Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Puppets and Presents

I'm beginning to feel like a grown up blogger!

I could say professional, but as someone who is professional in an entirely different field, I find the application of the term to a hobby in a virtual world both odd and uncomfortable. "Grown up" somehow seems a lot more accurate to me; a grown up blogger, and a decent photographer, but for both of them the term professional seems off-kilter and inaccurate.

It is, after all, a matter of paying for a group so you can stick the title Professional [Whatever] next to your name. I've seen people who are sixteen days old who are CEOs and CFOs; I've seen vast empires of self-reinforcing "Professional" model classes which turn out people who praise the "Professional" company and then seek to serve "Professional" stores. The general sense I've gotten in my two and a half years in world, is that calling yourself professional is a lot easier than behaving as if you are.


I'm not even sure what would make a professional Second Life photographer; perhaps being able to charge for it? And yet it seems to me if I charged, instead of photographing for friends and largely photographing myself, it would remove something from my enjoyment. If photography became a job, if I had to meet up with someone else and try to meet deadlines, it would remove some of the spontaneity and joy from my Second Life. I like snapping impulsive pictures, and "blackmailing" (not really) people with my snaps. I like exploring around a sim and gasping in wonder, then spending five minutes getting the pose and angle right so I can both show of me and the wonderment that cause me such pleasure.

I am, however, starting to receive things for me to review, which makes me feel grown up and self-important as a blogger! I'm getting quite the swelled head, so it's lucky what I received this week is primarily a tattoo layer - so it could easily swell with my head, instead of disappearing within it.

Through the Gap

Wasabi Pills isn't actually a stranger to my inventory though I'm not sure I've blogged any of the pictures with me wearing what I already own. I got this awesome hair as a gift this week, though, and after trying it on and giggling a bit, I wandered off to Ode to go *clickclickclick* in an entirely unprofessional manner. It's very crown-like and cybernetic, which is of course why I paired it with katat0nik's teal Le Milkshake dress, available only at Help Japan. Cyber, cupcake... it all goes together.

Oh! And I have to say! The pink color is called Jellyfish - not the pink on the dress, the pink on the hair - and it took me ages to find it because... I had no idea jellyfish were pink. I have to admit I find the idea of pink jellyfish now curiously charming, and if I ever actually make any, I'm afraid I'd have to tint them... pink!

I think they must be made of strawberry jelly.

The necklace and bracelets (which I got no closeup pictures of - see? totally unprofessional) are from Eclectica, and were a 60$L weekend purchase, though they're well worth the full price! I'm just cheap. The skin is an old favorite from De La Soul; I adore the cherry blossoms on the side of the eyes, and the lips are my favorite shade of hers, bar none. The boots are also from katat0nik, and were a gatcha prize I think. Or some like them were a gatcha prize! I love the hearts in the heels; they always make me smile. The poses are from HelaMiyo, a mixture of ones I've had for a while and a new "puppet" set which comes with a puppet frame to move me about. You get both the prop with the poses included, and the poses alone, which means you could make your own prop if you wanted too.

The eyes, which for once you can see up close, are the Pride eyes by Tacky Star that I wear nearly all the time, unless I'm in character as a human or something foolish like that. They are RAINBOW! I forgot to mention them in my last "what I almost always wear" paragraph, so now they get a paragraph all of their own!

Hanging by a Few Threads

Receiving review copies of things definitely makes me feel wriggly and important in a way which blogging my own purchases doesn't; it makes me feel recognized in a way which is what I suspect most people want to indicate when they say "professional." It's also felt very good to get the positive feedback from store owners, and even get a chance to chat with a few about random things. I do send out a notice to the owner of every store I mention in paragraph form, though I'd say my reasons thereof are rather confused. One, no doubt, is to get recognition, but another is because I have some friends who were friends before I knew them as store owners, and hearing from them how gratifying it was to read a blog post about themselves made me think sharing might be a good idea - even if it's on the self-aggrandizing side.

I think it's important for people to hear positive feedback, though, and I fancy myself someone with halfway decent taste - so I'd hope my option is worth something; at least the electrons used to produce it. That raises a question of who authenticates professionals in Second Life, though; is it via group consensus, whereby a number of people recognize someone as a "professional" machinamist, artist, or model? Does it require recognition from the company Second Life? Should there be standards for it, a level of quality, or does the question of quality itself open us to a squashing of individuality; a demand for people to conform in some elemental way?

On the Edge

I know I've sometimes felt very uncomfortable about people who set themselves up as authorities and determiners of quality and value. Some of it is due to the clear superiority of my aesthetic sense (that is meant both seriously, as I do fancy myself having good taste, and ironically, as I'm not quite sure what good taste really is beyond 'I like that.'), but if I was so clearly superior than one would thing the world would reorganize itself around me, paying homage to Deoridhe the Wise, and judging by my stats that is clearly not the case.

And honestly, I'm not sure I'd like a world full of miniature Deoridhes, dressed in Lolita style clothing with big boobs. One of the things I like about second life is the sheer variety, even if that variety strays far into the realm of the fugly and the blush-inducing. That being said, I'm seriously not a fan of t-rex arms and giant, lycra covered secondary sexual characteristics (and even sometimes the occasional primary sexual characteristic hanging out in the wind).I find the over-sexualization on Second Life disturbing, both personally as people have tried to enforce that standard in my style, and philosophically as I object to women being primarily viewed as important based on their attractiveness to men.

Which isn't to say I don't want to be seen as attractive to men I want to attract, but I object to being told that is my primary function and desire.

Jump for Joy

I'm not a professional stylist, though; or a professional philosopher, professional photographer, or professional social scientist. My background is in the murky and often counter-intuitive disciplinary art of psychology, practical and professional psychology practiced every day in an imperfect world. Part of what I've learned from my clients is the importance of my always being open to being wrong, always questioning my assumptions, always being willing to let go of my preconceptions and follow my client to their internal logic... except when I can't do so and must enforce social norms and societal demands.

It is my job to empathize and illuminate my clients, then figure out how to tell them they're wrong. That is what my being professional means; it is a dirty, often depressing tasks which keeps me awake at night at times, fretting over whether I made the right choices, knowing that the person who will suffer from my errors is decidedly not me.

I never want to be a professional in Second Life.

( All pictures can be seen here. )


Eyes: Tacky Star, Pride
Ears: Illusions, Mystic Ear - Fairy
Skin: De La Soul, Charlie - Cream, Sakura Makeup
Wings: Fancy Fairy, Azarelle
Hair: Wasabi Pills, Antiope Hair - Jellyfish
Dress: katatonik, Le Milkshake - teal (Help Japan Item)
Jewelry: Eclectica, China Beads (Japonais)
Shoes: katat0nik, Ice/Berry Sweetheart Boot - Light Blue

Location: Ode
Light Settings: [TOR] DUSK - Siennarel
Water Settings: [TOR] Freak-A-dermia

Photographed by Deoridhe Quandry
Post processing: Cropping only

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