Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Zyx's Road Trip: Day One

Finally, a couple days after she set out, Zyx Flux, my wee pixy friend, sent a report about the first day of her road trip. Here is her report:

The Day One Route

The Starting Point
What a boring job this is turning out to be! I started on Route 9 in Juho (SLurl), the road nearest my home in Nangrim (at the Lydia Rose Memorial Park; SLurl) and headed East, stopping in Chindo (SLurl) when I decided all the interesting things in Second Life must be far from where I was.

At first I was fairly excited to see that the Prim Docker store and Harry Prefect's Textures are so close to my home as I've shopped at both. I get that surprise a lot because I usually try to see how close I am to home when I find myself at a shop on the mainland, and if it is a reasonable distance, I'll fly home so I can see the sights along the way.

For this trip the last interesting bit came early, shortly after entering Sokri and just before passing into Jinseok. The Linden Moles set up a little roadside rest area. Folks with vehicles can rez them here and then drive Route 9. Or they can just hang out long enough that a car or a Yavapod tour vehicle passes by ... just hop in. Behind the rest area is some abandoned land that still has a riding tortoise rezzer. As the land is now owned by Governor Linden, the scripts no longer work so you'll have to just imagine riding a tortoise. One of the nice things about mainland roads is that many shops along the way have vehicle razzers anyone can use. Well, not Route 9, it seems. Did I mention how dull it has been so far?

Travelling along, I entered a very empty-looking sim called Tong. Apparently it was populated with skyboxes by some rental company. The landscape was very dull. Oddly, way far to the east, people loaded the water sim of Injong with floating houses while there was a ton of land right next door.

The Jumeoni - Yangban border has a pedestrian overpass that appears to have been built by the Brayla Sana company to help promote their products. Still, it's a nice bit and if the road was any sort of busy, it would be a great way to keep safe anyone trying to cross the road. The big purple crystal you see in the pic showed up several times in several regions along the route and has no apparent purpose, but they are pretty.

The next region, Yosu, isn't memorable at all and by the time I crossed into Chindo I was totally bored and frustrated. So I hauled Shelly, my pack snail, over to the side and set up camp. Maybe tomorrow will be more interesting. Maybe I'll go home and try heading West instead. I know there is a nice tunnel under the bay that way ...

And her report stopped there. I've sent her some landmarks if she decides to take a new route but I reminded her that with Mainland, you never know what is around the corner.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Zyx's Road Trip

At least one person was pleased with Zyx Flux's report from the road in my recent "Garden Mole has been busy" post and the wee pixy certainly had a grand time so it's been decided that she should head out on the road again and travel the Mainland to see what she can see. Zyx spent the weekend gathering supplies and outfitting a pack animal for her journey. Here's the pictures she sent and her report.

The riding snail I met at Grendel's Children was a bit too big. Actually, a lot too big, but she was able to tell me where I could find a baby to fit my size and was kind enough to give me an old harness and packs to fit her.. A little refurbishing was needed — new leathers, replace the dried out wood anchors, new ropes, and a bit of polish — and Shelly was all set to go. She and I look forward to many happy hours on the road together.

I also added new barrels and other containers, though the chest was in fine shape so I kept it.

Despite appearances, I was dressed in when I took this picture. I fought an alpha-bug during the harness refurbishing. In this view you can see I fashioned a pack blanket to protect the snail's newly buffed shell, using fabric left over from reupholstering the seat. I almost took off the stirrups to save weight, but they cleaned up so well and I had managed to cut 4 prims despite my additions so they stayed. 

Zyx will probably set out later today and I should hear from her tomorrow. With any luck I'll receive daily reports, but having been on many a road trip myself, I know that sometimes its just too much fun to stop and call home.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

This week's Featured Location at the Isle of Lesbos
Back in January I featured the Bath House at the Isle of Lesbos on this blog, and this week it is the Featured Location on the Isle itself.  But I dislike the picture above as much as I love the location, though. It is pixelated and fuzzy. Of late I've noticed that shadows have pixelated edges but the general pixelation of saved snaps rather mutes that problem. I'm not sure if it is server side or a problem with the viewer. I had ultra graphics set and bumped up my anti-alaising feature. For this picture I was using the Exodus viewer so maybe some tests between viewers are needed.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Garden Mole has been busy

Have I mentioned how much I like Mainland or how much I love the Linden Moles? Cruising up Route 1 on a borrowed bicycle yesterday, I passed by a little greenhouse in Clearwing (SLurl), just sitting there and looking pretty. Later I sent my ace gardening assistant and all-round sweet pixy, Zyx Flux, to check it out. Here are her pictures and comments:

"The tiny greenhouse and butterfly house is an adorable addition to Route 1 in Clearwing. Check out the special stained glass windows on the side. They make a great background inside. Outside but not pictured is a picnic table. Various vehicles you can ride pass by pretty regularly and some of the shops along the way loan out bicycles or other vehicles."

"Little water features dot the inside because butterflies get thirsty, you know, and pixies like to cool their feet. The lush foliage is a bit overgrown so maybe I should come back and work for a bit so all the plants can be healthy."

"So many Linden plants artfully arranged demonstrate what a good gardener can do with things everyone has in their basic inventory. I spent a good half-hour inside exploring and had a delightful time. Deffo this place gets a Landmark."
Later she found a Mole Mart up the road and sent along information so I could post about the freebies there on the Lucky Kitty Crew Blog. I really like the Mainland. So much to see and do.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Long Awaited Feature

A Received Items folder is something I've wanted almost since starting with Second Life. It could be a powerful tool for keeping one's Inventory well-managed. Fortunately, the feature is almost with us, as you can read here on the official blog.

Right now, incoming items go to the system folders for each item type: clothing layer items to the Clothing folder, scripts to the Scripts folder, etc. If someone sends a flock of goodies to you one-by-one instead of packed in a prim or transferred in a whole folder, the items spread themselves scattershot across your Inventory. Judicious use of Filters and the Recent tab can help manage the mess, but how many folks do that?

This may replace my Objects (Sort) folder, the place I dump all my new acquisitions until I have a chance to look at them. I also use folders called *NEW* in my Body Parts and Clothing folders to hold new (obviously) items until I can use them, ensuring they don't get lost in the multitudes where I can forget I have them without ever wearing them at least once. I don't know if we'll be able to manually add to the Received Items folder or not, but that would be wonderful if we could. I look forward to trying this innovation. Now to go back through the JIRA to see if my years-old feature suggestion is still there or not ...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Interview: Kaikou Splash

Kaikou Splash
One of the great draws of Second Life is people. No wonder The Lab is trying to MyFace-ify Our World into a social Web experience. What many social Web venues miss, though, is the simple conversation, two or more people just talking. The other day I was chatting with my friend Kaikou Splash, owner of Splash Aquatics (SLurl) about his latest treasure hunt with a mesh alligator prize (as seen on the LKC blog here) and he told me that his next mesh project would be an Orca (AKA Killer Whale) to add to his shop's large selection of swimming critters. You've probably seen orcas elsewhere in Second Life, but you've not seen one like this.

Swimming with the new Splash orca! Like the new mesh dolphin in the background, avatars can ride the critter in various modes, or by themselves the critters will explore the waters in an area you define. They even have special, optional behaviors for when avatars are in the water.

At one point the idea of an interview with Kaikou for my blog got bounced around so others could join our conversation, in a fashion.

Uccello Poultry: The new orca is fabulous. Someone jumped on it right away and started riding it as soon as I put it out. Is that a feature folks ask for often?

Kaikou Splash: thank you :) I've tried to strike a balance with prim count and detail and give it some character too.. I don't get asked for much really but then I have to be honest.. not many people talk to me :[

Uccello: People really should talk to you. I've enjoyed our conversations.

Kaikou: ;) I just wanted to give them as many features as I could and it's ace fun!

Kaikou: aww me too uccie! you're awesome!

Uccello: It's a great feature, and I saw that your new mesh dolphins have that, too. But is the orca the first time you've made one?

Kaikou: yeah, the new dolphins have loads of features too.. and yes it is the first time I've ever made a killer whale! I've been in second life now for more than six years and when I arrived there was a legacy of very good killer whales still around. I didn't think I could do better until mesh came along - it's given me the freedom to build the dolphin and orca models with the kind of detail I really wanted.

Uccello: You've come out with quite a few mesh products, some never seen before in your shop, like the Alligators, but some are like existing products. Are you replacing "older" items with Mesh or will they exist together?

Kaikou: the new gators are a bit like the orca, in so far as I always wanted to make them but didn't see how with the tools around at the time. other mesh products like the swan and piranha are definitely replacing older products - the old swan was 13 prims or something.. the new one is 1! I have no idea what made me make a platypus though! :]

Uccello: LOL. I have the old swan and my brother bought the new one. Quite a difference in prim count, for sure. Would you be telling a secret if you let me know what you might have planned to release next?

Kaikou: Good question! well once I have the new Orca's up for sale, it's anyone's guess! I quite fancy making a new fishing game to rival all my previous games, but I'm so into mesh at the moment, I keep finding myself loading up blender and tinkering! Perhaps your readers would have a good suggestion for what I should make next?

Uccello: I'll ask them what they might like to see, of course :)

The shop features a delightfully scenic area where you can try the unique fishing game and compete to win prizes.
Uccello: Your fishing game is a classic and I see it in many places across Second Life. In fact, it's hard to find a well-decorated place that /doesn't/ have something from your shop. Have the Lindens recognized this legacy you are leaving?

Kaikou: I don't know really! I hope so but I get so much from the creation process, I don't really think about whether or not I'm leaving a legacy. I do love running into my products when I'm exploring though! Those linden folks are quite nice to me, so I must be doing something right ;]

Sneaking through the "moon pool" on the roof, near a vehicle display, one can dive into the huge aquarium and swim with the fishes! Landlubbers can access via the shop a tunnel that lets them stay dry as they enjoy the multitude of creatures in a very realistic setting. Like many parts of Splash Aquatics, the aquarium is informational as well as beautiful.

By the way, that's me in one of the several SCUBA sets available in the shop, though you don't need one to dive in.

Uccello: What I had in mind, specifically, was the phenominal aquarium you have at your shop. I can tell it is a work of love and not just a marketing gimmick. Its one of the first things I saw in SL after I hit the main grid. There don't seem to be many major aquariums like yours in Our World. If you were to ever need to leave SL, I'd have to talk to the Lindens to preserve it.

Kaikou: aaah Deep Sea is very much a labour of love! *immediately sits up* this is a subject very close to my heart, being a diver and aquatic conservationist in my part time in rl. When I first started Splash Aquatics I simply wanted to set up an aquarium shop, but as my land and product range grew the natural progression was into sea creatures.. Those sea-life centres are my favourite places to visit in the whole world. I must've heard "wow this is just like my local sea-life centre" a million times! it's ace! :]

Uccello: Its very impressive, as was all the hard work you put into the now late Dive World sims. I'd dive there almost daily. Do you think that something that spectacular might be built again, perhaps as an educational tool?

Kaikou: I'd love to build my own sim one day, for Splash Aquatics. I'd go absolutely mad with dive sites, no doubt about it! I'm not sure if we'll ever see those big corporate sims any more, which is such a shame. The Dive World sims I worked on for PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, and the Cocos Island sims were amazingly good fun to build and gave people such a wonderful underwater experience.

Uccello: If someone wanted to hire you to complete their seascapes (or any bodies of water), are you available?

Kaikou: of course :) I can hold my breath for hours..

Uccello: LOL

Uccello: Someone at Dive World told me that at the time you had just done your first RL dives. Is that true? Do you get much diving in of late?

Kaikou: yes that's right. I got into diving whilst working for PADI and I'm so pleased I did. I got my PADI Rescue Diver last year and am going for my Divemaster this year. It's been a bit cold to dive recently but I'm off this weekend with a buddy to dive in a quarry with tanks and helicopters in! so cool..

Kaikou: it's really helped me make more realistic seascapes too, and of course, helped me improve the realism of my scuba gear.

Uccello: Thats awesome. One of the items on my 'bucket list' is do dive some. But speaking of "the end" ... RL needs me, so any parting thoughts?

Kaikou: Thanks so much for talking to me! If there's one thing I want people to get about me, is that I do this for the love of it! I'm always happy to chat and help people out.. Second Life has had it's ups and downs but if we all make a little time for other people I'm sure it'll be here for years to come.. and so will I (despite the age of my avatar!) ;]

Uccello: Thank you, Kaikou, for your time today and for all the wonder you bring to Second Life.

Walking through Splash Aquatics, you often forget that you are in a shop. Everythign is so beautiful; Its like a tourist attraction. In the top right you can see a glimpse of the new picnic area. Interesting and informative movies are also available in a cozy theater or you can just explore the grounds, gathering ideas for your own landscaping projects.
Splash Aquatics is a wonderful gem in Our World and Splash Kaikou is a wonderful gem of a person. I highly encourage you to become better acquainted with both.

Would you like your own FREE Splash Aquatics orca? Drop me a note card in-world with your name, the time you are contacting me, and the date and I'll send one to you ... well, the first TEN people only. Sorry, but quick is good! Many thanks to Kaikou for his generosity!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Little Peek

Real Life sucks. Well, not all the time. But one way I cope is to log into Second Life, put on a bird avatar, and mindlessly fly about. Another is to go scuba (yes, I know it is supposed to be all caps) diving. Since losing Dive World to the Gods of Lost Sims I've had to create dive areas at the Isle of Lesbos. This week's "featured location" is just such a place. Inside the cave you see in the background is a nice area for mermaids while in the mid-view is an undersea habitat I made, with a common area and three sea-view bedrooms. The fishes, the turtle, and the ship wreck in the left-side foreground are from Splash Aquatics, a wonderful shop and must-see aquarium owned my friend Kaikou Splash. I'll have a feature interview with Kaikou to post here tomorrow if Real Life would stop interfering. He has some amazing new products out now and coming up, but just talking to him is fun in itself.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Tale of Two Shadows

When real-time shadows started appearing in-world my first thought was "there goes the shadow prim" but after about a year now, the prim is still with us and few people seem to use the feature. Yes, even on my fairly high-end Apple desktop machine there is a substantial increase in lag when activating shadows so that might explain quite a bit. It could be a quality issue, too, as lately the shadows have taken on an pixelated "8-bit edge" rather than being clear and sharp (I'm experimenting with changing the anti-alaising feature to alleviate this issue). But the lack of use by many could go back to the use of shadow prims.

You see, dynamic shadows move whereas shadows baked into textures and added shadow prims are static, usually for right about the Noon position of the sun. Look at these pictures:

With the sun set to Region Default — about 10AM — and dynamic shadows turned off, the shadow prims seem fine. Not that the shadows were well-placed by the maker in the first place. The smaller tree's shadow prim is in a very bad place if the larger tree's shadow is the standard.

The same shot with dynamic shadows on decreases the water reflection but also adds a second set of shadows. Look at the end of the platform nearest the big palm tree. There is a faint, second shadow. The effect is harder to see on the smaller tree, but its there. The platform's baked in shadows are hardly effected with the sun at this angle.
I'm sure there are some folks who don't want to see this conflict so they don't activate the system shadows.

If Our World is ever released for devices that aren't as capable (like my iPad, as fabulous as it is anyway) then the artificial shadows could still be important, but eventually I'll probably remove shadow prims wherever I can and keep active the viewer's dynamic shadows. Like most people, though, I'd have to have a hardware upgrade.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Snapshots In-World

Every day I try to take a snapshot with my wee pixy alt, Zyx Flux, and post it in her profile feed. There is no specific need to do this beyond the daily discipline of completing a set task, but it is a fun and creative thing to do. Her latest pic can be found in her feed here or you can see another version below:

The profile feed is an attempt at making SL into some sort of MyFace (or whatever that social network is) but I think it is just a fun way to share pretty pictures.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mysterious Appearances

The other day I noticed that a few landmarks I had never previously seen were in my Inventory. Obviously someone had sent them to me, either directly or via some sort of giver, but danged if I can recall who or how. Here's where I wound up when looking at them, in no particular order.

San Deigo 3D (SLurl): This is the Balboa Theater in what is probably a re-creation of San Diego, California (USA). Having never been there, I can't be sure. Near by is a landmark giver for other destinations in San Diego. I grabbed one for the Zoo because at least I've heard of the famous RL place with the same name. The girl standing there is SanDiego3d Resident. Maybe they named the place after her.

Under the Sky - by Yooma Mayo - LEA17 (SLurl): Noted explorer, blogger, and gadabout Honour McMillan might have snuck this into my Inventory as she's a big fan of the Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) and large-scale virtual art projects. Always be wary around Canadians and other extraordinarily polite people. They have agendas.

Anyway, this artist has special Windlight and Water presets in place so if you visit, make sure you have everything set to the region defaults. Then put on your running shoes because those really are giant ants. More giant bugs are throughout the region and some other impressive art installations are on the adjacent sims.

VC Designs (SLurl): Not sure if this is post-Apocolyptic, another planetscape (there are two moons), or what, but the landing area has some really clever lighting effects and the generally depressing textures are skillfully done throughout. There's shopping and some prize boards. Maybe that's how I got the landmark for this location.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Second Life on your TV

As I blogged yesterday, Apple computer users might or might not have an issue with installing the Second Life viewer after the coming desktop OS upgrade, but once it is intalled, they can use the new AirPlay featured to toss Our World onto the big screen as your TV will be able to mirror your computer's display.

You'll need an AppleTV device — unless Apple releases whole televisions by that time — and OSX v10.8 "Mountain Lion." Of course,  the feature might not be supported on all Macs (9to5 Mac).

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Did you remember?

Did you remember that today was Fursday?

Second Life Apple Mac Users Beware

According to MacRumors (source), the new Gatekeeper feature of the upcoming Apple OSX release (v10.8, AKA Mountain Lion) will require applications not distributed via the Apple-curated App Store to have a "personalized certificate" granted by Apple before they can be run under the new OS if the Gatekeeper security features are active. However,
For users on the default setting, they can bypass the initial Gatekeeper check the first time they launch an unsigned third-party app by right clicking on the app itself and choosing the "Open" command. Once the application has been opened one time, Gatekeeper no longer has any control over it.
though this clearly circumvents the benefit of Gatekeeper.

Since the Second Life viewer and the related third-party viewers (TPVs) are not App Store items, Linden Lab and TPV authors may have to address this issue during the download phase, apply for certificates, or submit their wares to the App Store. Timeline? Soon, I would say, as the release of the new OS is in public Beta and Apple seems to be preparing for press events next month.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wholly Mesh [UPDATE]

According to the note card I got from Landscapes Unlimited (SLurl) today, their sim is now 100% mesh, top to bottom.
"As of today the mesh environment on my sim is open to the public. Please come over with your friends and enjoy the scenery, the tranquil spots, a boatride, a swim in the ocean or a picknick under the majestic old oak trees. Beware: you need a MESH VIEWER to see the environment!"
With the obvious exception of the the base land (the system ground) itself and the water, everything appears to be mesh prims. Unsure, though, I wrote to creator Margaret Heliosense about certain items and I'll update this post with her reply. Until then, compare the pictures below:

Facing south, everything you see but me, the sky, and the patch of beach just at the water line is mesh.

The same shot with Simple and Water derendered (Advanced > Rendering Types) to remove all but alpha-textured prims.
That, of course, would derender traditional and scuplty prims, as well, but if you take for granted that all the prims in the first picture are mesh, then their absence in the second illustrates the extensive primscape.

Further exploration showed that some floaty toobs with poses appear to be standard prims and sculpts even upon close inspection. The linked pairs of buoys I found were mesh (check the yellow outlines in the pic — the lines on the cone curve are a dead giveaway that this object is mesh) that weighed in as seven prims of mesh but could have been made in as few as five prims if made the old-fashion way, though that may have defeated the purpose of having an all-mesh sim. Remember that object size, physics settings, and spread over an area (how far apart the combined "bits" appear to be) affect the land impact (read more here) which is the same as prim count. The green/white buoy by itself, for example, has a land impact of three "prims" despite being one, unlinkable object, while the red/white buoy "weighs in" at four. Most builders with a knowledge of prim tortures could make the latter with two old-style prims at most and just one if the exact proportions weren't important. Also, there were several decorative items such as furniture and ground covers that weren't mesh, such as some wonderful stuff from Margaret Heliosense, who was kind enough to answer some questions I had.

What really struck me, though, is the homogeneity of the textures on the elevated land, as seen below:

Compared to the far more natural texture and form of the otherwise similar landscape from this screen cap from the viewer log-in screen last year, one's first impression of mesh may be tainted:

Don't be quick to assume, however. as you've seen in the many items of mesh clothes, the variety of mesh avatars, and other mesh items in-world, it is possible to create much more complex result. Generally, though, I think that mesh is smoother over all, with less of ability to create a firm, hard edge. Mesh seems softer, to put in in one word, and the application of such uniform texturing enhances that impression.

The ground under the trees is a custom land sculpt that hides
 a mass of system ground sand at the Isle of Lesbos.
I made a custom land sculpt so my brother could have a sandy
beach at his place in an all green sim, Nangrim.
But stepping away from my builder's nerdieness, the overall effect at Landscapes Unlimited is still amazing. When mesh was first announced I immediately thought about how it might be used to form land without the limitations of our current ground system. Applying textures to a region's system ground at this time is hit-or-miss at best, especially as re-renders after a fresh log-in or region restart can shift textures dramatically. And shaping the land is more art and alchemy than repeatable science. With sculpties and mesh, achieving the precise desired effect is much easier. Going beyond simple textured prims to level land (remember Help Island?), I have a nice tool that lets me model parts (or all) of an existing landscape to change its texture — and to some degree, it's shape — regardless of what they system ground becomes.

I applaud the folks at Landscapes Unlimited for all their hard work and I look forward to what they can do as the state of the art progresses. By the time the Isle of Lesbos is ready to remodel again I hope that I can use large mesh builds to make the landscape truly spectacular.


Details and more pix are on the Landscapes Unlimited blog. For my pix I used the Region Default settings for Windlight which seem to be very different from what appears in the creator's blog pix.

[UPDATE] Feb 17, 2012
I heard from Sominel Edelman, the creator, today and here are some comments:

"The goal of what I did was to learn, and perhaps to inspire other people [and to test if] mesh can be an alternative to sculpted prims for landscaping." He noted that part of the test was to see if structures that can't be made with the system ground, like caves and tunnels, could be made and how easily.

As to the smoothness of the mesh objects compared to sculpts or to the system ground, "With the size of objects I use for the ground (64x64x64m), every 12 vertices count for approximately 1 prim [compared to 1024 for a sculpted prim. That makes it extremely expensive to create smooth landforms." Increasing the vertices would certainly create a more natural effect, but at a high cost. Sominell suggested that I look at Desert Mountain Landscape_001-mesh on the SL Marketplace (pictured at left). "This has 230 prim for just a 50x50m object. A complete sim surface needs 25 objects of that size..." That would be 5750 prims total, a substantial portion of a 15,000 prim region.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Blogger Challenge: Opposites!

Adorkable Peapod challenged the Second Life blogging community to post something totally unlike what they might normally post, or "Opposite Day" as Tateru Nino dubbed her post. So here goes, my Real Life ...

I love Caturdays. Once a week I put on my Real Life neko bits — fuzzy ears and a long, swishy tail — and lavish my cats with lots of extra pattings, ear scratches, and immediate attention to all their wishes.

The brother and sister duo of Angus and Magdaline
AKA Boy Cat and Squirrel Pants
Angus and Maggie would probably rather sleep on Caturdays, after the 6am breakfast, of course. Each morning between 5:30 AM and 6:30AM Boy Cat will start our days crying for food and attention and each morning we ignore him as long as possible, but not on Caturdays. I get up right away and feed him then lope back to bed with my newly donned neko bits. Eventually the kitties pile on me as they do every morning but on Caturdays I stay awake for a bit to make sure they get all the belly rubs they can handle before they go back to sleep.

Some of you might ask, "What kinds of cats are they?" and I'd reply "irritants, but lovable ones." The real answer is that they are the Ragdoll breed, but unlike what you might read, these cats do shed, they don't like to be combed, and being held is not a favorite activity. But they are bunny-soft and a joy to pet.

So there's a portion of my Real Life, or as I call it, the graphically rich MMO with way too much drama. Later today I might write another post about my preferred life in SL, but for now I have to go snuggle with some kitties as writing this made me miss them.

12th of 12 Days in Lingerie

Last post in the Juicy Bomb 12 Days of Lingerie blogger challenge  — Valentine's Day! I hope everyone gets to spend lots of time with their loved one(s) on this special day in Second Life and in Real Life. I know I plan on spending every minute I can with my darling Angela Seale.

But what should I wear? She loves to see me in lingerie but I have so many options to choose from, including some wonderful stuff I just picked up while on the Be My Busty Valentine Hunt. I finally broke down and picked out piece a great piece for this post, a nice corset from Gatherings, and accessorized it to finish the look. But I can't choose between pictures. What a terrible thing, right?

Come to bed, My Love, and I'll tell you about Valentine's Day festivities.

I'm running home with more love, just for you, Angela!!
Lingerie: Gatherings Black/Red Valentine's Corset for Lola's Push-Ups; Vivium Mini Thong (black); LapGirl Fantasy Lace Stockings (black).
Shoes: HOC Suede Sandals
Jewelry: LPP Steampunk Collar (modified with OpenCollar scripts); Wife-made Wedding Ring.
Hair: Jasmine in Scornful Red
Skin: Verotic 04 Cybele Skin Sensual Summer
Eyes: Ibanez Fantasy Glow Eyes - Wasabi

Thanks for putting up with me and my fashion show this last nearly two-weeks. The usual rants and commentary should resume tomorrow. If my wife lets me out of bed, that is *grin*

Monday, February 13, 2012

Spirit by Claudia222 Jewell

Bathed in perpetual sunset, Spirit by Claudia222 Jewell at Art Screamer (SLurl) is a magnum opus in mesh. Ms Jewell, well-known for her sculpty work with Farstar New Earth (blogged here) has once again created a surreal world that despite initial impressions is bursting with color. Subtle, yes, but a festival of tones and hues masterfully textured onto some truly fabulous mesh sculptures. The Sacrifice, her 2011 Burn2 installation (blogged here), is an important part of Spirit so look for it in the sim's northeast corner.

The Sacrifice, from Burn2 2011, fits perfectly. Be sure to view it from every angle.
It's hard to move a meter or two in any direction without finding something fantastic, but be sure to look at everything from multiple viewpoints as perspective is an important part of the experience. And since you'll be visiting time and again, I'm sure, be certain to use the Region Default settings World > Sun > Estate Time for best effect at least once. You might see more specific details at high noon, but it won't be the same. All my pictures here were shot with the defaults and unretouched.

The dragons from Farstar New Earth have a home at Spirit.

A Torley alt wearing the free avatar you can pickup when you arrive at the installation.
I found him in one of the several ethereal floaty islands. Islands? More like living creatures.
Normally I'm all about green grass, rainbows, lush foliage, and lots of sunshine. At first glance, this artscape is bleak, somber, and even macabre. If you spend some time and (really, really) look you'll find there is far more. There is life and death and the full cycle in between. This might explain some of my attraction, despite modern art being so far from my usual tastes, the Renaissance and photojournalism being the meat and potatoes of my art world. Spirit is such a polar opposite that I'm baffled by how much I love this installation.

One more picture, the installation at sunset, showing why you need to use the region's Windlight and water settings:

The light is such an important part of the experience.
I could have taken quite a few more pictures. Actually, I did take more, but they are for me. You'll have to go to Spirit and see this magnificent art for yourself. Once you see it, you'll kick yourself for even thinking once about skipping a visit.

Be sure to see Honour McMillan's blog post about this exhibit. She's far more clever about modern and virtual art than I am plus she has some nifty pictures.

11th of 12 Days in Lingerie

Guest Model: Zyx (Resident) in a wonderful set of fantasy lingerie from Kaelin Westland.

Looking back at earlier posts for the Juicy Bomb 12 Days of Lingerie blogger challenge, you can tell that I rather loosely define lingerie. Whatever the stuff is, it will wind up on the floor or around the girl's waist (or the guy's waist ... it's a kink, I know) once it's job is done. To me, anything (within reason) that can act as window dressing or a frame for the body to enhance a romantic mood is lingerie. So when I saw this woodland pixy at the Isle of Lesbos, I had to include her in this project. She's au naturel though not in the original sense of the phrase, but rather using nature as her adornment.

Lingerie: KK Fantasy Glade Nymph (the vines/flowers on Zyx's body) on the SL Marketplace here.
Hair: Alice Project "Katie" Naturals (set to blonde)
Skin: Sin Skins Tone 6 Makeup 19 (Nose Stripe)
Eyes: BSN Deep Eyes (blue)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

10th of 12 Days in Lingerie

Un-retouched but I had to decorate part of a dorm room at the Isle of Lesbos. I love my Molly Linden Bear with it's cube-rezzing particles and my Serenkitty plushie doll. MicroSTUFF was the store I had for Tiny AV stuff.
As much as guys (and many girls) like to fantasize about women prancing about in fancy lingerie all the time, the truth is that most women bed down in panties and a t-shirt or even sweats. To get fancy we might grab some actual pajamas or a nightie. Having nothing fancier than a single thong, its the panties and T for me. My "8th Post" was similar to today's theme, but more revealing and less likely on a daily basis. Thus we have today's post for the Juicy Bomb 12 Days of Lingerie Blogging Challenge.

Lingerie: Fri.Day Free.Kini (a set with several panties and t-shirts)
Hair: ETD Meghan Auburn Blackened
Eyes: Eyes Ibanez Fantasy Glow Eyes Electric (blue)
Skin: Curio Acorn Freckled Dark Sunny Pure
Jewelry: [AiTech] Precision-Crafted Pet Collar; custom wedding ring

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Truth in Advertising?

Interestingly, it wasn't laggy at all at the Atlantis Mall (SLurl).

9th of 12 Days in Lingerie

Today's entry for Juicy Bomb's 12 Days of Lingerie blogger challenge could be titled The Heavily Retouched Picture because I popped it through several applications on my iPad and on my desktop in an effort to get it just right. I even attempted to correct body rendering issues caused by the pose itself. I'm most proud of the dodging and burning I did, something I haven't done since I was in an actual photo lab back in high school using shaped cardboard bits on wires under an enlarger (I also did selective developing, something my teacher had never heard about). Rather than get into all the picture details, here's the information about the outfit:

Lingerie: Szentasha Sheer Body Stocking
Jewelry: eCollar & Cuffs (beta) by Ephemeral Rainbow; custom wedding ring; custom earrings
Hair: [e] Melody Red 06
Skin: Curio Acorn Freckled Dark Sunny Pure
Eyes: Eyes Ibanez Fantasy Glow Eyes Wasabi
Location: Fina's Market Photo Garden (SLurl)

I mention the the location because I recommend it to any serious photographer. They have some wonderful prop sets and studios that are free to use, though its a little hard to use viewer shadows there, hence the dodging/burning in post production. And they have one prop that I've been wondering how and what to use it for since the first time I saw it. Below is what almost became today's picture using "the box."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pixies & Ponies

Spotted this cute blue pixy on her pony at Forest Floor (SLurL). Adorable!! Right. To be honest that is my wee pixy alt, Zyx Flux, on her shrunk down Extrovirtual gray speckled Pwny.

8th of 12 Days in Lingerie

Here's my quick'n'dirty entry in the Juicy Bomb 12 Days of Lingerie Blogger Challenge for today. Let's start with the particulars for once, but annotated:

Shirt: FN "Slut" Stamped Tank Top
Sometimes a girl just has to be obvious and this shirt certainly takes care of that. I have a shirt and panty set in a similar theme also from F*ckin Ninjas, but it distorts with all shapes but my "butch" version which has a fairly smallish chest — 60 on the breast slider in the shape editor. Normally my bust settings slider is at 90 but that is usually my "nude" shape since all regular tops get some distortion, especially ones with text on them. For this shoot I used my "regular" bust shape because it is far more shirt-friendly at 77 on the slider. Of course, I wear "implants" in SL rather often so my "girls" here can be as big as my RL ones.

Panty: Vivium Mini White Thong
After a pleasant chat with a nice gentleman (yes, there are non-neanderthal men in SL) I received a gift of really pretty thongs from him, including the white one in this pic. Since then he's taken some pix of me for his gallery and we plan more shoots in the future.

Hair: Truth "Maddy" Cherry
This style can mean anything — fresh out of bed or teased after a swim or even just fine for a "wild" mood.

Eyes: Eyes Ibanez Fantasy Glow Eyes Wasabi
Haven't mentioned my eyes in previous posts, but if you see me with green ones lately, they are the ones you see here. I have blue and 'plink and demon ones, too. Prim eyes are important in SL these days because if you turn on Shadows, then non-prim eyes turn into milky horrors. It was also handy for this pic because I could edit the position of the open eye so it looked right at the 'camera.' Remember if you move a prim, you should be able to Undo the move (Cmd-Z on a Mac).

Jewelry: [AiTech] Precision-Crafted Pet Collar; custom wedding ring; custom earrings
Most submissives don't seem to be allowed to change their collars, but it is my belief that the sub owns the collar while the Mistress/Master owns the lock and key thus I change my collar at will. Shown is my daily collar but I have a steampunk one that is amazing and a tropical/elven one, too, each I wear fairly regularly. Most of my other nearly dozen collars I own are more for speciality outfits. When I want to feel elegant, I break out the eCollar made by Ephemeral Rainbow. I made my earrings and my SL wife made the wedding ring.

Skin: Curio Acorn Freckled Dark Sunny Pure
"Pure" because I rarely wear makeup in SL and almost never in RL. I haven't bought a tube of lipstick since my junior year in high school. I know. For this outfit I should have worn the deep red lipstick version of this skin. I just don't think about it.