Sunday, July 24, 2016

Tutorial: Graphics Settings in Second Life

Clever use of graphics settings in Second Life can make taking pictures in world much easier and more effective, as well as letting lower end computers still produce high quality images. Knowing which to use when speeds up photography, especially in circumstances outside of the photo-studio, where lag and other people can be much more of an issue. Above is the final image we're working towards, using shadows and windlight settings to draw a strong diagonal across the image straight to her face, while simultaneously anchoring the image with the clock toward in the deep background.I'm also working to minimize a couple of issues at play which I'll point out as we move our way up through the levels of systemic complexity. I would find moving around with the above settings a real challenge, and framing an image almost impossible; the lag on my system is simply too intense for detailed movement.

Sunday Squee: Pokémon Go

The Sunday Squee is about things that make me happy and excited. From books to movies to television shows to podcasts, I'll highlight less commonly known things as a way to share what I love. If you want to join in the Sunday Squee, please link back to me, magnifying both of our joy.


Pokémon Go is the first pokémon (pocket monster) game I've ever played, though I've bumped elbows with it's knock-offs a few times, and I came to play it circuitously, through Niantic's previous (and still running) game Ingress. However, where Ingress encouraged territory taking and keeping, Pokémon Go has a fun solo play component to it which reinforces the exploration aspects of its cousin. First - the basics; you can sign up either through a gmail account or the Pokémon website - in either case I strongly suggest using a pseudonym or a throw-away email account as this is a GPS game which has different privacy concerns than a purely online game. The same goes for your official name in game, which will show up on gyms and on the pictures you take of your pokémon in the wild (I cropped my images to remove my pseydonym). Also, the names are unique, so having a pre-selected list of options makes a lot of sense.

It's Been a Sad July

Floating in the Depths

Things seemed to get worse after Orlando.

Content Note: I keep flash off, so I don't know how many of these pages have autoplaying video of people being killed,and the hashtags often have images of bodies. Follow links carefully.

July 1st was the worst terrorist attack in the history of Bangladesh, when members of the Jamaeytul Mujahdeen took hostages for twelve hours; twenty-nine people were killed, including five of the six Bangladeshi men who took them hostage.

July 3rd, over three hundred people were killed in a Baghdad bombing targeting a Shi'ite area of the city; it was the deadliest bombing in Iraq this year. Some information about the slain was released, and Iraquis poured out their grief on the #NotJustANumber hashtag.

July 4th, Delrawn Small was shot after approaching an off duty police officer after an interaction on the road (surprisingly, the officer was stripped of his gun and badge after video evidence contradicted his statement).

July 5th, Anton Sterling was shot after being pinned down by police; Chris DeLay, the man who posted the video, was detained by police the next day.

A Sunny Day

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sn@tch - For the Love of Vice

Sn@tch is one of the 7Seas Fishing holes left on the grid that offers bonus clothing if you have some patience. All of the pieces are available for fishing without bait, and it can be a really fun activity, a way to pick up some floating fish, and an easy way to pick up some awesome outfits.

Sn@tch - For the Love of Vice

Right now, the Sn@tch outfit Sainmhiniu is wearing up front is available for catching. Right behind me, in the teal, is someone wearing the last outfit that was catchable there - Then Paloma Danced. For Love of Vice includes five different colors of this outfit, the tights and boots, the hairbow and glasses, and omega appliers for all of the textures included. The skirt comes in standard sizes, and I've had very little problem fitting it. It's extremely newbie friendly - the basic fishing rod costs 100$L and you can catch everything with it - and the quality is very high. Also, what can be fished for changes at least twice a month, and several times a year Sn@tch does "grab bag" releases, where entire items of sets of accessories are boxed up and made catcheable.

I'm an absent fisher - the 7Seas Rods allow one to catch endlessly - and I used the Oceanography Database to limit my catches to novel fish, it automatically checks them off as I go. Sainmhiniu is often fishing in the background on a Radegast browser while I do other things, so I have a small collection of extras which end up given to friends or handed off to newbies I run into. The fish themselves are a delight; I have a full set on my main as well as almost a full set on Sainmhiniu,and love to watch them swim around me. 7Seas Fish also include some secondary games - the blueprints, for example, let you collect a few items of different levels and combine them to create a bunch of different prizes, like the Oceanography Database I mentioned above or a rezzable boat which lets one fish within it's vicinity. There is a breeding game as well, where you can combine Flame Angel fish to make children. There are rezzable items, like fish tanks, and decorations, and fish competition games and fishing contests as well. The nicest thing is how fishing holes can be customized - many of them offer custom eggs and treasures and you can find them through the 7Seas Public Fishing Hole List, which updates automatically.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Sunday Squee: Second Life's 13th Birthday

The Sunday Squee is about things that make me happy and excited. From books to movies to television shows to podcasts, I'll highlight less commonly known things as a way to share what I love. If you want to join in the Sunday Squee, please link back to me, magnifying both of our joy.

Cake Stage: Sweet Rings

I've been spending much of the day wandering around Second Life's 13th Birthday celebration, which is open through the weekend. The stages are all organized works of art spanning one to four sims at once while the display sims are broken up into about twenty-five individual squares, each in the hands of a different builder. The effect is cacophonous, highly eclectic, and often a challenge to photograph! I love it as a measure of the sheer breadth of people and talent in Second Life - by and large this is a world made up of enthusiastic amateurs, and the birthday celebration is always a striking place to see that set side by side. It's also a good place to pick up some freebies and landmarks of things to explore in the wider Second Life universe - I already have a few landmarks and notecards for when the Birthday sims close. The cake stage has already been exploded into tiny bits, but the rest will remain in place for another couple of days before they're returned. Whether you want to try to catch it all, or just seek out the highlights, I highly recommend heading over before it all vanishes into the mists.

Welcome Area: Gull

Friday, July 1, 2016

Month of the Blog: June

Pelican Brief

This month I tried to get back into art in a small way and it happened, but not as much as I could have wished. I also experimented with using alts to show off hunt prizes, and that went rather well. This was also the month when I finally began treatment for ADD, and the month my cat looked very sick but may have just become much pickier about his food. It's been a lot of ups, a lot of downs, and not much in between - not conducive for being in Second Life, much less blogging about it! For next month, I hope to get back into my more regular posts - the Colour Challenge, the Art Analysis, my Sunday Squees. We'll see if it comes to pass!

Cosmetics Fair: Green

Top Ten Posts in May:

  1. Poppin' Penguin Hunt!: Summer Lovin'
  2. Genre: New Republic
  3. Hamlet - In a Nutshell
  4. Say Their Names
  5. Suspended
  6. Midnight Madness: You See Right Through Me
  7. LEA 26, 27, 28, and 29 - Pop-Up Art
  8. Sunday Squee: Bare@Rose's Raffle
  9. SL13B: Something Sweet
  10. Cosmetics Faire: Six Colors, Six Looks
Lost in Legends

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Genre: French Revolutions

New Republic: In Memorium
"130 noms, 130 vies arrachées, 130 destins fauchés, 130 rires que l'on n'entendra plus, 130 voix qui à jamais se sont tues. Ces femmes, ces hommes, incarnaient le bonheur de vivre. C'est parce qu'ils étaient la vie qu'ils ont été tués. C'est parce qu'ils étaient la France qu'ils ont été abattus. C'est parce qu'ils étaient la liberté qui'ils ont été massacrés."
"Malgré les larmes, cette génération est aujourd'hui devenue le visage de la France."
François Hollande, President of the French Republic
130 names, 130 torn lives, 130 destinies broken, 130 peoples whose laughter we hear no more, 130 voices that have fallen silent. These women and these men embodied the joy of living. Because of this life that they were killed. Because they were France they were shot. Because they were free they were slaughtered.

Despite the tears, this generation is the face of France.

New Republic: Lost in Time

Cosmetics Faire: Six Colors, Six Looks

Cosmetics Fair: Red

The amount of options at the Cosmetics Faire are simply jaw dropping, and I had fun flipping through the rainbow and exploring a bunch of options! The hair choices are awesome this time around. Pink Hustler has the cutest off-center ponytail design, another bit of hair wrapped around it's base and the rigged trailing ends available in normal and busty. It's recolorable via a HUD, offering up a ton of options with a single click. The textures come with a ton of options and most include subtle root shading. Ayashi also went the updo route - this time with a cute bun style complete with loose tendrils; I especially like the tendrils out of the buns themselves - gorgeous bit of verisimilitude. It comes both rigged and resizable and is recolorable via a HUD and the fatpack has a truly impressive array of options, from the realistic to the magical. [KoKoLoReS] has a couple of styles on offer; below I show off Robin, a short style with a fun, asymmetrical bang line. I really love the way the hair curves, as if it were cut by a master stylist. It comes with options for a single tint and a dichoromatic setup via various HUDs and the colors included are clear and bright. The final style I'm showing off is a short, curly style from Lovey Dovey with lots of body and one of my favorite things - tons of ombre textures including a fantastic rainbow - though I'm showing off a Torley style watermelon ombre in these images.

Cosmetics Fair: Orange

Monday, June 27, 2016

SL13B: Something Sweet

Cloudy Selfies

Second Life is celebrating another birthday - thirteen years! - and seventeen sims are decked out with a panoply of creations, artistic endeavors, styling stages, freebies of varying quality, and enthusiasm. I love wandering around attempting to take meaningful pictures while exploring the enormous variation in Second Life - while the stages tend to be high end creations from some of the foremost builders in Second Life, anyone can get one of the 36 parcels per exhibition sim to share their time, their art, their beliefs, their mysteries, their dedication. The results are always mixed; some displays are striking, some encourage the traveler to linger, some are confusing or involved while others are impossible to capture.

Leaping Above the Fray

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Genre: New Republic

Flashing Heels

The French New Republic is the theme for this round of Genre - that unnerving period of time after the French Revolution, when mores and values were overturned for good reasons and often violent ends. When I was a child, I perceived this revolution as serving all of France; as an adult, I'm all too aware of the privilege of those who took power after the initial riots. As power and prejudice combine to threaten the US now, as progress toward equality slams into fear of change, these historical revolutions seem a lot more relevant. So was who ended up suffering the most - the poor, people of color, religious minorities; I no longer believe that time arcs toward justice, but I hope we have enough people to make justice and it's siblings mercy and compassion, more central than they are now. The US is an old republic, now; we'll have to see what we can make of it, imperfect as we are.

Near to Sea