Thursday, February 25, 2016

Whimsical Wishes

Biking into Town

Life is made up of the little moments in which we make choices. We build ourselves, our worlds, and our relationships through those little moments which seem so insignificant until they are writ large on the soul. In a few days, I'll be celebrating my tenth birthday - it's time to take some stock.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Last Unicorn: Weeping

The Last Unicorn: Weeping
"You must never run from anything immortal. It attracts their attention." Her voice was gentle, and without pity. "Never run," she said. "Walk slowly, and pretend to be thinking of something else. Sing a song, say a poem, do your tricks, but walk slowly and she may not follow. Walk very slowly, magician."

So they fled across the night together, step by step, the tall man in black and the horned white beast. The magician crept as close to the unicorn's light as he dared, for beyond it moved hungry shadows, the shadows of the sounds that the harpy made as she destroyed the little there was to destroy of the Midnight Carnival. But another sound followed them long after these had faded, followed them into morning on a strange road — the tiny, dry sound of a spider weeping.
 ― Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Exposeur Sale for a Good Cause

Flowers Bloom Even in Darkness

RubyStarlight Wirter sent out a notice today that she's holding a second sale - unusual for her; Exposeur has only a handful of sales throughout the year - for a very good cause. Her lovely kitty cat Chloe needs medical care, and the cost is depressingly high.

In order to raise funds, her whole store is on sale for at least a week! Tons of amazing poses and pose sets for 50$L to 100$L with gacha at a mind blowing 15$L. If you're like me, you like to have a whole backlog of poses - and I know I'm about to flood my poor PoseAnywhere HUD with every Exposeur pose I can get my hands on. I hope you'll join me there - for Chloe.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Last Unicorn: Loss

The Last Unicorn: Loss
The unicorn was gray and still. "There is magic on me," she said. "Why did you not tell me?"

"I thought you knew," the magician answered gently. "After all, didn't you wonder how it could be that they recognized you?" Then he smiled, which made him look a little older. "No, of course not. You never would wonder about that."

"There has never been a spell on me before," the unicorn said. She shivered long and deep. "There has never been a world in which I was not known."
Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Rises and Reflections

Lost in my Own Reflection

I've been dwelling on art and composition for a while now. To be honest, I'm not sure how accurate anything I think is - I create but what I create barely makes a ripple, and in the absence of feedback it's easy to be inaccurate in any sort of self-analysis. One thing I've noticed is that I'm thinking about the principles I've explored as I take new pictures - how is this balanced, where is the center, what tension am I trying to capture - and that thoughtfulness makes taking pictures more interesting. It's made me think about how often we operate in a vacuum, though. Culturally, a lot of people value independence but I've grown to crave response, to seek out the reflections found in the eyes of the people around me.

Seaside Depths

Sunday Squee: The Last Unicorn

The Sunday Squee is about things that make me happy and excited. From books to movies to television shows to podcasts, I'll 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, magnifying both of our joy.

Sunday Squee: The Last Unicorn

It was a chilly night when I first saw The Last Unicorn in the theater. We stopped for dinner first; I remember the glow of the stained glass decorations int he restaurant, the red and white checked tablecloth I traced patterns on, the long walk through the dark. It hangs like a gem in my memory, immortalized as a formative work - all beauty and grief and terror. The journey from innocence, through suffering and education to knowledge and regret is captivating every time. The true enemy of the Last Unicorn is her own nature, and throughout the story it is that which is bent, distorted, and changed into something new and yet no less eternal.

As an adult I embraced the book with it's humor and anachronisms, but the underlying messages - of kindness, of enduring despair, of those regrets we cherish - were drawn into even sharper relief. To live is to hurt, and much of becoming an adult is learning to carry our losses lightly and cherish even those we no longer have.

Friday, February 19, 2016

A Year of Weekly Themes: Love!

Softpaw Sommer is doing a Weekly Theme Blogger Challenge and I thought it would be fun to pitch in with an image for each week!

This Week's Theme: Love!

A Year of Weekly Themes: Love!

I haven't had love - romantic love - in my life for a very long time. Even the other kinds of love I have are more at a distance - my friends by and large aren't local and most nights it's me and my cat, curled up in his furry bed next to me.That is my favorite sort of love - the cuddly love of an adoring kitty.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Colour! Colour! Colour! Week 7: Strong Red

The Weekly Color Challenge is back this year with a different format, through the Flickr Group Colour! Colour! Colour! Each week is given an RGB code.

This Week's Color is R:179 G:0 B:0 (#b30000)

Colour! Colour! Colour! Week 7: Strong Red

The color of blood, and passion - this is the red which keeps you up at night, frantic and heavy with desire. It's the red of fresh blood, of the spray of an aorta on a wall. It's the color of the roses you send when you want something - love, sex, forgiveness. It's life, it's death, is anything writ big and splashy.

Enchantment: The Last Unicorn Hunt

In addition to a ton of awesome items, most of them clearly inspired by The Last Unicorn, Enchantment is also running a hunt to encourage you to visit the thirty stores offering up free goodies inside a book. For ease of travel, there is a HUD which also give out hints for each store; it is an enormous HUD that I ended up tucking off to one side so I have enough screen to hunt with. I love the idea of built in hints, though - it makes things so much simpler, and many of them are charmingly redolent of the books themselves. Where I've hit a hiccup, I'll add in an additional hint of my own to take you a step further, but overall these books are not hard to find.

It's a fun hunt with a reasonable number of stops and some truly amazing prizes - many of these will be showing up on my main account as well as on the lovely Bizarre, my Unicorn!

Images of the prizes are below the cut!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The 86 Aspects of Composition: Center

Drawing from Mike Vargas' 86 Aspects of Composition, I'm looking at one aspect a week as it is reflected in the creations of Second Life Photographers and Artists. This week the topic is Center, and the question is:
"Which areas, events, or ideas does our attention revolve around or return to?"
The Center is both a deceptively simple concept, and a fiendishly difficult one. When I was dwelling on the idea, though, I kept coming back to the psychological concept of "locus of control" - that is, where the control of a person is located within their psyche (either realistically or not). Children have an external locus of control; people often develop external loci of control in abusive or discriminatory situations, and an internal locus of control is central to developing as a psychologically healthy adult. The locus, the center, is where we return to time and again in our lives and in our art; it is what we might circle around like a planet in orbit around the sun, or what might draw us in again and again like the driving forces of arrows pointing to a single place. Some people revolve around other people, some people revolve around themselves, and some people revolve around some critical idea or object of their attention.

Would You Lay With Me
Would You Lay With Me by DanteAmore

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Morning in the Sithen / Self-Objectification

In Depth Conversation

I mentioned a few different homes on my home post earlier, including a couple on my roleplaying sim. The Public one is in a place called the Sithen, where the fae can come to rest and rejuvenate themselves. One half of the upper rooms are Deoridhe's, on her right as the Seelie Queen and representative for the fae, and she has them decked out in an opulent style which hints at the immense resources she has, as well as her sometimes whimsical sense of style. The Sithen itself is not mine so to speak but it does feel familiar and welcoming to me, and I love going there just to hang out and wait to see if anyone wants to play with me.

Sitting Room

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Last Unicorn: Death

The Last Unicorn: Death
"What is plucked will grow again,
What is slain lives on,
What is stolen will remain —
What is gone is gone."

"What is sea-born dies on land,
Soft is trod upon.
What is given burns the hand —
What is gone is gone."

 ― Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Genre: Roller Derby

Genre - Roller Derby

The theme for Genre this month is Roller Derby, and the Derby girls are out in force across the grid to celebrate. Everything from the best neon mini skirts to knee pads made for combat is available for ladies who skate around the track dispensing justice on the other team. There isn't much for men - several of the accessories can be resized but the clothing trends toward boobs - the texture layers of the Vengeful Threads outfit might work, though; looking close I saw minimal boob shadows and the bra piece is separate form the mesh. For women this outfit is a ton of customizable fun. It comes with Omega appliers for the texture pieces, which are the bulk of it, and rigged mesh armwarmers and skirt in a ton of sizes. Mesh top, bra, corset, undies, and stockings are all separate from each other, so it's easy to use what you want and leave off the rest. It came with two different fittings of rigged kneepads, though I substituted in SinfulSky's styling kneepads of destruction to mix things up a little from pure candy colored aggression. The skates I'm wearing are included, as are fur-covered boots for off the track and a matching helmet.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Colour! Colour! Colour! Week 6: Dark Orange [Brown Tone]

The Weekly Color Challenge is back this year with a different format, through the Flickr Group Colour! Colour! Colour! Each week is given an RGB code.

This Week's Color is R:170 G:67 B:32 (aka #aa4320)

Colour! Colour! Colour! Week 6: Dark Orange [Brown Tone]

Unusual colors are always a challenge - and this particular shade of brownish-orange was incredibly difficult to find! I ended up going a touch more red in hue, balancing it out with some brown-tone accessories - and once again we're given a chance to see this particular color and how it responds to a variety of different types of light! Orange is a color of sensuality, of warmth and fecundity, a color associated with the fading of autumn and not the pastel hues of this time of year. The warmth of pumpkin gently seasoned with cinnamon, a sip of mulled apple cider before bedtime - the worlds' best cure for the common cold. In the moments under the blankets before sleep has quite lost it's hold, this color lingers at the edges of my mind like the echoes of remembered comforts.

The Last Unicorn: Immortality

The Last Unicorn: Immortality

"Unicorns are immortal. It is their nature to live alone in one place: usually a forest where there is a pool clear enough for them to see themselves-for they are a little vain, knowing themselves to be the most beautiful creatures in all the world, and magic besides. They mate very rarely, and no place is more enchanted than one where a unicorn has been born. The last time she had seen another unicorn the young virgins who still came seeking her now and then had called to her in a different tongue; but then, she had no idea of months and years and centuries, or even of seasons. It was always spring in her forest, because she lived there, and she wandered all day among the great beech trees, keeping watch over the animals that lived in the ground and under bushes, in nests and caves, earths and treetops. Generation after generation, wolves and rabbits alike, they hunted and loved and had children and died, and as the unicorn did none of these things, she never grew tired of watching them."

Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Sunday Squee: Beyoncé's Videos

The Sunday Squee is about things that make me happy and excited. From books to movies to television shows to podcasts, I'll 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, magnifying both of our joy.

The end of 2013, Beyoncé released her self-titled album and, along with it, a visual album of not only videos but her talking about her perspective. She did this without announcements, without fanfare, without anything beyond simply dropping these images and that music onto the world and seeing what happened.

"Pretty Hurts
You shine the light on whatever's worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation

Pretty Hurts
You shine the light on whatever's worst
Try to fix something but you can't fix what you cant see
It's the soul that needs the surgery"

A Year of Weekly Themes: Home!

Softpaw Sommer is doing a Weekly Theme Blogger Challenge and I thought it would be fun to pitch in with an image for each week!

This Week's Theme: Home!

The Front Porch

I have two homes in Second Life - one which I pay for yearly and maintain as a private base, and one where I am most every day and where I spend most of my time. The first was an old purchase and is why I maintain my premium membership; a Linden Home in the fae-ish woodland decorated in a sweet and simple style. Now and then I hang out there and spy on the neighbors, but I'll be honest when I say that it isn't where I often go. It is where my home is set to, however, and it's where I can retreat even if another circle of friends turns on me.

Living Room

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The City by Betty Tureaud

I have packed my suitcase
walk out the door without looking back
Leaving hopelessness and take the bus
to the city

With the hope of a better life
I stand in the dust, waiting for the door to open
on the way to the city

My last money is used for a plane ticket
Hope and uncertainty awaits me in the foreign
I am on my way without looking back

*Betty Tureaud*

The City: Another Plane

February LEA Update

Every month or two I take a swing through the Linden Endowment for the Arts sims to see which are in progress and which are locked up and then update my SL Art page to match! It's the second month of this round of Artist in Residence creations, but four sims already have opened to the public, and almost all of the rest can be visited to see where they are in progress. LEA also recently put out a call for applications for the seven Core Sims (LEA 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9) which are available for a shorter period of time on a rolling basis.

The Open sims seem to be complete and some of them have announcements (click on the first link for each for details) while the ones in progress have some things and can be entered. Any sims not linked are currently locked to outsiders or are one of the two unchanging sims.

Stranger Things: Besties

Officially Open:

Vestiges: Sandscape

In Progress:

  • LEA 4: Core Sim Grants - St Isabella Island, USA by Indea Vaher
  • LEA 10: Artist In Residence - CyberPolis: The Oracle by Asmita Duranjaya
  • LEA 12: Artist In Residence - Exodus Interactive by ExtravaDanza
  • LEA 13: Artist In Residence - Miyako jima Island by the University of Scenic Arts
  • LEA 14: Artist In Residence - Wish You Were Here by Kara Trapdoor
  • LEA 15: Artist In Residence - TBA by Solkide & Sniper 
  • LEA 16: Artist In Residence - Entropy III, Quantum Satis by NaTaS & Fiends
  • LEA 17: Artist In Residence - The Play's The Thing by Pixels Sideways
  • LEA 18: Artist In Residence - GoSL by the Game of Life in SL
  • LEA 20: Artist In Residence - TBA by [M2D]
  • LEA 21: Artist In Residence - TBA: Created by Eupalinos Ugajin
  • LEA 22: Artist In Residence - Funky Junk by Carmsie Melodie
  • LEA 23: Artist In Residence - S by Frankx Lefavre
  • LEA 24: Artist In Residence - Dystopia by Noke Yuitza
  • LEA 28: Artist In Residence - 5D by Mandel Solano
  • LEA 29: Artist In Residence - An Ascension To The 10th Dimension by Tansee

Stranger Things: Lost Pieces

If you have reviewed or know of reviews or images for any LEA sims please let me know in the comments! I'm trying to link to all of the information I can get.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What the Tortoise Taught Us

A sandscape with two sets of booted footprints. Much smaller feet in flats decorated in a heart cast a shadow over the footprints.

You're in a desert, walking along in the sand when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise. It's crawling toward you...
You reach down and flip the tortoise over on its back.
The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over. But it can't. Not with out your help. But you're not helping.
Why aren't you helping?

                            --paraphrased from the Blade Runner interrogation scene.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Year of Weekly Themes: Enchanted!

Softpaw Sommer is doing a Weekly Theme Blogger Challenge and I thought it would be fun to pitch in with an image for each week!

This Week's Theme: Enchanted!

A Year of Weekly Themes: Enchanted!

I love the dynamism of movement and change and the serendipitous shots which can be captured when you introduce chaos in the process of taking static images. I fine the exploration of this particular type of chaos to be enchanting and absorbing, and winnowing down through a dozen or more images to the one which captures every aspect I want singularly enjoyable. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Squee: Cica Ghost's Beginners

The Sunday Squee is about things that make me happy and excited. From books to movies to television shows to podcasts, I'll 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, magnifying both of our joy.

Beginners: Sisyphean Way

Snails make their Sisyphean way up a hill, pulling row houses which a variety of strange creatures perch upon now and then. Off to the sides, enormous figures in stripped sweaters look on gloomily as the grass, and their grasslike hair, waves in the wind
Beginners is a charming build, one of the latest from Cica Ghost. She creates dream-like circumstances with gentle movement woven in. This time it's not only in the swaying grass but also in the slow movement of the snails as they "climb" up the hill with their peculiar burden. The most fun thing about the houses is that they are filled with poses; several people can perch on each roof, relaxing into the scene. It's rare for artists to offer art you can inhabit, even in Second Life, and I love that Ghost did here!

Beginners: By the Foot

Colour! Colour! Colour! Week 5: Dark Moderate Green

The Weekly Color Challenge is back this year with a different format, through the Flickr Group Colour! Colour! Colour! Each week is given an RGB code.

This Week's Color is R:130 G:163 B:55 (aka #82a337)

Colour! Colour! Colour! Week 5: Dark Moderate Green

I'm loving the inspiration to go back through my inventory and unearth old treasures. This dress (and matching lipstick) are both from Senzafine and were among the first mesh clothing I purchased. I fell in love with the dress and jacket combination, and that sort of combination has remained a staple of many mesh creator's portfolio. The elbows show some of the "gummyness" of early rigged SL mesh, but I think the excellent texturing of the dress in general, and the unique and striking style, more than make up for the difficulties of the Second Life form! I gave up trying to find accessories that matched after setting up my face, though; the group gift Truth hair is dyed, as are the Sax Shepherd Designs wings and shoes - thank you for creators for making things modify ok! My favorite part is the eyeshadow, though - part of an early playful collection from HooT, they are ladybugs painted in a variety of colors - in this case green. I love playful touches like that, where the humor can be subtle and sweet.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

How NOT to Join a Roleplay in Second Life

A Gallery VIew

Late night on my favorite roleplaying sim and we have a few different scenes going on in various places across the realm. A couple - who we will call False King and Silent Queen - came in to wander around. Really, no harm no foul - non-roleplayers are welcome, there isn't really a dress code if you're out of character and even in character it's pretty broad. Their behavior was a little odd; they kept walking around us as we were in the frozen-position norm of paragraph roleplay. Several attempts were made to engage with them in good faith in both local and IM.

[Moderator]: ((Hey! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to IM me. :) ))
[Admin]: ((Heyya guys, feel free to browse the sim, but please don't interrupt the RP!))

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Month of the Blog: January 2015

The year started with a tangle, but I got off the ground early and finally began the The 86 Aspects of Composition project. I've gotten some very good and interesting responses from the artists I'm featuring, some in private messages on Flickr and others on the images themselves, through Plurk, or even here on the blog. Along the same theme, my favorite, under-appreciated post this month was Art and the Single Avatar, where I spent entirely too much time explaining why I often take images of myself at artistic events, instead of just focusing on what the artists created.

I started a couple of other blog challenges this month, too - A Year of Weekly Themes, which has shown itself to be a lot of fun, and Colour! Colour! Colour!. For both of them I'm focusing on single images instead of my typical six - and overall I've cut back a great deal on the number of images I'm taking for posts, though I've been stepping up images from roleplaying events and the like. It's definitely a real time savings, even if I miss some of the quality of having a lot of posts exploring a place and an outfit.

Behind the Bar

Most Viewed in January:
  1. The 86 Aspects of Composition: Balance
  2. Stranger Things are Happening by Krystali Rabeni
  3. How NOT to make "Friends" in Second Life
  4. The 86 Aspects of Composition: Abstraction
  5. A Year of Weekly Themes: Birthday!
  6. Sunday Squee: Hamilton
  7. Colour! Colour! Colour! Week 3: Dark Moderate Blue
  8. Iridescence
  9. Colour! Colour! Colour! Week 2: Dark Moderate Violet
  10. A Year of Weekly Themes: Glitter!
New Friends

Monday, February 1, 2016

Genre: Queen of the Rain

Singing in the Rain

We're at the halfway point for Genre and I'm showing off Vengeful Threads' gorgeous gown with an incredibly plunging neckline. It's available in six different color options (changeable via a HUD) and has amazing shape and movement. The addition of flexy floofs for the skirt is a fun touch and works well with the black-and-color design. I don't normally like necklines that are too low, but I love the curve of this along with the relatively sedate styling otherwise which really elevates it into elegant evening wear with an edge. You can also pick it up for astonishingly little at Genre for the next couple of weeks - so hurry by!