Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Reset Button

Triune Trees

That audible snap you heard was the universe returning to it's natural state now that I'm back in a pretty dress. Hope it didn't give you a headache!

Out to Sea

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Genre: Rebel Yell

This is a bit of a departure from my usual look.

Looking for Trouble

The theme for Genre this month is Sons of Genre, and Bikers have taken over. This is the biggest break from my style that I've ever done; the Apocalypse and Dark Magic both brought out the power of Dark Deo, but I still managed something clean cut and even a little sweet or Medieval at times. This time... there is no sweet left. There is no cute, no giggle, not even the shine of gossamer wings outside of the flash of rainbow on my Noctis biker goggles. Available alone or combined with a wide variety of scary helmets (we'll see if I can work any of THEM into a look!) the rainbow lenses are only one of the five options, and the goggle section itself has three metal designs. The goggles are also editable, which means if you want to fit the strap to a finicky bald head, like I did, it's totally easy.

My spikes and eyeshadow (the latter a little concealed, I'll admit!) are both from The Stringer Mausoleum, whose style seems oddly perfect for this intersection of grimy reality and dangerous fantasy. The spiky head is also editable so I could make sure the flat part of each spike fit nicely to my skull, and the effect is striking - if distinctly non-Deoish. There are five other colors besides this metallic blue, for all of your "HEADPETTERS BEWARE!" needs. And finally, tucked over my Rosal corset neck (not available at Genre) is a thick chain necklace from Painfully Divine, which looks both divine and somewhat painful! I love how heavy it is, each link easily as wide as two fingers, and the curve around the neck is perfect - especially over a particularly thin neck. It's available in three dark and heavy colors, but I'd love to also see it shined up and in even more shades - it walks a line between decorative and substantial that I find quite appealing.

Feh!

Continuing the theme of "not your average Deo," even my wings have been traded in by the cutest bit of my ensemble - this backpack from Distorted Dreams. I tremble to call it cute - I am a scary biker chick who eats glass for breakfast! - but it really is adorable, and would work as well on the back of a schoolgirl as it does as the wings of a terrifying creature like myself! It is also editable - I'm sensing a theme here! - which means the sometimes irritating shoulder pieces can be changed to fit an outfit or a pose; a blessing for backpacks! My final accessory in an outfit which seems to be more accessory than outfit is a pair of terrifying skull-wing rings from Eclectica. There are two color sets available, one the darker rough-and-tumble shades and the other slightly brighter, as if maybe there could be a happy ending once the enemies are put in the ground - or at least a hardcore drive off a cliff! The black outline on them gives an almost comic-book feel, the edges sharp enough to cut.

All of my accessories combine to support the jeans-and-chaps and tank top combo from The Annex. I'm used to seeing flowing dresses and ruffles from them, so this brief and somewhat hardcore offering is eye opening - and one of the reasons why Genre can be such fun. The tank is embellished with a loosely laced opening in the front and the sizes would fit a whole range of avatars on Second Life. I ended up combining the large top and the extra small pants to pull off my usual hourglass shape; one advantage to a two piece look like this is that it allows for a wider variety in body shapes. The Jeans and chaps are amazing, and one of my favorite bits of clothing available at this event. The hip fit is very low, which isn't even close to my usual style, but which works with this outfit, and the added layer of leather over the legs and bucked around the waist draws a lot of attention to some of my nicer features while still seeming realistic. The added large buckles down the sides, and the stud detailing of the belt, makes this seem like something a Scary Momma would wear when out on a ride - though I'll admit the white bodystocking from Reasonable Desires and all of the corsetry from Rosal (neither available at Genre) is a tad less realistic. Although this is a lot less skin than I often show, it feels like it's a lot more due to what skin is shown off and how - I think I pulled off dangerously sexy pretty well, even if I do say so myself!

Adults Only

Monday Meme: Me, Myself and I

See The Fucks I Don't Give

Strawberry is letting us off easy this week, with a few sentences to finish and some lovely art on her part. I'm going to make this equally quick and sweet - it's been a very long week.

I am… cranky

I want… a clean house.

I have… anime

I wish… for more time.

I hate… starting work tomorrow.

I fear… I'm wasting my time.

I search… for some reassurance.

I wonder… whether anyone notices.

I regret… my temper and moods.

I never… seem to grow up.

I always… seem to go in the same circles, over and over again.

I usually… don't follow through on my plans.

I dance… in my own clothes.

I sing… whenever I can.

I often… worry ineffectually.

I sometimes… wish I could be someone else.

I need… more discipline.

I cry… at almost everything.

I should… shower and go to bed.

I love… my adorable cat, Tadeus.

Blood Moon Rising

( More Monday Meme's here. )

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Squee: Isometric Podcast

The Sunday Squee is when I can talk about things that make me happy and excited. The main focus will be on different things people created, from books to movies to television shows to podcasts, and my effort will be to 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 so I can enjoy what you love!

Muncheon

Isometric is Greek in origin, and means "equal in measure". Although the term itself is likely foreign to a lot of people, it's place is everywhere in our environment and in many of the games we play, laying out a grid upon which we can build worlds. It was a mostly alien word to me, even though one of my favorite Facebook games was on an isometric grid, until the podcast Isometric - one of my favorite podcasts. Loosely centered around gaming, Isometric has four component parts which make it unique.
  • The originator and center of chaos around which the podcast rotates, Brianna Wu, the co-founder and CEO Giant Spacecat, which released the awesome video game Revolution 60, available on iOS and coming soon to a computer near you. In the wake of the success of Isometric, Wu began a second, all female podcast called Rocket which focuses on geek culture in general. She brings the unique perspective of a developer, as well as her activist and journalistic history to the table. Her opinions are clear and unambiguous, but more than any of the other hosts she's shown a willingness to rethink her opinions and change her mind based on a solid argument or additional information on a topic.

  • The "voice" of "reason", Steve Lubitz, who usually does the introductions and is often the most grounded of the hosts. Father of three, Steve brings both a man's and a father's perspective to the table, as well as the perspective of someone who is a longtime fan of games without ever being part of the professional gaming world.

  • The giggle and purveyor of Hand Turkeys is Georgia Dow, a psychoanalyst, Senior Editor and writer at Mobile Nations, as well as a participant in another podcast, Vector. Dow brings a psychological perspective to the table, as well as the perspective of someone who would lurk in the grasses, waiting for hours for the moment to strike. She also brings the silly, and the mustaches. She was supposed to be the sweetest and most gentle, but now we're not that sure.

  • The hardcore gamer of the group is Maddy Myers, who is also a professional games journalist, Assistant Games editor at Paste Magazine, and Samus* in a hysterical video series. She is most outspoken about her changing perspective on being a woman in gaming, and on feminism and femininity in general.
Main House - End of Arabian Event

The first episode is a must-listen, and you will be able to figure out pretty quickly if it's the podcast for you! The thing which amazes me is that the first episode is essentially the first time everyone is meeting each other for the first time - Wu pulled everyone together and the chemistry and fun was immediate. What I like most about Isometric is how it sounds like a bunch of friends I'm getting to know just chatting about gaming. Serious and silly melt together almost seamlessly, each of them balancing out the other. Several episodes after Isometric began, a massive misogynistic backlash against women in gaming began, and Isometric offered up a unique perspective on ground zero of the fallout. It also is simply fun; when I've had a hard day, or I'm feeling down, I'll often cue up one of the recent episodes to listen and giggle along. There's even a video of their first public appearance together at PAX East, complete with panda hats, mustaches, games involving plushies, and hilarity. I hope you will love them as much as I do - so please check them out!

Snax?

*For people who may not know, Samus is the main character of the Metroid series of games.

( More Sunday Squee here. )

Friday, March 20, 2015

21 Shoe: N-core

21 Shoe: N-core

I love the use of snakeskin twisted around black and white leather that is part of N-core's offering for this 21 Shoe event, fitted for Belleza High, Maitreya High, N-core Xtreme, SLink High, and TMP Ouch feet. The skin color is similar the common rat snake, a mottled combination of browns on cream which is simply lovely. The shoes come with black and white ribbon, but pretty much everything else about them is texture change via a slick HUD. The platform, for example, can be changed between the color of the shoe - black or white - and a sunny sort of cork base. The inner and outer soles can also be color changed between beige, tan, and black with an added red for the inner base, if you want that splash of color. And finally, the large metal pieces holding the ribbon together can be tinted between gold or silver, for the final touch of sparkle. I love the open weave-work design of these shoes, and the fun touches of snakeskin which remain classy thanks to the solid base behind them. I particularly like how N-core placed a narrow band of snakeskin along the edge of the platform shoe; it's such a subtle touch, but it ties the whole look together.

At midnight, the 21 Shoe event begins at all of the various stores of the event, each one offering up two shoes for the price of one - in many cases, shoes which will not be available ever again. If you join the group, you'll not only get a notice at midnight but you can also pick up the awesome group gift from Sax Shepherd Designs - and get into the group for free as well!

21 Shoe: YS & YS

21 Shoe: YS & YS

YS & YS has brought us a glory of cream and pink for this month's 21 Shoe. Both shoes are round-toed, open fronted heels with lovely gold bands across the front of the foot - a fantastic touch. I love how uneven the front bands are, slightly off from each other or angled a little to one or the other side as if pressing against the flesh of the front of my foot, and the curve of leather for the vamp wraps around and then under the platform. One final, charming touch is the zipper up the heel. It even has YS & YS embossed on the metal of the zipper tongue! The shoes themselves are fit for the SLink high feet as well as the Maitreya Lara body and the Belleza Venus high feet style - meaning that almost any feet you have will work with these charming platform heels.

The 21st is a little less than 24 hours away, so get your pocketbooks ready for a day of two-for-one value and gorgeous shoes!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

21 Shoe Event: House of Rain

21 Shoe: House of Rain

House of Rain have created some amazingly intricate shoes, using a petal badge both without a backing and with to mimic the shape of a lace chain boot while leaving space for gorgeous feet to shine through. This sneak preview on what I hope will be an extensive collection (rumors say it will be color changeable via HUD!) offers two exclusive color combinations - gray and silver, and red and gold - shaped for the SLink Mid foot. You can see the gleam and soft texturing of materials layered into the shoes, and the wonderful curving shape of the heel. I enlarged the gray and silver so you could get a sense of the delicacy of texturing, and wore the red and gold for that splash of blood red color! There is a matching set of jewelry at House of Rain's Main Store, as well as a song, which is much more than one usually gets with a pair of shoes. The jewelry set includes a necklace, earrings, and a pair of bracelets all with the same petal-and-ring motif, and you can find them inside the northern room of the store, along the southern wall.

Remember, these go on sale on the 21st at House of Rain's Main Store, so mark Saturday down on your calendar!


21 Shoe Event: Sax Shepherd Designs

21 Shoe Giantess (Sax Shepherd Designs)

The second I thought of this idea - I knew I had to do it! Actually managing too was much harder, and I ended up working around my no-modify hands and feet by posing in front of a giant image of said hands and feet (and completely deforming a pose!), but in the end I'm hugely pleased with how it turned out! Clearly, this fashionable Giantess has discovered a thieving faerie in her kitchen, and is doing what is necessary!

The anklets are the freebie from Sax Shepherd Designs for 21 Shoe this month, a bonus which will be continuing monthly as the event progresses. Sax sets the bar high - including anklets for both feet which are color changeable between twelve gem colors and three metals. The heart can be changed to a different color from the round gems as well, allowing for accent colors. You get this gift by joining the group - free until the end of the month! - and looking into the past notices; it's already there. There is literally no downside to this.

I paired his anklets with his shoes for this month, a set of stylish platforms in varying shades of grey, purple, and blue. The platform can be set either gray or purple, the gems and rivets can be changed between six options - with the color choices being purple or blue plus black, gold, and silver - and the rings and buckles also can be colored black, gold, or silver. The included HUD is full of a ton of options, and I showed only a shadow of them in the image above. The only constant is the black straps, which offer a nice base for all of these other options. There is a shoe base included which you need to use, since this is a platform shoe and so higher than the standard high shoe. He also included an ankle lock so your feet don't end up overly bent by the various animations you'll encounter across the grid.  This is definitely a lot of bang for your buck from Sax Shepherd Designs.

Remember, it's only available for a day on the 21st of March - so be ready!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Alpha and my Omega, and All that was Ever Mine

Landing Point Surprise

It's been a rough year so far, and I can feel how it's affecting what I do - making every step and every moment of focus more of a challenge. I've also been thinking a lot about Canary Beck's words for [SL] Blogger Support on why someone should make a niche for themselves and the challenge I have with making any sort of niche which would show up on a list of Second Life blogs. In the terms of Second Life blogs, my blog would seem to be a fashion blog - and women's fashion in particular. I view it as more of a personal travelog that includes some details on what I like and why, but I can't deny that one of the things which drew me to Second Life was the opportunity to create unique and beautiful outfits for a mostly-static avatar of myself. I think part of why I bristle so much to be included in the masses is because I'd like to think there's something which sets me apart, even while being afraid that nothing does - and as such I find it impossible to respond to what she says in any sort of measured way; it's all snippy hand-wave and airy defensiveness. I'm reminded of a dynamic I experienced a while ago, early on in my receiving items from creators to blog, when I would write about my mixed feelings about that and confuse one of the creators who was sending me things! I am, if nothing, a giver of mixed messages and a writer of mixed blogposts. Consider this a uncentered splurch of feeling to my blog, expressing some mix of tension, fear, annoyance, and general malaise - it has been a very conflicted year, and we're only three months in.

The new Omega Point sim fit my mood very well, being lovely and natural where one lands with gorgeous shadows cast by the trees, and rapidly descending into a nightmare of blood, lightening, and the depths under the earth where all fear to tread. This is an updated sim in much the same spirit as the old one - the color palette is very similar but the build is much more detailed and economical, and the texturing is more naturalistic. I also really liked the huge maze of passages under the ground, found by following not-at-all-subtle giant teal arrows down into the ground. Around the entrance to the depths and within those depths there is a fun combination of primitive and futuristic, wild and violent animals goring bodies next to piles of manufactured steel supply crates; durt passageways that give way to malfunctioning doorways of light. I am a fan of high contrast, and Omega Point is centered around the meeting point of dirt and steel, all of it bathed in blood.

A Short, Sharp Shock

I centered my look around my hair from Wasabi Pills, currently on sale at FaMESHed, a versatile style that can be aged up or down depending on dress and accessories; in this setting it felt rather like the business woman, taken aback by the land she is unceremoniously dropped into. FaMESHed is much more sleek and professional than my usual trend, but I've been trying to find the challenges within all of the events going on within the grid, and I felt I was up to the challenge. The Wasabi Pills hair on sale there this month is a high ponytail that drapes over one shoulder and can be styled a number of different ways. The asymmetric nature combined with the heavy fringe can play very young, especially when combined with an adorable headband like this one from Dream Things that's currently being sold at Fit for a Princess. The blossoms on my headband are color changing, and it's natural enough to work in non-royal contexts and on adult heads. I played up the youthfulness by adding in this group gift from .:Soul:., a rainbow cupcake styled on my actual platform and given out to try to cheer everyone up in the face of a very challenging year - Charlie is always so sweet to me! Combined with more mature clothing with a simple silhouette, though, these childlike touches at whimsy and charm without seeming underaged, and the Wasabi Pills style adds a touch of elegance with the simple flow of hair over one shoulder - one of the more formal qualities of the hair style.

Glory of the Light

One of the nice things about a sheath dress is that it can be dressed up or down, professional or casual, and while this dress from Valentina E. Couture, also at FaMESHed, flirts with the risque by showing a bit of lace along the low bodice line, adding in a jacket buttoned high would do a lot to turn it from slinky evening wear to stunning professionalism where the lace hints at a naughty side without being too sexy. The three tone tartan caught my attention as well, the pattern standing out but remaining more simple than a complicated or starkly colored tartan might. By limiting the color palette, Valentina made it much more versatile and set the dress up to be paired with a lot of different accessories. My absolute favorite touch is in the mesh, though. Look at the line along the upper thigh - a shape often seen on offline dresses. It looks like a texture added for verisimilitude, but it's actually cut into the mesh in such a way that the dress bends at the thigh in an incredibly realistic manner. This is often a tricky area where the bend can look rubbery, but with the addition of this curving inward to a bend at the upper thigh and some clever rigging, this dress looks wonderfully natural as you move. I would have never though of it, and now I don't want a sheath dress without it!

I reinforced the "classy" read of this outfit and balanced out my more playful accessories with this lovely necklace and earring set from Ariskea. It was the necklace which caught my attention - I'm a sucker for wire wrapped around stones, and these dual-colored stones were particularly striking, with the blue catching the darker blue in the dress while the pink bridged some of the distance between outfit and headband. I echoed this combination of peachy-pink and steel-blue in my shoes from Eclectica, available at her Main Store. They are texture changing, so I combined steel blue on the main shoe with touches of pink and black trim - echoing the main look both in the sleep shape of the shoe, and also in the ornate swirls of the pattern, which capture the swirls of my jewelry. The ultimate effect is a classy date look with hints of playfulness and whimsy, sleeking out my style without losing the essence of a silly faerie who loves rainbows.

Stonework

Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday Meme: Perception of Second Life

A Girl in Selidor

This week Strawberry challenges us to make a video and reflect on how we view Second Life. The former is actually something I've been trying to accomplish for a while - a lot of the art in Second Life is more interactive than static, which makes simple photographs insufficient for capturing what it's like to explore the worlds made by other people. I've made a few abortive attempts to make videos in the past, but this is the first one I'm sharing with other people - so I hope you enjoy!



I clearly need to work on my audio!

I tried to use my little bluetooth headset, but I couldn't figure out how to increase the volume. If anyone has any tips or tricks, I'd appreciate it!

For video, I tried FRAPS (which I've failed at in the past and even the few tutorials I checked out didn't help this time), Jing (the video was extremely choppy), and finally Snagit (which I have on a 15 day trial). Both of the latter two required you to sign up for some reason - in the latter case most likely to enforce that fifteen days, and neither allowed one to pre-emptively opt out of whatever mailings they're now going to send to me. I found both Jing and Snagit to be incredibly intuitive, though, which is many marks above Fraps. Jing has a very cool "hit ctrl to maintain a 3:4 aspect ratio" feature I found while scanning the tutorials, but I was able to approximate that on Snagit using the actual numbers (1000 x 750). If the video quality on Jing had been good I would have stayed with it in a heartbeat, but it was simply too choppy to work with and while Snagit let me save my video in mp4 format, Jing enforced fps, which I couldn't play on my computer. Snagit also has editing capability, which I didn't play with here but which I might in the future once I have the cash to upgrade and the time to play around some more.
  1. What is your perception of Second Life? – Second Life is a world created at the intersections of peoples' dreams, where their best and worst aspects can be free to fly - and where people can meet who never would offline. I think it's a reflection of who we are in all of our variety, and I find the chosen narrowing of worlds that so many people engage in even in Second Life to be fascinating - in a world where we can make anything, it is astonishing how often we remake the world we know, only slightly bent by our own preconceptions.

  2. Do you feel the portrayal or reputation Second Life seems to have in the mainstream media is justified? – I think that Second Life's sheer diversity can be its own enemy. This is a world made up of dreams both dark and light, and trying to represent that to the mainstream world is a unique challenge; people will be attracted to what is dark within themselves, or want to represent Second Life to make various decided upon points, which further shapes how Second Life is perceived. I wish more of the art done in-world was shared with the world at large, both the "official" art by people who call themselves artists, and the commercial art in the form of clothing, accessories, and world items made for the purpose of building homes and sims. I also wish there was a higher profile for the ways in which Second Life can serve as a mirror for us to understand ourselves. The degree of permission and control we have in world is nearly unparalleled, and so often that seems to be missed most of all.

  3. Do you talk about your Second Life with your real life friends and family? – I have talked about it with a few offline friends, and I tell my mother everything, but by and large people aren't really interested. Everyone has a lot going on in their own lives; following a blog or listening to me rant about clothing and art is rather low on their lists.

  4. What is your most favorite thing to do in Second Life? – I love to explore. The moments when I feel the most immersed is when I'm draw into a world someone else has created and exploring it with my full attention. I hope figuring out how to record in Second Life in the way I'm comfortable with will get me going on a project I've been wanting to do for a while - a video recording of various at sims to the music of Second Life musicians.

Mirror Orrey