Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Topless Tuesday at Dawn

I went back to the alien monument in Elderbridge (SLurl) for this week's Topless Tuesday picture having been inspired by yesterday's "Flat Rod Meme" shoot (seen here). Yes, it's a G-rated region but I was quick like a bunny. Be sure to check "Topless Tuesday in SL" on Flickr for more pictures from others that commemorate this wonderful day!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Flat Rod Meme

Strawberry Singh is out with another Monday Meme: Flat Rodvik!

Meme Instructions: Pick up a Flat Rodvik Linden from my marketplace store for free. (Or make your own using my image or your own image of Rodvik.) Wear or rez him as you travel the grid. Take him to places you think he might not have seen yet and show him a good time. Don’t forget to leave a link to your post or images in the comments of this post so we can all come by and see where you took him!

As Rod is in something like a toga I had an immediate excuse to wear my Bare Rose Free Toga (get yours here) and drag Flat Rod to Mole/Linden builds suitable for our clothing theme. So here goes Rod and his slave girl on a world tour ...

Cividale Ruins (SLurl)

Hera's Island (SLurl)

Alien Monument in Elderbridge (SLurl)

Arabian Nights (SLurl)

Keep in mind that I could have taken Rod to many mean places as payback. He still owes me a Linden Bear (or his equivalent) ever since I gave him mine when he visited Bay City for a tour (see here). Hear that, Rod?!? If you are reading this, you owe me a bear!!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

What's In My Closet: Patriots Fangirl

A news story the other day about my beloved New England Patriots football team having the handicap of sharing their pre-season practice stadium with singer Taylor Swift for a few weeks got me to thinking about my fangirl outfit for the coming year. Actually, a fashion "fox paw" got me to thinking about it. Apparently the lack of rez my red shorts demonstrated after arriving somewhere was not a system fault, but the complete absence of said shorts in my Inventory. In a rush to change to a random outfit in my closet (Saved Outfits) from some swimwear so I could be somewhere with my wife I failed to notice the lack of pants. And underwear. Fortunately, Angela always looks "there" so she picked up on the Empress's New Clothes situation right away. Not sure how long she took to tell me, but eventually she did.

After quickly adding some sweatpants (a girl's go-to clothes for most emergencies) I immediately started shopping for new shorts. Today, I tried some demos, borrowed L$100 from an alt, and repaired the saved outfit.

From Top to Bottom:

Hat and Hair: ARGRACE Baseball cap2/Hailey - Misty White

A convenient HUD allows the owner to set colors for the crown, the bill, and the panel logo. I do have a Patriots hat but it is not nearly as nice. Time to go shopping. But this looks great as the hair is styled so that it blends in with the hat. I use the same combo for my Boston Red Sox outfit, but with a B for the logo instead of a P on the panel.

Jewelry and Makeup: PrimOptic (freebie) Plume eyeglasses; PoP Ball-on-Hoop RWB earrings: AiTech Lock & Chain Collar; Magellan detector secret decoder ring; wedding ring. R.Iceielli Lipstick Neon 03.

Yes, I made the earrings. Amazingly, three prims but 12LI each. I bought a mesh ring so I could have nicer nipple piercings than what come with the Lola Tangos "Implants" but these weren't any better. Long story made short, I went with plan DD and his has nothing to do with this outfit other than I repurposed the rings. So moving on ...

Body Parts: Ibanez Fantasy Glow Eyes in Wasabi; unBra Indigo Skin C62 (plain makeup); Slink mesh hands.

Clothes: EC Mika shorts with optional straps; WWI Choe bra and panties (charcoal); Whimsey's Closet Patriots Jersey; WWI Knockout Striped Boyfriend Socks; HOC Lowtops sneakers.

The shorts are the newest bits. A HUD allows color change for the shorts and a separate HUD allows the strap's colors to be changed. Inefficient, but I didn't notice that straps came with the outfit until I tried the demo, so it's a bonus. The jersey came with an applier for Lola's Pushup "Implants" but I chose to not use them since I found the straps with the shorts. HOC, of course, makes awesome sneakers. I wear them almost all the time (or the high tops or the "Bolts" editions).

And that's why I don't often do fashion posts .... all the details. Writing them down takes frickin' forever. I found the location (Rebels Football Field; SLurl) via Search, changed clothes, setup the lighting and graphics options, shot the photos, and found a seat in the bleachers to start writing in half the time it took to fill in the outfit's details.

Morals of the story? Check your Saved Outfits anytime you prune your Clothing inventory and root for the Patriots this coming season.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Princess Kitten's Caturday!

Early this morning I popped by the bakery in Barney's Bay (SLurl) to get some scones when I saw this little kitten on the docks. She said her name was Princess and that she was waiting for the tuna boats to come in with their morning's catch.

She was so cute and we had such a good chat that I followed her around Barney's Bay and took some more pictures before heading back to Real Life to spend more quality Caturday time with my own fuzzy felines.

We talked a lot about traveling and how the moles made some of the best attractions in all Second Life. The travel agency has lots of information about places to see.

"Finally, a litter box fit for a princess!" she exclaimed. "And it has snax, too!!" I didn't have the heart to tell her that this was the flower shop and she was fertilizing the merchandise.

Princess went into the bakery with me while I bought the scones and I bought her  a mug of warm cream while I enjoyed a hot chocolate and some of my purchase.

Afterward we lounged a bit outside as it was such a beautiful morning.

Princess begged me to take her sailing but I was running late for Real Life so we made a date to go some other time, maybe on my big boat, the PurrMaid, and do some fishing. Maybe if you go to Barney's Bay today and see her you could take her out on one of the free or free-to-use boats at the docks.

Happy Caturday, Everyone!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

How to Skin a Firestorm

Due to my favorite viewer not being updated to play well with the recent server changes (see here) and my complete dislike of the Communications Hub User Interface (CHUI) of the official viewer, I've been using the Firestorm viewer of late. While it has some nice features, I feel that it is generally bloated so that in a direct comparison it seems to increase the amount of lag that I experience. Still, very good photo tools and code that cooperates with The Lab's current server releases and I suppose I can live with it. I know the primary problem is the lack of support for the graphics card I have, but since that isn't going to be changed any time soon, I should try to have fun anyway.

So I started trying Firestorm's different skins. There is no guide or pictorial for these that I've been able to find, so I took a few pictures so I can compare them.

Ansastorm - Bright Blue
Fairly easy on the eyes but like all the skins, the highlights in the Appearance window are annoying.

Ansastorm - Classic Brown
This skin most resembles the standard Firestorm skins (below) but with a slightly darker UI.

Ansastorm - Ectoplasma
Basically, just a green version of the other two skins.

Firestorm - Blue
The usual weak grey of the standard UI is replaced with a weak blue.

Firestorm - Dark
A slightly darker version of the next skin.

Firestorm - Gray
This seems to be the default skin. Annoying brown highlights but the blue (see above) is worse.

Firestorm - High Contrast
Easier for me to see than the standard Grey, but otherwise the same skin

Vintage Classic
The buttons color, shape, and locations change when the old viewer v1 UI is merged with Firestorm - Grey.

There are several other skins, but the process of needing to restart the viewer for each and every change became tedious so I gave up. Maybe I'll look at them another day. For now I'll probably use the High Contrast skin or the Vintage Classic.

Not that you can tell from the screen clutter, but all these pictures were shot at Sweetbay Designs Garden Gauge Layout (SLurl), a really cool model railroad based on hobbyist live steam sets that rail fan men with some money, lots of time, a fair bit of land, and nothing better to do tend to build.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Topless Tuesday - July 16, 2013

In most of the United States (where I live) women may legally be as bare chested as men, subject only to the usual "attractive nuisance" (my term) laws that men must also respect wherein one's actions may not disrupt the general peace. People should be able to admire women's breasts as a natural beauty without needing to be sexualized. Are scenic landscapes sexualized? Flowers? Lovely skies?

Yah ... probably someone's boat is floated, but I'm sure it's very, very rare. And men's bare chests are often sexualized, too (check out the thread on Colleen Criss's My SL post from today, for example) though far less frequently.  But women's bare breasts seem to raise hackles far more often and I think that the cause is we don't often see them in public. Relegating them to secret Internet sessions and the privacy of your own home exacerbates the problem. "Free The Boobies!" I shout.

This was on my mind when I began my part of the Topless Tuesday in Second Life commemoration (really, who doesn't celebrate boobies?) last February (see here), I intended to stay topless in SL all day every Tuesday. That's not hard, even if you hit a G-rated sim. Just don't get caught. But even I admit that there are times it really isn't appropriate. Like attending the Bay City Alliance meeting that happens every Tuesday. Yes, the meeting is in a Mature sim, but child avatars are present. To adhere to the spirit of the day I once attended the meeting as a topless male, but since then I've either kept my shirt on or worn a "fun" avatar.

Me as a guy. Still a bit muscular for my taste (the upper arms/inner elbow is a bug, I think) but still better than the overly He-Man form typical of Second Life. To each their own, I say.
So I'm conditioned into the social norm, too, I suppose ...

If Topless Tuesday becomes more popular, though, perhaps we can all "grow up" and treat a woman's body with the same regard as a man's body. "Free The Boobies and Free Your Mind!"

# # #

PS: Check out the Topless Tuesday in SL Flickr group here.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Intriguing Questions Meme

Strawberry Singh posted on her blog yet another blog meme challenge today and I'm so far behind with my writing that I'm going to take up the current one and possibly skip the older ones. I'm probably being lazy about it, but she promised in her post that this should be easy, so here I go with ten "Intriguing Questions."

An "intriguing picture" that has nothing to do with the post's theme.

01. How do you deal with criticism? So many people think that criticism automatically connotes "bad" or "negative" that they often take any comments as such. I do my best to listen and formulate a response, addressing each point made by the critic. In Real Life it often stops at this point. Mom, my biggest critic and usually the one most often to go negative, still doesn't understand Sign Language well and seldom has the patience to wait for me to put a response on my iPad so mostly I nod and swallow it. In Second Life I try to listen and give a measured response, but often I'm impatient and just give in. Not that I get much feedback, though. No, I'm not perfect, but I do so little that folks feel like commenting on, I guess.

02. What’s the most infuriating thing other SL residents do? Troll. I count griefing as trolling, too, as it amounts to the same thing … someone so bored with their own pathetic life that to feel better about themselves they try to take down others. I have no patience for trolls. Report, mute, and move on thus depriving them of the attention they crave.

03. Which SL resident would you most like to have lunch with and why? So many choices, but if I had to pick one … Kennylex Luckless. Sorry if anyone out there is jumping up and down shouting "Why not me?!?!" but it's just lunch and Kenny is so darned creative. hmmm … "creative" is not enough. Unique. Special. Joyful. Funny. Amusing. Generous. I could go on. People in my SL family know that I'd like to have more than lunch with them so hopefully they'll stop the jumping now.

PIcture shamelessly lifted from Kenny's MySL feed (here). You'll often find this adorable genius in Natoma near the Ivory Tower of Primitives sandbox (SLurl) or in Minna (SLurl) or even stalking looking for Torley Linden across The Grid (wherever fine Torleys are sold).

04. Who would you say is your “anti” role model? Someone who serves as a warning rather than an inspiration? There's a list that is long and distinguished, I'll say, but it takes all kinds of people to run a railroad. An anti-role model at least serves as a measure to show how much we value positive role models. Vice-versa, mind you, but I think you get the idea.

05. What was something you used to enjoy, but was ruined for you? Second Life Birthdays and events of that kind in general. Because of one individual I don't even want to attend let alone assist. I'm that shaken. I was thoroughly screwed and didn't even get a kiss first. How others trust this person who claims to be tolerant, inclusive, and anti-drama, I don't know.

06. What’s something you want to do that you’d be embarrassed to tell other people about? Really, who is going to answer this question? Well, telling some people some of the things I can think of wouldn't be embarrassing, but I'll tell them in private, perhaps with diagrams.

07. What’s the oddest term of endearment you’ve ever used or that someone’s used for you? "Myfe." Kuthola Homewood, a DJ at the old Isle of Lesbos and a friend, used the word "mife" as a term of endearment with her then SL wife … My Wife. My Wife. Mife. Angela (my wife) and I "Americanized" it from the original Dutch made-up word to be Myfe (My Wife).

08. Have you ever fallen in love with another SL resident? Yes *smile*

09. Describe a time/event in your SLife that you're nostalgic for. Like Strawberry's response to this item, I sometimes pine for the magic of discovering Second Life for the first time, like the time I described in this post of my wondrous discovery of talking dragons back when I was still "young" in this world. I suppose we all become jaded but what better place than Second Life

10. What’s something sweet you’d like someone to do for you? RL? Take me on a real vacation. I haven't been on one in over a decade and the way things are going I may never see another. SL? I can't think of anything, really. Things are going pretty well, in general.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Three Breast System

Topless Tuesday got me to thinking ...

A woman's breast size in Second Life is in contention nearly as often as whether she really is a woman or not but it usually aligns itself along the lines of whether one believes an avatar is an idealized character or faithful representation of the Real Life typist. You may recognize the debate more in terms of child avatars, furries, and other non-human or non-adult groups. More subtle is the frequent confrontations over appearance (Read: Fashion Police).

Actual "live" picture that often
appears in my SL Profile.
As a Real Life woman of somewhat excessive mammarian proportions as seen in the picture at the left, I've almost always kept the SL breast size sliders almost maxed. And a couple years ago my wife bought a set of Lola's Pushup "Implants" for me to wear so I could be closer to my RL proportions. Despite the clothing headaches and the inability to get a really good blending between avatar and prims, I wore them with some frequency.

Then came along a love of mesh clothing and the need for "standardized" shapes so bits of me wouldn't bulge out all over thus I had to reduce the size of My Girls. I justified it somewhat by taking a cue from RL – stuffing them in clothing can make them look smaller so that's what I figured SL was like – walking around with E-Cup boobs smooshed into a D-Cup dress and being so uncomfortable that when I'd get home I'd have to take them out to breathe. Just like RL. Then I'd wear a bustier shape whenever I was nude or at least topless so the lie was fairly acceptable. The difference between the implants and the so-called Standard breasts is quite dramatic, though, and it seemed pretty silly to wear the prims at times. Still, I did make it into the Busted Magazine 2012 Calendar as Miss May and then into a feature for the November 2012 issue (pages 112-115).

After taking the plunge into mesh clothing I went for mesh feet and later mesh hands, both from SLink (SLurl). Like the Lola's, the match between skins and prims wasn't easy. I got as close as I could, but when SLink announced that skin makers could use an "applier" system to match their product to the mesh bits, I started shopping for new skins. A secondary goal of mine was to buy a new set of implants, the Lola's Tangos, that used the applier concept, too. I hadn't planned on wearing them often, but in for a penny, in for a few more pounds (big breasts are heavy, according to my back).

Lo and Behold! After setting up all the mesh bits with the new skins (Unbra's Indigo C62; SLurl) I bought, I found myself wearing the implants pretty often. Partly, it was because I ran through the Hello Titty prize hunt gathering a ton of nice, free clothes and nearly an equal amount of purchases so I just had to wear them all (cripes, but SL has made me so femme despite my RL butchness).

That's when I stopped caring about size. Well, not entirely. I still love my Big Girls and I still love a good-sized "rack" on other women both iRL and iSL, but I wasn't going to give up on my mesh clothes. And some of the implants outfits looked better with a larger (or smaller) size than I would normally choose. So I decided "to heck with it" and relaxed. I'll wear whatever breast size I want for whatever outfit I'm wearing or whatever mood I'm in at the time. So here's my Three Breast System.

Mesh-friendly "small" breasts. Depending on the skin I choose, the shading can make them look fuller, but essentially they are on the D-Cup side. Also great for "system" shirts, particularly t-shirts with graphics. The smaller size keeps the texture from bunching in the cleavage. Oddly enough, I and my two alts that share this shape get hit on at least as often as my bustier versions. These Girls also don't get comments from the Fashion Police and look good with a little physics bounce.

My Daily Big Boobs are closer to my RL cup size and far more gravity defiant, but they look strange in most system clothing and don't fit 99% of my mesh clothes. Still, I think I did a nice job shaping and I'd be just as happy if I was this size in Real Life. I'd estimate them to be a firm (pun intended) DD-Cup despite not being maxxed on the sliders.

Break out the Tangos! You've seen some women with ridiculously-sized implants (in both worlds) I'm sure, but these are only 5% larger than the out-of-box size. As mentioned above, some outfits look better if the breast size is increased,  but I almost never go above 10% bigger than the original and for some outfits I'll go as much as 10% smaller ... which puts them at the size of my Daily Big Boobs, but with a perkier shape.
That's my Three Breast System. If you do the math, it's more like six breasts, but then we're getting silly and just having this many is hard enough work. The viewer's Saved Outfits feature makes the math easier. I have each "size" set up as a nude/dressable base will all the attachments I need so I just have to wear that then find some clothes. Of course, I've saved complicated outfits and costumes regardless of which breasts they include, but having the three bases sure makes it easy to get dressed in the mornings. Well, those days I actually dress.

Happy Topless (at the beach) Tuesday!

Another Topless Tuesday! Thanks to everyone for helping make this phenomenon grow! If you are a Flickr user, check out the Topless Tuesday in SL group here and feel free to add your pictures.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Star Trek Freebies (UPDATE)

Loki Eliot is not only a Genius Builder, he's a Generous Builder, too. Recently a friend of his became enamored of all things Star Trek (if you don't know about the Star Trek entertainment franchise you might be bored with this post) so Loki created a combat-enabled starship for him. Then he went on to create other ships. Eventually he created a whole game system. I've been watching pictures on the My Second Life feeds for about a week now and it looks like a lot of fun.

Today I read a new post from Loki:

Startrek Battles will be available FREE at my store later today, will do another post soon and probably blog about it later, in mean time here is a small vid showing what i made...

It isn't out as of the moment I publish this post, but drop by Loki's shop in Escapades (SLurl) and check out his other freebies and his really cool non-freebies such as clothes, games, and more. The region is packed with interactive stuff so it is well-worth exploring while you want for the game release.

Admittedly, one big reason the game will be free is that Loki doesn't own the copyright to the starship designs so selling for even L$1 would be a major no-no. But don't let that fool you into thinking "cheap quality." From what I've been reading they use the new "materials" graphics tech, have full lighting, and are very detailed.

Loki's blog (and other social media connections) is here.


Loki has posted more information and imagery on his blog here.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A New Resident Experience [EDIT]

EDIT [01/09/14]: Two names have been removed by request of a person named in an IM below. Note, that Second Life ToS does permit the transcript of Instant Messages on forums outside Second Life but not within the service itself. I'm doing this as a courtesy per my posted Disclaimers.

Not too long ago, I saw what looked like a new Welcome Area for new Residents on the My Second Life feeds so I thought I'd check it out since the last version I tried was horrible (see here). Much to my surprise, a brand new alt found something even worse.

Upon logging in, I found myself at a shopping area (SLurl) and learned that this spot was also my Home. What was interesting, is that Uccie logged out from that very spot while using another viewer earlier in the day. No "new Resident experience" for me.

At this point, The Lab seemed to think I'd been fully oriented because if I tried to access any of the previous Destination Islands for orientation, I was banned. Of course, a noobie wouldn't know to even look for those. They'd be lucky to find the Orientation Island Public landmark in their inventory then try to figure out what to do with it. At least the How to button was in the bottom tool bar, though as usual the only window to pop up automatically was Destinations.

For giggles, I headed to Orientation Island Public.

Immediately I was greeted by an IM from someone not even on the People Nearby list ...
[10:46] NAME REDACTED: Welcome to secondlife Sorry about my spelling. I have reported paedophiles hanging around help Island public that are stalker like commando kid, and racist that uses the island. I’m call nigger and boy for helping people, who cannot speak English, at help island public. One of the racist is NAME REMOVED and her friend Another NAME REMOVED all reported, but Linden Lab allow this kind of hate crime in SL. Its believe you cannot be physically hurt in game. But there are troll here in second life, they call there self, helpers or mentors, they are not, they will tell you to mute people, and will control your game if you let them. Do not tell them about your self, or give them information about where you live. They will put the information on the internet for there friends, all around the world to see. Perverts--man using female avatars and woman using male avatar, wait to meet young kids, That logon and arrive at the PG sims on there first day, so be careful. Oh if you need help Ask but not at help island public. 
[10:46] NAME REDACTED: If you need help badly..F1 pick Support portal And there is a Q&A box you can use. Or I have a help pack if you like to read that, it full of tips and land marks.
No help other than that. If I were truly a new Resident, I'd have no guidance whatsoever to tell me about the "IM ding" and the flashing Chat button. Someone was talking near me, but I wouldn't have known that. So I walked the route I remembered from seven years ago and got to the exit where I found four signs.

From right to left:

The Resident Help Network sign asked to open the Second Life Pic of the Day page from the public blog. Very little help there.

Governor Linden's 'OI-Help-Kiosk' offered to let me stay or to leave to some random spot on The Grid.

The rotating medallion thing gave me a note card about the Resident's Choice Awards. It was just a Web URL for the same and an embedded Landmark for the Winner's Circle. A new Resident wouldn't know about embedded Landmarks.

Another 'OI-Help-Kiosk' (far left) offered a landmark to Help Island Public.

I took the random landmark offer from the sign second from the right. It turns out that that I was to visit the Luna Oaks Gallery (SLurl), the Linden-owned shopping area for Resident lottery winners to have a free retail space. The program ended a long time ago but the last winners were not kicked out. Some actually maintain their shop, but most spaces are ancient by SL standards.

A second click earned me a landmark for Miramare, "The heard of Second Life" (SLurl). Both landmarks were made by the former Jeska Linden (now Jeska Dzwigalski). I opted instead to visit her now missing office in Ambleside (SLurl), part the Linden Bungalows, since it was listed in her profile.

All-in-all, I'd have to say that if I was a new Resident, then I'd have given Second Life about 30 minutes before logging off and looking for another diversion. Really, in a world with interactive on-demand television, iPads and Kindles, and then some, why would someone be interested in SL if this was their introduction?