Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Second Life

Second Life is twelve years old, give or take some months, and like always the residents have poured out to make a truly impressive showing. The theme this year is "What Dreams May Come," apropos of the changes that have occurred and the new world on the horizon for Linden Labs. In the past I've tried for comprehensive coverage, but honestly this year my heart hasn't been in anything so mechanical, so instead I'm exploring my way through and I'll show what appeals to me, sim by sim. For people who haven't been by the birthday sims before, the first week has most of the events - we missed those - and the second week you can still explore around and make a nuisance of yourself - but there's a lot fewer people, and a lot less lag.

SLB12 Impressive 5

My general likes and dislikes are pretty simple - I prefer exhibits in the round to ones with doors I have to find. Simple really is better - when I'm impatient I will give complicated builds I have to walk around inside a miss unless something about the outside intrigues me, and text is incredibly difficult to read in three dimensions. On a related note - smaller isn't necessarily a bad thing; having run across a few exhibits that looked like boxes until I scrolled back  A lot of displays try to cover everything, but I think it's really best to pick a straightforward idea and execute it clearly, identifying yourself if that's important. Keep in mind the sheer amount of creations people are putting out, and the time involved in trying to see everything, and be respectful. My absolute favorite are ones which are viewable from above, of for which I can find an angle which excludes its surroundings. One sided invisible layers work beautifully here - allowing one to see in but also allowing for angles from which one can photograph everything. I'll admit this is a personal peccadillo - I really like to photograph things in either isolation or in pleasant layering, and the latter is nearly impossible on the birthday sims.

SLB12 Spectacular 5

There are signs along the way for the "SLB HUNT", an event where people leave free items around for you to find. The type and quality is highly variable - this is not a place to get shiny clothes and accessories, but rather a place for enthusiasm, love, and oddity. In contrast to the often slick commercial side of Second Life, this is the place for the enthusiast and harkens back to Second Life's more by-the-pants salad days. There's a lot to experience and enjoy, and a few quiet gems which I wish I could keep long after the birthday sims have faded into the ether again.

SLB12 Fascinate 1

Must visit spots:
Wind-Song Garden, on Spectacular. It's a calm garden with flowers which play sounds when you touch one. There is a master flower to turn them all on. Created by Rey Weyland.

Once Upon a Family, on Stupendous. One of the better uses of text that I saw, and a very clear and cohesive design that articulated the theme beautifully.

Childhood Dream Dome, on Stunning. Accept the pop-up menu and follow through one boy's story of his Second Life.

A few interesting stops:
Impressive Gift Stash
Spectacular Gift Stash
Electrify Gift Stash

Places to go for Pod Tours of the sims:
Wonderous Pod Station
Electrify Central Pod Station

SLB12 Cake Stage 8

( More pictures here. )

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Meme: Ask Me Anything Challenge

Into Winter

I have serious doubts about how many responses I'll have to this... but I've created an Ask Me Anything and will wait with baited breath to see if anyone asks me... anything. In the meantime, I'll also answer Strawberry Singh's questions, as she teases us with another of her incredibly fun memes!
  1. If Linden Lab shut the door on Second Life, what do you think you might do to replace it, or the time you spend on it. Gaming, school, work, reading, other virtual world, etc?
    I would probably find other games to replace it. Before Second Life there was Gaia Online, and before that Fandom Wank; I don't see myself leaving the internet any time soon. Second Life has held my attention for a hella long time, though, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Sansar is like. I just wish bloggers got to sneak in early!

  2. What would you consider your mission statement for your blog?
    Creativity. I try to push myself to explore more things, and in more creative ways, and to explore all of the different worlds in Second Life. I also am pushing myself to think more creatively and create ways to express my feelings that I'm comfortable with.

  3. What would you change about your SLife right now if you could just press a magic button and have it automatically happen?
    I would love to be able to run Second Life in ultra mode and record as well. I've been trying my hand at videos, and the drop in quality is depressing.

  4. What topic would you like to see explored in a non fashion blog post? Anything you are curious about and want someone else to do all the research?
    I would love a real, comprehensive demographic study of Second Life. So often, explorations of SL end up focusing on small corners, but I'd love one which took into account everything, from the people who long in for SLex and leave, to the people who have built enormous worlds and lives. I want to know it all.

  5. Do you have a point of contact in SL? Someone that a person from your RL knows to contact in case something happens to you or you are unable to get online for an extended period of time?
    No, but I've been considering setting that up. I do have people from Second Life where we're in touch offline, though.

  6. What provides you the most inspiration and motivation to keep learning and growing? What keeps you from being held back by the common negativity in SecondLife and elsewhere?
    One of the inspirations for Sunday Squee, and why I keep doing it, is to try to find that positivity. Some weeks it's really challenging, and this year has been difficult from a ton of different angles, but I'm hanging in there and trying to remember all of the things I love.

  7. How do you deal with other bloggers (who don’t know you personally) that are spiteful towards you?
    That actually hasn't happened to me, so far as I know. Everyone I've met has been very kind. This is more a function of my being small potatoes than anything else, though - one of the things which attention brings is negative responses.

  8. What is your advice to those that admire you and what you do, hoping to be able to do some of the same things with as much confidence as you often seem to have?
    Most confidence that appears real is fake. Inside, I think almost everyone feels scared and alone - a bunch of us have just learned to put on a calm face and keep going. I feel insecure most of the time, but I try to focus on my most central values and keep moving and doing what I think is right, and hope things turn out for the best in the end.

  9. Name 5 favorite events in Second Life.
    Genre; I adore the different themes and how unique each tends to be - even when the pickings are scarce!
    Fantasy Faire; I love the magic and whimsy which accompanies it.
    A Tattered Page; I love the connection between books and creativity.
    Second Life's Advent Season; the stores change almost every year, but the generosity remains the same.
    21 Shoe; every month I have an excuse to do something creative and fun with entirely too many shoes, and this event is why!

  10. Name three of your favourite blogs.
    This is a very hard question - I link to a ton of blogs on my sidebar of any number of provenances; picking three will be tough. 
  11. Ziki Questi's Blog; I love the places she visits and shares, and the fact she's a delightful person doesn't hurt.
    Honour McMillan's Blog; I love her analysis of different places she visits and the art she views.
    Canary Beck's Blog; I don't always agree with her, but she always gives me food for thought.
Lost in Mists

And indeed, some questions came in!
  1. Have you always been a faery in Second Life?‎ (Strawberry Singh)
    Almost from the beginning. One of the first things I purchased was a set of wings, and I've been wearing them very since. I have one alt who is also winged, but the other Deoridhes aren't.

  2. What is your most prized possession in your inventory?
    It's very difficult to say; I have a core set of things I wear all of the time, which would qualify as very important, and a set of things with high sentimental value, which would count as very important, but right now I'm borrowing a single item from a friend - a gacha rare, and I think that has to win the prize for most important, since it's borrowed.

  3. How do you manage to post blog posts so frequently? Do you have any tips for bloggers who are trying to improve themselves?
    I honestly don't consider myself to blog a lot, though since the beginning of the year I've been trying for final numbers close to once a day. Mixing in short posts helps a lot - for example, I blog 21 Shoe and I tend to do a separate post for every shoe, which bumps up my numbers. I have an entire category, shorts, which are just images and a few words, and I'll do one of those when I feel like I haven't blogged enough. Anything with a lot of copy takes longer unless I'm really inspired. As for trying to improve yourself, that really depends on what you think your weaknesses are. Identify a few bloggers you would like to be like and look at what they do, how they do it, etc... Then try to match that and see how it goes. It may not be a good fit - it's easy to admire what we don't have - but at least you will have tried.

  4. What's your favorite fashion style for blogging?
    It's hard for me to chose between Quasi-Lolita (I say quasi because my tops tend to be low-cut, which is NOT Lolita) and a princess pretty style. I like to mix it up, though, and push the envelope. I don't want to be known for just one style, or even just one color!
Through the Tines

Sunday Squee: The Toast

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!

Look Up At Stars

I love The Toast.

For those not in the know, The Toast is a feminish weekly humorish blog that manages such a perfect balance of the raunchy and the sublime that it fair takes my breath away. It's feminist without being more than just academic enough, intersectional without wearing it as a forehead tattoo, and consistently and constantly builds an environment of woman-centered goodness where mostly everyone is welcome. Topics break down along several axis, from the Link Roundups, to the lifesaving How You Can Tell You're in X Story, to Reactions to Art, up to and including critical Pattern Behavior Cartoons, to the If X was Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend series, to Femslash Fridays, and who can forget the gut punching Children's Stories Made Horrific (The Little Mermaid was actually improved by the end, but Beauty and the Beast and the Frog Prince both gained a Lovecraftian horror to them).

Strange Sunsets

What inspired this post was the juxtaposition of An Interview With @AfAmHistFail and The Secret to Having Sex After Giving Birth, both by the indomitable Nichole Cliffe. The former is a hard-hitting, sardonic look at the racism which remains so strongly woven into how US Citizens view our history, and what we're willing to overlook due to nostalgia. Given this was barely any time after the Charleston shootings (Carvell Wallace's poignant letter to his mother ran on The Toast), this was a cogent view of the racism that still exists in the US. The latter is a humorous but serious look at the relationship between people who give birth and their bodies, and is especially notable for the charming framing that reinforces how variable those responses can be and how valid those differences are.  Everyone has their own lived experiences, and their lived experiences are valid and important. The Toast is a place to read the comments, and below that post is a bevy of people comforting each other and finding common ground on experiences they thought they were isolated within and now find they are not. It's beautiful, touching, and incredibly funny. Whether it's for humor or for pathos, I find myself reading The Toast with glee and usually learning something in the process about being a woman, about being a feminist, and about being a good human being.


Other notable posts:
I recommend deep dives into the history of The Toast, for there are many gems there!


Friday, June 26, 2015

Genre: Curb-Stomping Kawaii

Image Description: A woman in a camouflage, short ruffled dress walking away form an army jeep with a spotted dog in it.

The Military has rolled into Genre-town, and the results are... mixed. There's lot of camouflage in some very interesting places, and by far one of the most interesting is this combination of Lolita and combat colors. It's lover-cut than the typical Lolita, but pleasingly fluffy with the rough edges and rounded profile of classic Curious Kitties. It's fitmesh, so trying a demo first is a good idea, and in addition to the dark green I'm showing here it comes in water blue, sand tan, and urban gray. The skirt is more tutu than flowing layers of petticoat, and it's a fun shape to mix and match with tights or pants. There are also some very nice buckly belts around the waist, setting this apart from other Lolita styles. It comes with matching boots (not shown) making it a cohesive look. It was a lot of fun to take two very different things and try to combine them, and I think I managed admirably!

Image Description: Shoulders-up closeup of a woman in a camo, short sleeved dress with camo and bullet lace bracelets, camo and stars nails, and a spiked headband.

The rich, jungle color was an easy match with a variety of accessories - for example these amazing bracelets from Tanoshi, which also come in a bunch of other shades - like red, brown, teal, and navy. They have heavy rifle-sized bullets pinned around the edges with enormous grommets, and half of them come with lace in addition! They match my shiny star nails to perfection! Those come from Vengeful Threads and are enormously fun. Purple, pink, the green I'm showing, blue, and red are all options, each with silvery stars and bits of camo laid into them. I rounded out my look with two non-Genre offerings. The first are these awesome, flirty stompy boots from Dilly Dolls which seem simply made for combining steel toes and ruffles. They come in solid colors, but thankfully they are editable and one can select individual faces, so I was able to add dark and bright green to various surfaces and make it fit in better with the rest of my look - I adore modifiable clothes for so many reasons, but this level of individualization is a big part of it.

Image Description: Closeup of a pair of knee-high, gray boots with a large, green bow over the toes.

In contrast, the gray matches the bullets of my bracelets and the spines on my headband. That headband comes with the matching hair from Wasabi Pills with a fun single shoulder flow. I'm wearing it in mottled cool shades and gray to carry the color scheme further; I didn't want to go to warm and unsettle the effect. Look at how seamlessly the hair curls over one of my ears - and Wasabi Pills has moved more and more towards individual strands of curling hair, which make them really stand out. The final touch is my necklace, a heavy round shape like dog-tags but a little more sinister - this is one of my favorite necklaces from Eclectica, an octopus hugging a stone. I love every little coil of its tentaclely goodness, and it really pulls the whole outfit together - so to speak! Now I'm ready to take on all comers in the jungle, the prettiest General you've ever seen!

Image Description: Bust-up portrait of the same woman as above, this time looking slyly over at the top of a barrel and a box with a star on it.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Squee: Rainbows

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!

Dryad Reflection

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love rainbows. I consider them my favorite color - all together; I love the in order fade, and how each can move smoothly into the next, creating harmony in diversity. I have dear friends who create rainbow things for me, and both of the custom creations I've paid for in Second Life involved rainbows - in one case a whole outfit, in another case an awesome set of wings. I also semi-regularly make rainbow outfits, or try to make top to bottom rainbow fades, and all of the things I create come into the world with a rainbow texture from Fortunas Creations; I'm very blessed, he has a tendency to drop rainbow textures into my inventory unasked for, but always appreciate!

What I love about rainbows is fairly straightforward - they seem like magic to me. They also represent all that is ephemeral and lovely, they are caused by the meeting of two unlikely things, and they embody not just tolerance but acceptance of variety and vibrancy. I love all the different options, from pastel to flaming neon bright, and the way I can add rainbow in as wither a pop of glory, or use it as an entire theme for an outfit. When I created my look for RWBY for a past Sunday Squee, my theme was rainbow and my name was Tuar Ceatha, the Irish word for rainbow. Along with a few other common, adored things, rainbows are central to my aesthetic and drive a lot of what I do and how I do it both online and offline - and they make me incredibly happy. I even have a rainbow unbrella for rainy days, so I can give everyone a smile!

#DeosSecondLifeProblems - Make Your Own!

Many, many, many more rainbows below the cut!

21 Shoe: Glamistry

2015-06-21 21Shoe

21 Shoe: Glamistry

Glamistry is releasing the Trillium Heels for Belleza, Maitreya, and SLink High feet and comes with a color-changing HUD to switch between the blue and yellow which is their 21 Shoe Exclusives. You can also add other colors in through the HUD, making it incredibly convenient. I love the design of this - from the open-hearted center to the chain holding bits of strap together. One interesting thing is the metal tops of the heel to bring everything level with the platform, and they change color with the chains - above I'm showing silver, and bottom is showing gold. Like other Glamistry heels, you can mix and match the colors - I did inverted versions across the three different areas for recoloring. These are available right now at Glamistry's main store, so hurry by to pick them up!

21 Shoe: Glamistry

This month's 21Shoe sponsor and provider of our group appreciation gift is Klepsydra by Betty Scorpio - available now in the history of the 21 Shoe Official Group. Visit the Klepsydra Mainstore or Marketplace Store for more great offerings from our sponsor!

21 Shoe: House of Rain

2015-06-21 21Shoe

21 Shoe: House of Rain

House of Rain is releasing the Luxury of Tears Sandals, which are fitted for SLink High feet. I love these, from the curve of gold around one ankle and down into teardrop gems, to the delicate straps barely holding the feet into the sandal soles. The heel has a tapered middle which gives support to the full heel section - which looks to be about the solidest part of this whisper of a shoe. The texturing is very simple fabric, and I would love to see it with a gemstone or glass effect as well - I think that would make these really stand out as exemplary, and be a fantasy princess' dream. These bits of fancy are available now from House of Rain's main store.

21 Shoe: House of Rain

This month's 21Shoe sponsor and provider of our group appreciation gift is Klepsydra by Betty Scorpio - available now in the history of the 21 Shoe Official Group. Visit the Klepsydra Mainstore or Marketplace Store for more great offerings from our sponsor!

21 Shoe: Ingenue

2015-06-21 21Shoe

21 Shoe: Ingenue

Ingenue's Lara Heels are fitted for Belleza, Maitreya, and SLink medium feet. The medium feet haven't been getting much love, but they are a perfect height for casual day wear and sleek but practical evening wear. These are lovely - a low strap over the vamp with one of Ingenue's signature flat bows. The shape of the pump is simple but sleek with a wide topped heel that ends in a very narrow point. I love the colors here - ones Ingenue has used before for 21 Shoe - a fantastic teal and a soft pink - and they are available for a limited time at Ingenue's main store.

21 Shoe: Ingenue

This month's 21Shoe sponsor and provider of our group appreciation gift is Klepsydra by Betty Scorpio - available now in the history of the 21 Shoe Official Group. Visit the Klepsydra Mainstore or Marketplace Store for more great offerings from our sponsor!

21 Shoe: {kokoia}

2015-06-21 21Shoe

21 Shoe: Kokoia

{kokoia}'s Stilettoes are fitted for Belleza, Maitreya, SLink, and The Mesh Project in their highest form.These sleek pumps have a sharp stiletto heel and a very pointed toe - all hard edges and quiet authority. The pattern is what sets these apart, a combination of heavily-lined shapes which interact with the narrow profile of the shoes pleasantly - here an edge of round is cut off, there a dappled pattern of diamonds disappears over an edge. The colors are very simple, balancing out the much more complicated pattern. The effect is very modern and chic, and they are available today at kokoia}'s main store.

21 Shoe: Kokoia

This month's 21Shoe sponsor and provider of our group appreciation gift is Klepsydra by Betty Scorpio - available now in the history of the 21 Shoe Official Group. Visit the Klepsydra Mainstore or Marketplace Store for more great offerings from our sponsor!

21 Shoe: G & D

2015-06-21 21Shoe

G&D's Sabot Janis Polka Dot slip-ons come fitted for Maitreya, SLink, and The Mesh Project, and come with a HUD to change the metal of the studs from silver to gold. These are really cute, heeled clogs with an open toe - that's a lot going on, but the additional touches - like how the cloth of the vamp is tacked over the wooden base, and the charming knot in the center in the vamp. I also love the smooth edge of the wood, which looks cut and polished to a rounded edge instead of something more stiff and sharp. They are unabashedly casual and fun, the sort of thing one might slip on for a truck pull if one went to them in six inch heels! And all today you can get them at G&D's main store!

21Shoe: G & D

This month's 21Shoe sponsor and provider of our group appreciation gift is Klepsydra by Betty Scorpio - available now in the history of the 21 Shoe Official Group. Visit the Klepsydra Mainstore or Marketplace Store for more great offerings from our sponsor!