Friday, December 14, 2007

Alien Takeover?

Tonight I noticed a glowing green spike coming out of the back of my head. It comes and goes, but I cammed around to look at the inside of my head and found a green thing had taken over my brain.

Any idea what this is?

Edit: I figured it out. It's part of a dragon avatar I'd had on earlier.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dressing for the Weather, Pt I

I don't know how it is where you are are, but here where my typist lives, we're in that transitional weather season where it's 20F one day and 65F the next and if it's warm it's raining and if it's sunny the wind is gusting. Ahhh, late Fall, you make it hard to sort my wardrobe.

Now, while SL hasn't added a new feature where our little avatars shiver and turn blue when weather grows cold (and after WindLight, weather seems the next logical step - think WindLight makes your avatars face looks sallow? Just wait till drizzle's running your makeup and frizzing your hair!), I still like to dress seasonally - so this week, that means coats and sweaters and all things that go well with a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

First up is this adorable coat that isn't exactly rain gear but the cheery color reminds me of rubber ducky yellow slicker and boots. Made by Arimidi Gisaci, the Francia Woven Coat comes in a variety of colors. I rarely wear yellow in RL or SL, so it was with some serious nailbiting and hesitation that I chose this one - in the end it was the bright cheerfulness that made me smile on an otherwise grey day.

The Tights are by Lotta, labeled "nep knit socks - caki' in my inventory. They are a thick wooly green, guaranteed to keep your legs warm when the wind is gusting. Keeping my head warm is the Danielle beret by Tesla - a wonderful addition to anyone's wardrobe because it's color-changing. I've finished off the outfit with Adam n Eve's Stompi Boots in Apricot. Like most 1 piece ankle boots, you can see that they cut into my ankles a bit in an extreme pose like this one, but I saw very little problems actually moving around normally. And they are a ridiculously low price, so I don't care if my ankles suffer a bit.

The hair I'm wearing is 0 Style's "Now Seeker" in Brunet and the skin is one of two sets I've been wearing almost exclusively this past month - PixelSpa's Stella di Roccia in Almond. This make-up set is Chanteuse, the cat's eye version. Each make-up comes with a cat's eye version and a regular eyeliner version, and the make-up combinations are all lovely. The eyes are Tuli silver eyes and look just like the sky outside my RL window.

Skin: PixelSpa / Stella di Roccia - Almond Chanteuse (cateye liner)
Hair: 0 Style / *now Seeker* Brunet
Eyes: Tuli / Silver
Hat: Tesla / Danielle (color changing)
Coat: Armidi Gisaci / Francia Woven Coat - Yellow
Tights: Lotta / nep knit socks - caki
Boots: Adam n Eve / Stompi boots - Apricot

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those in the US, Happy Thanksgiving!

For those everywhere, thank you for sharing your lives with ours in Second Life.

And to all of you - have some turkey and stuffing! Your avatars look half starved!

Skin: Stella di Roccia - Almond, Nude, PixelSpa
Dress, Hair/Hat: Plain Dress - Blue. Ghanie Lane@Garda - Plain and Modest
Turkey: Love, Aly, 1L

(I can't tell you about Mickey's - he patched together an outfit and I made him a quickie hat to match!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Home Again

After a lengthy hiatus caused by the real world, we finally got back to work on our new house. (Good grief, we started in July!)

It's now finished and nestled snugly into the Winterfell forest. We've begun furnishing it and in another day or so we're going to call it done.

Here are a few pictures.

We both worked on the build and I have a new respect for Second Life housebuilders. The basic shapes are easy enough, but getting all the seams to line up and the pieces to fit together is harder than I ever appreciated.

Morgana did all the textures and did a marvelous job. That's also a harder task than it looks, especially when trying to align edges.

The basic design is two main sections separated by an arched passthrough. One end is the bedroom and living room. On the other end is a ballroom and a gallery overlooking it. The second-level room above the archway houses a bath.

The turret at the top was a late addition Morgana built, with some usable space inside. It tops off the main structure perfectly, without overwhelming it or getting swallowed up by the size of the building under it.

So it took some doing but it's done. We have a home again, a one-of-a-kind that we're really proud of. It was a fun project, and we collaborated on it well without any real disagreements over what was needed. Having done it once, we'll avoid some mistakes next time -- if there is a next time, as I think we'll be happy in this for quite a while.

Friday, September 7, 2007

She's creepy and she's spooky...

Time for a bit of catch up - I've got a few pictures I've taken the last couple of weeks that I want to get posted. (Sadly, I'm so scatterbrained that I didn't take note of what it was I was wearing, so it's going to take a bit of hunting through my inventory.

This outfit, I loved so much that I wore it for three days straight and fully expect I'll be wearing it a lot more.

The hair makes it - I picked this up at the Hair Fair awhile back, sure that I'd find some use for it eventually, but it wasn't until now that I put together just the right outfit to set it all. It's called, appropriately enough, Creepy Bun by Curio - and you know? I'm not at all sure it is still available or if it was just part of Hair Fair. If not, they totally need to bring it back out for the month of October, because how perfect is this?

The outfit is a combination of the jacket/blouse portion of Last Call's Catwalk Collection: Virginie and the Comfort Skirt from PixelDolls. Separately, they are elegant and classic - together, they somehow come together in a sweetly gothic way that turns into Wednesday Addams.

I actually went hunting for the right shoes to go with this, and found them in adam n eve's Bronte Slipper. The added bonus here is that these are totally going to work with most of my Regency and Victorian dresses as well.

Completing the look is the skin by Mami in Milk. Not entirely white, this skin has the barest pink tint to it so that it properly looks like I've not out before moonrise in the last few years.

Jacket and Blouse: Catwalk Collection: Virginie - Last Call
Skirt: Comfort Skirt - PixelDolls
Shoes: Bronte Slipper, Black Velvet - Adam n Eve
Hair: Creepy Bun, Black - Curio
Skin: Mami, Milk, Pink Shadow, Dark Lips - Tiny Seadog

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Skins Off My Back

The entry below shows most of the normal realistic skins I use in Second Life. This one is about novelty skins, imaginative creations that I can't use often but like to have on hand now and then.

The best of these is the one to the right. It's toned specifically to reflect the skin shading in black-and-white movies. Matched up with the right hair, clothes and eyes, it makes me look like I stepped out of a Bogart film ... a very cool effect.

CJ Carnot is the skin's maker, and it comes with one good set of matching eyes. It was available at Tete a Pied, but it was created as a fund-raising item for Relay For Life and is no longer there. However, the creator tells me a new version and a whole new line of skins will be available shortly.

I had put some thought toward trying to make a a skin like this myself, but I was inhibited a bit by, well, knowing absolutely nothing about making skin and also, having little in the way of artistic talent.

The one skin I have made was simply a matter of taking one of the stock SL newbie skins and coloring it for a weird alien shape I'd made. It's amusing, but hardly anything to brag about.

Possibly my next favorite novelty skin, even though it really serves no purpose but to freak people out, is the anatomical muscle skin. Bizarre Berry, who also leads the Second Life Unitarian Universalist group, made this one. What I like about it is the level of detail and also the fact that, when worn where nobody is execting such a thing, it really does freak people out.

Bizarre Berry has a few other skins available, all of them, well, bizarre. I have a couple of others but use them so rarely there's no need to picture them here. They're all available in Modesta

I have a friend in-world with a skeleton avatar (I actually have one too, but he created it.) We should work up some kind of comedy duo bit with the bones and muscles.

The Demon Skin can be used with a normal human shape, but the most effective use I've found for it is as part of the Unicorna from 6ixth. This really incredibly detailed avatar has a unicorn torso and head, but with a simple command that disappears to reveal the human torso underneath, including the skin and hair of choice. The demon, from InsideOut, is the perfect complement.

Like many newcomers to SL, it took me a little bit of time to figure out how much difference good skins make to the avatar look. As you can see from these two entries, I still don't have a big collection of them. But they really are important for anyone who doesn't want to forever look like they just stepped off of Orientation Island.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Skins I'm In

After yet another skin purchase tonight, I took stock of those I've accumulated in my inventory over the past few months. I've noticed that I tend to wear a new skin set until I get something new, and then the older one gets "retired" and not used much or at all afterward.

Since well-made skins can cost a lot, that probably isn't the best approach. Running through what I have may help with making better use of the older ones.

Second Life starts you out with a very basic newbie skin that almost no features to it at all. I am not sure how long it took me to buy my first improvement to it, but the earliest one I recall buying is this one from PixelDolls, and the file properties tell me I acquired it about two months after first signing up.

This is a decent skin, though not outstanding. After my early days, I began trying to stay away from the body-builder look -- the skins with tightly cut abs and bulging pecs look too action-movie cliche, and far too common in Second Life. Here you set yourself apart by being a little less than ideal. This one has subtle muscle definition, but the level of feature detail is not what it could be. I have two versions of this skin, this one and one with sideburns in addition to the goatee.

(The goatee is another look I've largely shied away from, this one skin excepted. Not because I don't like it, but because for a while it seemed every skin I looked at that had facial hair had a trendy goatee, or soul patch. Finding skins with a full beard took some searching, although they seem to be more available now.)

I also have three skins from Dragonfly Designs. The one pictured here, with the beard, was the one I used for my "Professor" look, although I had a slimmer body shape to go with that. I have the same skin clean-shaven, and also clean-shaven with red eyebrows.

The muscle definition on these is about as far as I prefer to go toward the body-builder look. The nipple detail is nice, and the area around the neck and collarbones is well done. The only real drawback is the tone, compared to some other skins, looks a little yellowish to me. I don't know if it really is or was just some trick of the light the one time I noticed it, but these served me well for a good long while.

Dragonfly also offers a good range of facial hair. They were the first place I found to offer a good full beard, and the eyebrows are not as overbearing as those I've seen on some other designs.

I used these up until a couple of months ago, when I decided I wanted an image change. The Professor look I liked (and still do), but the slender body shape was starting to seem limiting. In real life I am not so slightly built, and Morgana and I have been trying to keep our most frequent SL look somewhere in the ballpark of our real selves. So I ended up getting a new shape, and tweaking it carefully, and that of course called for a new skin.

I hesitated for a couple of weeks before spending the money for Second Skin Labs' Adam. I plan to get a lot more use out of these, even with tonight's new acquisitions. They are very detailed, including a great amount of attention to the back -- shoulder blades and spine -- that many skin makers simply gloss over. And the body and facial hair is the most realistic I've seen. The designer photo sources at least some of the layers in these skins, and while that technique does not always work well, here it does.

Morgana showed me the ones I picked up tonight. They are part of the new Hunter line from Nora Entice. The particular trio I picked up are designed for the older man, with crow's feet around the eyes and wrinkles in the forehead. The same skin comes in a more youthful version and I may pick that up soon too, but the older look appealed to me -- partly because it's rare and partly because these are well done.

The one pictured is called "Grizzled," with the five o'clock shadow. The set also includes a clean-shaven version called "Aged," and another clean-shaven one with less pronounced wrinkles, called "Mature." The three of them give a good range of ages, and I can further enhance the effect with a good choice of hair.

Skin choice in Second Life is about trade-offs. I love the richness of Adam's skin tones, for example, but it doesn't have a bald head option, so any hair I choose has to either completely cover or blend into the hair it comes with. The Hunter line offers a less callow look than many skins, but it lacks body hair altogether, except for pubic hair, so the body looks a little sterile. The Dragonfly skin gives me a good full beard option, but also has abs that I'd prefer to be more subtle. Having a range of options, even though it can be costly, is the only way I know to deal with the inability to find the one perfect skin set.

I am sure women have it as bad, or even worse, as makeup options are hardwired into female skins the way facial hair choices are for men.

Along the way, I've picked up a few novelty skins, things I can't wear often but have been glad to have on hand when they're needed. I'll post another entry soon about those.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

I Heart Aries Celestial

This is so overdue.

I post so irregularly and Mickey and I don't only talk fashion (though admittedly, I like doing so), so I have never thought of this in any way as a 'fashion blog'.

I don't think I'm reviewing clothing here - I'm just a clotheshorse that likes to brag about what I've bought. I started it mostly as a way to record what I'd picked up - since SL is virtual space and all we're buying is pixels and bits, this adds a tiny bit of permanence to the items. Well, as permanent as any digital recording of digital imagery can be, I guess.

But my point is... I have never put this on any of the fashion feeds, I am not linked to any of them, I don't even sign the url to comments I post for fear of someone mistaking this as a very lame attempt at 'fashion blogging'.

So, imagine my surprise (and yes, little squiggle of pleasure) a few days ago when I logged in to find a box of review copies had been dropped on me by Aries Celestial Designs! The excitement quickly turned to trepidation - I'd never thought about this, so I definitely have no 'policy'. What if I hated this stuff? What should I do?

A quick scan of my inventory reminded me that ACD and I have a happy history - this is the company that makes the silver and gold sandals I've owned forever (or at least, six months or so) which I always wear when in ROMA. I've recommended them in the past when people have asked about those sandals, so there should be something good in here, yes?

Turns out... yes. No, YES. Not everything was to my taste - there was a set of silks that seemed well made enough, but they are silks. And pink... so pink that Mickey and I started riffing on the idea of Ava Gabor doing a sort of Gorean Green Acres. (No slur at all on the outfit.... we have strange minds. And these were pink. And silks.)

There was also a nicely made cross jewelry set that I'd happily recommend to anyone looking for some good cross jewelry - but it's not something I'm likely to wear unless I'm playing a nun who doesn't believe in that vow of poverty thing.

But none of that matters, because I struck gold with the Silver Texture-Change Heart Birthstone Set. These are lovely, flattering, non-blingy and the stones have twelve scripted options so they go with just about everything. The picture only shows the choker and earrings, but the set also comes with a bracelet, armcuff and ring. I've been wearing bits and pieces of this for days, and haven't gotten tired of it yet.

This may be the last review copy I ever get, but it led me straight over to the store to see what else I might snag (and I wound up with a very nice amber sun-themed jewelry set I might take pictures of at some point) and I hope I'll remember to check back now and then. Between the jewelry and the sandals, this is one of the few stores that has never disappointed me.

Jewelry: Aries Celestial Designs - Heart Birthstone Set
Hair: Sinsation - Carlie II Chocolate
Skin: Naughty - Alina Eye Shadow Smokey, Red Lipstick

Is Summer Over Yet?

This outfit makes me long for the cool drizzle of fall and a few leaves to kick through.

The skin is Naughty Alina in Pale Beige. The Alina line is at the top of my list of favorite skins - it seems to be a skin that creates strong feelings and seriously does seem to be one that requires a particular facial shape to pull off. It does great things for me, which makes up for all the lovely skins out there that don't suit my shape even a little.

The hair - oh man, how much I love this hair! It's Bewitched Britney in Brown. That was very much real-life me for a long time, and it's nice to see full and fluffy that doesn't look teased in SL. Curly hair like this requires a lot of alpha texturing and that does create alpha issues, but I'm willing to put up with that to get this effect. The hat is adorable and scripted with a bunch of different textures. I strongly wish that a no-hat option had been included, but even so, I'm very happy with this the way it is.

The showpiece of this outfit is, of course, that adorable open trenchcoat with the ties hanging loosely at the sides - the Nomad trenchcoat from Sinistyle. There is a sense of weight to this coat that is very realistic. I went to Sinistyle initially to go pick up one of it's Heroes inspired trenchcoats, but was so charmed by this open version (with optional shirt and pants to match) that I bought this one instead.

I don't recall the jeans I was wearing, but the boots are by Shiny Things and the tank top by Celestial Studios and both qualify as required basics as far as I'm concerned.

Hair: Bewitched - Britney Brown
Skin: Naughty - Alina Pale Beige
Boots: Shiny Things - Old Lace Up Boots Brown
Jeans: unknown
Top: Celestial Studios - Trixie Tank in Wheat
Trenchcoat: Sinistyle - Nomad

80s Glitz

It should be apparent by now that my intentions outreach my follow through - I want to post, oh yes I do, but it's haaard...

This past month, I managed to get some pictures taken, with every intention to show off a few lovely purchases, but then I got no further than that. I am so not the person to see about the latest offerings in SL, but fortunately good outfits don't stop being good a few weeks after the fact, so without further ado:

This just makes me happy from head to toe. The main elements are all from Veschi, although I switched out the skirt - the 80s Child set comes with a very large and colorful Cyndi Lauperish skirt, but this Bubble Skirt... oh my. It's the bottom part of the Shwank outfit (which itself comes with a glitzy sleeveless top). Not only is the skirt terribly cute, but the prims are worked in such a way that it looks good while moving, posing - you name it. The skirt is a must have.

The jacket isn't what you'd call a basic, but it's a lot of fun too - bright, flirty, pushed up prim sleeves that don't turn into strange prim bits when you raise your arms.

The shoes are by Solange! and have long been favorites of mine, but they have enough shiny gold in them that they require a high wattage outfit to avoid having them overpower the rest of the look. This outfit was made for these shoes.

Finally, the hair that everyone's been blogging, and with good reason - Cake's "Rumor" which seems to work perfectly with everything and everyone, in every color I've seen it in.

I don't think I want to see 80s fashion come back on the RL scene, but it sure is fun to dress up this way in Second Life.

Hair: Cake - Rumor (Currant)
Skin: Mojo Au Naturel - Tone 3 - 07
Shoes: Solange! Legacy Stillettos - Black/Gold
Skirt: Veschi - Shwank Bubble Skirt
Top: Veschi - 80s Child Dress Top
Jacket: Veschi - 80s Child Orange Jacket
Neck Scarf: Canimal - Flower Choker (colorable)
Stockings: CGBG Thigh Highs, Tintable with Backseam

Friday, July 20, 2007


I was busy working on the new castle tonight when a friend IM'd to invite me to a live piano concert at Oyster Bay.

The pianst, Origin Rang, was just magnificent. I haven't attended a lot of live music events, but all the ones I've been to have been well worth the time, and this was no exception.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Home Improvement

Some time ago, we set our big gothic castle on our land in Winterfell facing the river, with its back to the main Winterfell island. Since then, Serra Anansi has made a lot of improvements, building a village and shopping/communal area, with the arrival of the new island Winterfell Ebonshire just the latest advance.

So we decided to turn our house around, to face inward, making us more a part of the community. It occurred to us that we might seem a little stand-offish facing away. We spent a few minutes picking up all the furniture, poseballs and other items and then repositioned it all. It went smoothly enough. The castle's self-aligning script worked as it should and everything came back together as we'd hoped.

But then, we started to talk about something we'd discussed in the past ... designing and building our own. The last time we talked about it, we were too new to SL and didn't have enough confidence in our building skills to tackle it. Then the pre-fab we'd bought served our needs and there was neither a need to change nor the free prim space to experiment.

But with the old one empty and our building skills much improved in past seven or eight months, this seemed like the time to try it. we talked over what we'd like to have, then built the scale model you can see in the top picture here, and then started the actual work.

We are limited by the oblong shape of our lot, so the one idea I've wanted to try for a while -- four wings enclosing a courtyard -- isn't really feasible. It would take a square lot of about the same area that we have to make it work well. So the new one will have the same general shape and exterior dimension as the one we've had. But we're bulding this one with an atrium between the two main wings, a ballroom that can be entered directly from outside so we can host social events without opening up the more private areas to visitors, and a second-floor balcony overlooking the ballroom.

Morgana or I will post more as we get closer to completion.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ghostly Sighting

Winterfell has seen a bit of upheaval over the last day (or night, as the sun never rises on on Winterfell). A new land mass has risen out of the sea to our north, bringing with it rolling clouds of fog and, it appears, causing the destruction of a passing pirate ship.

All hands are lost, I fear, save for one babbling seaman who told a tale of a ghostly woman on shore that led them to the rocks and their watery graves. But he was clearly not in his right mind, and after a final hysterical cry he ran off into the woods.

I fear he may find the darker denizens of Winterfell even more frightening than the ghostly vision he blames for the demise of his unsavory colleagues. I do not expect to see any more of him but we will leave the remains of his ship behind as a warning to other pirates and invaders who are foolish enough to disturb the peace of our shores.

The new region of Winterfell will be called Winterfell Ebonshire and promises to be a dark, rural area, more remote than the township that surrounds Winterfell Castle and the beautiful estate lands of the other three regions that have been developed this past year. At present, it is empty but I have seen our Queen Serra at work before and eagerly await the new view beyond our borders.

Dress: Greta - Last Call
Headpiece: White Bridal Chaplet with Ribbons - Vandeverre's Emporium
Shoes: Egyptian/Mayan Sandals (Silver) - Aries Celestial Designs
Skin: Gala (Medium - Earth) - Empyrean Emporium
Hair: Ember II (Dirty Blonde) - Calico Creations
Other: DE ACLS Lighting (Blue) - DE Designs - good for luring pirates to their watery death

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Real Life has been breathing down my neck lately - a new job with a schedule that has collapsed most of my routine SL social life. But today is my first full day off in over a week, and I thought I'd take some time to sort through inventory and file away a few recent purchases.

As a result, I found myself wearing this ensemble and was so charmed by the effeft that I decided it was time for yet another very rare blog entry.

Most of the outfit is part of Bare Rose's Rosarium set, which comes with the top, the gloves, the silk flower neck adornment and more hats than I can believe - a large and medium version in black, purple and red, all with matching black net and silk flower decorations. The set also comes with a long system skirt which was the only part of this that I wasn't entirely excited about - like so many system skirts, the legs tend to break through the fabric and there are no glitch pants to go along with this set. Even so, Bare Rose's prices are so reasonable that I'm really happy I bought this.

Instead of using the system skirt, I am wearing iki's Bell Skirt with the Net Overlay, and it creates an entirely different effect than the long system skirt did - I think there's a happy little Audrey Hepburn era thing happening here now that is sophisticated and very sexy. Paired with less dressy items, this skirt takes on the personality of whatever it's paired with and promises to get a lot of wear time from me. The bell shape really sets it apart from most SL standard prim skirts. Iki also makes a bell skirt with a pleated overlay, and I think they are essential basic requirements to any SL wardrobe.

These shoes are Tete a Pied's Maryjanes in red to add a dash of color to the outfit and we just won't talk about how hard it was not to want to buy them in every color offered.

The earrings are part of Random Calliope's Eboness set and oh my! If you haven't made it out to Random's newly redesigned gallery (appropriately named Worthwhile), get out there! He's rolled back prices and now all sorts of his stunning jewelry art are available for as low as 25L (yes, that is not a typo). Bring lots of Ls anyway though - with so much wonderful goodies available for so little, you're going to want them all.

Jewelry: The Eboness - Worthwhile by Random Calliope
Skirt - Bell Skirt, Net Overlay -iki
Outfit - Rosarium - Bare Rose
Shoes - Red Maryjanes - Tete a Pied
Skin - Tone 3 - 01 - Au Naturel
Hair - Jennifer (Simmer) - Celestial Studios

Thursday, July 5, 2007

July Fourth in the Park

Yesterday, July 4, We had our first planned event in the park. We set up a cookout atmosphere with a borrowed dunking tank added to our other play equipment, listed events for best-dressed in red, white and blue (three contests, one color each) and I wrote and hosted two rounds of trivia.

We were quite pleased with the turnout. We never had a huge crowd, but over the course of the day we had maybe 20 or 25 people come through. Some were from groups we're part of, but a good number came through the listings.

We tried to avoid making it too All-American, though we could not resist the temptation to dress in traditional colors ourselves. We were a little unsure many people would be around -- a lot of Americans would be doing things offline, and it wasn't a holiday for the rest of the world. We're thinking that if we do it again, not tied to a holiday, it might be even better attended.

The fireworks display at the end was magnificent. Morgana located a really well designed, 25-minute display made by Feras Nolan. This is a little expensive (L$400) and is one-use only, but if you want an event capper that will leave people happily stunned, you can't find better.

As the smoke cleared and people drifted away, we were surprised that we'd been at it for seven hours and it had flown by. We're looking forward to doing something else soon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Midnight Reflections

The mood last night was mellow and we were looking for a quiet retreat rather than socializing or shopping. It was a nice coincidence, then, that we found Midnight Reflections.

The place is dark, moody and gorgeous. We found walking paths and waterfalls, lots of wooded areas and eventually, the secluded getaway in the picture here.

Midnight Reflections and a couple of neighboring sims seem to be largely uncommercial, save for one mall that I assume helps to defray the costs. But it is tucked away in one corner and easy to escape. There's a lot of room for romance, meditation or just being. Highly recommended.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Cross my palm with silver...

Due to a long list of RL and SL frustrations, I fell off the posting habit in a big way - taking pics and then not being able to access inventory being only one of them.

But this morning, following the lure of Linden Lab's post about Analise, I picked up the Relay for Life gypsy set, and promptly fell in love with what scuplties can do. They're going to kill my ability to make saleable items in SL, I think, but I can't help but say wow, anyway.

The RFL version is done in shades of purple, but there are other colors available and it was very difficult to decide which to get. Each comes with a prim skirt and a sashed overlay that is on the skirt clothing layer - I like this method, because it helps hide that butt-crack effect that happens when the prim meets the rear end on an item that isn't supposed to be skin tight. The set also includes two tops - one in white, and one in a lighter hue of the skirt.

The sleeves are where the scupltie goodness comes in. I don't even want to think how many times I've tried - and failed - to create sleeves that look like this with the regular prims. They are puffed and gathered layers all the way down, attached in two parts so that the bend at the elbow looks natural. It's terribly feminine and romantic and I expect to be hauling out these tops to wear with jeans just as often as I pair them with the skirt they came with.

Finally, the set comes with a lovely headscarf that I'm not really showing off to very good effect and some really good triple hoop earrings that I'll be putting on frequently.

To this set, I've added Shiny Things Gold Triple Drop Chain in Opal, which works very well with the style of the set, I think. It's long been one of my favorite accessories, but it's sometimes difficult to find looks that set it off to its best advantage.

The skin I'm wearing for these pictures is Pixel Deep, Light, Brunette with the mauve, gloss makeup. This is part of a skin set I bought early on in my SL adventures, and have only recently started wearing again. The make up coloring tends to be subtle instead of slathered on with a trowel (not that I don't enjoy that look just fine sometimes) and the eyebrows have a soft look to them that avoids the penciled on effect that I have come to regard as one of those unavoidable issues in SL.

The eyes are Tempus Heart Design's Natural Pale Brown and the hair is Jolie Femme's Timeless in Nearly Black. If you haven't seen this hair yet (and you aren't seeing it very well here, now) do go check it out. It manages to pull off lots of little fly away bits the way real thick hair does without looking horribly messy. This style is as close to the way my hair looked for years than anything I've seen in SL yet. (my current RL style is quite a bit shorter - but if I grew it out, this is what it would do.)

I don't think I've mentioned it here, but I do offer tarot readings in SL - by and large I don't go in for the 'dress like a gypsy to read the cards' bit - but with an outfit this cute, I might just change that policy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Another new look for Mickey

This is Morgana and me at an event, me showing a new skin and body shape.

Second Life allows us to be malleable in appearance, but I tend to pick a basic shape and skin to use mostly consistently for a period of time. I seem to fall in the middle between those who are constantly changing the way they look and those who almost never do.

Still, while I change hair and clothes daily or even more often, and skins as called for to fit a mood or occasion (mostly for facial hair changes rather than radically different skin tones), I do tend to keep a basic shape in place unless I'm just moving to a non-human avatar altogether for a few hours.

Still, there comes a time to make a change. I've taken to calling my old new look "The Professor," and I still like it and can go back to it at any time ... but I'm liking the changes I've made.

The body shape I'm using is called Gerhardt, from Bodies by Oh! It's stockier and broader than the one I had been using, and after some judicious slider adjustments, looks nicely solid and well-proportioned.

The skin provides the finishing touch. This is Adam from Second Skin Labs. It's a wonderfully real-looking skin with a good range of facial hair options. The only drawback is it lacks a bald head option so I can't use very short prim hair pieces. But the hair on it looks good, and also works well with medium and long hair.

The skin is relatively new within SL, introduced just earlier this year. It has been well received as being one of the best male skins around, an opinion with which I agree.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Haemosu Park v.2 Phase Two - Done (for now)

We found a wonderful trampoline -- excuse me, Parabolic Trajectory Enhancer -- at Mr. Greggan's Land and put it on the opposite end of the park from the original playground location. But then we moved the playground equipment down there too.

We did a bit more over the next couple of weeks and now the project is essentially finished, for now (with just a few finishing touches yet to come). We will be planning a grand opening ceremony soon.

Although it's not located at the center, the real centerpiece of this project is a bandstand we created based on the idea of community parks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in America. I built the bandstand and Morgana provided the texturing expertise. We plan to use it to host events and games, and also to open it for community use. Even though we don't live on this land anymore, we still consider our neighbors to be actual neighbors, and we are trying to do what we can to create a space that brings beauty and some sense of theme to our small piece of the Second Life mainland.

Too much of the mainland has been given over to tacky malls, casinos and sprawl without purpose or plan. We're glad that Haemosu, after some growing pains earlier, has settled into some measure of stability as a residential area. The park will hopefully provide an anchor to help keep it that way.

To that end, we've added picnic tables and a cooking fire with some scripted food items. Come have a burger and talk with your friends around the tables... that's what they're there for.

This overhead shot shows the layout from end to end, not that you need a map to find your way around. Come visit.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Haemosu Park v.2 Phase One

The first phase is a small playground. Come by and try the swings, bring a friend and ride the see-saw.

More to come, but this is a good start.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Haemosu Park v 2.0 -- coming soon

As you may know, Morgana and I homesteaded for a short time on two plots of First Land in a region called Haemosu, and when we moved to our home in Winterfell, we kept them and turned them into a park.

For a long time, we just had the two plots, free of tier fees under the now-defunct First Land program. A couple of neighboring landowners liked the idea and joined us in the project, adding their land to the park and helping us landscape and equip it.

Since then, things have changed. One of the neighbors chose to sell his five 512-square-meter plots, and in the interest of keeping the park alive, we bought four of them.

We've decided the park as it was, developed haphazardly by multiple landscapers with no overall plan, had gotten to be too chaotic, so we've stripped our holdings down to bare grass rimmed in hedges and are beginning now to plan the rebirth.

We'll post pictures of our progress here.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Project Open Letter

I just logged out of Second Life because for the second time in as many days, I was unable to get dressed. Not change clothing - I did the quick change magic poof thing where you switch out what you have on for what's in a folder in your inventory. Except all that happened is everything I had on went away and to rez, and there I stand all nekkid.

Not that nekkid doesn't have its place, but all I was doing was hiding out to sort inventory and if I can't do that or leave to go do something else because I'm all undressed, there was no point in sticking around.

Which leads me to this. Project Open Letter is a polite outlining of the sorts of problems that have become so frequent as to be debilitating for SL users and a request that these please take preference over any further upgrades. Yes, it's something everyone complains about, and maybe the Lindens will pay no more attention to it than they have to these same complaints so far. But as they close down one avenue to speak with them directly after another, what else can you do?

We love SL. We don't want to leave. But when you're reduced to standing around naked unable to do a single thing, you have to do something and hope someone is listening. If there is no satisfactory acknowledgement of this, maybe it will be time (time when I can't do anything else because my clothes won't rez and teleport is broken again) to rethink the monetary investment I put into this. It's bad enough when gridlock happens in First Life...paying for in Second Life is starting to not make much sense.

If you feel so moved, add your name. Each of us represents someone who puts money into Linden's coffers. If there are enough of us, maybe we'll match the complaint power of the corporations they're courting now.

(And on that note - I'd love to see some of them signing this - but I'm guessing they're so separated from our server and database that these things don't affect them. But they should sign anywhere - without us, they have no customer eyes here, and hence no purpose.)

Friday, April 27, 2007

What I'm wearing... 4/27

I had one of those moments yesterday, where I wonder why I never see something in SL that ought to be there, and then playing around to see if I can do it. In this particular case, it was 80's style Dynasty shoulder pads. Remember those? Sure, we all hate them now, but anyone who was around then wore the heck out of them. Big oversized shirts, skin-tight leggings or cigarette-leg jeans, high heels and lots of bright jewelry. Strong make-up and hair that was either huge and wild or androgynous and assymetrical and gel'd to within an inch of its life.

So, I pieced together a few items to try to get there.

The jeans are on the underwear layer (designed to be worn with boots, but they work fine as cigarette leg jeans, too) - not the pale acid wash I remember so well, but close in effect, these are Desert Moon Clothier's "Zealot" design. They're photosourced, with nice detail, fading that looks natural and good wrinkles around the upper thigh, as if they've been worn lovingly for some time. All that's missing to recreate 'the look' are the little zippers around the ankles so you could squeeze your feet past the tight opening at the bottom.

The jewelry is another set from Lassiter & Ennui (I do love them so much) - I bought the Rydra set with an eye to using it in ancient ROMA, but it's got that big bright and bold look so popular during the 80s. The set comes with a necklace and set of earrings, in either gold or silver, with a number of stone options. I couldn't decide, so I went with the rainbow set, which is set with different colored stones arranged in a rainbow spectrum.

The shoes are by Solange! and are her Legacy Stilletto's in black and gold. Walking into Solange's is a dangerous stunt for me, because almost everything there is irresistable to me. It's also the brand most likely to get me compliments from strangers. I thought the decadent over-the-top lushness of these shoes worked well. Anything by X3D would have done well, too, should you be more inclined to wear pumps.

The belt is part of a set in my inventory that involves a peacock formal dress and sadly has no designer information with it whatsoever. If you recognize it, give me a shout out. The bright gold sets off the gold in the jewelry and necklace and keeps that high contrast of gold and purple going.

Now the shirt... like I said, this started out as a bit of wondering whether or not shoulder pads were even possible, so I quickly whipped up a system shirt, textured it with something bright and jeweltoned, and created a pair of prim shoulder pads textured in the same color. Then, a system skirt to provide the cinched waist look, and ta da! I have my starting point. I'm going to try creating a few of these with actual planned textures and see how it goes. But even as a test shirt, this looked nice enough that we went out dancing in it and I haven't taken it off yet today. (Fair warning, there are certain positions that happen when dancing that make the prims look momentarily wonky. But no more so than most prims, and they actually add a bit of that Joan Collins strut when walking that keeps making me grin when I see it.) I'm telling myself this version is velour, but I'd like to do a few satin and shiny shirts and maybe a jacket if I can pull if of. So if you like this, stay tuned!

Onto the bod... the hair I used is a male/unisex style called Brandon Cassanova, and if anyone knows who makes the Brandon hairs, please, please let me know. And designers - if you love your customers you will include notecards with your name (SL doesn't always want to let us know when we peek into Edit mode), a landmark, and the name of your shop in case you move after we've bought the item. I'm begging you - I want to be a repeat customer, really I do. I'm not sure what this style would do on a guy's head - I fear it may turn into that overly-processed, ehem, 80s hair. But on me? Wowie! Yes, I did wear this style in RL, why do you ask?

The skin here deserves attention, too. From Skin Within, it's a modifiable tan called Azora using the Sand makeup. While true 80s would probably be a lot more blue/plum and heavier eye make-up, I just loved the way the gold in the make-up played up the gold necklace and contrasted with the jewel-toned purple of the shirt.

Skin: Azora Tan, Sand, Skin Within
Eyes: SS Eye Series3_9, Second Skin Labs
Hair: Brandon Cassanova, honey blonde, maker unknown
Outfit: Top: mine, not available
Jeans: DMC Zealot Jeans, 'tucked-in' version, Desert Moon Clothiers
Shoes: Legacy Stillettos, Black/Gold, Solange!
Jewelry: Rydra, Gold & Rainbow Necklace & Earring Set, Lassitude & Ennui
Other: Belt: Natalia Basiat, shop unknown

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What I'm wearing...4/26

I feel bad that we've not used this chronicle as fully as we should - and it's not for lack of things to share. We continue to find great places to hang out and we ought to be sharing them with you! Also, Mickey has been learning to script and make furniture, and I play with clothing, making (and tons to learn yet) and buying.

Lots of buying.

So as a jumpstart to getting used to writing here, I've decided to graze through my bulging inventory closet and show off some of the goodies I've purchased - at least one a day. Some will be contemporary, some fetish, but lots will be period clothing because I have a weakness for those.

Today's outfit is Victorian and would be quite at home in Caledon or one of the Old West sims:

This is the Day Dress with Bonnet from Vintage Clothing Reproductions. It comes in a few color options, but the one I bought is in Rich Coral, a lovely deep rose shade that shows off all the details. The shape of the skirt gives the illusion of deep, full gathers that move well when I walk.

The bonnet is very sweet - hats are difficult to do in SL, especially those that don't perch flat on top of the head. The maker tried very hard to make room for the sort of up-do hair style most likely to be worn with this, without making the hat hugely oversized. After a bit of experimentation, I found that the style that worked best for me was Mystikal's Flexi Karol, a rich old-fashioned bun with corkscrew curls. It filled the bonnet without overflowing its boundaries and looks like they were made to go together.

The finishing touches here are Simple Things' Victoria Boot and L&E's Cameo Choker. The boots are favorites of mine - ankle high and don't require two parts but still manage to look right without overlapping my ankles when I move. The brown version goes well with almost anything I pair them with.

The choker is a recent purchase of mine, and I've been wearing it a lot - it can be purchased in a variety of ribbon shades, with each version coming in both silver or gold trim. Ribbon ends dangle below the cameo, and it's a wonderful way to finish off an old-fashioned look without looking like you're wearing too much jewelry.

Skin: Gala Medium - Earth, Empyrean Emporium
Eyes: Luminous Obsidian, Sin Skins
Hair: Flexi Karol (JBrown), Mystikal
Outfit: Day Dress with Bonnet (Rich Coral), Vintage Clothing Reproductions
Shoes: Lady Victoria Boot (Brown), Shiny Things
Jewelry: Cameo Choker, Silver, Lassitude & Ennui

Thursday, March 15, 2007

It was going so well....

36 people came to share in the Matronalia festivities. The ritual went without a hitch, the picnic baskets were overflowing, and the dancing was a pleasure.

And then the Linden Gods, jealous things, struck.

Juno never gets a break, dammit.

The Ides of March in ROMA

Over the last few months, Mickey and I have become involved in role play at ROMA, one of the most detailed historic sims that we've come across. Not set in any specific period of the Roman Republic, and full of humorous and educational surprises, ROMA has enough to keep a sightseer happy for repeat explorations. Torin, the sim's builder and manager, has a wicked sense of fun and keeps things running smoothly for the growing group of people who spend time there. This is not a sim that you'll find standing empty - there are always friendly visitors stopping by to look at this wonder of the SL world.

In addition to the pleasure of simply wandering the sim, there are many opportunities to become involved in events and in subgroups within ROMA. There are groups of legionnaires for the combat inclined (but you needn't worry if you're simply walking through the city - the Legion confines their combat to specific training areas), the Senate for the political afficianados, and the Collegia of the Priesthood for those wishing to pay homage to the Roman deities.

Mickey is now a Censor in the Senate, and I've taken on duties at the Collegia assisting the Angelia, the Chief Vestal, as a Lady of Juno. (It seemed appropriate - as the partner of a Senator, I'm not going to convince anyone that I'm virginal, even for a moment. Even in SL, I am ever the matron.)

March is our second month of offering multi-days worth of midmonth festivities. First, this afternoon (March 15) at 1 pm SLT, I will be presiding over my first ritual - the Matronalia, an observance usually held March 1, in honor of Juno. After the rite, which will be held in the Garden, we will have a picnic and - of course - dancing. For the women attending, hair worn loose is the dress code of the day - this is an event where we women literally get to let our hair down.

Tomorrow, also at 1 pm SLT, the Legion XIII has promised us a parade and the Amazons will be providing a martial demonstration, in honor of the Festival of Mars.

And then the grand finale on Saturday - Bacchanalia! At Caligula's Palace (where lovers may rent private space as desired), free (1L) rental time is available all day and at 6 pm SLT we're all meeting in the Plaza in itty bitty Bacchanalia clothing before heading back to the Garden for a bonfire, feast and general carousing.

Spring has sprung in ROMA, and it's coming in with a roar!

Note: The outfit above is my own design, for the Collegia Priesesses. You can find a decent variety of togas for men and women at the ROMA Market, but don't forget to spend a few minutes at the Customs Office where you first teleport to ROMA. You'll find notecards with information that will let you get started in the sim, and if you join the group you will also be able to take a free outfit so you can wander the sim dressed for the occasion. Note, though, that role play is not a requirement of the sim, and you're welcome to come as a tourist without being forced to role play, as long as you heed to rules of the sim regarding politeness.

Ave, travelers!

SLurl for ROMA: ROMA