic Park but with a notable lack of any dinosaurs. Throwing fortune to the wind, i took to the open spaces and eventually, right next to the Seven Seas Fishing, i finally found a velociraptor. i was just a little disappointed that, rather than eating me, rending my flesh or chasing me through the rainforest, it just stood there and complained – in Elizabethan English, no less – when i tried to sit on its back. Most disappointing.

Time for a little more conventional dicing with death and, quite by accident, i found by far the most amazing racetrack that i’ve yet come across in sl.

Despite several attempts to hotwire and steal borrow some of the rather sexy sets of wheels that were just begging to be driven, i resigned myself to walking the course, in the hope that i might flag down some passing racer and cadge a lift.

As far as courses go, this one had it all – sharp corners, elevated sections, rocky canyons, rickety bridges, tunnels – in short an absolute joy… all i needed now was a set of wheels: and there they were – mini-motorcycles for hire! They were PaintO Jie’s PBR50 – a bike that i already own and which, is to my mind, some of the best, and fastest fun you can have on two wheels! Normally i take mine for a spin around Moonletters Town but the roads are a little busy and too short to go all out. i find the Mainland roads are way too laggy to have any real fun, so being able to fly around a proper racetrack at top speed was just awesome! That was until i hit a barrier just a little too fast and ended up flying through the air in a crash that would have killed me for sure in rl.

Still, it’s no fun if it doesn’t scare the crap out of you! Next port of call was very different and a whole new experience for me. As i was careering out of control along the track, i spotted a helicopter in the distance – needless to say, i just had to have a go!

That’s how i ended up at Spijkers & Wingtips, strapped into a helicopter and wondering what on earth i’d let myself in for.

i know just three things about the mechanics of flight: 1) Something to do with airflow over something or other creates lift, which is why planes don’t fall out of the sky; 2) Helicopters are notoriously difficult to fly, and; 3) Nobody has ever been killed by frozen poop falling from an aircraft. This, of course, fully qualifies me to fly a chopper in sl – doncha just love the virtual world?

Bearing in mind that my utter incompetence at controlling any sort of vehicle in sl is already well-documented, this seemed to be an eminently suicidal manner in which to have fun – and what fun it turned out to be! If you ever fancy dicing with death then you’ll find it hard to beat riding shotgun with me in a chopper whilst i attempt an inverted loop!

Eventually i had to come back down to earth, but not for long… you see, it was then that i spotted the jet!

Oh, my goodness! In the next 20 minutes i became totally hooked on sl flying – believe me, there is nothing that beats screaming through the air at Mach something-or-other, afterburners blazing, the virtual G-force pressing you back into the seat and the sound of a zillion horsepower pounding in your ears.

OK, so i did end up underwater – twice – but it was my first flight. However, once i’d got the hang of twiddling the flappy bits and remembered to raise my undercarriage, Pete Maverick had nothing on me – i even got to buzz the tower; coming to think of it, at one point i think i bombed the tower too!

Up until now for me, flying in sl has been the quicker alternative to walking – usually involving getting stuck between buildings and rather hard landings and, although it’s rather pleasant to drift amongst the clouds at a sedate pace, i’m now firmly of the opinion that it’s a lot more fun to thunder through the skies at faster than the speed of sound. You get a very different perspective of sl from sat in a jet fighter cockpit too, and i can wholeheartedly recommend it. Having had the chance to fly one of these babies, i now realise i need a fighter plane in my SLife; sadly, it’s a little beyond my means at the moment, but one day i promise you, the quiet skies of Penny Lane will thunder with the sound of sonic booms!

Did all this madness cure my mood? Well, maybe not, but if nothing else, it was a great way to work out my frustrations… it took me to new places i’d not yet explored in sl and whole new experiences that i will, definitely, be repeating whenever i feel the need – the need, for speed!

s. x

Revvin’ up your engine
Listen to her howlin’ roar
Metal under tension
Beggin’ you to touch and go
Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone 

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