Saturday, May 28, 2011

Color Challenge: Week Thirty - Ruby

Ruby Week crept upon me all unawares.


I ended up on the old standby - search for ruby and see what falls out - and I ended up with a superlative ensemble. The Wishbox dress was an old impulse buy - her Charm Dress; I often can't afford to buy all of her clothing in a set, but I adore the ones I end up picking up and this is a favorite style. I'm particularly fond of the texturing of the bodice, how it looks patterned and layered with minimal prim needed. As an added touch, if you take off the skirt you have an adorable, ruffly underwear set.

The hint of red at the neck comes from Eclectica - do you think I wear her jewelry enough? The 60 Linden Sundays have totally tripled my jewelry inventory, I swear! The skin is from De La Soul, Charlie in Cream with her Phoenix Makeup, and I ended up adding the red brows to match my Majika Diamond Hair, which I totally got on a hunt. On my feet are a set of flats from Duh! which I didn't even know I had, her Velvet Flats, and I have to admit to being totally in love with them.


I've been having, to put it baldly, a fairly shitty time at work. Several clients in crisis at once, plus being behind in paperwork, plus a whole host of paperwork that needs doing for that once a year effect, leads to a Deoridhe that... well, lets just say I had a messy, sobbing breakdown and leave it at that. Luckily for me, prior to said breakdown I had arrange for a couple days off, to rest and recuperate; to not think about troublesome things. And, of course, as troublesome things do, they're creeping around the sides of my eyes clamoring for attention and mental space.

It also doesn't help that these days I'm surrounded by suffering people, even outside of work. The recession has led to troubles for everyone, and the suffering seems to spread exponentially outward. Much as I love Second Life as an escape, all too often these days I see the offline world reflected online in sparks and echos of pain.


It's times like this that I often find myself circling backwards, to times made simpler not due to a different world but due to my own ignorance. Thoth Jantzen and Thothica in Second Life were the places I started, in 2008, when I first came to Second Life. I'd been lured in by my dear friend Ro-chan, in her belief that I would create much beauty with the fashions (we met on Gaia Online, where beauty in fashions is central to your presentation as well), but then I was much more into debate and philosophy than now, and so I quickly found Philosophy House, and from there I found Thothica. It was in the Thothica sandbox where I build my first objects, and Open Habitat - another philosophy and discussion place - was where I set my home for a very long time.

It was in Thoth's builds where I first encountered interactivity; he had a room for a long time where I would just go to click things, play music, and dance. Now and then he would show videos, and as time went on videos and media began to feature more and more in his builds, becoming central. Our parting was... a semi-unpleasant one, and one mimicked in my largely leaving Thothica a few months later. I discovered within the philosophical set in Second Life a strong atheistic and anti-religion aesthetic which was sharply at odds with my own deep faith, in particular because that deep faith was not Christianity, and yet it was so often treated as identical to Christianity by those who dislike religion.

Bend in the Road

Thoth and I parted ways when he implied my religion was a mental illness I should seek freedom from, and philosophy debate in general lost my attention when I realized how often it was about people reiterating their own views and crushing the opposition, rather than any true discussion. There is a smugness within philosophy, combined with a lack of connection to real world feedback loops, which deeply disturbs me and is out of step with my own ethical and philosophical ramblings. I'm in a situation now where my choices have real world consequences, and often consequences not suffered by me; this has altered how I approach philosophy and ethics in an immutable and yet difficult to describe manner.

One thing about pulling together looks in fashion is how much the tone and timbre pull from our lives, how much my inner experience is reflected in my outer form. The pinkish-red of the dress seems the color of suffering, a darkish red of old blood sluggishly moving through a shuddering, stuttering heart. I feel the ache of old pains today, memories moving through my veins and clogging up the arteries.

( More pictures here. )


Eyes: De La Soul, RooMee Eyes - Rainbow
Ears: Illusion, Mystic Fairy Ear
Skin: De La Soul, Charlie - Cream Phoenix
Wings: Fancy Fairy, Azarelle
Hair: Majika, Diamond - Ruby
Dress: Wishbox, Charm Dress - ruby
Necklace: Eclectica, Elizabeth Neckpiece - ruby
Shoes: Duh!, Velvet Flats - Ruby

Pose: KSCreations

Location: Simplicity
Light Settings: [TOR] DUSK - Briony

Photographed by Deoridhe Quandry
Post processing: Cropping only

Friday, May 27, 2011

Passing Time

I spend a lot of time on Second Life doing a lot of different things.

The photography and fashion aspects of it are probably the most obvious on this blog. I spend a certain amount of offline money buying virtual goods, something which no doubt makes me strange in the eyes of a lot of people - though less so now with the spread of facebook games with their monetary components. I think it's only a matter of time before the idea of spending money for virtual rewards is no stranger than buying tickets to a game or gambling, but right now it's a strange thing.

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

One funny thing about marginalized populations, like online people in a place like Second Life, is that while one would expect them to be more open and less judgmental of others within their group - often they seem to replicate the same judgmentalism and even prejudices against each other. On of the more visible examples are griefers (who spend time on Second Life) targeting furries (ibid) because furries are somehow more strange and deserving of abuse and derision. Another, less online-violent example is What the Fug flicker groups and blogs, which photograph then share the pictures for others to insult and be amused by.

I'm a member of that Flickr Group, and am often amazed by what I feel are "ugly" avatars, with a less noble and important contribution to Second Life than mine, but more and more I'm questioning my own assumptions about whether what I chose to do is inherently superior to, say, making a scantily clad character to roleplay out being a prostitute, for example. Should the aesthetically challenged among us be viewed as inherently lesser, and worthy of being mocked? And, indeed, how is what we views as aesthetic often situationally determined, as commentary and my own thoughts on a recent Barbie Doll Avatar shows. At the same time, it is and should be all right for us to put our negative opinions out there, about someone else's aesthetic judgments, their creations, as well as their behavior - without also being characterized as somehow lesser and worthy of being mocked, or some sort of negative killjoy. 


The more I think about it, the more I think it's the poor characterization that bothers me - that and the implied lesser worth. It's the sort of traps that intellectuals often fall into, characterizing the hoi poloi as being less intelligent and thus less important, and often with a countering prejudice against the intellectuals of being clueless and stupid about anything but theory. Now, granted, these sometimes are accurate, but not always, and it is the over-generalization which causes problems - in my opinion - as well as the ascribing of certain motivations based on holding a group of people in contempt.

As I said above, I do a lot of things on Second Life. Fashion is a big focus, and a very visible one. So is exploring sims - something probably less obvious because I don't always crop widely, but usually a photoshoot is half the outfit, and half the hunt for a sim to take pictures in. The few times I have done shots on photostudios, it's been for very specific purposes of highlighting what I'm wearing in exclusion, but usually what I enjoy is the interplay between avatar and location - how the artistry of skin, clothing, hair, jewelry, cosmetics, plants, animals, buildings, sim creation, and lighting all combine into something unique and beautiful.

Sunset Scattered
I also seek out art installations. I particularly like ones which combine interactivity and beauty, like the circular exploration of art currently going on at Split Screen. There's a pink sign telling you what to do, but after a time or two through the cycle it's easy enough to guess  and let your focus be on photography. You can also sit on one of the pieces and become part of the entire experience, which I found intriguing and which may be more  highlighted in a future visit to the sim! I had been looking for a sim to photograph in, though, and the Split Screen display, while lovely, did not fit that criterion.

I blog less about the art, so those who don't follow my flickr stream are more likely to have missed it. They're also likely to have missed my time spent roleplaying, for a long while at a Modern Dark sim with vampires, before that in a Medieval sim, and now again in a gorgeous new Medieval sim where I'm revisiting Deoridhe the Fae with a great deal of enjoyment. They are also likely to have missed my stepping into something which I was surprised to find, on the blogs I follow, is worthy of contempt - virtual, breedable pets. This reflects another change - access to land (though in many ways I'm a charity case, I like to think my generosity of spirit and winning personality make my primmy pets more enjoyable) as when the breedable pets initially came out I was without land of my own or any sense I could own pets on the land I was allowed onto.


I knew thoughts were negative about breedable pets in general, but I was surprised how they coalesced around the release of Meeroos - the first breedable pet I've ever invested in (I'm also breeding horses, now, but those are almost all as a result of gifts from friends, not my own investment). Some comments focused on how spending on these breedable pets - as opposed to virtual land, virtual clothing, DJ tips, etc... - was somehow a scam or a waste of resources. Other comments were on how people must be breeding Meeroos and taking part in the other activities around them (I'm assuming they're including treasure hunting, though they only mentioned the Oracle trivia) is due to boredom and needing something to do.

I got involved in the meeroos because it seemed fun. I'm remaining involved not due to any impression I'll make scads of money with them, but rather because I love their sounds, I like picking them up, I find them cute and lovely, I love the mystery aspect of breeding where they chose who they'll breed with, now and then I wander around the grid with one in my arms, and the cost seems low enough to justify the fun. I'm also now breeding plants, which glow and release particles and make noises, because they seem fun and enjoyable and I'm looking forward to growing weirder and weirder things.

It disturbs me that simply by adding another thing to my wide repertoire of fun in Second Life, I've entered a new group of breedable owners to be characterized as too stupid to see a scam and needing something to do.

Credits (pink outfit):

Eyes: De La Soul, RooMee Eyes - Rainbow
Ears: Illusion, Mystic Fairy Ear
Skin: De La Soul, Charlie - Cream Nude with Rainbow Makeup
Wings: Fancy Fairy, Azarelle
Hair: Truth, Orchid - driftwood
Dress and Legwarmers: SG Fashion, Viola Tunic and Legwarmers - Pink
Shoes: G Field, Bow Strap Shoes "Kate" - rose

Location: La Isla Obscura
Light Settings: [TOR] FOGGY - Catastrophe

Photographed by Deoridhe Quandry
Post processing: Cropping only

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Little Battles

There are big battles - battles for freedom which are paid for in blood - all over the world. Right now, North Africa is where some of the bloodier battles are playing out; battles which extend to online and which hinge on the ability of activists to disguise their identities even while speaking the truth.

Love is Blindness

When I first came online, in the 1990s, the way to keep oneself secure was through the use of a pseudonym. Over the decades, the identity of Deoridhe has become more easily found than my offline identity, at least online. It's cohesive, long lasting, and coherent in form. From place to place, the name Deoridhe remains constant even while it protects me offline from strangers who have nothing better to do with their time than harass and threaten women.

Welcome Home?

It wasn't until today that I realized a coherent pseudonym could also save someone's life from a brutal regime like Syria.

Left Behind

There was a certain amount of talk recently about the death of discrete identities online - that our offline and online identities would become fused and merged, and those of us with pseudonymous online lives (and for me, at least, the protection is almost entirely one way - my offline friends know my online identity; some of my online friends, carefully chosen, know my offline identity; the only protection from offline to online is professional) were doomed to have it end sooner rather than later under the weight of Facebook's demand that we all be "real" people.

Within Normal Levels

When I got my name legally changed a number of years ago, Deoridhe was almost one of my new middle names. I answer to it as readily as I answer to my offline name. Deoridhe is me, in a very real and lasting way - and online Deoridhe is a far more clear and ongoing identity than my offline name.

I Can't Look!

Today I'm fighting to get people housing, fighting to keep people in housing, fighting for people to value themselves, fighting to get everything done, and fighting to not vomit since my stomach is a mass of knots and anxiety.


But no one is asking for my Facebook password so they can steal my identity to post their lies.

When I go to bed tonight, it will be in my own bed; I will have food to eat, and no one will be threatening or torturing me. I may feel sick and stressed, I may feel like I'm struggling against waves and within bureaucracies which don't care about me or my clients, but those bureaucracies aren't trying to kill me.

My heart and prayers to the gods go out to the people for whom this is not true, all around the world.

My Heart Goes Out To You

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Color Challenge: Week Twenty-nine - Electric Carrot

Electric Carrot has to be the goofiest color I've ever tried to match. The name practically demands some kind of rabbit theme, but it took me a while to remember katat0ik's Snow Bunny Set, which I had coincidentally gotten in orange.

See, I actually loathe orange - it's my least favorite color - so the reason I got something in orange from my favorite store was a reflection of my desire to own pretty clothes in every color, even the icky ones. And now... now I'm simply thrilled I happened to have this in orange instead of a million other colors, because it fit the theme perfectly.

Fresh Water

A good chunk of the outfit - including the skin, the bunny ears, and the stockings - are part of the katat0nik outfit. There's also a shape included, but my shape is one of the few things I rarely change - and then usually only when there's a reason, like a corset being worn. I added Skinthesis' lipstick in Brash form her Liquid Heat collection, which I think added some drama to the skin and pulled everything together.

The hair is from DV8 and was part of a hunt prize I picked up. I'm so glad DV8 does moddable hair because I was able to tint the greyish parts of this white hair orange, which I think gave it the proper feel for this look while keeping the white theme going. My eyes are the Roomee Rainbow eyes from De La Soul, which I've been completely addicted to.

To balance out the black stockings, I added Eclectica's black "Swoon" gloves and tinted the trip and interior orange, and then supported it all by another hunt prize from G Field, her Anna boots in pumpkin. The final touch was a little "carrot" doll from Little Girl - also a hunt prize. The poses are all from Long Awkward Pose and collected over a long, long time.

A Doll's Perspective

I spent rather a while looking for a place for this weeks photo shoot, though. I first did a search for "carrot", imagining that someone, somewhere, must have done a giant carrot themed sim. If anyone ever did, though, it was supplanted by an alarming number of prim-baby and Second Life maternity themed stores. I ended up deciding to go with one of the major themes of bunnies (besides, apparently, birth) and look for a cave system to take pictures in - something brown and homey, where a bunny could really nest in.

I ended up on the mainland after several aborted tries at other sims, in a tiny little cave system that doesn't even seem to have a general name or purpose besides being explored. One thing I noticed while I was there, though, was the power of noise in Second Life to add ambiance that otherwise would be missing. There was the sound of wind through the caves, a drip drip, and other details which made the cave system come alive as a silent one would not. This also stood out to me at Cerridwen's Cauldron, where I did an earlier photoshoot, where there were rustling sounds when I went through the grass, and the sounds of water as I explored.

Mind the Gap

I've been recently spending a lot of time fighting my inventory size - which makes me think of hunts as well as today's exploration of Hunt Prizes from the Past. I was actually around early on in Hunt History, with the big, Christmas gridwide hunt, and remember when there were two or three big ones that year. Now hunts are so multitudinous that trying to do all of them would literally take up all of my time within Second Life, not even including time to open them and pick what I wanted to keep.

I've become very picky with hunts, therefore. I literally will hit only hunt places where, according to pictures I've seen, I will like the prizes. The sole exception is when I run across a hunt prize in a store I'm already at; then I'll pick it up even if I don't know what's inside. Otherwise, though, I'm dependent on the reviews of hunts put out on several blogs - and even then, these days - I barely keep up. Sometimes I don't keep up. This week I've been spending my time sorting my inventory in preparation for adding my poses to an in-world pose activator, in the hopes of both lowering my inventory by removing a bunch of items and making it easier for me to do photoshoots and pose other people (it allows me to pose one other person, which is awesome).

We're hunting WABBITS!

When I do hunts these days, I'm reminded of some of the complaining I've heard about them on the grid. About how they, and other freebie and cheapie organized things, devalue creation on the grid, serve to rob store owners of their money, and breed a population of greedy, grasping, complaining customers. Having once been part of the straw which broke a creator's back and stopped her from offering freebies (I sent a notecard asking about a free item I hadn't received and... well, never heard back; a couple days later, I read a post about how freebies did nothing but cause her problems - I can only assume my notecard contributed!), I don't ever want to say to any store owner that giving freebies is the way to go.

However, in the case of that store, it was a freebie which drew me to her store, and I did subsequently become a paying customer. Many of the other stores I loved, including G Field and katat0nik that I'm showing above, I found through their hunts and lucky chairs. Often, a good freebie will pull me back to a store to look at their wares, or to join their subscribo (I don't often join groups, since I'm at 41 already!) and get notices when they release things. I won't say the transition from horrible, grasping, freebiehound to customer is fast - sometimes it takes a few months for me to get to something in my inventory - but it has happened and will, no doubt, happen again.

( More pictures here! )


Eyes: De La Soul, RooMee Eyes - Rainbow
Ears: katat0nik, Snow Bunny Set - orange
Skin: katat0nik, Snow Bunny Set - orange
Lipstick: Skinthesis, Liquid Heat - Brash
Wings: Fancy Fairy, Azarelle
Shoulder Toy: Little Girl, Doll - Carrot
Hair: DV8, Juju - Nuclear Winter (tinted orange)
Dress: katat0nik, Snow Bunny Set - orange
Key: LP, Carrot Key
Gloves: Eclectica, Swoon short gloves - ebony
Shoes: G Field, Short Ribbon Boots "Anna" - pumpkin

Poses: Long Awkward Pose

Location: Waterfall - Caverns and SCUBA Cave Trail
Light Settings: [TOR] HORROR - Bloody moon

Photographed by Deoridhe Quandry
Post processing: Cropping only

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pretty Drama

I've been thinking a lot about drama, and rumors, and giving and taking offense in Second Life this week. It seems to keep coming up, on the blogs I read and in discussions with friends and acquaintances. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a rabid drama seeker - I love hearing about, gasping about, and listening to other people's drama. My own, not so much, but I find other people's drama endlessly fascinating. The choices people make, when they speak and when they don't, who they tell and whether those people pass on information or not - all an endless source of entertainment for me.

Another gorgeous source of drama is this sim, Daytime Dreams, a collection of some of the most gorgeous art and effects in second life. There are bits and pieces from bunches of artists, all arranged on a checkerboard with physical (kind of - fall on them or bump into them to see!) boxes and balls making the world an interesting place. Drama was originally a theatrical idea, and less a social one, and there is something of big theater in how Daytime Dreams is organized and presented - open spaces for big scenes, smaller spaces for quiet soliloquies, this is a sim which practically begs for pictures to be taken - especially with the largely monochromatic scheme, which lets you add hues of your own desire to the landscape.

I Gotta Be Square
Pose: HelaMiyo, Harajuku 1

The outfit I'm wearing (also dramatic - sense a theme?) is from Rock Me Amadeus, and is a review copy of a sort. The creator, was kind enough to pass a gift card my way, and I wandered the store a while trying to find something that really spoke to me before running across this dress and having to have it! It's actually even more amazing live - darker, more reddish purple in the skirt is actually flexible prims, set up so they sway slightly as you move and give the illusion of a flexible puff skirt. The waistline is also highly modified with a cone-shaped prim (separate from the skirt) which gives a truly unique silhouette. I'm seriously considering going back and picking up the other colors once I come off of my Meero-spending fatigue!

My skin is also a gift from De La Soul - Charlie in the cream tone with the sparkle cosmetics. I love how cream glows in most windlight settings, really setting itself apart, and the dark shadow around the eyes really make my Rainbow Roomee eyes (also from De La Soul) stand out. In some of the closer pictures, you might see the slightly iridescent sparkle which gives this cosmetics set it's name. I love the lips ont his set, too - a pale, shell pink which are feminine and natural without being garish. It comes with and without brown brows, and in cleavage and non-cleavage options.

The jewelry is from the gorgeous China Bead set from Eclectica - a lovely combination of multiple colors. I took the hairpin, which normally goes out the back, and modified it so that it would appear to be holding up my Truth Mariposa hair - which I bought on a whim and have totally never regretted. I'm a recent convert to the Truthcult, but I have to admit I might be a lifetime member. The mouthcage is from DownDownDown and I got it out of the Gatcha at the Albero Gatcha Festival this month. Other options from the same Gatcha are a variety of adorable looking candies; I Gatcha have them all! Wings are my usual, and favorite, Fancy Fairy's Azarelle; Ears are the Illusion ones which I pretty much never take off; shoes are from my favorite shoe store, G Field. I'd say I'm in a rut, but they're all so fantastic it's choice, and not habit, which causes me to always wear them!

Pose: HelaMiyo, Harajuku 5

I may look like a sweet, innocent fairy (*waits for the laughter to die down*), but I've also been neck deep in some massive drama as well. From friendships which ended with a whimper instead of a bang, to being on the listening but not offending side of ripped template drama, to people getting up in my business because I'm not the same religion as they are or I don't look or dress as they think I should be - I'd be lying if I said drama and I aren't on a first name basis. I try not to have it as a frequent houseguest, though; sometimes that's a struggle. I have the peacemaker's flaw of wanting all of my friends to get along, and somethings that's simply not in the cards.

The causes of drama are multitudinous, but one of the most common I personally see is based on an initial insult. This flares up in particular in the more social media aspects of Second Life, both on the grid and in the vast network of blogs, facebook accounts, twitter and plurk streams, and other media which surround Second Life. The insult can take many forms, from the valid, to the offensive, to the seemingly benign, but for it to become drama big enough for outsiders to see, enough people need to take sides and make that publicly known for the drama to spread. Sometimes drama carries on, in the hearts and minds of the people offended - whether valid or not - to flare up or make worse something later; a sort of Stealth Drama.

Center of Time
Pose: HelaMiyo, Gown 4

There are a lot of people who decry drama, claim they are never part of it, brush off those who they say are sources of it, and in general make - lets hear it for irony - drama about not being dramatic. (As a side note, off topic, check out that awesome curve of the bodice above; isn't that amazing? And the texturing on the cheeks, the detail in the mouth cage - completely gorgeous!) One thing I've begun to notice, about myself and others, is what we are most likely to say about ourselves the loudest is what is least obvious or evidence in ourselves. So above I claim to be sweet and innocent when I know I am anything but; others claim to be drama free when it dogs their heels; the last person I knew who lauded how direct he was proceeded to be lyingly passive aggressive; I'm sure you all have seen it in others - but it might be worth it to take a moment and try to see it in yourself.

This dark side of us, called by Jungians like myself "the shadow", is by definition what we cannot see directly in ourselves but instead have to see smeared on the forms of the people around us. The things we dislike most in others are often what we deny most in ourselves; the energy spent pursuing and focusing on others is a blind to keep us from seeing the quiet faults knocking on our back door, asking to come in from the cold.

In Time
Pose: HelaMiyo, Looking back 1

Lately I've been trying to give myself a little more grace, to accept that when I shine light on myself I necessarily obscure qualities I don't want to see. What this means about my treatment of others I'm less sure of; to demand of myself perfect grace, compassion, and love towards others - no matter how irritating - is clearly a fast track to being a bitch in denial, hiding my venom behind smiles and pleasantly insulting statements. To engage in cruelty toward others doesn't engage my guilt as much as it possibly should, especially when they're bothering me and hugely irritating! I don't know what changes trying to love myself, flaws and all, will have - but if I can recommend it to a client, it behooves me to give it a try myself.

( More pictures here. )


Eyes: De La Soul, RooMee Eyes - Rainbow
Ears: Illusions, Mystic Ear - Fairy
Skin: De La Soul, Charlie - Cream CL Sparkle
Wings: Fancy Fairy, Azarelle
Hair: Truth, Mariposa - driftwood
Jewelry: Eclectica, China Beads - hatpin, necklace, and bracelet
Mouth Cage: DownDownDown, Sweet Bird Cage
Dress: Rock Me Amadeus, Runway Blue
Shoes: G Field, Ribbon Slngback Heels - lavender (tinted darker)

Location: Daytime Dreams
Light Settings: purplebluenight

Photographed by Deoridhe Quandry
Post processing: Cropping only

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sainmhiniu Joins Second Life: Day Two - The Freebies Which Make Me Unique

Exploring around the grid as a new avatar opens one up to a whole lot of questions - like who is this new person? Starting from some of the same roots as other accounts, who will this one become?

So far I'm set up fairly stylish, trendy without being a slave to fashion, definitely youngish with a backpack instead of a purse. Pale skinned, like my main and a couple alts; I usually try for different coloration with everyone, just to mix it up, so I wandered around white haired for a while picking up free stuff.

2011-05-15 Sainmhiniu_020

I was now mostly outfitted, not looking bad in general I think, and began to explore the more outre resources - like this Midnight Mania at Pinkmare's Collection. I went clickity click, and even sat on a lucky chair with my letter on it! I think that'll look cute on me.

2011-05-15 Sainmhiniu_023

Then I hit the FabFree headquaters, and it is a dream for a new player. Most of the items are 0$L, most of them are high quality, and there's a wide variety of styles. My one beef is how few of the pictures show the objects inside. I understand that making the box unspecific could lead more people to get your stuff, and like them, but offering people a clear choice can also be a good thing. For today, I focused on things I felt fit the person Sain was turning into, which meant only grabbing things where the picture showed the object inside.

2011-05-18 Sainmhiniu_001

One of them was a set of free skins from Imagen. Offering a bit of a variety of shades, from pale to this as the darkest hue, I was struck again by how much the shape of the face affects how the skin looks. As you can see above - not that impressive. You can also see my old skin had underwear - yay for the dress no longer sporting a white undershirt!

2011-05-18 Sainmhiniu_002

There's the before... and here's the after. I put on the casual outfit from Evie's Closet added some shoes from Duh, and a new hair I picked up at Savoir Hair, and I don't think I'm doing badly for an extreme noob! I'm not too happy with the shading of the shoes, though - so I put "free shoes" into my search engine and went freebie store hunting.

2011-05-18 Sainmhiniu_003

Most of the resources were so lackluster I didn't bother photographing them, much less picking up a link, but this set of Lucky Chairs at Shoe Fly Shoes look like they hold some promise. I'll need to hang out here for a while to pick up some good shoes, since there certainly aren't a lot available for free!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sainmhiniu Joins Second Life: Day One - Taking Advantage of the Kindness of Shop Owners

Having already run across a clone, I was anxious to set myself apart from the hoi poloi. The best way to start, of course, is with the time limited gifts some shop owners set out for new players. These go by a number of names - new resident gifts, newbie gifts, even under 30 days gifts - but the basic idea remains the same. So long as your chronological age in Second Life is under 30 days (or however many days they chose), you can get the item in question.

2011-05-15 Sainmhiniu_015

My first stop is always at Long Awkward Pose, to pick up the free, basic female or male Animation Overide. It's an excellent basic AO that covers all of the basics. It's only available if you're under 30 days, and it is SO worth it, even if you later invest in a more expensive AO. Both the men's and women's AOs come with multiple, smooth stands, and the rest of the accouterments of an AO.

2011-05-15 Sainmhiniu_016

Then I hopped over to Apple May Designs, to start the great clothing gathering efforts. Apple May Designs is fantastic for modern, classy clothing or quite sexy clothing. It's not the usual style of Deoridhe, but there's not much point in making an alt that looks just like my main, right? Above I'm trying on a cute shorts outfit I got in their little room of shiny things for new players.
2011-05-15 Sainmhiniu_017

Here's a better look! And an outfit I covet behind me. I ended up at one of the sandboxes in Second Life. You can find them by just searching "sandbox" and a bunch of places where you can rez (bring out of inventory and put in the world) items will show up. Places have rules, and some don't allow things like scripts running, so pay some attention to the rules before you start tossing things out. Also, be sure to delete your boxes after you open them! Leaving your things to clutter up the sim is just rude!

2011-05-15 Sainmhiniu_018

Next I went to a perennial favorite - Evie's Closet. She offers a bunch of gowns for new players, at this sign. You click the sign and you get things in your inventory. Yay, technology! She also gives you an updo to go with the more formal gowns, which is simply fantastic.

As you can see, I've changed into an Apple May Designs dress already - don't I look sleek and stylish?

2011-05-15 Sainmhiniu_019

Here's some pictures of what Evie's Closet offers, including a couple long gowns, a short empire waist dress, and the Ophelia hair, along with a more casual pants outfit. This pretty much sets you up for basic events in Second Life at varying levels of formality.

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I also swung by Silent Sparrow, which is one of the first places where you can get new player outfits for men. Unfortunately, men get short shrift for freebies in Second Life, so you have to hunt harder to find things. The other nice thing about Silent Sparrow's display is that you can see the items, so you can pick and choose if they're not your style.

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Here's some Silk & Satyr boxes I got, too. You get lingerie, jewelry, and silks from these, which is on the decidedly sexy side of Second Life - but very good quality. For those who don't know what silks are, they're from the series "Gor" which is a very popular roleplaying theme in Second Life. Slave women called Kajira wear silks when they dance to entertain people. Outside of Gor, people tend to wear them when they want to be sexy and look good when they dance.

Sainmhiniu, Day One

End of Day One, and this is how I look! I'm not sure the hair suits me, but I love the dress and I'm looking forward to trying on more of my new clothes as the days go by. Tomorrow I think I'll hunt down some freebie stores and see what else I can add to my slowly growing inventory!

Here are some more Just Rezzed Gifts!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sainmhiniu Joins Second Life: Day Zero - Basic Skills and the Tutorial Which Teaches Us

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Through the website, I chose this look for Sainmhiniu - it turns out it's called the "Student" set of clothing. I'm not entirely in love with the boots, but I adore the little skirt and the cute backpack on my back. You rez in a white circle of welcomes in many languages.

A few quick, minor complaints - I rezzed with two skirts on, and had to take off the black skirt which was a secondary choice for this outfit; I'm guessing this might have had to do with Phoenix's ability to add extra things to one attachment point, but I could be wrong. Also, the shoes don't take care of the viewer two alpha layers, which is a real shame since my feet stuck out when I rezzed.

Also, contrary to the cute, smooth animations of my little person on the website, the default animations are still absolutely horrible. It's a very sharp contrast, and not an entirely welcome one. For people entirely new to Second Life, there is a way to get those smooth animations through wearing an Animation Overrider; check out Day Two for me getting one of them, or check out the Just Rezzed Gift List to leap ahead and find one on your own.

In general, though, when I rezzed in Second Life the first time, I felt very cute and sassy - ready to take on the grid! And right in front of me (and indeed all around me) was my first instruction on how to walk.

Step 1: How To Walk

I particularly liked that these were set up all around you. As the most basic command, knowing how to walk by using your arrow keys really gets you going. The sign (indeed all the signs) were clear, easy to read, and attention grabbing. I could easily see them from a distance, and the inclusion of the numbered steps (once I figured out I couldn't click the sign for more instructions!) were useful to let me know I needed to use this new skill to find the next board.

Step Two: Zooooooooom

The second step was in the next room, and also introduced some color and movement to the surroundings, which was very welcome. I particularly liked that something interesting was placed next to instructions on how to zoom! Just alt-click on something and your attention instantly jumps over there. The additional instructions on using escape to leave zoom, which was repeated on the back wall of the fishtank where you were invited to look, was also an excellent idea.

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Above, you can see me practicing my new skill at zooming, with pictorial evidence. I have to admit, I spent a long while watching the little crab moved around, and watching the chest open and close. I guess I'm just a dork a heart.

Step Three: Chatting

Now that we know how to walk, and we've practiced looking closer at things, the next tutorial is on how to talk. Just type into the chat bar, press enter, and suddenly you can chatter away! The visual representation of the steps, as well as what your words would look like if you spoke, really made this step clear and easy. I'm wondering if including some instructions on emoting using /me might have been a good idea, too, though.

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Besides the palm tree in the Learn To Chat room, there was also a very chatty bird who spoke to you when you entered, and invited you to ask him for a kiss. It seemed like a Kodak moment to me! I have to admit, conversations with those of the avian persuasion never held my attention, so it wasn't long until I was seeking out step four.

Step Four: Sitting

Step four is sitting, a simple task whereby you right click on something and select "sit". I had some confusion here, though, because although I could sit on some things, it seemed like they hadn't put good animations into the chair. Combined with the default sitting animation, and ...lets just say it looked weird.

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I ended up trying to sit on all kinds of things, including those floating balls in the water which caused effects if you clicked on them. There seemed to be a gap in the tutorial again, because nothing was said about touching things causing effects, and yet both the chairs and the balls had effects when touched - the chairs were "sit on click" designed, and the balls either lit up or caused one of the swimming fish to jump over them. Being able to cause things to happen by clicking on things seems like a fairly basic skill to teach, and one important in Second Life, but it's not included in the tutorial.

Step Five: Flying

Step five is how to fly - probably one of my favorite abilities in Second Life. You fly by clicking "page up", move forward on a horizontal plane by using your arrow keys - just like walking! - and move on the vertical plane by using page up and page down. Again, this room is very well set up, with a fading gradient up the sides of the room and things floating in the air to make ones first flight interesting and enjoyable. It also gives a sense of the verisimilitude in Second Life; how it is at once realistic and cartoonish.

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Once more, they included instructions on getting down in the air, moving gently, which is good for people who fly before reading the whole instruction!I spent a while floating, looking at the birds and starts, really enjoying the view, before I hit ground again and headed for the last step.

Step Six: Into the Grid

The decision to use the Second Life Destination Guide is ultimately a good one, I think, and this sign does a good job of showing that there is an Advanced Mode without being overwhelming for people who start in basic (which appears to be the default download, now).

My one critique is that most places in the Destination Guide are not set up to receive Day Zero newbies. Most don't have welcome areas aimed at that population, and many newbies are feeling lost or frustrated because they teleport somewhere and no one is there, they don't know what they're supposed to be doing, and it's not what they expected. I know a few people in the Destination Guide who are beginning to set up New Player Receiving Areas - but that places an undue burden on people who are paying for the dubious privilege of introducing new players to Second Life, using their own land and primcount.

One solution might be a "New Player Set" made by Second Life which doesn't count against the prims on a sim (or counts as one prim, like Linden Trees do). It could include notecards, links, information, etc... as well as a teleport to perhaps some kind of secondary tutorial with more advanced skills, like how to go into appearance mode, emote, open boxes, and such. Land Owners could also, perhaps, drop a notecard into it about their sim. If you made up the display to match the clean design of the welcome area for new players, it could foster a sense of continuity, introduce them to different types of areas, and remove some of the burden from land owners to provide the secondary tutorials which Second Life has so far not been following through on.

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One thing I loved about this room, though, was the map of the mainland. It looks huge, and impressive, and very interesting; it reminded me of my early days on the grid, when everything seemed fresh and overwhelming. I don't actually spend much time exploring mainland, tending to teleport from place to place, but that may change with Sainmhiniu as I go through her first days as a Second Life Resident.

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As I was in the final room, contemplating my options and trying to talk to the guy in the blue shirt, I was given inspiration for what I want to do on Day 1 - get my own look! So tune in for the next installment of Sainmhiniu Joins Second Life for an exploration of gifts for those who have just Rezzed on the Grid.

Newbie Resources: Just Rezzed Gifts

When you're new to Second Life, it can be hard to know if you want to stay - and because of that it can be tempting to not put any money into it initially. However, the starting avatars (and there are lots - check in the "library" under your inventory for the whole collection)are often not enough - or at least you don't want to run into ten million of yourself all over the place. Some store owners recognize this through a unique item which gives gifts to avatars under a certain age range, usually 30 days.

Below is my working list of new resident resources, divided by type of item. Keep in mind when using this list that stores fail and are moved regularly, so finding one there isn't guaranteed. Also keep in mind that some stores have set arrival points, so you may arrive some distance from the new resident resources and have to walk there. Coming from the website, there should be a red arrow pointing the way. You can also look at the coordinates to tell you where the item is.

Last Updated: 2011 June 5
Last Completely Reviewed: 2011 May 15


Long Awkward Pose (male and female AOs)
Venus Fashions (male AO)

Body Parts (hair, eyes, skin, etc...):
De La Soul (skin)

Evie's Closet (hair)
Gurl 6 (hair, through a voucher system)
Imagen (skin)
Mochi Mochi (hair)
Savoir Hair (hair)

Apple May Designs (modern style female clothes)
Elymode (female clothes)
Evie's Closet (fantasy female clothes)
Latex Fashion (woman's clothing)
Silent Sparrow (gothic style male and female clothes)
Silk & Satyr (silks and lingerie - female)

Designs by Isaura (full female avatar)

Silk & Satyr (earrings)


Duh (Unisex sneakers)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Color Challenge: Week Twenty-Eight - Pink

Pink Week brings us back to the girliest of girl colors.

At least now. Interestingly, this gender assignment dates from somewhere in the 1940s, before which pink was considered a masculine color because it was so closely related to red.

From a Great Height

My history with pink is fraught. When I was a teenager I loathed it, mostly because you couldn't get pads in any color BUT pink for a long while. Pink was never my favorite color - as a child it was red, later purple, and finally blue - and the forced association with it simply based on my gender always pissed me off. This hasn't changed as an adult (I dislike any stereotype, but there's something extra irritating about inaccurate ones applied to me), but I tried so hard to make my peace with pink - since it's hardly the color's fault that people are sexist assholes. Now my favorite color is rainbow - and rainbow doesn't work without pink.One of the things I love about rainbows is that each color has to exist, and be itself, and be distinct, in order for a rainbow to even work!

Now, I'm particularly fond of pink with black - especially when you include ruffles or lacing - so the Likka House Papagena dress is absolutely a favorite of mine. Papagena is a character from The Magic Flute, an opera by Mozart, a bird like creature who ends up paying attendance to Pamina. I prefer the book by Marion Zimmer Bradley, which has a distinctive sci-fi feel with hybrid bird or dog humans, but the music of the opera is huge and sweeping. I heard it in German in Germany, which was a true delight. Likka House is currently having a sale on all their things, and I ended up splurging on a few versions of the multi-colored Papagena dresses which will probably show up on this blog in the future.

Ravaged Scene

My hair is from Tukinowaguma, and I ended up tinting it pink and pairing it with black roses. In this lighting the effect works, but I'm not sure I completely like it. One of the problems with tinting hair is you lose the effects of some of the highlights, which with a non-natural can be critical to making it look possible, if not plausible. The eyes are from a new line of Meeroo inspired eyes from De La Soul, and are a very un-Meerooish but extremely Deo-ish rainbow. She has some other Meeroo-inspired things, such as a fun backpack and a habitat, so swing by and check it out!

The skin is a RiotVend prize from Edge of Sanity, whose very charming creator had accidentally put in the wrong skin. She very kindly let us all know and was no doubt bombarded with IMs asking for the properly advertised skin. I was one of those IMs, and honestly I'm glad I did - even though it was a trial for her to field all of those requests! - because I utterly fell in love with the stark coloration and style of this skin and proceeded to wander around wearing it for the better part of three days.


I ended up going to the recent art display talked about on a few different blogs, at the Nordan Art Sim, by Shellina Winkler- a chess based, black and white display. Since I was doing such a vibrant shade of pink, it seemed like it might be fun to see if I could modify the coloring of the sim into pink, black, and white - and as you can see it worked out beautifully. I love the levels into the moving chessboard - you can walk all the way up to the top and look down over a chessy domain.

I'm monstrously fond of chess, not as an actual game - which I haven't the attention span for - but for the pieces and how they interact. I love the implications of how the different pieces move - knights jumping over things, pawns steadfastly moving forward one step at a time, queens leaping around wildly. There's a lot of metaphorical import to the pieces which engage the imagination in fantastic leaps.

Scrambled Chess

( All the pictures here. )


Eyes: De La Soul, RooMee Eyes - Rainbow
Ears: Illusions, Mystic Ear - Fairy
Skin: Edge of Sanity, Echo III - Rozza (Busty)
Wings: Fancy Fairy, Azarelle
Hair: Tukinowaguma, Adelita Tan - tinted Pink (with black roses)
Dress: Likka House, Papagena - pink
Shoes: G Field, Rose Bootie "Diva"

Location: Nordan Art
Light Settings: [TOR] FOGGY - Melon Chapterhouse

Photographed by Deoridhe Quandry
Post processing: Cropping only