Monday, August 10, 2015

Genre: Bride of Hades

Lost in a Strange Underworld

The story of Persephone is a troubling one for modern people. A girl, daughter of a god, is desired by her Uncle Hades, who claims her without pausing to ask for her consent. Her mother grieves, drying out the world and making it so that nothing can grow until her daughter is returned. Her plan eventually works, but not until Persephone has eaten some of the food for the dead - in many cases it's implied Hades forced the food on her - and thus is doomed to the depths forever. A compromise is struck, though; for several months Persephone is with Hades based on the number of pomegranate seeds she's eaten, and the rest of the time she comes back to the surface once more - her mother celebrating through an explosion of bounty.

Modern readers often argue that Persephone must have consented in some manner, and the story has even been retold as the secret plot of a girl wanting to escape her overbearing mother. As a story of desire, incest, and the helplessness of women in a world full of people with more power and influence, however, it is a compelling story of loss and compromise for Persephone herself. Robbed of any reasonable choice to determine her destiny, she leverages what power she can to make a life for herself torn between the power of mother, and uncle. Who knows what secrets she holds in order to keep some part of herself for herself in a world dominated by her own family. In the past there were vast cults of people dedicated to each god, and I wonder what the ones who embraced the hard choices of Persephone would whisper to each other in the dark.

Finding One's Own Way

Fallen Gods' approach to the Underworld for this Genre is to embrace the pomegranates of Persephone, transforming them into a gorgeous tattoo which begins on the face and curves down ones torso. There is a matching Hades tattoo for men, this time representing the jagged break in the ground he used to abduct her. Both have a lot of versions included; Persephone comes colored and not, and with outlines in a variety of shades appropriate for any skin tone, and Hades comes in five different colors, all of them intense. Covering most of me with modesty befitting Persephone is this hair and veil combination from Anachron. The hair comes either rigged or not - I chose the not-rigged version so that I could fit the hair to match my rounded skull. The hair and veil are both tintable via a HUD, and the latter can be matched to the Greek-style dress Anachron made to match.

I added in a gorgeous mermaid dress from Fission, though, in order to make my personification of Persephone a bit more modern. It comes in four colors, the fabric behind the black mesh shifting into each shade while the black remains consistent. I tinted the gray a rich gold in order to make it match up more effectively with the rest of my accessories, and the effect is striking! Fission also lines the inside of their skirts and rounds the edges of the gown nicely, and it's well rigged despite the mermaid style being tricky around the knees. Finishing out my goldy dark look is a fantastic flowered halo from Souzou Eien. It's well placed, with a large ring and lovely gems tucked into the hearts of each flower. The final detail from Genre is a ring and necklace pair from Bliensen + MaiTai which are actual blinking eyes. It's startling the first few times you're not paying attention and something moves at your neck - definitely a creepy final effect.

Light Steps on Hard Metal

Two final points that add a lot to this look - my Glamistry heels are one of their older releases, but they are an amazing combination of straps and chains which are placed with exacting detail and tie in to a band down the arch of the foot. I love them for how brief they are, and for the double layered platform which jogs in under the sole of the shoe. Like all Glamistry shoes they are recolorable via a HUD, and after the initial color is purchase the others can be added via the HUD for a lower price. All of the colors are available for mixing and matching as well, which makes these some of the most versatile shoes on the grid.

I also couldn't do anything I do without the fantastic poses I buy from pose makers who are often under-appreciated. Grafica is one of my favorite stores, having a wide variety of styles and moods including a bunch of poses from both modern and historic dances. There are floating and leaping poses as well, which make picking what I'll be doing in a given image really a treat! Make sure to check out Grafica when you're looking for a way to move yourself into the best images and I'm sure you'll be happy.

Depths of Tartarus

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday Squee: Spyralle

Lighthouse Duty

One of the people who does the most with textures is Kerryth Tarantal the creator of Spyralle, a clothing and furniture store filled to the brim with fractals. If you haven't run into fractals before, they're an amazing discovery of mathematics and also a natural phenomena - and offshoot of a tendency for nature to repeat patterns in both directions, smaller and larger. The roots of human understanding go back to the 17th century in the studies of recursion until the term was finally coined in the 1970s by Benoît Mandelbrot. He described them as "beautiful, damn hard, increasingly useful" but it wasn't until computers became ubiquitous that their true utility for creation was unlocked.

Down the Stairs

Critical in re-creating natural figures in digital worlds, fractals also can be colored and reproduced - and its this from that most people outside of mathematics, like myself, are familiar with. This is also the form that Tarantal makes use of in her creations, from coloring her chunky furniture and buildings to her boho-style clothing, and even on a wide variety of jewelry, masks, and fantastical accessories. The colors she uses are bright and clear, and she places the different swirling features beautifully on clothes and jewels alike. She seems to work mostly from the Mandelbrot and Julia sets with their amazing coils and curves rendered in stunning shades. I think I like the jewelry the best, the boundless glory of fractals somehow captured in rectangles and bands of brilliance. In all the many facets, though, Spyralle will continue to bring fractals to the grid, a truly unique style that everyone can enjoy.

Ready for Anything

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Realm of Ozryn

The roleplaying sim Realm of Ozryn (Website) is opening on Monday.

Realm of Ozryn: Allkin Crossing

The world is a mix of times and races, all drawn together by a traumatic event eighty years ago called the Chronophage. Now, in the wreckage of many ages and without the technology to ease their lives, a melange of people try to make their way through a dangerous, changeable world, haunted by mysterious figures called Auditors who remove any technology one might find or create. Left with medieval resources, even pampered creatures from the future must work cheek and jowl with their ancestors to grow enough food and build enough of a society for them to survive.

In the absence of technology, though, magic flourishes - both in the bodies of many a fantastical creature, and in the minds and hands of humans. By and large, if you can dream it you can be it - Angels, demons, fairies, elves, beast-kin and mermaids all co-exist mostly peacefully with humans, ruled by an upper council of Humans, Vampires and Celestials with representatives of the other races also attending and voting. Peace largely reigns, but there are always murmurings in the shadows as the different peoples jostle for power.

Realm of Ozryn: Sel'Therin

Character creation is simple and straightforward, with skills baked in for most races and provisions made for half-breeds. Rentals are available in many of the racial areas, from the hidden glens of the mers and Drow, to the sweeping heights of the elves and humans. There is one central town near to where the council meets, and a docks bustling with activity as ships come and go from the other nations in the world. Ozryn is a central location in the ocean, allowing for vast amounts of trade and making it a critical stopping point for ships traveling between the many islands on the planet. People are constantly coming and going, contributing to the ever-changing, energetic feel of the island.

There are also a variety of shops available for the entrepreneurial individual and can serve as a valuable entree into roleplay as well as an excuse to lurk in well-trafficked areas. Even the most marginalized need to manage to find food and shelter, though, whether through begging at the docks or serving some as-yet unidentified purpose underground. Others still might make their way as guides and travelers, learning the most hidden paths to untold wonders and smoothing the way between often antagonistic individuals. A favor can be as good as a handful of coin from the right person, and many races have long lives and longer memories.

Realm of Ozryn: The Keep

What will you find in the Realm of Ozryn?

Announcing the Opening of Begendings

I've just opened a store selling edited versions of my photography.


For the low, low price of 150$L you can have a 0.5 Land Impact image (link two together and it's still 1 LI!) of original art! They're wrapped canvases with a signature on the side and have subtle shadow and light detailing to make them seem more realistic. So far they're a mix of square, 3x4, 4x3, and 5x3 pictures so there's something for every space, and I made them copy/mod so you can resize to your taste.

I did a mix of figure and landscape pictures, and there are a lot of different colors and moods represented! I'm starting with my old favorites, but if there's a picture of mine you'd particularly like, let me know and I'll move it toward the front of the list.

Pick up one today to enliven your SLhome!


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Genre: Olive Underworld

Walking the Streets

Darkness walks the grid for a little while longer as Genre continues with the theme of Underworld. Deamons, death, darkness, and everything that goes bump in the night is represented, from Death herself to the accoutrements of terror. The Underworld is Greek in origin, but since the days of Athens it has been expanded into a variety of religions, worldviews, and fantasy realms. Genre's Underworld covers the gamut, from traditional Greek dress to batwings and thorned horns and even the odd Japanese influence. I went more fantasy Christian, with the horns and batwings of a demon dressed up in a pretty frock.

The horns are courtesy of BlackPearl and curve out of my temples in a swirl of wires, bands, and metal leaves. I love the combination of natural and decorative, with triads of leaves all over the top and back, and long mental wires hanging down like branches and twigs. The crown is included - an inverted cross at the brow and hanging metal strings from brow to temples. In addition to the dark metallic texture, the entire headdress is materials ready and is cleverly applied so that it looks like metal gleaming through dark rust, catching the light in bits and pieces through a dark haze. My wings, on the other hand, are from Chimeric Fashions and have a matching horned mask I'm not showing here. The shape is a simple, wonderfully curved batwing accentuated with curls of olive. Each bone is left in shadow while the membrane thins to a dark olive brown. I especially appreciate how the curls leave gaps where the forearm bends down, and how each finger goes in a slightly different direction. I also was tickled when I realized the hue matched the browny-black of my headdress and the bulk of my Blue Blood dress with it's green accents. Blue Blood has long been a favorite of mine, and I'm so glad to see her step fully into the world of articulated mesh. In this case, it's a sleeveless, deep v-necked gown that beautifully mixes revealing with full. The folds and gathers at the waist are full and broad, meaning that it moves smoothly with my movements and looks natural even with wide stances. The fabric has a good heft to it as well, and fit my body perfectly. I also love the details, like the buttons at the bottom of the v-neck, and the grommets on the belt and collar. The fatpack is your purchase, so you get all of the colors along with a color changing HUD - offering eight riffs on this dress with the lapel, belt, and underskirt all changing color while the rest stays the same.

Under Construction

The demon is in the details, and for this look I went with a combination of eyes, cosmetics, and accessories for the succubus on the go. Eyes and lipstick both come from Senzafine, and have a fantastic pearly effect to them. I mismatched two of the six varieties and punched up the glow a little. One of the advantages to mesh eyes is that they can be paired hetero-chromatically, and I loved the idea of an off-color demon. The purple lip is shiny without being too obvious, the sort of glow one might get off of feeding from the life-force of the wicked before their inevitable descent into darkness. It stands out well over the striking Gauze base - also available with red highlights along the side for date-night. I wanted something simple but non-human, and this fit the bill perfectly. The final touch was this collar, stolen from the neck of Cerebus himself, and shared with the rest of us from Hate This. Being more of the brief than swanlike in the neck department, I often find collars a but of a trial to fit, but the narrow design of this one and the fact it is editable made resizing and placing a snap - and I only pricked my fingers a couple hundred times on the lethal-looking spikes! Unlike a lot of collars which pass on the verisimilitude for the extra-spikey, this collar not only has grommet detailing on the front, but the back has a perfectly rendered buckle, complete with slightly extended tongue and beveled collar end. I'm not normally a spikes kind of girl, but the delicate placement of the spikes, and the differences in length of spike around the collar, gives this a classy, polished feel.

Swing by Genre this week to pick up accessories to make your inner demon sharper and give her lips some of that pearly, soul-eating sheen!

Laughing as Rome Burns

Monday, August 3, 2015

Flower in the Carribean

Watercolor Steps

It's been a hectic month already, but I pulled this outfit together towards the end of the Fashiontropic event and I loved the effect - as did a handful of people in the dance and activity sim I found myself in. You can't tell due to my angle, but the Caribbean Resort has dance clubs, boats and helicopters to travel around in, and is clearly one of the destination places of a bunch of new avatars. There are a ton of couples dance balls floating around all over, and also some cuddle spots. You can also, with some judicious angling and a touch of derendering, snap some clean pictures. One feature the ism has which I wish more seaside ones did - the land slopes gently under the water so there is a wide area one can stand in before it bottoms out. This makes using reflections a breeze - one can use the hover to fine tune it and catch some lovely shots. I'm a big believer in using Second Life's natural water to augment pictures - the effect can be really amazing and add a lot of life to your pictures. The trick is a windlight that isn't too misty, and the right reflection on the water and you, too, can look like your avatar is melting into swirls of brilliant color.

Dancing on the Beach

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday Squee: "Where's My Cut?" Thread on MetaFilter

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!

River Dance

I'm diving down deep for this one, not just a website but an individual thread on a website, but the "Where's My Cut?" thread on MetaFilter, centering around emotional labor, has gone beyond the initial article which sprouted it and become it's own field of wisdom and wit. Alternatively infuriating and enlightening, it's become one long howl of recognition among a slew of women and attracted more to compare notes and exclaim about the many ways this will change their lives. And because these women have strong relationships with men, and because other men have a vested interest in listening to women, this thread has had a ripple effect through the lives of everyone who has read it and those who they have interacted with after reading it. I'm going to share some of my favorite excerpts, but I really recommend a thorough read. It is long, it is intense, and it is so very worth it. I'm front-loading the howls of joy and examples of good work well recognized, but the mix is the real strength of the thread itself.

Children of the Flowers
Not just yes but HOLY SHIT YES. I try to spend my life enacting or at least preparing for war against every facet of patriarchy, but if there was one archetype in particular I could choose to destroy first, it would be the one that says sensitivity and nurturing and saintly levels of understanding and boundless, ceaseless patience aren't just women's work, but the fundamental tenets of womanhood itself. It feels like I've swallowed poison every time someone says "feminine" when what they really mean is "acquiescent, submissive, and willing to put up with infinite shit in exchange for absolutely nothing at all." --divined by radio
I live in a GREAT neighborhood. As I speak, my daughter is out playing kick the can with the other neighborhood kids in the street. There's a treehouse in the tree in my front yard, built entirely by children ages 7-12. When my daughter had a medical emergency and my four year old son ran out the front door that the paramedics left open, one of the neighborhood 12 year olds scooped him up and told me "Don't worry about it -- I've got him. Attend to Lily, he is safe with me, if he has to spend the night at our house, that's fine." We have a block party every labor day and memorial day, we have a neighborhood easter egg hunt. In the summers, one family has an outdoor movie projector and they show movies for all the neighborhood kids while the adults hang out drinking beer and jawing.

You know who does the labor to keep all that together? The women. The kids can all be out in the street playing because there are a lot of stay at home moms, and the older kids (10-14) are OK being left home alone because there are moms on the street during the afternoon. The women plan the block parties. The women rent the movies. The women arrange the dinners to people who just had a new baby, or whose spouse just died. The men show up, and they enjoy it, and they benefit hugely from the close-knit nature of our neighborhood -- but it's the women who make it happen." --KathrynT

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Month of the Blog: July 2015

This month was a mixed bag - especially offline - so my posting output was significantly lower than typical - 20 posts in total. I got neck deep in an awesome hunt, and started putting some time through a friends' project which should be announced some time in August. The standout from this month was definitely the RIN-NE Story Hunt, which I put significant time into exploring and posting about.

I'll be watching you!

My Favorite Posts:

Tori Mountain

Most Views from July:
  1. Origami Hunt Guide: 鱗廻RIN-NE - Start
  2. Genre: Dragon General
  3. Origami Hunt Guide: 鱗廻RIN-NE - Dairo's Quest
  4. Origami Hunt Guide: 鱗廻RIN-NE - Nikichi's Quest
  5. Monday Meme: Flat Draxor
  6. Origami Hunt Guide: 鱗廻RIN-NE - Seishichi's Quest
  7. Relay For Life: The Body is a Fortress Hunt
  8. A Tattered Page: Living Blade
  9. Origami Hunt Guide: 鱗廻RIN-NE - Ichitaro's Quest
  10. Origami Hunt Guide: 鱗廻RIN-NE - Eiki

An indefinable aura of hatred and menace

I covered several events:
  1. Second Life's Birthday
  2. Origami Hunt Guide (across many posts)
  3. One Monday Meme
  4. Genre: Dragon General
  5. A Tattered Page
  6. Sou by Pretty as Sunshine

Military Intelligence

I did four Sunday Squees:
Next month is going to be very busy offline, but I'll do my best to be up and active here! Life has become incredibly complicated but really amazing.

It's a sekrit